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Author Topic: Cold Collaboration  (Read 3162 times)

five_corparty

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Cold Collaboration
« on: 21 January 2016, 01:17:19 »
I thought I would post a note about writing "Cold," there's a lot going on in it.

So, Cold Collaboration came about in a lot of happy accidents.  When the solicitation went out, I went scrounging for threads I could turn into a story.

The disappearance of the 7th seemed like something I could work with, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to solve a mystery.  But once I started digging, and discovered the 305th Assault cluster had been stationed there, I knew I had a story.  The Black Crusader had been through hell on Tukayyid, and was now a devout hunter of Spheroids.  This had potential.

Craig Reed once said, during a solicitation, you’re on the clock, and he’s right.  The first thing you do is look for stories/ideas you haven’t fleshed out yet and see if you can tweak them.  Or in my case, resurrect them.  I submitted to Jason years ago about a merc captain that mutinies against the commander of “The Green machine,” killed him, and threw him overboard to take over the Battalion.  Jason liked it, but kicked it back because it was too cut and dry.  The “bad guy” was pure evil, the heroine too shiny, etc.  I could never fix it, so that one’s been sitting in my rejected folder for years.
So, I had a hook, and an idea.  A mutiny against the commander, to escape the black crusader.  Jason tentatively approved, but noted that the black crusade still alive in the sourcebooks, so he was curious how I was going to write it.  So was I, at this point… ;-)

Bensinger is an icy world, but I didn’t want to make it hoth- my very FIRST rejected story, in fact, treated it like Hoth (same regiment, the 7th, totally different story that is as dead as latin) But I didn’t want to go that route this time.  So, I aimed for Canada-ish, specifically, since I’ve stopped at the Gander airport, Newfoundland.  I looked up slang and decided to write it in.
Now I needed a protagonist- she started to form, based kinda on the old story, but I had this idea of her hiding who she was through the slang terms.  I was looking through the TRO:3025 to decide what Mech the lead should pilot, and I came across Paula and her Heartbreaker, and I decided I wanted to use her.  I held a sweet spot for her when the TRO came out, way back when, and I decided to see if I could work her in.  She disappeared after the orginal merc handbook, which I took as a good sign, though that took a lot of research through all the Wilson’s Hussar’s stuff.

I wrote the basic sketch and then started the story while on leave, visiting my family in Missouri; I wrote over half of it, though, in two days while sitting in a bar/coffeehouse in Dekalb, Illinois.  One of those nights was open mic night, and that was kinda UNREAL.  There was some decent acts, one HORRIFIC one, and a badass on bagpipes in a kilt.  But that’s where the story came together.

I worked hard on the language, harder than I ever had- I’ve got a few clan stories in production (one I’ve sent in) and it’s amazing what you can do with language, even without using contractions.  But I –really- wanted to hammer home Paula’s choices, and language became a way to show it: if you look, you’ll see it: there’s a point in the story when she’s still using slang, and then she’s not.

A moment about the time period before I discuss Bouncer.  If people point to “the Galtor Campaign” as the end of the 3rd SW, this is quite possibly one of the last battles of the Succession Wars.  Everything about this is… old.  The original merc handbook discusses how MechWarriors are often sub-contractors, since they own their own BattleMechs, even MechWarriors in line regiments can be independent contractors, according to the merc book and the original roleplaying game.  Units hired owners, in those days; this is gone by, oh, 3055, the new merc handbook and certainly by, say, FM: Mercenaries where the Black Cobras discuss how they will add a command lance when they can “buy” more Mechs.  That wasn’t DONE in the Succession Wars.  The old merc handbook also discussed why not paying your admin costs, your overhead, was bad, and I made a point of putting it in there about pay: yes, Paula owns a farm and a business on the side, but she’s not a charity, and it’s a mutiny point (just like the rules point out)  The interlocks haven’t been seen since “Far Country,” I believe, but that story is set in nearly the same time period: I wanted to bring that back just to help place this as “pre-invasion technology.”  This is the end of an era.

