New Novella!

Ever wondered where Emilena learned to swordfight? Want to see her clash with pirates, survive tropical storms, seduce a pirate queen, and negotiate with poorly-managed cruise liners on the high seas? Read Surviving the Serris Sea!

I didn’t actually set out for it to be 18,000 words long, I just had a lot of different oceanic complications I wanted to fit in there because it’s a pretty big departure from my usual plots. I wanted to push Emilena out of her comfort zone and leave the gritty urban environments where she and Flora have most of their adventures. Hope you like it!

Job receipt #7

So I didn’t apply for a job today, but for a semi-good reason; my brother has offered to look over my resume and cover letter to see whether he has any advice for improving them. He’s head of HR for a startup that he joined right out of college, and he’s worked his way up there from an intern phonebanker, so he knows a thing or two about getting people to read your stuff without rejecting it out of hand. I don’t want to apply for anything until he gets back to me with feedback.

So I did some editing on Tabula Rasa, added a few scenes that I only realized after the fact improved flow in a few places. I also wrote a standalone vignette, Bare-athon, the first story in Electra City Chronicles that stars Emilena. It may or may not be based on a thought experiment where I pondered ways the city-crossing feat she pulls off in the story would be possible.

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omg so adorable

I also gotta play some video games today, because I once again have run out of Borderlands 3 videos in my queue. Thankfully I have no trips for the next month, so I can finally make these videos and actually create a backlog that I don’t immediately have to cash in. I need to finish the whole storyline by October 16th because I don’t currently have a plan for getting my massive desktop up there. I’m considering leaving it at home and using it as a motivation to find a real job and afford a long-term apartment. And I also want to do the 12 Quickplay games needed to earn Lego Bastion in Overwatch, just because he’s insanely cute and I loved Lego growing up.

Tabula Rasa is out!

I have had a whirlwind of a September. I got this idea to novelize the long-dead Blanking the Slate roleplay, and while I’d mentally dismissed the notion a few times already over the years, this time it rooted in my head when I realized I could slightly adapt the focus and turn it into the story of Emilena’s drug-running gang first meeting each other and eventually forming their core team.

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Introducing Tabula Rasa! At 66609 words in its first draft, it’s the longest individual work in the Electra City canon. I was originally going to write it for NaNoWriMo 2019, in the same spirit that I wrote the book it’s a sequel to for NaNoWriMo 2015. Unfortunately I couldn’t wait, and ultimately chewed through the whole thing from July 28 to today.

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I guess it ended up being my NaSeptWriMo D:

It needs a lot of revisions, as any work does when speed-written over the course of a month, but I’m really glad it exists in its current form. Blanking the Slate was a good RP and it sucked that it died without wrapping up the final storyline. We were so close to the end too! Also, I never expected to explore the Hemlock Gang’s forming; it was always something I figured just happened without pomp and circumstance between eras. But now that it exists, and incorporates the twists and plots I mapped out in Blanking the Slate, I think it fills a really nice bridge between the era of Electra City and The Hemlock Gang.

Since my editing phases can be a long and never-ending process, I decided to throw Tabula Rasa live in its current form, though I’ll probably be heavily tweaking the document over the next few months. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Electra City character timelines

Emilena and Flora are my two main characters of the cyberpunk Electra City franchise, appearing in significantly more stories and eras than any other character. Since there are so many different sources of content, and most of them were written out of chronological order, it’s basically impossible for new readers (or heck, even old) to follow their journeys coherently. This blog post aims to change that by providing a personal timeline for each character, letting interested readers follow their history from start to finish.

Note: I must admit that these timelines are going to be a bit fractured and hicuppy no matter what, simply due to how long I’ve been writing all this. Also after so many years of stories, lots of them (especially any involving flashbacks to a character’s past) will have plot holes and retcons simply due to personality tweaks and writing evolution. I’ll do my best to leave notes explaining anything unusual. A red asterisk* indicates the piece contains explicit sexual content.

Emilena Echo

Emilena was born in 2030, the first child of moss farmers Emile and Lena Shipper. Her parents named her after themselves and put her up for adoption in Electra’s unpleasant Nature’s Heart orphanage. At the age of 7, she volunteered herself for the Accelerated Growth Program, a controversial government initiative involving using rapid-aging chambers to boost orphans up to “taxable age” (the test subjects were named with the military alphabet, where she got the surname ‘Echo’). She served as a junior officer for the Electra Police Department for three years before burning down her former orphanage and losing her badge. She’s still on probation when the events of Electra City begin.

