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Author Topic: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel  (Read 34503 times)

FaithBomb

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My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« on: 30 December 2020, 04:13:20 »
My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel, and in particular, Bryan Young's story "The Secret Fox"

https://faithmccarron.blogspot.com/2020/12/meeting-katie-why-battletech-is.html
Some people say I'm a marshmallow...

trboturtle

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #1 on: 30 December 2020, 09:27:04 »
As one of those writers in Shrapnel, it's good you found a character you could relate to. Because behind the stompy robots and massed battles, it is the characters that bring people back. Doesn't matter if they're the leaders of a major interstellar state or a girl who is pursuing her dreams, if readers don't find something in characters like Katie, then we have failed as writers.

As you found resonance with Katie, I hope someone found the same with Angar Shurasky or any other character I write about. Each one is the reason why the Battletech universe is so rich -- we see parts of ourselves in these characters. The same hopes, dreams, and flaws as ourselves, only with cooler toys, expanded stakes, and large stories.

So, may you always find characters that you want to see more of. Through them, we can find parts of ourselves we weren't aware of.

Craig
Author -- "The Lance Killer," "Hikagemono," "Negotiation," "Snipe Hunt," "Groundpounder," "The Clawing," "Salvage," "The Promise," "Reap What You Sow," "Color of Authority," "Family Ties," "The Blood of Man," "End of Message," "Heroes' Bridge," "Kurodenkou," "Thirteen," "My Father's Sword," "Evacuation," "Warrior's Song," "Operation Red Lion," "A Matter of Honor," "State of Grace," "Operation Blue Tiger," "A Warrior's Fear," "Shadow Angels," "Murphy's Method," "End of the Road," (IAMTW 2019 Scribe Award nominee!), "Tales of the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance," "Laws Are Silent," "No Tears," "Tales of the Cracked Canopy: Shadows of the Past," and the Novels Icons of War, Elements of Treason series and Vengence Games

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Other writings: http://trboturtleswritings.blogspot.com/

Daryk

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #2 on: 30 December 2020, 18:37:25 »
Characters are VERY important, but they're not what brings me back to the universe.  Internal consistency rules for me, and BT does it better than any other system I've seen on the scale they do it (personal up to JumpShips and beyond with ACS and ISAW).  So +1 more for the broad church of BT.  It really does take all kinds.

Craig: I loved your Sniper Rifle article in the first issue, and hope to see more of that kind of stuff in the future.  Probably won't be buying any more Shrapnel issues unless they include it.

Charbok

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #3 on: 02 January 2021, 00:25:19 »
Very nicely stated.  I was drawn to that story as well.  I've got a 12 year old daughter, and I find myself looking more critically at work with young women protagonists than I did in my younger days.  When they're well done, like in this story, it speaks to care on the part of the author.  I'm looking forward to sharing this story with her, and her little brother (10, and already a battletech fan).

I also enjoyed your post on discovering the books and the game.  I had a similar journey right about the same age, admittedly quite a bit longer ago (1988).  I came to the game first, and wound up diving into the fiction later.  Also, having just re-read Decision At Thunder Rift, I had the exact same reaction to poor Lori Kalmar! :)

One of my favorite things that's been a thread throughout the story of this mad universe is that it's quietly spoken of a hopeful future that's more egalitarian than our current one. True, there's still poverty and enmity between nation-states, but the kind of sectarian divisions we see in the world today have largely been outgrown by humanity.  At times, the continuing violence between disparate factions underscores how much humanity still needs to grow, even after spreading through the stars.

FaithBomb

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #4 on: 02 January 2021, 12:43:57 »
Yeah, it's very much a dark, dirty, nasty universe, but at the same time, a lot of the hangups and problems in our world today have given way over time and it's a host of new problems or new takes on old problems that haunt humanity in the future.
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Charbok

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #5 on: 02 January 2021, 16:01:27 »
Terry Pratchett said it best: humanity is where the falling angel meets the rising ape.  The battletech universe is rife with examples of the best parts of our natures; loyalty, honor, duty, sacrifice and service.  It also doesn't hesitate to express some of the darkest; violence, prejudice, and warmongering. 

