Archive for the ‘ Fiction ’ Category

From the very opening scene, Rafe Judkins seems unapologetically focused on turning The Wheel of Time into The Wheel of Thrones. Unfortunately for Judkins – and for everyone involved – everything about The Wheel of Time is diametrically opposed to GRR Martin’s vision and tone. Jordan and Martin were friends, yes – but they have very different ideas about what fantasy should look like. The chief and most glaring problem with this series is that they already had a story – set in successive stages – and they are ignoring it, almost completely. Instead, they have changed major plot points with implications for the eventual end of the series, and have seemingly no plausible reason for doing so, aside from pure expediency.

I’ll go into the individual issues shortly, but let me give you an overview of the problems they have created. This will be done by spoilers, sorry. The book series has been done for nearly 10 years. Whatever the plot of this series is, it isn’t the Wheel of Time’s – so I’m not interested in spoilers for that, either. This is a review, from a longtime reader, so if you don’t want book (or series) spoilers – you probably want a different review. There have been major changes to the characters, geography, magic system, and various setting elements introduced which cause significant plot issues for the story down the line.

Let’s begin with Episode 1. The story goes off the rails almost immediately when, in the opening scene with the Reds, Liandrin says to the unnamed channeler; “this power – it’s meant for women, and women alone. When you touch it, you make it filthy.” The male half and the female half are separate. What men touch is not Saidar – it is Saidin. Only Saidin is tainted. The women’s half of the source, Saidar, is untainted by the Dark One. I noticed this mistake instantly. Most other readers of the series will, as well. It is the Dark One who tainted Saidin – and it is the Source which taints men, not the men who taint the source. Next, in Lan and Moraine’s conversation that I’ll refer more to later, she says that there are “rumors of four ta’veren there” in the Two Rivers. This is a particularly egregious line, as ta’veren are exceptionally rare – and the Two Rivers are exceptionally isolated. For someplace so isolated – where not even an Andoran tax collector has gone in generations, and whose only ties to the outside world are the occasional peddler – how would “rumors” get out, let alone rumors of 4 ta’veren in one small settlement? The reason Moraine goes there in EotW is because the Karatheon Cycle says that the Dragon “…will be of the ancient blood, and raised by the old blood.” It isn’t clear (even to Moraine) which “ancient blood” is being referred to, but the blood of Manetheren is old blood indeed. Indeed, Moraine is shocked to discover later (as she gets to know the Two Rivers folk) that she has multiple ta’veren on her hands. Many readers seem to be shocked to discover that four of them are ta’veren – and rightly so – because they aren’t.

ROBERT JORDAN – For ben, of course women can be ta’veren. None of the major female characters in the books is ta’veren, though. The Wheel doesn’t cast ta’veren around indiscriminately. There has to be a specific reason or need.

BRANDON SANDERSON – I’ve often gotten questions from people asking if Egwene was ta’veren. Obviously not, as Siuan would have seen the glow of it.

The current Amyrlin Seat, Siuan Sanche, has the ability to “see” ta’veren – and she doesn’t “see” Egwene or Nynaeve as such – or Elayne, for that matter. Ta’veren are made, not born, as the quote above shows. Only three ta’veren came out of the Two Rivers.

On to the opening scene in the Two Rivers; Egwene’s induction into adulthood is a mere mention in the books – she has been permitted to wear her her hair braided for the first time – and this seems to be permitted by her mother. In the series, she is being inducted into “The Women’s Circle” – which in the books, is the circle of women leaders of the village – and is a very select company of gray-haired women. That membership (at this point of time) consisted of Nynaeve al’Meara, Daise Congar, Alsbet Luhhan, Marin al’Vere, Natti Cauthon, and Neysa Ayellin – by no means a large company. Nynaeve is impossibly young, for a Wisdom – and even younger to be on the Women’s Circle, even by dint of being Wisdom. Having an even younger not-quite-apprentice Wisdom on the Women’s Circle beggars belief – or, alternatively, the show doesn’t know what the Women’s Circle is. The entire “mystical” induction sequence – the dialogue, the ceremony, being pushed off the rocks into the river, “trust the river”, the grotto (and all that seems to entail) is completely fabricated for the show and has no basis anywhere in the books. Next, there’s a line Perrin drops about Taren Ferry being full of soldiers and mercenaries headed south. Geographically, this is nonsense. The Two Rivers is isolated by terrain, as the conversation with Padan Fain and the Village Council in the books bears out. They are hemmed in by mountains, a mire, and the eponymous two rivers. The only supposed access to Ghealdan (which the panicky, uneducated villagers are afraid of providing a path through the Two Rivers) would be through an exceptionally dense (and most importantly, pathless) forest, the Forest of Shadows, that has grown up between the two mountain ranges that almost meet in the south. Taren Ferry is on the opposite side of the Two Rivers from Ghealdan, and might with great justice be called the gateway to the end of nowhere. There would be absolutely no reason for soldiers to be gathering there – and where, precisely, would they be gathering from? Taren Ferry (and even Baerlon) is 500+ miles from anywhere accessible to soldiers from even Andor – who would have no reason to head in the direction of Whitebridge, let alone into the hinterlands near Baerlon. While we’re on geography, too – there is no river through Emond’s Field. There is a small springfed creek, called the Winespring Water, which starts just outside town, is bridged by the Winespring Bridge near the Inn, and which feeds into the Mire in the southeast – but that is easily crossed. Putting a river through the middle of, or just outside of town is problematic. The Two Rivers after which the area is named are dozens of miles off in either direction – the Taren to the north, and the White River, aka the Manetherendrelle, to the south. The villagers would have to go quite a bit past Deven Ride to the south, or to Taren’s Ferry in the north to reach either of the rivers forming a natural boundary to the area – and they are quite large rivers – unforded and formidable. The geographical problems the show poses are legion, as we will soon discover.

Now we come to Moraine’s entrance. Instead of arriving during the day, and instead of claiming to be a noblewoman asking for stories, she is instantly recognized (and named) as Aes Sedai by Marin Al’Vere. The Two Rivers is exceptionally isolated. Far more isolated than the show seems to want to admit. In the books, they don’t recognize her as Aes Sedai until she and Lan are actually fighting Trollocs, and she channels in their defense -calling down lightning is pretty unmistakable. The series also completely skips over her engagement of the three young men (along with a couple others of similar age) as gophers, and her giving them small coins as payment – which, later on, allows her to track them. Egregiously missing, and egregiously replaced by Moraine in a dramatic evening entrance to the inn, is Thom Merrilin – a gleeman who was contracted by the village council to tell tales and perform for Winternight.

Other changes: Perrin is unaccountably (and seemingly unhappily) married to Laila Dearn, a possible love interest he mentioned – once – in later books. Abell Cauthon, horseman, master archer and farmer, is (for whatever reason) a womanizer and drunk – while his wife, Natti, is a drunken slattern who neglects her children and lashes out at her son – instead of solid and levelhead members of the Women’s Circle and Village Council, respectively. Also unaccountably missing are Haral Luhhan, Perrin’s blacksmith Master (Perrin is rather young at 20 to be the village’s blacksmith, although about to become a journeyman) and his wife Alsbet – also members of the Village Council and Women’s Circle, respectively. Why a random wife and drunkard parents were added to the show completely escapes me – and will cause multiple plot issues later – assuming the show lasts that long. Another thing that was added was a sexual relationship between Rand and Egwene. Now, I know that later on in the series, there is some extensive hanky panky in all directions – however, it’s pretty well established that such hanky panky would have been severely punished by pretty much everyone in the Two Rivers. In fact, there’s a story told about a similar situation in which the two participants were both treated as children for a significant time – well, here, let me quote it – and this occurs in book Five.

For that matter, he remembered when Nynaeve caught Kimry Lewin and Bar Dowtry in Bar’s father’s hayloft. Kimry had had her hair braided for five years, but when Nynaeve was through with her, Mistress Lewin had taken over. The Women’s Circle had nearly skinned poor Bar alive, and that was nothing to what they had done to Kimry over the month they thought was the shortest decent time to wait for a wedding. The joke told quietly, where it would not get to the Women’s Circle, had been that neither Bar nor Kimry had been able to sit down the whole first week they were married. Rand supposed Kimry had failed to ask permission.

The Fires of Heaven, pg. 53 – emphasis mine

Again, I’m well aware that later on in the books, there are great varieties of hanky panky going on. In the Two Rivers, however, this sort of thing is unacceptable. Adding it is gratuitous – not to mention the fact that they are depicted as getting it on in… the middle of the tavern’s common room, in front of the fire (where Moraine had just warmed her hands earlier), where literally all the guests upstairs could walk in at any time. Why? Also, the Al’Veres should have a cozy little inn, not a boisterous tavern. It’s just… perplexing? We won’t even get into the Voldemort-looking Myrddraal.

Cue the next day. There are a variety of things to hate here, too. As many, many others have mentioned – the match. Guys, there are no matches in this world – they haven’t been invented yet. In fact, a significant plot point later is the invention of matches by an “Illuminator” (Calling Aludra!)- one of a guild who have the secret to fireworks and their manufacture – whom we don’t meet until the next book, and who doesn’t create matches until a significant amount of time passes. Little details like this are what make or break adaptations of existing source material. It points to the people writing this show not actually knowing said material. Tam (and Rand) using matches here is just flat out stupid. We won’t even get into the completely inserted nonsense about Bel Tine lanterns and “guiding spirits back to us”. Also, just because it annoyed me as well – Winternight is the night before Bel Tine. It is the last night of winter, while Bel Tine heralds the coming of spring. Winternight is the celebration that the Trollocs interrupt. Fain arrives on the morning of Bel Tine in the series – while Rand and his father discuss whether they should “be there for Bel Tine tonight”. In the show, they had stayed the night in town (which they don’t typically do, being farmers) over Winternight, but had left the next morning to return to their farm. Bel Tine was a day of festival, with contests and dances and the like. Tam and Rand avoid those entirely (and they are not pictured in the show) and return to their farm. The Trolloc attack therefore occurs on Bel Tine itself.