Which brings me to Bouncer.  I do try to listen to my editor, and when he said “too black hat,” about the dead story, I listen.  So, I was stuck to make Bouncer not fully wrong- to do this, I made hime out of touch.  In 3025, 3049 even, against a Great House, he would have been making the right call. A BRILLIANT call.  In another time, another place, this would have been the escape of a lifetime; hell, it would’ve made a great FASA-era RPG scenario.  But this is a Clan-held world, and the Black Crusader is unlike anyone Bouncer has ever dealt with, and he doesn’t get that.

It was a hard line to walk, getting him sympathetic enough, and making Paula not pure, either.  She’s WRONG.  No one is pure good or bad in this story- even the Black Crusader isn’t pure evil, she’s an officer who’s sanity snapped on Tukkayyid.

Hmm, final notes: I’m a huge Alpha Strike fan, so I tried to make the final battle replayable in AS as best as I could.  I assume (I do NOT know) the new re-seen BattleMechs may end up in a new lance pack or something, but really, other than the Marauder and “Heartbreaker,” you can get all the other Mechs in lance-packs and recreate the battle.  Timbiki really does make whiskey, but no one ever mentions that; the disabling of the Mauler’s ejection seat is a direct result of the fluff based on the old cartoon; “Chase” was just supposed to be a placeholder name (I got it from a kid’s show my boys were watching while I typed) but it seemed cool enough to keep, and that’s about it?  If I think of anything else, I’ll add a note.

But, overall, this was a tough story to try and write, to make it enjoyable to you, the reader, and to keep it very much a product of a by-gone era.  I hope you enjoyed it!
"Inside the Army, we squabble about which part of the Army gets the most stuff.  After a while, some really important general comes down and tells us to knock it off and 'cooperate.' If we don’t, the bad people will whack us and even the Air Force won’t be able to bail us out. This is called 'combined arms.' "  FM 3-0 Operations (Simple Version: "Doctrine for Dummies")

Atlas3060

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #1 on: 21 January 2016, 12:18:15 »
I enjoyed the story, though for a moment I was scratching my head at the fact a Clanner Falcon actually took care of his kid.
Most sources I saw had Clanners just place their kids in the creche and that's it; exceptions being the Bears, who use it more as a daycare service.
Though your story did bring up and interesting point: the planet was still in transition.
That's where I went "Oh, well that works out".

I did notice how Paula started speaking more like a Clanner, kudos for that development of character.
It does show a lot about someone's change without having to hammer in some third person narration saying so.

The commander's plan would have worked in the old days, even I was thinking What the bloody hell man?! CRUSADERS! COME ON! as he firmly believed that they would be safe.

However what really sold the story for me was, strangely one simple line you had in there, little Zoey growing up right there.
She went from "Oh god mom..." to "Commander, your orders?" and she had to considering the circumstances.
I'd love to see how she adjusts later down the years, so good job on that.

On a completely different note, I'm happy as a reader that you posted this.
I know Battlecorps forum usually had some write ups for stories, but honestly I feel like "behind the scenes" stuff like this might help entice non-Battlecorps folks to at least see if they can purchase the story.

Threads like this and trboturtle's blog: (http://thebattletechstate.blogspot.com/) are great contributions to potential writers.
Some of us have small snippets of ideas, fun concepts, but actually going through with them requires a push.
I feel like these types of threads help others with that push.
For all we know, it could inspire someone to try writing.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

five_corparty

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #2 on: 25 January 2016, 22:33:34 »
I'm a huge fan of Craig's blog, and I'm glad you like these posts.  I worry when I post them that people will be like, "jeez, who cares?" but I figure SOMEONE would...  ;)

A note I forgot: the line about someone always escaping an ambush and it not being a lesson you learn at the academy?  That's almost a word-for-word quote I learned from a retired Special Forces Officer.  "They never teach this, but someone always survives the initial ambush - ALWAYS- and you have to plan accordingly.  A lesson you just learn from experience."

It seemed a hard-learned lesson that was appropriate for this story.   8)
"Inside the Army, we squabble about which part of the Army gets the most stuff.  After a while, some really important general comes down and tells us to knock it off and 'cooperate.' If we don’t, the bad people will whack us and even the Air Force won’t be able to bail us out. This is called 'combined arms.' "  FM 3-0 Operations (Simple Version: "Doctrine for Dummies")

Atlas3060

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #3 on: 25 January 2016, 23:35:04 »
I worry when I post them that people will be like, "jeez, who cares?" but I figure SOMEONE would...  ;)
Don't worry about the (hypothetical) 20 folks saying "jeez who cares?".
Focus on the thread helping the (hypothetical) 2 guys that WANT to write, but either can't find that initial push or don't know what goes on behind the scenes.
The next big painter, writer, or sourcebook guru probably got their spark helping the community and seeing others do the same.