Come for the stumpy robots, stay for the meditations on human nature and history.

bobthecoward

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #6 on: 08 January 2021, 11:32:31 »
I want to read about her dream now of piloting a mech....and killing all the humans.

FaithBomb

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #7 on: 08 January 2021, 22:28:55 »
I want to read about her dream now of piloting a mech....and killing all the humans.

So tell Catalyst! Make your voice known. I think as fans we have to be vocal about what we like and don't like, so that they take that into consideration in making editorial decisions.
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Dubble_g

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #8 on: 15 March 2021, 06:18:58 »
Hello, I have been a frequent contributor to the fiction postings on this site and both both thrilled and delighted, perhaps even overjoyed to have had a submission of mine appear in Shrapnel #4, the latest issue, now available where all good books are sold. I hope the entertainment product brings happiness.

Thank and bless

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YYL82D8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_JXN2GJBJP6G41QFYTQBM
Author, "Inverted" (Shrapnel #4) and "Undefeated" (Shrapnel #10)
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https://archiveofourown.org/users/Mynameisdoubleg/works?fandom_id=51921204
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Mendrugo

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #9 on: 15 March 2021, 08:21:34 »
Congrats!
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #10 on: 15 March 2021, 09:49:35 »
Congrats!  and another congrats to Faith, OP of this thread, for ALSO getting into the same issue!  :thumbsup:

Niopsian

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #11 on: 15 March 2021, 10:22:35 »
Congrats!  and another congrats to Faith, OP of this thread, for ALSO getting into the same issue!  :thumbsup:

Yeah, lots of new blood this time, lots of good stories. Much impressed, congrats!


...cut a manager in to come up with a plan and the next thing you know you're big in Japan

trboturtle

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #12 on: 15 March 2021, 12:57:41 »
Yeah, lots of new blood this time, lots of good stories. Much impressed, congrats!

Getting new writers has been one of the cornerstones of Sharpnel. We're always looking for people who can tell a good story and Sharpnel is the chance to show TPTB that you can write that great story.

But remember this: it's easier to get that first story; you then have to back it up with a second story, then a third, a fourth...  :crazy: :crash: :crash: :yikes:

Craig
Author -- "The Lance Killer," "Hikagemono," "Negotiation," "Snipe Hunt," "Groundpounder," "The Clawing," "Salvage," "The Promise," "Reap What You Sow," "Color of Authority," "Family Ties," "The Blood of Man," "End of Message," "Heroes' Bridge," "Kurodenkou," "Thirteen," "My Father's Sword," "Evacuation," "Warrior's Song," "Operation Red Lion," "A Matter of Honor," "State of Grace," "Operation Blue Tiger," "A Warrior's Fear," "Shadow Angels," "Murphy's Method," "End of the Road," (IAMTW 2019 Scribe Award nominee!), "Tales of the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance," "Laws Are Silent," "No Tears," "Tales of the Cracked Canopy: Shadows of the Past," and the Novels Icons of War, Elements of Treason series and Vengence Games

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Jaim Magnus

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #13 on: 15 March 2021, 14:28:28 »
Getting new writers has been one of the cornerstones of Sharpnel. We're always looking for people who can tell a good story and Sharpnel is the chance to show TPTB that you can write that great story.

But remember this: it's easier to get that first story; you then have to back it up with a second story, then a third, a fourth...  :crazy: :crash: :crash: :yikes:

Craig

Then anthologies, or books  :o
BattleCorps - Righteous Fury, Sorrow of Eden, Lady of Steel, I Was Lost, Forsaken : Legacy - The Forgotten Places : Shrapnel - Scavenger's Blood : ELH Chronicles - View from the Ground

Daryk

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #14 on: 15 March 2021, 17:16:58 »
Congrats all around!  :thumbsup:

I'm a better editor than writer, and my tastes tend far too much to the 3rd SW for the current PTB...