On to Moraine and Nynaeve’s made-up conversation. The stupid “sacred grotto” makes yet another appearance – and Nynaeve’s parents are thrown under a bus to create unnecessary drama. Her mother does die when she is young – not a baby – but her father is alive well into her teens, and teaches her woodcraft – which, in addition to her link (through Saidar) to the young people, is how she tracks and finds the party after they leave the Two Rivers. There was no reason to delete her parents here – and this part of the story seems even more contrived and hackneyed as a result. We know who her parents are from the books – and she is too old to be the Dragon, and female besides – so why are we bothering with this? Maybe the showrunner is too source deaf to figure out that the Dragon is male for a reason, and we get these idiotic red herrings about female Dragons – but there is a reason in the material that the Dragon has to be male. Not to mention that the Karatheon Cycle straight up says he is. Plus, there is a made up story about Doral Barran – with the even more unbelievable accusation that Aes Sedai care about whether someone is a peasant or not. The current Amrylin seat grew up a fisherman’s daughter – and most, not few, Aes Sedai are of peasant origin. We move on to a scene with Mat and Fain. Mat is now depicted as a thief pawning stolen jewelry, in addition to the rest of his newly terrible family life. Fain is probably less creepy than he should be, although he couldn’t very well be more creepy. The following scene with the boys at their table is awkward and unnatural – as most of their scenes are. Instead of being generally happy folks, Mat and Perrin have an uncharacteristic brooding pathos that has been entirely fabricated by adding in these new elements. It completely changes the character of their interactions – and thereby, their characters. Rand is the least changed – although the decision to change around Thom and Min’s meetings with the group, to escalate the encounter with the ferryman to cause his death, and to put the army of trollocs right on their heels, instead of having the Draghkar in the skies ramp up Rand’s aggression toward Moraine and make it look unreasoning – when in the books, there is a general progression which brings him to that pass – one which takes days, even weeks, of events to bring about.

The Trollocs all look like Steppenwolf from Justice League, honestly. Not a terrible decision, but I can’t get it out of my head. When they attack, the body count seems a bit higher than in the books, but they’ve expanded Emond’s Field somewhat from the size in the books, as well. Moraine and Lan carving through the Trollocs is a pretty righteous scene, I have to admit (although a trifle extended from what it should be); it omits Lan warning the village of the impending attack – and results in Moraine tearing down the Winespring (the only brick building in the village, incidentally) to wipe out this newly beefed up attack on the village the show incorporates. There is an entire fist of Trollocs present here. Even a Halfman will retreat from an Aes Sedai and Warder (and a roused township) – and that’s what is supposed to happen at Winternight. In this version, though, at least 25 (and possibly more) villagers die, the fight goes on much longer, Moraine is randomly pegged by a thrown dagger and destroys half the village by herself, and Nynaeve is carried off by the braid in a scene right out of the Battle of Emond’s Field 10 books later – by a Trolloc who has a throwdown with Nynaeve (again with the stupid grotto!) doing her best Birgitte impression (which she seems to have been doing all along). Here I was thinking that Nynaeve would call that man-brained idiocy, and thinking with your muscles – right? Well, apparently not. There’s also Daise Congar being… whatever it is when she tells the Trolloc “you want a real feast”. Look, Congars and Coplins… they’re special – but that’s special, even for them, okay? Since Moraine destroyed the inn, now we have the conversation where we decide to leave in the middle of the village green; all in the space of 2 minutes from Rand’s entrance into town, and Perrin carting his wife’s body to the corpse piles. One thing I did appreciate, however – Moraine’s exposition at the end with the iconic “…but it was a beginning”.

So, on to Episode 2. We open with the Tide Poster Children (of the Light) – who instead of wearing just white cloaks, apparently wear all white, all the time, even in the field – and we are treated to another… fascinating departure from the source material in the form of Eamon Valda, of all people, privately burning a Tar Valon “witch” for his own amusement, and collecting her ring to add to his collection – after he cuts off her hands, of course. We then cut back to the Emond’s Fielders, who are fleeing along a riverbank. Which river? I have no idea. there are no rivers heading north and south anywhere in the middle of the Two Rivers. Both of these rivers run east and west, and bound the area in from the north and south.


The North Road doesn’t run along a river toward Watch Hill and Taren Ferry. The Winespring isn’t large enough for this scene to make any sense, either – and where would you go down it, anyway? It is sloppy errors like this – for purely aesthetic reasons, apparently – that make this show so maddening.

Instead of Dragkhar pressing them from above to Taren Ferry – we go directly to Shadar Logoth. For a bit about why this is extraordinary, we have to talk about distances. It is 171 miles (150 WL miles) from Emond’s Field to Baerlon – which the show completely skips past. Taren Ferry is just slightly less than halfway to Baerlon from Emond’s Field (assuming the scale in the maps are correct – and I suspect it isn’t, quite) – say, 65 WL miles or so. In Ch11, they reach Watch Hill at a gallop. It is slightly less than halfway to Taren Ferry on the map – say, 30 miles. They are about at the limit of horses (30-35 miles) at a sustained speed (which, by the way, isn’t a gallop) – therefore Moraine’s ministrations to the horses at this point makes sense. They reach Taren’s Ferry before morning (but to be fair, 60+ miles in a night isn’t exactly realistic, but we’re dealing with magic users and the first book in a series, so we’ll wing it) and the ferryman brings them across (and doesn’t die, by the way – his ferry does get sunk, but they just give him more gold). At this point in the show, Moraine should have created the fog to misdirect the Draghkar, et al – and they camp for the night, before heading for Baerlon the next morning – which seems to take a total of six days in the books. She doesn’t do that in the series. Instead, they press on for a while more, then rest at some undisclosed location – presumably in the woods northeast of Taren Ferry, approximately 15 miles away, which is the closest wooded area in the direction of Shadar Logoth. See the map of the wooded area in roughly the shape of Africa below – that’s where they’d have to get to before camping in old forest, instead of camping in the convenient wood just west of the road north of the Taren.

Western Andor, from The Great Blight

At this point in the show, they’ve covered 80 miles in a single night – and still have time to rest until morning, apparently.

During the discussion with Egwene (at which point she, too, questions the Aes Sedai overly aggressively – since the ferryman just died to no apparent purpose for additional drama) Moraine relates The Three Oaths – but with a startling omission, given what she just did in Emond’s Field; she omits the clause(s) “against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or” prior to “the last extreme defense of her life”, etc. If words are so important, why does she leave that part out? Again, if words are so important – why do we add the line “it’s the wind that listens to you?” You do not control the One Power. You channel the One Power – you are a conduit – you surrender. Practically all of the high drama in the next morning’s conversation is entirely fabricated – as is the Whitecloak encounter they have, instead of the one they should have had in Baerlon. There is also at least one strange issue with this encounter. Bornhald tells Moraine to see a sister at Whitebridge to heal her wound. It is hedged about, to be sure, but hardly something a Lord Captain would say in front of a Questioner – or at all. Something else worth mentioning is that Whitecloaks, on the main, wouldn’t believe in Trollocs out of the Borderlands or the Blight itself.

Now we’re into geography problems again. Whitebridge is 588 WL miles from Baerlon – as the crow flies. We do get a sort of limited travel montage, so it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was on the first watchthrough – but the terrain involved is not nearly as varied as it appears from that montage. There are no significant bodies or water or wastelands between the wood northeast of Taren Ferry and Hills of Absher – north of the Caemlyn road. The road itself isn’t nearly well defined enough, either, if that’s what they are traveling on several days later. It is used for a significant amount of overland traffic between Whitebridge and the mining town of Baerlon – which means wagons laden with metal and rock. As such, it’s almost certainly paved, and definitely kept in good order. Further, the huge overlook Rand is standing on, depicted in the group scene, isn’t a terrain feature anywhere between Baerlon/Taren Ferry and Whitebridge. Anyway, it’s roughly 60-65 WL miles to Taren Ferry from Emond’s Field. It’s an additional 85 WL miles to Baerlon – but approximately 120 WL miles overland to Shadar Logoth from Taren Ferry – 15 of which they covered the day after their flight from Emond’s Field to Taren Ferry. In the books, they took 6 days from the river crossing to reach Baerlon to recover the horses – but the trip down the Caemlyn road took only 3 as far as Shadar Logoth (due to the better road, and the horses having rested again). They reach Shadar Logoth on the 11th day after they leave the Two Rivers, I believe, since they spend a day in Baerlon before being chased out by a Fade. Going overland for most of that route would cut their pace significantly. We’re probably looking at well over a fortnight in that case. An overland trek to the road, and then on to Whitebridge, makes significantly less sense – and would take even more time than otherwise, not less, as the series depicts; but more about that in a minute.