Besides it is good press for the newbies to read anyways. One day too they can contribute to the Universe in a official way.  O0
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

cavingjan

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2016, 13:24:19 »
Thank you for the story and this write up. It was very disturbing for me as I read it during the start of snowzilla so the cold and snow just fit right in.

Dmon

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #5 on: 28 January 2016, 12:31:57 »
I enjoyed the story and loved the behind the scenes snippet.

I would always encourage writers to post things like this here because as bad a it is.. I am a BC member and never bother with the BC forum because it is pretty dead. This forum is the heart and soul of battletech a lot of the time.

Cubby

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #6 on: 12 February 2016, 14:24:32 »
Threads like this and trboturtle's blog: (http://thebattletechstate.blogspot.com/) are great contributions to potential writers.
Some of us have small snippets of ideas, fun concepts, but actually going through with them requires a push.
I feel like these types of threads help others with that push.
For all we know, it could inspire someone to try writing.

I appreciated this too, as well as the author's kind words about my own contribution to this series, "Save What You Can," which came out just before his story. It was my first-ever attempt to write fiction, and I definitely agree--seeing how the sausage gets made often de-mystifies the writing process and makes it seem like a series of conquerable obstacles, rather than a monolithic challenge. I'm considering doing a similar, brief "behind the scenes" note for my own story.
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CJC070

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #7 on: 26 February 2020, 17:24:04 »
Have you ever considered a sequel.  I will always wonder if Paula and the rest of the regiments loyalty survives under the Clan Steel Vipers in 3057 especially since you have hinted that Clan Jade Falcons lesser caste are more lenient than their warrior counterparts.  It would also be interesting to see how or if her kids really transition into clans or into something different.
« Last Edit: 26 February 2020, 17:28:51 by CJC070 »

CJC070

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #8 on: 28 February 2020, 00:05:18 »

Hmm, final notes: I’m a huge Alpha Strike fan, so I tried to make the final battle replayable in AS as best as I could.  I assume (I do NOT know) the new re-seen BattleMechs may end up in a new lance pack or something, but really, other than the Marauder and “Heartbreaker,” you can get all the other Mechs in lance-packs and recreate the battle.

I’m trying to figure out what mechs you used especially with how many reseen are coming back do you have notes because it is hard for me to figure out not only the mechs but how many there were.


Marveryn

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #9 on: 07 March 2020, 00:39:01 »
I did enjoy the story once I started to read it and I had wonder about the end of the Star Guards.  It was nice to have someone go back and re use characters that were part of the original lore and flesh them out a bit more. well done on the story

five_corparty

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Re: Cold Collaboration
« Reply #10 on: 15 March 2020, 21:50:23 »
Have you ever considered a sequel.  I will always wonder if Paula and the rest of the regiments loyalty survives under the Clan Steel Vipers in 3057 especially since you have hinted that Clan Jade Falcons lesser caste are more lenient than their warrior counterparts.  It would also be interesting to see how or if her kids really transition into clans or into something different.

Yes- I've sketched out an idea I internally call "the ghosts of bensinger" and would be the survivors helping the vipers about 10 years later deal with a pirate raid and a natural disaster.  The vipers coming to understand they're a force that only comes out when the planet's in danger, NOT to challenge/support any one clan.  but it's just a nugget, I don't have any flesh on that yet, nothing on paper, etc.

I don't have any sort of list built, sorry.  What I meant was, anything I called out, I wanted to try and ensure was in a lance pack in case anyone wanted to recreate the battle.  Glad you liked it!
"Inside the Army, we squabble about which part of the Army gets the most stuff.  After a while, some really important general comes down and tells us to knock it off and 'cooperate.' If we don’t, the bad people will whack us and even the Air Force won’t be able to bail us out. This is called 'combined arms.' "  FM 3-0 Operations (Simple Version: "Doctrine for Dummies")

 

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