Niopsian

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #15 on: 15 March 2021, 17:19:10 »
Congrats all around!  :thumbsup:

I'm a better editor than writer, and my tastes tend far too much to the 3rd SW for the current PTB...

Don't let that stop you - Shrapnel #4 had a story from the Terran Alliance era. :thumbsup:


...cut a manager in to come up with a plan and the next thing you know you're big in Japan

Daryk

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #16 on: 15 March 2021, 17:34:10 »
I'm also still on active duty, and rolling back to the Pentagon this summer.  Time for fun writing is going to be limited for the next three and a half years or so...

Dubble_g

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #17 on: 15 March 2021, 17:43:32 »
Don't let that stop you - Shrapnel #4 had a story from the Terran Alliance era. :thumbsup:

Guilty! Though if you guys would like to take credit (or blame, lol) for this the germ of the idea came from these boards when somebody pointed out we don't have much fiction from that era. Think it might have been Mendrugo? Anyway, it's all your fault, is the point.
Author, "Inverted" (Shrapnel #4) and "Undefeated" (Shrapnel #10)
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https://archiveofourown.org/users/Mynameisdoubleg/works?fandom_id=51921204
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Dubble_g

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #18 on: 15 March 2021, 22:39:24 »
My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel, and in particular, Bryan Young's story "The Secret Fox"

https://faithmccarron.blogspot.com/2020/12/meeting-katie-why-battletech-is.html

Hey Faith, are the lads right and "Roadblock" is yours? Because. Daaaamn. That hurts in all the right places.
Author, "Inverted" (Shrapnel #4) and "Undefeated" (Shrapnel #10)
BattleTech stories:
https://archiveofourown.org/users/Mynameisdoubleg/works?fandom_id=51921204
Reviews:
https://one-way-mirror.blogspot.jp/

Mendrugo

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #19 on: 16 March 2021, 05:14:21 »
My thumbnail thoughts on the new issue:

1) The Bye-Bye Brigade - Jason Schmetzer: Another "small 'merc unit gets launched" story, this one takes the time to give its leading members personality and a good sense of camaraderie.  Plus the twist at the end signals a sequel featuring one of the era's heavy hitters, character-wise.

2) Sackcloth and Sand - David Razi: A nice intro to a "fallen" world in the ruins of the Rim Worlds Republic, and a Clan warrior's reactions to being among her ancestors' ancient enemies.  Very "Road Warrior" in tone.

3) Tales From the Cracked Canopy: The Red Wraith - Harper Brand: A well executed dive into divided loyalties within the Word of Blake during Case White.

4) All Good Things - James Lee: An interesting expansion on a brief reference in "The Fall of Terra," going into the 21st Centauri Lancers' participation in Operation GUERRERO and their decision to seek employment with ComStar on Terra instead of sticking with the Capellans.

5) Gratitude Repaid - Charles Gideon: Another POV for the final space battle over New Avalon at the climax of the Civil War, focusing on how the rapidly-shifting alliances of the era were sorely tested by generations-old hostilities and suspicion.

6) Advice From A Social General: How to Party - Ken' Horner: Despite the comedic ramifications of the title, this is a remarkably in-depth and nuanced article that many real-life networkers and aspirational social climbers could learn from.  The Social Generals come off, not as the traditional Hogarth-esque caricatures, but as individuals who have found a route to success with a completely alternate skill-set that requires thought, strategy, cunning, and skill.  Too bad none of it matters in the slightest once the DCMS comes knocking...

7) Roadblock - Faith McClosky: An EMT with the 5th Crucis Lancers deals with post-battle triage.  Nice scene-setting and good character work.  Powerful ending.

8 ) The Weight of A Name - Marc Follin: An interesting take on bloodname propagation politics with the Wolves-in-Exile, who aren't part of the Great Reavings tradition that the Council of Six developed. 