The single most significant moment in the series so far (lore wise) occurs on the ride when they begin to sing a peculiar song they don’t seem to really understand – and Moraine delivers a stripped-down version of the Fall of Manetheren – the story she should have told to unite the villagers when they angrily confront Moraine about the Trollocs, instead of Rand making that confrontation alone. I must admit, that song (and the story to follow) was pretty cool – probably the coolest thing in the series for me so far. At least I get *one* thing that’s even remotely close to the story out of all this. Sadly, it may be the only thing. We are then told that they are headed for the road (east to Whitebridge, we are told, which means that they’re headed overland toward the Caemlyn road – the small track they are on can’t possibly be the Caemlyn road, as they haven’t gone nearly far enough yet, and the path isn’t nearly well-defined enough). We are not told why they would be “skirting Shadar Logoth” – it is miles north, across the Caemlyn Road. (Shadar Logoth is another 100 WL miles or so from their initial camping spot out of Taren Ferry, as the crow flies, and significantly out of the way if they are truly headed for Whitebridge.) Why they would be tooling around north of the Caemlyn road, and trapping themselves against a navigable river like the Arinelle beggars belief. Where they are supposed to “find a sister who can heal” Moraine, as Lan says, in a wilderness as complete as that which obtains near Shadar Logoth, is a complete mystery. They are above the Hills of Asbher, and hundreds of miles from any settlements whatsoever, at this point – which, I might add, makes their meetings with both the Whitecloaks and later, the sisters with Logain, that much more unlikely – vanishingly unlikely, given the geography, which we will further address shortly. When Moraine falters at last, due to the randomly added dagger wound she received Emond’s Field, a Fade catches up with them, and they ride to the city. East to the city. If you look at the map above, that means that they have passed the road, nearly hit the river, and are actually skirting around that significant bend somewhat south, in order to hit the city. They arrive at Shadar Logoth as it is turning light. The horses stop dead and refuse to go on as soon as they get a certain distance away from the walls – but just as suddenly are willing to go again when the group finishes their conversation. Convenient. The hundred foot wall has a similarly convenient narrow crack in it right where they arrive. At this point, they have covered 180 WL miles, with 350 or more to go just to Whitebridge – and are driven out of Shadar Logoth at nightfall, instead of in the middle of the night (and incidentally, Lan and Moraine leave via yet *another* conveniently narrow crack in the hundred foot walls) – and by Mashadar, not by a combination of Trollocs and Mashadar – which is the crucial combination.

Rand and Mat get out of the grating just in the nick of time, chased by Mashadar’s oil slick instead of being driven out by Trollocs on the one hand, and the tendrils of Mashadar on the other. Mashadar is a black creeping film in the show, rather than a darkly luminous mist. They push a fallen log across the river (which is unaccountably narrow, considering that this is the Arinelle – a river that is navigable by coastal vessels all the way to the Borderlands in Saldea) and make their way to a mining town in… uh, a mountainous gorge. Of which there aren’t any, to my knowledge – especially not between Shadar Logoth and Whitebridge. There aren’t any mountains between the Mountains of Mist and Kinslayer’s Dagger – not unless you’re going down to Garen’s Wall, which separates Ghealdan from Andor. I’ll be honest with you here – from this point, the show doesn’t even pretend to be The Eye of the World. It sort of pretended at the beginning, but now it doesn’t even pretend. It just throws characters in and out, topsy turvy, doing whatever they want to whomever they want, wherever they want – with no order, rhyme or reason. For example, Lan, of all people, gives a lengthy treatise on Shadar Logoth – which should be Moraine’s – because they’ve given Moraine a random dagger wound that prevents her from giving it – and is the new pretext for them having gone to the city in the first place, rather than three fists of Trollocs each ahead and behind giving them no other choice but north or south of the road. While I’m sure the conversation between Mat and Perrin is touching – it’s yet another fabrication, about a situation they contrived exclusively for the show. There are only two things that happen in Shadar Logoth that happened in the books. Mashadar spreads, and Mat takes a dagger without telling anyone. Everything else is fabrication. There is one interesting item I hadn’t noticed, however – albeit yet another fabrication. There is a whistling heard in the streets prior to Mat’s trip out to get the dagger. Fain’s whistling. In the books, you see, the Trollocs drive Fain with them as their hunter – it is he who tracks them from Emond’s Field. He doesn’t, however, run into Mordeth until after the escape of the Two Rivers folk – where Fain also makes his escape from his masters. When he encounters Mordeth, Mordeth tries to subsume him, but is unable to do so, since Fain has been changed by what was done to him to make him the hound of the shadow. In the show, Mat (alone) follows a shadowy figure to the building where he finds the chest containing the dagger – instead of surreptitiously acquiring it from Mordeth’s treasure hoard during the encounter.

From here, we meet a randomly fabricated darkfriend barkeep, an Aiel in a cage that Mat, not Perrin meets – and who is dead, not alive. We meet Thom in a nonexistent bar in a non-existent town, playing a guitar, not a harp. We skip the river passage, we skipped Moraine’s money which pays for it, we skip Thom’s involvement in the trip – in the escape, he’s the one who gets them better conditions on the boat; and we have skipped any necessity for them to be in Caemlyn ahead of the rest of the group. We’ve skipped Elyas, we’ve skipped Lan and Moraine’s involvement in Perrin and Egwene’s rescue from the Whitecloaks; we’ve skipped Mat’s defense of Rand from Shaine, Rand’s defense of Mat as he deteriorates (not to mention his actual channeling to escape Gode, which has the side effect of partially blinding Mat). We’ve added Tinker non-violent confrontation with Whitecloaks, and Valda in this stage of the story at all, let alone setting him up as an Aes Sedai-burning torturer. Valda is not even a Questioner, people. He is a blademaster, and a combat veteran. Jaicham Carridin is the Questioner and Inquisitor of the tale – and it is he who has the hatred of Tinkers, not Valda. Last, but certainly not least, we’ve added Logain at least 700 miles north of anywhere he could possibly be. We’ve already spoken of the fact that the Two Rivers is isolated – Ghealdan’s northern border is Garen’s Wall – a craggy mountain range (with no passes) that stretches nearly the entirety of the way from Altara to the Mountains of Mist. There are zero ways to get to Andor from Ghealdan that don’t go through Altara and Murandy. We’re talking well over a thousand miles around the mountains, and through two countries – just to get into Andor via Whitebridge, the only crossing into Western Andor. Just for giggles, too – Andor has more soldiers posted at the border to Murandy than anywhere else – perhaps excepting Cairhein, but probably not at this time of the story. Now, how are we supposed to believe that Logain got there – or that a picked guard of the King of Ghealdan, including the King himself, got there, in the hinterlands of Western Andor where there is literally nothing of interest whatsoever? Nobody has rediscovered traveling yet, my dudes. Further, while we’re on the subject of Logain – men cannot see women’s weaves. He couldn’t see Nynaeve “shining like the sun” if he were referring to her channeling. Men can tell that women are channeling. It is very subtle – they get gooseflesh when it happens- that is all. It is not a matter of degree, either. Women have to use a special sort of ter’angreal to accomplish the same thing – but they still can’t see the men’s weaves, and neither can men, with women. This may be a reference to Logain’s ability to see ta’veren – but Nynaeve is explicitly not ta’veren, per RJ, as we explained previously. It could also be a reference to Moraine telling Logain that the true Dragon will be “like the raging sun.” These attempts at misdirection harm the story, not help it. Again, Logain cannot see women channeling, so no matter how powerful she is, it is irrelevant as to what Logain sees. In addition, she is not ta’veren – so his ability to see ta’veren is not applicable either. Therefore, neither suggestion makes this encounter explainable – assuming, of course, that it is either sensical or possible for him to be in Western Andor in the first place – which it isn’t.

As to the Crown and Lion being in.. Tar Valon… which crown could that refer to? Which Lion? The White Lion is the symbol of Andor, and the proprietor of that inn, Basel Gill, is a firm supporter of the Queen of Andor – and figures very heavily in the remainder of the story – he is also the source of information about Thom Merrilin’s past, for that matter. We are then embroiled in an entirely fictitious drama concerning the Warder, Stepin, of the slain Aes Sedai Kerene (a former Captain General of the Green, and we’d assume current Captain General) – who actually died at the hands of Black Ajah while searching for the newly born Dragon 20 years earlier. The drama is high, and it shows the Warder bond clearly – but again, it is entirely fictitious, and creates a number of continuity issues – not least with the current Captain General, Adelorna Bastine, figuring so prominently in the later story.

Before I get to the character arc issues, I want to make a serious note – many folks, including the showrunner, seem to have the mistaken idea that the main characters needed to be “aged up”; but he has internal consistencies even there.

We aged up the Emond’s Field Five from the books because sometimes TV shows with a bunch of 17 year olds as leads feel more like YA and Wheel of Time isn’t YA— Rafe Judkins (@rafejudkins) August 18, 2021

Moraine, when viewing the capturing of the channeler in the opening moments of the series, says “it isn’t him” – and is chided by Lan, who says “He was born 20 years ago.” The Emond’s Field trio are all within a few weeks of 20 in either direction (all born in 978 NE)- with Nynaeve only four years older (974 NE), and Egwene two years and change behind them at 17 (981 NE) – at which age she begins to braid her hair, and is considered a woman. The prophecy referred to demands that the Dragon be born at a certain time – a time 20 years previously. While the actors look older, the characters are apparently the age they are supposed to be, given Moraine and Lan’s exposition in the series. They don’t need to be “aged up” – they are all supposed to be 20, not 17; and although Egwene is younger, she is still an adult. They all begin as adults in the novel Eye of the World – braiding her hair means that she is considered an adult by all and sundry – and she is the youngest of the group by a comfortable margin. The idea that the writers and the showrunner seem to have that they should include the female characters as possibly the Dragon seems to be the only reason for ignoring the actual ages of the main characters – which are well-documented. Any reader of the series could have told them that the three boys were very close in age – and all roughly 20 years old. The strange relationship tensions that are introduced by the changes to Egwene’s relationship with Rand and the marriage of Perrin don’t “age up” the characters – they just introduce juvenile, badly-written drama that adds nothing to the story, and remove significant elements of it.

Firstly, Perrin’s story arc will now necessarily be almost completely different from the actual plot. By giving him a wife, who he immediately kills, you now have a serious problem on a variety of levels. Most importantly, the issue with the slaying of Whitecloaks no longer has primacy as the first and most important act of violence in his young life. This act defines him throughout the entire series of books. It occurs only after he has been formally introduced to wolves as companions, to Elyas, to the Tinkers, to the concept of ravens as the Dark One’s eyes (and killers!) – to Stedding – and finally, to the Whitecloaks. Perrin slaying the Whitecloaks (and Hopper’s sacrificial defense of Perrin) is integral to his self-image throughout. It affects literally everything Perrin does throughout the books – and drives practically everything about the events which drive him, as well. Further, the decision to exclude the Luhhans from the story has significant consequences later on – notably concerning them being his hostages to the Whitecloaks, as well as once Perrin returns to the Two Rivers – but especially when Haral saves Perrin’s life in AMoL. Two very large-looming figures are gone from his life, and the substitute we are given (and who is immediately taken away) is not going to compensate. There is now no Whitecloak slaying. In fact, it is Egwene, not Perrin, who commits the only act of violence, and stabs Valda in their escape – and given his importance later on, I highly doubt his demise is imminent. Further, practically everything about Perrin’s character (as we’ve seen thus far) is going to be about Laila, not his self-horror at the connection with the wolves, and his self-image as a bestial murderer that comes from that connection.

Secondly, Mat’s story arc now revolves around a bad family life, not his own character. Abell Cauthon is now a womanizer and drunk; which I would imagine precludes him as Tam’s second-in-command from the Two Rivers, and from various other heroic exploits he performs throughout. There is also no character buildup of Mat (or Rand!) as gleeman’s apprentices – skills which figure prominently throughout the rest of the books. Mat’s juggling, sleight of hand, and knife skills come from this period – and Rand’s flute playing does as well. Compressing their interactions with Thom into a single song, a theft or two, one heart to heart talk with Rand and Mat each, and two fights gives us very little tie between these characters. Mat’s unexpected facility with the old tongue in moments of stress has also been elided – which will have consequences later as well. We’ve also completely skipped Bayle Domon, which has additional plot consequences – not least in the Last Battle. Not least, playing Mat up as the Dragon is completely, utterly, unbelievable. Even given the fact that they’ve done their absolute dead-level best to remove each and every single thing about Rand which would have given a single clue that he was the Dragon (you have noticed that, haven’t you?) – Rand’s still the Dragon. Mat has just been made pitiful, and all of the unique elements of his character have been stripped of him for expedience’s sake, and to make bloody room for all of the utter sweep swallop they’ve replaced the story with.

Thirdly, since Rand’s character arc has Mat seemingly introduced (quite ham-handedly, I might add) as the obvious choice for the Dragon – despite the fact that Rand alone looks foreign – and that we know who Mat’s parents are. Using him as the stalking horse for all of the early distrust of Moraine is problematic, as well. Look, the only reason you don’t suspect Rand to be the Dragon by now is because they’ve gone out of their way to replace each and every thing in the story that tells us he is the Dragon. When they unveil him, it’ll be a complete non-sequitur. Think about it. There’s nothing about him getting goosebumps as Moraine channels, nothing about Bela, nothing about his feverish encounter with the Whitecloaks as he deals with the consequences of channeling, no lightning bolt to escape Howal Gode. The deletion of Thom’s companionship (and Baerlon entirely) removes several important plot elements, and the fabricated element of Nynaeve’s capture by Trollocs introduces still more issues.

  • He no longer meets Min at Baerlon – or her prophetic words.
  • He no longer runs afoul of the Whitecloaks, and one Whitecloak personally and in particular, at Baerlon.
  • He no longer suffers, at Baerlon, the side effects of his first use of the One Power when he refreshes Bela to save Egwene, as he believes.
  • Nynaeve doesn’t meet up with the party at Baerlon, so doesn’t encounter Shadar Logoth – which will have plot consequences at a later date.
  • He no longer encounters a Fade at close quarters for the first time, to learn that “the look of the Eyeless is fear” – and to mark him out as one the Dark One wants especially.

The exclusion of the encounter with Mordeth (and the exclusion of Rand and Perrin from the excursion) does two things with the Shadar Logoth plotline; there is now no reason for Padan Fain/Mordeth to be able to resist the Dark One – and no specific reason for him to hate Rand and Perrin in particular. Further, there is also no longer a specific tie-in to Rand’s eventual wound with the dagger by Fain/Mordeth – or Fain/Mordeth’s eventual death at Mat’s hands.

Fourthly, Nynaeve’s capture and escape introduces issues; the rivalry with Moraine for the Two Rivers folk (and for Lan himself) is practically gutted. Lan’s reasons for helping Rand – and his vulnerability to Nynaeve in the place he most considers home, Fal Dara – are shattered by these story changes, and replaced by a completely fabricated story involving an Aes Sedai who no longer dies at the hands of Darkfriends in New Spring, but at the hands of Logain in a place he never was. Nynaeve no longer tracks the Two Rivers folk to Baerlon, but instead tracks Lan all the way past Shadar Logoth – presumably to make her more impressive – despite the show’s having killed her parents off, especially the father who taught her to do the tracking she’s supposedly doing. Yeah, we didn’t think about that one, did we. Look, I just don’t think that the writers and showrunner are being very smart about this. You already have an entire host of strong female leads. You already have a female-controlled society, for the most part. Instead of following the story you already have, you turn Nynaeve into the same sort of “man-brained idiot” she decries through the entire book series. There is already a “hoorah Nynaeve” moment when they break out Perrin and Egwene. The sort of “mass healing” that she performs in the cave is… not a thing, either.

Egwene’s arc is in a similar mess to Rand’s. The inexplicable addition of Nynaeve’s capture and escape have introduced a weird tension over her place in life that shouldn’t exist – and the deletion of Thom and Nynaeve from the group have put several uncharacteristic outbursts in her mouth, instead of others, much like with Rand. The incident with the Whitecloaks is now all about her ability to channel, instead of Perrin’s slaying of the Whitecloaks – and the flensing scene seems far more gratuitous than the horrific bruising that occurs in the books as a result of Byar’s ministrations and Bornhald’s cold-blooded pronouncements of execution. As with the other main characters, we are being presented with an entirely different person, created by entirely different experiences. The more it continues, the more it will necessarily depart from the actual Egwene. Even the incident with breakbone fever is reharnessed from Nynaeve’s healing what she believes to be a fatal childhood disease (but which is actually a painful, but relatively harmless disease) into a pronouncement that Egwene is “unbreakable”. While this may be true, it is of a piece with the wholesale changes made to the characters.

Here’s something to think about – out of the 5 episodes I’ve watched thus far, at least 4 episodes worth of run time has been spent on sheer fabrication. If they had followed the actual story at the same pace, they could be in Caemlyn right now. They’d have 3 episodes to spend – one on the Ways, one on Fal Dara and Borderlands in general, and one on the confrontation at the Eye. What in the world are they thinking? If I was writing this show, I would have stuck to the story – introduced Moraine, Thom, and Winternight in the first episode. Moraine’s story, the leavetaking, the events of the run to Taren Ferry (and the events immediately following) the second episode. The third episode would be in Baerlon, and introduce Min, Thom as a working gleeman, the Whitecloaks as involving Rand’s post-channeling sickness, Nynaeve catching up, the encounter with the Fade and their escape. The fourth episode would be travel to Shadar Logoth, the encounter with Mordeth, the escape; their meetings with Elyas and the Tuatha’an on the one hand, then the run from the ravens to the stedding; the escapades of Thom and the boys on board Domon’s ship on the other, and Moraine’s choice – ending with Perrin’s slaying of the Whitecloaks and the boys’ escape from Whitebridge and Thom’s battle with the Fade. The fifth episode (with, I might add, a similar ‘one month later’) would bring half the party to Caemlyn – make sure you do a short madcap scene of the encounters with Gode and Shaine, interspersed with them playing/juggling for their suppers – but that’s it – the boys arrive at Basel Gill’s Crown and Lion – resulting in the meetings with Loial, Logain, and Elayne – and the rescue of Perrin and Egwene by Moraine and Lan. The sixth episode would begin with Moraine sweeping into the Crown and Lion, to be told Loial’s story, and off into the Ways… Now, did we skip over some parts of the story? Yes. Did we add in random nonsense? No. We could have met Elayne Trakand and Min, had dealings with Bayle Domon, actual character progression with Thom, no idiotic false trails with Mat’s sickness, Nynaeve’s mass healing, or bad geography with Logain et al.

Instead of this ridiculously hackneyed, trope-laden soap opera, we could have had a sweeping epic. It was already written for them. All they had to do was adapt it. Not replace it. Not re-imagine it. This isn’t Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. This is The Wheel of Thrones – and it is vastly poorer for it.

Author’s Note: MadeOfLions and ThePinion from SSG’s Dev team have addressed the Calaquendi issue – the current prologue text identifying the player character as having dwelt in Valinor is incorrect. Their quotes will follow the text of this post.

To preface this post, I’ve been playing LOTRO since 2008. I’m a massive LOTR fan – enough so that our Rebekah’s middle name is Luthien. One aspect of LOTRO’s IP that can sometimes be frustrating is the fact that they can only use The Hobbit and the LOTR Trilogy – not the Silmarillion, or the other entries into the posthumous Tolkien canon. That being said, Standing Stone Games, the successor to Turbine, decided to add the “High Elf” race to the available choices, coinciding with the release of the upcoming Mordor expansion. The announcement was greeted with excitement, as well as some trepidation in some quarters. Here’s an interview snippet I want to share, to start with.