9) Seychelle's Stonehearts - Michael J. Ciaravella: A compact Unit Digest that begins to answer the question of "Hey, why wasn't RotS Unit X featured in the fight for Terra?"  Stone's legacy yet persists, despite the hoisting of other flags.

10) The PPC: Lightning in a Can - Matthew Cross: A technical review of various flavors of PPCs, the latest in a series that has already looked into Gauss Rifles.  Raises the question - if PPC inhibitors are standard components, why did the one Justin Xiang pulled out of Fuh Teng's Vindicator on Solaris VII neutralize the weapon as part of a ploy to throw the fight?  Was that particular inhibitor model intended for training purposes?  (Be a fun bit of industrial sabotage to infiltrate a team into Ceres Metals and put mislabeled training inhibitors into their PPC manufacturing line's component supply chain, though quality control would probably spot them sooner than later when the dissidents...er...training dummies started surviving the firing tests.)

11) The SuburbanMech - Craig Reed: Resurrected from his BattleTechnology article and made canon, this provided the basis for some of the more impressive Urbies of later generations.  Interestingly, this writeup actually makes the Subby the first new 'Mech created in the Inner Sphere in a century (the Merlin, in 3010, was a Periphery design), beating out the Hatchetman by a decade.

12) Ghost Ships Galore: The Pride of New Samarkand - Stephen Toropov: Nicely parlays a unit that fell off the deployment tables without explanation into a flying dutchman of the Deep Periphery.

13) Touchpoint: Ista Quidem Vis Est - Aaron Cahall: Nice to get some Dark Age era scenarios/tracks that aren't bare-bones MWDA setups.  This lets you put Julian into the action in Paris against the Senate forces.  (Piloting his Templar III, rather than "Family Jules")

14) Inverted - Giles Gammage: Gotta admit, I squee'd when I saw Outer Reaches Rebellion fiction.  This fits the established chronology (what there is of it) well and gives a sense of what was going on in the areas surrounding the capital during the siege.  (Reading the original sourcebook, I'd had the mental impression that the planet's population was tiny and mostly lived in Jefferson City, but this expands that picture and the world's development level.) 

15) Voices of the Sphere: Cryogenics - Eric Salzman: Fun to imagine that Snord's museum had a frozen "time traveler" from the Star League era on exhibit for a few decades.  I wonder if the guy'll survive long enough for his lawsuit to reach the courts?  Maybe if he freezes himself again?  :D  The reference to MechAssault VII as a "campy holovid" suggests that MechAssault II was one as well, which is just about the only explanation for its deranged storyline in the BattleTech universe.
« Last Edit: 17 March 2021, 18:54:02 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Niopsian

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #20 on: 16 March 2021, 10:35:55 »
I skipped over the Seychelle's Stonehearts entry on my first read and now I'm sorry I did. It's good to see Mason Dunne get referenced again. Still holding out hope that someone will take up the idea of an Alaric/Kitsune Kurita meetup.

The bit about them surfacing on Keid in 3151 is interesting. The CapCon had taken Keid prior to the Battle for Terra but the wording of the Stonehearts' article suggests that many of the worlds around Terra are once again up for grabs. A hint as to how well the Liao response to the Wolves went?


...cut a manager in to come up with a plan and the next thing you know you're big in Japan

joechummer

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #21 on: 16 March 2021, 14:29:47 »
Hey Faith, are the lads right and "Roadblock" is yours? Because. Daaaamn. That hurts in all the right places.

Agreed. I'll admit that I need to pause and step away for a few minutes after reading her initial submission. Hers was the final story I accepted for the issue, but I knew there was no way I could end the issue on that note.