Pay close attention to it, because it will be important.

MMO-C: All righty. Let’s turn back to happy fun Made of Lions. We want to talk High Elves. You guys have already said there won’t be a new class coming out like what happened with Beornings. And Professor Olsen, of course people are going to ask him what he thought about it on his livestream on the official last week or the week before. He said the High Elves would by lore default be Noldorin like Galadriel or Sindar like Thranduil rather than Vanyar cos they never came back from Valinor. So if this happens, will we be getting a new starting instance for them to explain how they’re coming back to Middle earth because High Elves are the ones who went to Valinor and came back.

Libby: Well, that’s primarily the case but for our interpretation, one of the things that we’re thinking of going with is that it’s not only Elves who went to Valinor and came back, it’s also their descendants. We’re going with the concept of… and this is one of those things I think is sort of necessary in our game, in that you’ll need to be… you may have some proportion of High Elf in your blood, for instance, in order to in a way power you down slightly, so that you’re not Galadriel running around, because that’s not really the power level I think we can suspend disbelief on all that well in there are hundreds of High Elves running around and they’re all Galadriel-level people. I think that’s not a realistic way to present it, so we’re going more with the concept that there are people and characters of High Elf ancestry in addition to the sort of straight-up High Elves that we know from the book like Galadriel and in that way, we could have High Elf adventurers that weren’t mentioned, for example, like we traditionally have done with several of our other races and classes. I’m not sure that Grimbeorn had hundreds of kids running around, but for our game, you can make a Beorning and have Beorning adventures. So for the High Elf, you would be a High Elf in that you still have the benefits of being a High Elf and maybe some of the drawbacks that there might also be, like still working out gameplay concept for all of this obviously, but Sauron is going to be especially unhappy about High Elves and that might cause some difficulties for you. You’re going to be feeling the call of Valinor more strongly than other people, than other Elves even. And, as for the original question, we will probably have some starting instance of some stripe, but I don’t want to get into what that will entail at the moment.

Snook: I would say that, and Professor Olsen will probably appreciate this, we do have a fairly large what you might call a lore-doc in how High Elves would fit into Lord of the Rings Online, and that’s something we’ve been looking at, and a lot of it is a little behind the scenes kind of documentation, but we’re looking at a way to perhaps distill that for community read to help kind of place where they will fit into the game.

Ciccolini: Yes. I would love to see the community sort of have more insight into the gratuitous amounts of lore documentation that we generate.

Snook: (laughter) It’s a massive document.

Ciccolini: The community just doesn’t see some of this fantastic stuff.

Snook: I was like, ‘why is this PDF so large?’

So, with that in mind – spoilers incoming. Seriously. Lots of spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry

Atheist Hermeneutics

The first instance of atheist hermeneutics can be found to follow.

As anyone who has picked their Bible up recently can tell you, this doesn’t even resemble Numbers 35. In fact, Numbers 35 instantly recalls “cities of refuge” (Num 35:6) to the Biblically literate. Since this is a stock phrase to this day, it’s always stuck in my mind – as I’m sure it has in many of yours. Secondly – the “verse” quoted is so antithetical to Biblical doctrine, as taught elsewhere, that it is amazingly obvious that our forger has no sort of accurate conception of what is taught in the Old Testament. Since this is so, it would follow that they also have no accurate conception of what is taught in the new – as Christ, in His own words, came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. (Matt 5:17) This has significance, also, in the trial of Christ, where it is mentioned that a man cannot be put to death without more than one witness. This also is found in Numbers 35 (vs 30). These are two common referents for this chapter.

I introduce it this way due to a common theme we often see in atheistic writing. “Reading the Bible cover to cover is the surest path to atheism” – or some derivative phraseology. In my experience, the “reading” done by atheists is most often cursory, acontextual, arbitrary, and guilty of more wooden literalism than any fundamentalist I could name. Further, these readings are guilty, in every case I have ever examined, of “eisegesis.” Eisegesis is the importation of your own views, ideas, or the like to the text, and reading in your *own* context, instead of the context the text presents to you. The correct way to consider the Scriptures is via “exegesis” – the “drawing out” of the meaning of the text – by use of the languages, context, background, references given in the text itself, or those made to it.

In the case shown above, there is no exegesis whatsoever – as there is no text to exegete. There is simply gross insertion, utterly foreign to the text itself. In fact, there is simply no other reference to this supposed text to be found, anywhere, save in the blog post, since deleted with a “noted and corrected, Thanks!” This is the worst conceivable form of eisegesis imaginable, due to the fact that it simply inserts their own text AND context, wholesale.

The successor to that (thankfully) abortive attempt to “educate” us on what the Bible “really” says is better only in that at least it attempts to deal with an actual text of Scripture. As we will note, it fares only marginally better as an attempt at exegesis. The (new, replaced) link is below.

Now, he insists (on twitter) he got it from some blogger, and just didn’t check his source. However, as you can do for yourself, do a search on the “verse” he provided – entire, by phrase, any way you like. I just wanted to see if he’d admit it… but here’s the source I found for what he posted, apart from the initial hit on his site.


Okay – so… not only is this a source that *specifically says* it’s a “create your own” bible verse – but the post in which it is promoted seems to think that those “religious people” will fall for it. So, either we have something posted on facebook, found by someone purporting to tell us “what the Bible says,” and… the atheist “falls for it” – or we have an atheist trying to “pull a fast one,” trying to defend his poor attempt – or we have the originator of Alex’s verse. However… if you read Mr. Burgoyne’s tweets, he is trying to give the impression that he *thought* this was a real verse. From the *comments* of a post that says “Create your own Bible verse?” Without even reading the passage? Interesting view regarding accuracy.

The Bible REALLY says that – Part 1

Jason Burgoyne offers us the following passage (cited in the NAB – a Romanist translation, but linked to the TNIV, a liberal “Protestant” version)

Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you (David) out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’ Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan answered David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die.”

His attempt to object here is extremely short, but we’ll examine it nonetheless.

So the punishment for David killing a man and taking his wife? To have his innocent wives raped, and to kill his innocent child.

Notice – there is not even an attempt to deal with Psalm 51 and David’s confession and cry to the Lord. There is no attempt to substantiate the accusation of “rape” – no identification of who it was that was doing this “raping”, nor is there any attempt to go to where this is fulfilled. In the first case, David attests that it is against God, primarily, that he has sinned. Nathan tells David, in this same passage, why it is that David’s punishment is to be what it is. He has given the enemies of the Lord occasion to blaspheme. Note, also, that there is no attempt to deal with the hope David expresses later on in this chapter, concerning his son, nor is there any attempt to deal with Bathsheba’s next son – a boy named Solomon. The nature and character of God, as is sadly common with atheists, is not addressed at all, save in a highly cursory fashion. His foundation – the position from which these objections are made – is likewise not offered, or argued for. it is merely assumed.

How is this a moral story, and how is any book that contains it supposed to be informative of our (or our children’s) morality?

How is his objection moral? How is any objection, or any putative contrary position supposed to be informative of our, or our children’s morality? For instance – how does a purposeless, meaningless bag of protoplasm, supposedly evolved from “lower” (so-called) life, supposedly meaningful, in any non-arbitrary way, in the first place? On what grounds does he assume there is any semblance of universality of experience which concepts like “morality” can be considered intelligible? What, in his worldview, makes this “morality” he is appealing to in what appears to be a non-subjective fashion, even an intelligible concept in any sense whatsoever? The incredible nature of this lack of self-reflection evidenced by atheist objectors never ceases to amaze me. Not because I don’t expect it, but because it’s so heavily addressed by the pages of Scripture, and they so accurately depict it.

Unbelievers so often throw out words like “moral” or “morality” as if they were some sort of invariant universal. On what grounds do they do so? I offered to debate Mr. Burgoyne on the subject of morality previously, and have not received a reply as of yet. I’ve yet to see a coherent answer for why he seems to object on “moral” grounds, when it seems to me that his worldview offers no consistent basis for a non-arbitrary, non-subjective conception of “morality” in the first place.

It was clearly a book written by iron age sheep herders based on their own skewed “morality”.

Clearly, Mr. Burgoyne’s post was written by an individualistic North American whose “moral” opinions are skewed by temporal prejudice, a notion of class superiority, and ultimately based on his utterly subjective, completely arbitrary conception of his own notions as universally applicable.


Now, let’s be frank. Do the sort of assertions he has offered hold any sort of persuasive appeal, let alone stand up to any rigorous logical objection? Do they come from his own worldview? Are his objections even intelligible, given his atheism? I don’t see how they could be. As easily as they can be turned around on him, they can be dismissed.

He first offered a wholesale forgery, then followed that up with a four sentence “indictment”, borrowed whole cloth from a worldview which actually *possesses* an objective moral code – in order to *object* to that same moral code. I find such lackadaisical treatment of the subject to be par for the course, sadly. Here is what we want, my unbelieving friends. We would like an objection which even attempts to move beyond the superficial, shows even the slightest grasp of context, Biblical theology, or the text itself. We would LOVE for you to actually engage even the barest *fraction* of the mountains of literature surrounding each and every verse of Scripture, or show even the slightest interest in reading it as you’d like to be read yourself. In short, we would love to interact with an intelligent, knowledgeable objector. It is incredibly tiring to deal with the same tired, endlessly dealt-with objections that show not the slightest inkling of interest in fairness, and fairly reek of ignorance. Please, if all you care to do is congratulate yourself on your brilliance, while showing not the slightest knowledge of the field you are claiming knowledge in – do yourself a favor – at least do the cursory study in the field in which you are “educating” us in.

“Not to know the King James Bible is to be, in some small way, barbarian.” – Richard Dawkins

Fist or Fate – Chapter 7

2 weeks later…

06 smiled. Perfect, HOL, and the so-called Angels Fist had all disappeared without a trace into the Fog. They weren’t missed. ScadianWraith’s abrupt and forcible departure from =VA= had sent ripples of shock over the tachband, as news spread that he had attempted to infiltrate both The Neechi and DeathWing. 06 had made it his personal mission to drive Scadian/Warstorm from the Fringe entirely. Scadian’s belief that his actions were correct, coupled with a decidely amoral bent to his thinking, grated on 06’s nerves; as did the anarchist and devolved logic he trotted out to defend his actions. He had immediately begun a concerted attack on Scadian, his logic, and his so-called ideals as soon as news had reached him of Scadian’s three-fold betrayal. Doing so as DF was risky, but the reputation of the Devils Fist had served him well.

He quietly, almost sedately, checked all the major clan comms for activity. Sometimes as DF, sometimes as his clan persona. He was a regular on the comms as a DF member – approaching Cutter01’s volume. More so, at times. He logged off, stretched, and donned a clan flightsuit, and walked with measured strides to his Archangel.

Razors_Kiss, newly minted ThunderHawks commander, climbed the crew ladder of his Archangel after a cursory inspection.

It was a good time for a patrol.

-End –

An Explanation:

RazorsKiss was the first online name/handle I ever used. This chapter, actually, was an addon to the story. I put it in, later on, when all of the “Devil’s Fist” characters revealed who they really were. Leaders, and well-known, respected pilots! It caused quite a splash when they all found out who was who! The original intention of the “Devil’s Fist” was to “create” bad guys for the gaming community. Time and time again, people who wanted to destroy something we all enjoyed became “bad guys”, and their goal was to tear the community apart. This was something we had worked a long time on, and we had real friends we played games with! So, as an answer, some of the more forward-looking members in the game community decided to make their own “bad guys”. These bad guys allowed *noone* else to cut in on their action. Thus, the “real” bad guys were always “mercilessly” destroyed by the “Devil’s Fist”. In truth, we were a collection of the best players in the game – bar none. We were mercenaries! Newer players could “contract’ us to teach a vet who was mean to them a “lesson”. Older players who weren’t quite up to our standard could contract us to beat up on a cocky newbie to humble them a bit. We were the pressure valve. Good guys, playing bad guys, so the real bad guys couldn’t trash things for real.

I still think it was a very cool idea. The name wasn’t my idea, but it was pretty fun playing a bad guy. As long as you knew what you were doing it for. That’s the story behind the story, as I said before Chapter 1.

Fist or Fate – Chapter 6

The Present…

06 pondered these, and many other questions as he fought his way back to consciousness. The world appeared in a rush as his eyes snapped open, a heady influx of stimuli as the world reached into his mind and bade him rejoin. He hit the message light on his comm station. A voice – strangely familiar, yet alien as well – came quietly, but relentlessly, from his room speakers. “Hello SoulCrusher06. You’ve improved a great deal since last we met. Unfortunately, I’m under contract to eradicate you all. Who am I? I am Perfect. Independent Contractor. You are my first victim, 06. Prepare.”

He shut off the comm station, ignoring the insistent blinking. They didn’t matter. Probably just telling him he had a contract on Perfect INDC, anyway. Time to get this over with. Atonement, that’s what it was. A chance for atonement.


06 slowly dressed in his sable flight suit, and strode thoughtfully toward the hangar. His crew chief had perfectly duplicated his former pegasus. Even down to the skull looking menacingly from his stick handle. He rocketed out of the hangar in a swirl of heat and accelerated wildly. He almost managed to assuage the chill, growing all too familiar, in his soul.

3 hours later…

06 pulled off his flight gloves in disgust. He powered down his pegasus, noted the laser reserve was a bit slow to respond as he did so. Time to get that crappy thing replaced. Perfect INDC had beaten him by slim margin moments before. He was NOT happy about it. The first match, he had made a supremely stupid error. He had somehow forgotten to link his primary laser array to dual fire. So, off he went at a critical disadvantage. Didn’t realize it until too late. Good thing it was in Arena, and not in open space. That could have turned pilot error into a fatal mistake, instead of a blow to his pride. Imagine – all that drama over an arena contract. He wished Perfect had mentioned that earlier. His record against the Independent Contractor stood at 3 – 4, in favor of Perfect. 06 was livid, if the truth were told. He scrolled through pages of messages, and several replays of the highly publicized battle. Breaker09 had done much better, with a 6 – 3 record vs the new merc. Breaker04 had had pulled even, at 2 – 2. 2 messages caught his immediate attention. An “Angels Fist” was playing copycat, offering to fulfill contracts for hire, as well as a “Hammer of Light”- an all Warhammer merc outfit. Time to run some upstarts out of business, he thought with a smile. Maybe he’d even get some open-space contracts. Those were much more… permanent.

Fist or Fate – Chapter 5

Through the rest of the Civil War, he was involved in dozens of battles. Some they won, others they lost. But the time passed in a blur of agonizing bloodletting. After some time, Cutter01 admitted defeat. He was demoted, the crisis passed, and the Fringe rested to lick it’s wounds. Life is a constant struggle, it seems. But peace was not to be. The Voices arrived.

Two Voices emerged first. Voice of God, and Voice of Doom. Foul-mouthed, abrasive, and arrogant, they made enemies quickly. Led (in name) by Agnostic Angel, their presence was initially accepted, if not enjoyed or encouraged. Voice of Hope… Voice of Greed… Voice of Anger… Voice of Death… Voice of Revenge… among others.

But they became the hunted rather quickly. They were attacked mercilessly everytime they entered Fringe space. Mostly due to the actions of Voice of God, the whole clan was decimated within days. Several defected or fled within those first few days and were branded as traitors by the voices. The taunts, and the profanity still continued.

What can you say about the Voices? Those who participated in the cleansing to follow came away sick at heart over the wholesale butchering of the innocent along with the guilty. Sick to death of the vileness that was Voice of God. Of the arrogant commentary spouted by Voice of Doom. Many were judged by the actions of a few. They were judged by fire. To forestall another Firestorm. To prevent another bloodbath. They slaughtered them. To save ourselves, to save their community, to save their precious Fringe – they slaughtered them. God have mercy on their souls – and ours.

Greed, the new pilot. Hope, the victim. Revenge, the veteran with a taste for clan blood. Doom, the arrogant. God, the foul-mouthed ringleader of the vicious crew – the pseudonym for Scadian Wraith, a member of the very clan the Voices vowed to destroy. A traitor, turncoat, and fool; with the mind of a cretin, the temperament of a rabid dog. The Void Alliance welcomed the refugee Voices with open arms – Wing Zero, and Dark Ice. The Voices swore vengeance, and invoked another chapter of the Fringe’s dark history. The infamous General Phoenix of the bloody Firestorm. It came to naught, as even he would not endorse their foolish course of action, and Scadian’s insanity. But his shadow still lingers. Abated, perhaps, but still fresh in the mind of many.

Was there a rhyme or reason to their actions? Perhaps not. A deeper purpose behind the quest for order in the Fringe? Perhaps so. Only time will tell, and History judge the actions taken to quell the Voices tide of infamy. The war involved three courses of action. The vendettas – Mr4, Captain Scarlet of VA, King Dano, who went through VA and IK before settling into RG, and our own 06. Perhaps most vocal of all. The Clans – VA, ND, DeathWing, and finally every clan in the Fringe at the end. A united front to combat a growing threat to stability. The Voices – espousing a hopeless cause, following a clueless leader. Soon to be relegated to anonymity and steeped in disgrace.

Does this not strike a chord of sympathy within our bleeding hearts?
Get on its knees and wail for the forgiveness and understanding of good hearted individuals everywhere, deep within our psyche? No. For we are heartless killers. All of us. Hiding behind the facade of genteel civility, is the steel gauntlet, and the hardened heart of the practiced assassin and combat hardened contract killer. What is gentility? What do we mean when we say “civilization”? How do you reconcile that with the ravenous beast that cries for blood?

To be Continued…

Fist or Fate – Chapter 4

The Present…

06 lay across his bunk, pointedly ignoring the persistent message light and the incoming comms sent his way. He had been quite vocal on the comms lately, both denouncing Scadian Wraith, and in silencing the Voices. It had been a draining few weeks, both mentally and physically. The lingering, numerous scorch marks remaining to mar his ships in both his clan hangar and the DF hangar could attest to that fact quite vividly. The Fringe had become a hotbed recently – a veritable cornucopia of passionate viewpoints about every subject under the Fringe’s many suns.

All he wanted to do was take a break, leave his alternate persona behind, and retire completely. He had the money, now. But – as they say – there is no rest for the wicked. As if determined to prove the sage wrong, he slowly drifted into a deep, yet troubled slumber, eyes moving rapidly, perhaps thinking of the blurred and strife-torn days of recent weeks.

The Past…

A whirlwind of activity in the Arena. BreakerXX and Stealer03 engaged in ruthless combat. Taunts, plasma, and blood flow freely this day. Anyone venturing too near is vaporized almost instantly, as if swatting flies. We have 1 Breaker… one Stealer… and one Crusher. Him. Crap. Only himself, versus two of the best the Devil’s Fist has to offer. Thoughts of the future, of a hope-filled new beginning crumble to dust in that split second of recognition. Steeling himself against the coming trial by fire, he raced inexorably toward the titanic battle between these two great pilots. He couldn’t help wondering what he was going to do in his flimsy pegasus versus two behemoth Hammers. Too late to be maudlin. He was in range. He dropped both his blast torps directly at the spot between the two ships.