Philip A. LeeManaging Editor of Shrapnel, the Official BattleTech Magazine. Author of BattleCorps stories A Wolf in the Eyrie, Half of a Warrior, Seeds of Loyalty, Whispering Death, Fragments of History, A Living Epitaph, Double Down, So Costly a Sacrifice, Rain Dance, Quail Hunting, A Show of Force, and A Keystone Arch, Seven Years' Bad Luck, High Value Target, The Face of the Enemy, Horn and Fang, and A Measure of Clarity
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five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #22 on: 16 March 2021, 14:59:55 »
Agreed. I'll admit that I need to pause and step away for a few minutes after reading her initial submission. Hers was the final story I accepted for the issue, but I knew there was no way I could end the issue on that note.

"there's always someone to catch you" hits hard EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Good call tucking it in the middle.  ;)

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #23 on: 16 March 2021, 15:03:24 »

4) All Good Things - Jason Lee: An interesting expansion on a brief reference in "The Fall of Terra," going into the 21st Centauri Lancers' participation in Operation GUERRERO and their decision to seek employment with ComStar on Terra instead of sticking with the Capellans.


I missed the fact we have a new Jason!

Welcome aboard!  WE ARE JASON!  :D ;D

FaithBomb

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #24 on: 16 March 2021, 15:57:03 »
Hey Faith, are the lads right and "Roadblock" is yours? Because. Daaaamn. That hurts in all the right places.

Indeed yes, Roadblock is mine. I wanted to tell a story different from the normal stompy shooty robots that we all love, and the trick was finding a way to tell one of those stories in a way that was still exciting and emotional. So I just went to what I know, medicine, and tried to find a way to tell a story that fit within the framework of Battletech. We always see either the head-shot or the punch out, but seldom to we see the poor guy on the other end of it when it goes sideways, and the people who have to pick up the pieces. Once I had that, the rest of the story wrote itself.

I'm glad that you enjoyed it and found some meaning or truth in it. That's always the hope.
Some people say I'm a marshmallow...

FaithBomb

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #25 on: 16 March 2021, 16:32:37 »
I missed the fact we have a new Jason!

Welcome aboard!  WE ARE JASON!  :D ;D

There's too many of them!
Some people say I'm a marshmallow...

VhenRa

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #26 on: 16 March 2021, 19:16:29 »
I'll be honest, my favourite story in Shrapnel thus far is from #2. "Daybreak on Shining Mountain".

Just because... well, the specific culture on display.

Orwell84

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #27 on: 17 March 2021, 05:28:42 »
Reading through it and so far liking what's in there. Mendrugo's summarized the contents nicely so my own AUS$0.02

"Sackcloth and Sand" - a nod to Robert Thurston's Jade Falcon work with the Clan warrior Naiad, a member of the 'illegal' sibko fashioned from Aidan Pryde in Falcon Rising. From the ending I get the impression this is a set up for a sequel; hopefully we'll see more of the Jade Falcon war against the Society, and more of Aidan's 'daughter'.

"Seychelle's Stonehearts" - just finished Ghost War a week ago so it was nice to see Mason Dunne referenced. Plus getting a glimpse of the new era post-HotW.

"Inverted" - Another one which feels like a prologue to a bigger story. If so, looking forward to it. Always keen for more fiction during the 2100-2570 era.

"Gratitude Repaid" - very touching story about a Victor loyalist (and a Combine-born one at that!) giving his all for the cause. Ties in with the novel Endgame, Chapter 22.

"Roadblock" - the other story that hit in the feels, great work FaithBomb  :thumbsup: Suffice to say it had me guessing (and hoping) until the end. Also liked how the obvious solution (giving the boy a morphine overdose - arguably a cliche) was emphatically rejected by the EMT.




All Clan totems are equal but some are more equal than others

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mikecj

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #28 on: 17 March 2021, 17:41:48 »
Fantastic collection.

I always hated the Big Mac.

A Kell, a Pryde, and a powerful non-traditional Roadblock.

Thanks everyone!
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FaithBomb

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #29 on: 17 March 2021, 18:30:34 »
Glad to have done my little piece for it.

And come on, don't hate on the MAC. :)
Some people say I'm a marshmallow...

 

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