Far outdistancing the scream of the torp in seconds, he switched to lasers, and squeezed off a shot at XX on his way past, but doing little damage in comparison to the awesome array of weaponry on each Hammer. He heard the torps detonate behind him, watching in satisfaction as both ships suffered moderate damage from the blast, and pulled a high G turn to return to the fray. Now, it was a matter of survival. He had to get one to destroy the other, and pick the winner off. He rolled quickly with a lat reverse to avoid a rail coming his way, but only partially succeeded. He darted nimbly *between* the two huge ships, and got a hit on 03. Glancing at his HUD, he saw 03 was getting dangerously low. Madly transferring energy reserves to keep his shields up, he dropped under and behind XX, strafing his rear shields with triple bolts of crimson fire, then burned up and through the melee to regain his bearings. Crap! Thinking too much, he said under his breath, as two sets of quad plasmas streaked toward him. Almost as an afterthought, it seemed. Man, they were good.

With a tight barrel roll, he latted and burned his way around to a better position. But not before one of the rockets hit him, shredding his shields and reducing him to 75 hull in seconds. He transferred half his burners and lasers to shields. That will have to do, he thought. He dodged, corkscrewed, and reversed wildly, trying to spare himself that random shot that spelled his death. He spiraled in with full burners, reversing directions, trying to get the shot in, taking advantage of his low profile to avoid most of the fire. Arrowing in on 03, he dropped three lasers squarely in the center of their ship, on his way by at 2000 kph. XX’s engines exploded with a blinding flash, as four plasmas slammed into the rear quadrant of his ship, and the pilot ejected out with a pillar of flame trailing behind, as the dying ship jerked convulsively, then shattered into a brilliant flower of light. Down to 03, and himself. The huge Warhammer was dangerously low on resources, but a wounded beast is the most dangerous.

06 reversed course back in the Hammer’s direction. With a cry, he was thrown back into his seat as he kicked in his burners for a pass at the menacing Hammer. Just enough power for one torp. It left his ship with a scream, 5k out from his target, and zeroed in on the hulking black shape. They circled each other, dancing and sizing each other up. The torp impacted with it’s customary high-pitched, glass-breaking ping as the shockwave passed over his cockpit a split-second later.

The Hammer was down to 35 hull, no shields. He had only wounded the beast further. It came roaring at him with ponderous grace, closing in for the kill. Twin rails caught him off guard, and reduced him to a meager 30 hull. Into the fray! He burned up and behind the Hammer, trying to stay behind, and reduced it’s newly charged shields to ribbons with a couple well placed shots. He smiled coldly, and prepared for the coup de grace. He hit the burners, and … Nothing. He watched four plasma rockets gracefully arc their way toward him, and watched, entranced, as they made a beeline for his ship. So pretty, with the nebula as a backdrop.

CRAP!!!! He punched his eject button, and rocketed out of his doomed ship just in time, as the rockets vaporized the paper thin pegasus. 03 flew through the wreckage, saluted mockingly during a victory roll, and headed for the nearest gate. The adrenaline wore off. He shivered uncontrollably. That was close. Way too close.

Bloody Hammers.

To Be Continued…

Fist or Fate – Chapter 3

He awoke with a start, almost injuring himself against his seat restraints. He took a deep breath, and could nearly taste how close he had come to death. He was alive, however, and he intended to stay that way. He glanced toward his nav computer, hoping he could make sense of his present position in his groggy state. Not good. Smoke lazily drifted from it’s twisted casing. Ok… next plan. He checked his comm systems. Thank the void, they were still functioning. He patched himself through to his personal ship’s comm, triangulated his position, then he and his damaged ship slowly limped toward their destination. As he had nothing better to do, considering his busted up ship, and on half thrust at that, he checked his personal comms. Message from Reamer thanking him for yet another completed contract, yada yada… Message from 03 about needed support in an upcoming battle, (yada yada again) Breaker00 asking for support in his plan to bring new leadership to the Devil’s Fist, and a list of demands… WHAT!? Scroll back. What in the void was he thinking? Reamer will have his hide, he thought.

He was wrong. Once safely back at DF HQ, he was assaulted with propositions from every newly formed faction, all with their own agenda, it seemed. This was ludicrous! “New Blood”, “Old ways are dead”, “Strong leadership”, “Back to what we were” – some of the slogans he encountered. Then the typical Devil’s Fist rhetoric (some people took this too seriously, he thought occasionally) – “They will drown in blood”. “Their screams will echo in the void for eternity”, “they will be as lambs at the slaughter”, and similar rubbish. By the end of his reading, three uneasy alliances had been formed. Breaker00 had initiated the splitup with his noisy public argument over policy with the other wingleaders. Who, in turn, themselves split into two groups. Longtime allies parted over how to discipline the upstart. He had to admit, Breaker00 was a likeable rogue. with a penchant for winning people over, despite his adopted evil persona. Oh, and there’s the message from IK outlining their support of the Breakers. Explains the attack a while ago. This could be a problem.

The Crushers, led by Reamer, were championing the decision to keep DF’s structure, goals, and operating principles essentially the same as they were before this fiasco. We had been decimated by recent LOA’s, public opinion reversals, and other besetting calamities recently, so this was a terrible time for this sort of thing to happen. The Breakers wanted a complete revamp of DF – top to bottom. With Breaker00 in charge of the “reconstruction”, probably. Then the young, impetuous Stealers and Cutters. They very nearly sounded as if they wanted nothing but anarchy. Wow. Quite a day. Of course, he sent a comm out to Reamer affirming his loyalty to the Crushers’ ideals, and explaining he needed a rest before doing anything. He wasn’t kidding, either. About the rest, or his ideals.

He slowly walked out to his ship, set the autopilot for an evasive route out of ther fog, and back to his patrol route. only five hours had passed since he left his barracks. Strange how so much could happen in so little time. Stranger things have been known to happen in the Fringe.

06 arrived at base only slightly late. Not late enough to engender suspicion, thankfully. He blamed his tardy arrival on a malfunction in his autopilot; easily explained by a purposeful failure to update the command protocols issued by the a/p manufacturer (de-updated by the concealed datadisk still hidden in his flightsuit cargo pocket). He reported no unusual activity in his patrol sector, and verified it with the faked data provided by the drone he had activated to mimic his patrol and his ident. Upon arriving home, he promptly collapsed in his bunk. He didn’t want to see what other messages he had waiting. Not surprisingly, he woke to see the message light blinking on his comm terminal. It seemed the Fringe was truly up in arms over this “internal disagreement”, as it was being called. There was gossip flying everywhere, stating everything from power struggles to petty bickering as the reason for this (too public by any account) dispute. Rumors flew over the tachband as to the true identities of the pilots that comprised the DF wings (more than usual…).Almost as bad as the rumor mill concerning supposed sightings of Susan’s elusive “Lance”. He hadn’t seen the comms so lively since the Bora/Galspan war, in fact.

He shook his head and walked out to the hangar. Under pretext of making a cargo run (an independent contract) to deliver goods to a (secretly) DF controlled cargo hauler, he set off (in an Archangel this time) for the hidden base once more. His circuitous route led him deep into the twilight, away from civilization, towards his second home.

To Be Continued…

Fist or Fate – Chapter 2

06 was just your run of the mill pilot. A journeyman in a world of prima donnas. Nothing like Twilight Jack, with his rock star flair, or Werewolf, with his snarling angst. No, he was just a pilot. Better than average, but still just barely hanging on by the skin of his teeth in a hotshot’s world. He wondered sometimes why he had been selected out of hundreds to be a Devil’s Fist candidate.

During a long Fenris Arena Match, he had emerged victorious with a 20-5 record. Not a record-setting performance by any means, but not bad for a relative rookie. Soaked in perspiration, and exhausted from the concentration required to make it through such battles, he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, a dark figure, towards the edge of the crowd that always gathered to congratulate the pilots after their matches. Almost gave him the chills when he realized whom this mysterious person was watching. Him! He decided he’d skip the showers and backed warily, almost hurriedly, toward his craft. He’d heard about those pilots. This “Devil’s Fist”. Nothing good, either. They were said to be killers – assassins, mercenaries for hire. They also numbered among them some of the top pilots in the fringe, leading a double life. Clansmen in their day to day lives, they also filled a darker role as their alter-egos; the dreaded “DF”. He evaded the dark-cloaked figure this time. he thought. Little did he know they would become an obsession.

He logged hundreds of hours for his new clan – a wise choice, considering his lack of experience in space combat. He participated in several battles with, and without, his wingmates. Some he excelled in, others not. He was a young pilot as of yet. Eventually, he grew in skill, and flying acumen; learning his ship, and the Fringe itself – his new home. He fought to contain the missiler threat, fought against outlaws, pirates, other clans, yet somehow he remained unscathed despite it all. He considered himself lucky. Then one day, it happened. He entered his barracks, to find a comm waiting for him. As he plopped down in his chair, he noticed the message would not immediately initialize. Coded to my DNA pattern? He thought. Must be some new orders. He decoded the message, and initialized it. That wasn’t his wingleader. Grinning hideously at him from the viewscreen was a white, deathly pale face. He wore black leather, a mockery of a flightsuit, and looked to have a forest of pins sprouting from his ghostly head.

“Greetings, Pilot.” Said that grinning face. The face of Cutter01, the infamous Breaker Wingleader. “I have been monitoring your progress with great interest. With a little time and experience, I’d like to have you join us” The message continued, but his mind was racing. He was aghast. Him, a killer? No sir! he closed the terminal with a bang, and headed to the simulators to work out the issues running through his head. I’ll NEVER be a killer! So he thought.

Almost compulsively, nearly against his will, he began reading all he could find about the Devil’s Fist. A group shrouded in secrecy, yet thinly guised as a mercenary group, they policed the Fringe as noone else could. With fear. With intimidation, and the strength of their reputation as cold-blooded killers. Founded by one known only as “SoulReamer”, the Devil’s Fist burst upon the scene just prior to All Hallows Eve; a traditional night of forbidden magics and sorcery. The other two wingleaders, SoulReaper and SoulReaver, were instrumental in the group’s establishment. They silently began their work. Few in number at first, but deadly fliers, all. Accept the contract, fulfill it, and post proof for the solicitor. “An evil business”, quoted Reamer in an earlier text. “But necessary. Would you feel safer knowing your own wingmen are accepting these jobs, and not some unknown quantity? Better the devil you know…” Interesting, in a macabre fashion. Their numbers grew, and chief among these new recruits was a pilot assigned to the “Cutters” wing.

His original callsign was “SoulCutter02”, but the bravado and panache displayed in his piloting, as well as the artistic flair with which he displayed his kills quickly earned him the “01” position in his wing, and eventually his own wing, the “SoulBreakers”. Suffice it to say, our “hero”, (if you will) had a bit of a falling out with his clan. A faux pas, I suppose you would call it. The offshoot of this involvement was this; in an insane moment of frustration, he contacted Cutter01 concerning that job with the Devil’s Fist. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on his state of mind when thinking of it) two members of DF left; one over DF’s methods of taking and completing contracts, the other over a missiler in a private arena. Quite an ugly scene at the time, but regardless of the outcome, that left DF two pilots short. He got the comm the next day. “Your application to the Devil’s Fist is hereby approved. Stand by for confirmation codes, and the route to stronghold. Welcome, SoulCrusher06, to the Devil’s Fist”.

Fist or Fate – Chapter 1

This post is short fiction. My short fiction, actually. I’m going to post a few of these in lieu of a “real” blog post, because I’d like to share it with you. Be warned that some of it may not be for those who are squeamish.

Don’t be fooled by the name of the group you’ll likely take umbrage with. There’s a crucial part of the story you’ll find out, later on.

This story was inspired by an “actual” in-game event – so I wrote a story around it. It comes from the game “Tachyon: The Fringe”, which I have played for 6 years, off and on. I still think it is the best spaceflight combat simulator ever made. Primarily because of the flight model. Without further ado…

Chapter 1

SoulCrusher06 looked up from his ‘pad as the incoming message alert sounded. The data encryption algorithms processed, and a similarly encrypted face gazed at him from his viewscreen. “06, we have a contract. Do not reply. A pilot in your sector has been suggested to us as a potential contract due to his decidedly amoral conduct concerning honorable battle. Customer’s comments. Not mine. Here is an excerpt from the formal contract.

‘The pilot known as Johnny Rebel was seen pumping rocket after rocket into a nearby Galspan model fighter as the pilot was composing a message to his superiors regarding a recent escort run. The pilot barely escaped with his life, and the attacker, who’s ident broadcast identified him as “Johnny Rebel” was heard laughing uncontrollably over the open comm as his intended prey fled.’

Needless to say, 06, he’s not the sharpest tack.

Dispatch this individual and upload the completion data and ident match to the usual location. Hull him! Reamer00 out.”

06 inhaled deeply, then exhaled with a visible slump to his shoulders. He stood up, and surveyed his quarters with a regal air, exited toward the hangar area. On his way, he passed several of his clanmates, and greeted them with false bravado concerning the upcoming arena matches with their rival clans. Yes, they were going to kick some butt. No, they weren’t going to stop at anything to win. And so on and so forth. He had other things on his mind. He was used to killing. He was a combat pilot. The world in which he had embroiled himself was another matter altogether. To kill, not for the honor of his clan, not for his ideals, not for pride; but merely because someone asked a pilot dead. Of course, his victim was an idiot. He had tried to kill an unsuspecting pilot like himself. Somehow, this was different. The Devil’s Fist was not your usual group.

He climbed inside his Galspan Pegasus fighter under pretenses of patrolling the border of the Twilight Region from attack. Yes, he replied to the command section query, just adding an extra shift because he couldn’t sleep. No, he wouldn’t let his guard down due to sleeplessness. Of course not. He powered up his fighter, the vibrations from the mighty engines rattling the entire hangar, but strangely distant to him in his padded and heavily shock dampened custom seat, inside his vibration and soundproofed cockpit. The engines roared, and he tore out of the hangar at the top speed of the Pegasus, (which is considerable). He glanced at his own personal motto, mounted on a plate to the right of his instrument panel. It said “Fly with courage, with chivalry, and with skill. No matter the outcome, your honor will be without question”. em>Tell that to my victim, he thought.

He arrived at the Devil’s Fist hangar, which as usual, which was devoid of any signs of life – as it was tucked away deep in the all-encompassing fog – and pulled his fighter in without incident. The rows of menacing black craft shone with a deceptive gleam as he took in the view inside the voluminous hangar. He landed behind his own personal collection of ships he had purchased with his newfound credits. Blood money, all of it, he thought fleetingly. Enough of this. This pilot was an idiot, a danger to others and himself. it was time to hunt. He walked over to his locker with a deceptively easy stride, and gathered his Devil’s Fist flightsuit and all his equipment.

Nothing should identify him. As he pulled on his sable gauntlets, and pulled his jet-black helmet on, he truly looked a killer. The Devil’s Fist is feared throughout the Fringe. Sure. If they only knew who we were, he thought.

He selected a Warhammer to execute Johnny with. Only fitting. See how he likes plasma rockets decimating his shields, he thought to himself. He powered the ship up, and slowly pulled out of the hangar.

Once safely away from the secretive base of operations, he began to scan the comms for signs of his quarry’s whereabouts. Nothing on the RG comms, nothing from IK. This might take a while. He continued to scan through the comms. There! Void Alliance frequency, one “Captain Scarlet”. “That idiot Johnny Rebel’s playing with plasmas again”, he heard from the comm. 06 smiled to himself. Gotcha. He swung the ship around to the new heading, and as he passed through the gate, his last thought was, Poor sucker. Wonder what else you did to piss people off? The Tachyon gate accelerated him to impossible speeds, and the jet black ‘Hammer elongated, then disappeared in a flash of light.

He emerged from the gate with a euphoric rush, and shook his head huriedly to clear the effects of the jump. Within seconds, he had a lock on his victim. “Oh Johnny….”, he said over the comm. “The Devil’s here for his due…” There was an abrupt break in comm traffic as the current occupants of the sector took in the black lines of the Hammer’. He caught the tail end of an encrypted message from an IK pilot. “There’s one … those … scum. I say … take him, and take … the garbage …. him.” Crap, he thought. Just what I need. An IK patrol flight to deal with too. Ah well. Take what comes. Two Pegasi and an Archangel. Great. Let’s see; Target at 240, IK at 160, VA at 230, on the target’s butt. The base is what he’s heading for. Let’s see what this baby can do. “This is The Devil’s Fist, SoulCrusher06 on contract for Johnny Rebel. Stand down and allow me to complete it”, he said in his most authoritative voice. “DF slime, take your contracts back out in the fog, where you both belong. get out of the Fringe!” The IK patrol leader said ominously. So much for the DF mystique…..

The IK fighters were closing, and fast. He still had 35 klicks on the targets, and the IK patrol was almost within range. Crap. Just then, came his break. Captain Scarlet scored a direct hit on his starboard engine, slowing him down considerably. Closing… 20 klicks. IK in range. Plasma, he breathed, don’t let me down. The two pegs roared past him as he kicked the Hammer into full reverse. His shields still whined in protest as two single deimos still scored. Down to 65. Crap… He kicked on his burners in an attempt to close the gap. it succeeded, until he realized one crucial thing he had missed. The sturdy ship bucked in space as quad blast torps scored direct hits on his shields! The Bloody Archangel!

Space him…

10 shields, 60 hull. Crap. Still at 10 klicks out. Closing… bloody peggies are coming back around. He reversed his lats haphazardly, in an attempt to buy himself some time. Another deimos took what little was left of his shields. There goes the rails, he thought, as he transferred laser power to his shields to keep himself (hopefully) intact. 7 klicks… as another deimos hit him aft. 4…. plasmas away, clean quad shot. The rockets hit Rebel’s aft shields in an explosion of light, and brought him to critical on 06’s scanner. 06’s ship rocked as a blast torpedo found it’s mark once again. Crap! Another clear shot… and another set of quads turned Rebel’s ship to stardust. He immediately turned his transmitter on to upload the evidence, in case he didn’t make it out of this one. (He was beginning to doubt the outcome. Most assuredly)

Captain Scarlet suddenly burst out of nowhere, almost directly on top of him, and caused him to duck involuntarily. He distinctly heard hull armor blow up. Galspan hull. He drained the last of his laser power, and hit his slide button once oriented toward the gate. He rotated around his vertical axis on his way back past the IK fighters, and let loose several volleys of plasma on his way by. The second pegasus was not keeping up anymore, he noticed. Now he rotated fully behind his slide path, and let loose with the remainder of his plasma rockets. Busy dodging the lethal hail of rockets, he dropped back a whole 5 klicks. 06 could almost feel the deimos shots as they scattered around his overly large (or so it seemed now) profile. “Why did I bring the Hammer again?”, he asked himself. A large explosion echoed in his ears, leaving him temporarily deaf. The peg had caught back up. The acrid smell of an electrical fire, as well as the distinct feeling he was losing velocity, began to work their way to the front of his mind. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap became almost like a mantra. This was it. His luck had run out. Seething energies surrounded him, took hold of his conscious mind, and he knew no more.

To be Continued…

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