  • Officer Echo – A series of 11 stories set during her police years. “Orphanage” and “Hapsburg Manor” include extensive flashbacks to her childhood before she was artificially grown into an adult.
  • Redacted Echo Case Files*Several old stories I’ve removed from the series. They relied too much on violence, shock value, and R-rated situations. Honestly recommend skipping them, I wasn’t a great writer back then
  • Electra City* – A full-length novel. Officer Echo races to apprehend a psionic fugitive, a terrified amnesiac named Lily who’s also being pursued by the Purifiers, a radical anti-technology terrorist group. This was the first thing I ever wrote with Emilena, so she’s pretty severely out of character.
  • Tabula Rasa – The sequel to Electra City. Emilena and other survivors attempt to rebuild their lives in the neighboring city of Cornova, but the Purifiers have other plans.
  • The Hemlock Gang – Emilena and the survivors of Tabula Rasa are now running drugs in the alleyways of Cornova. There’s a tone shift to more lighthearted and “zany antics” plots.
  • Electra City Chronicles* – Despite the name, most of these vignettes take place during the gang’s drug-running years in Cornova. Emilena herself stars in “Bare-athon” and appears briefly in “An Aquamarine Phase”.

Flora Hapsburg

Eric Hapsburg was born in 2019 to a rich family in Electra. He attended Ywens Boarding School and transitioned to female after developing very weak changeling powers that turned her skin fuchsia. Fearing her family’s reaction, Flora fled to Cornova of her own volition and first meets Emilena during the events of Tabula Rasa, becoming the designated driver of the newly-formed gang. And buckle up, because her backstory has gone through so many changes over the years that’s about all that stays consistent…

  • Lucid Dreaming” from Echo Chambers features extensive flashbacks to Flora’s childhood at Hapsburg Manor.
  • A Shiny Red Revelle*” from Electra City Chronicles is the only story starring Eric before he transitions to Flora. He’s also in high school instead of boarding school for some reason. I don’t know, this vignette’s really old.
  • Hapsburg Manor“, though told from Emilena’s point of view, includes Flora’s family members and the mansion she grows up in. Flora herself is relevant to the plot but doesn’t appear.
  • Dances With Clowns” from The Hemlock Gang contains repeated flashbacks set during Flora’s journey from Electra to Cornova, though it was written far earlier than almost all these others and she’s way too young to fit the rest of the timeline.
  • Tabula Rasa – Flora encounters the Purifiers and joins Emilena’s team. Also she somehow begins the plot still in school, despite being in Cornova. Maybe she went to college and it was never mentioned again?
  • The Hemlock Gang – Flora appears in every story as the designated driver of Emilena’s drug-running crew.
  • Electra City Chronicles* – Flora appears in every vignette and is the protagonist of “Flora++”, “A Shiny Red Revelle”, and “An Aquamarine Phase”.
  • Echo Chambers* – A series of 13 stories starring Flora as a test subject in an Egyptian psionic research facility, where apparently she fled after the law caught up to her in America. Despite the setup, it’s mostly slice-of-life and romance plots among the staff/subjects who live within the facility.

Also, gotta mention a few stories that don’t fit in the timeline since I never ported them to star humans (most of the early drafts for above stories were anthropomorphic animals because these characters originated from role-plays on the Gang of Five forum.) The below stories were left furry because, honestly, they were just flimsy excuses to string sex scenes together:

  • Breakfast at Yiffany’s* – Flora visits Emilena’s parents on their moss farm. Emilena only appears in the introduction.
  • Weekend at Jessica’s* – Flora visits her sister at a nudist colony. Emilena only appears during the epilogue and Flora’s flashback dream on Saturday night.
  • What Happens in Legal…*” – Set during Echo Chambers. Flora’s surprise party for a new test subject is interrupted by a psion with ulterior motives.
  • The Approaching Light” – This one’s not really like the others, written as a non-canon crossover between several different franchises. Young Emilena appears, but the time-travel plot causes her to grow up in 20th-century Spain without ever undergoing the Accelerated Growth procedure.

Video Games

Emilena has appeared in two non-canon video games. (She can also appear in yours, she’s part of the sprite pack I released into the public domain!)

  • Electra City – As one of the four playable fighters in a 1v1 pixel brawler.
  • Echo of the Undead – A little in-browser game where she fights a horde of zombies until she dies. Hence the title, geddit?
  • You can also play as her in Minecraft, if you really want to.

RP Continuity

Last but not least, since I’m trying to be thorough here, I should catalog the role-plays Emilena and Flora appeared in when they were still a fox and a folf. This should essentially be considered a completely different iteration of the characters from their human counterparts, not the least of which because those role-plays got pretty bizarre and don’t have much in the way of coherency:

  • Scorched Earth – An ancient role-play I didn’t even participate in, but during Into the Black‘s character creation I decided to make Emilena the daughter of StarfallRaptor’s characters.
  • Into the Black* – The first role-play, mostly tells the same story as Electra City. Emilena was my main character, and also such a dick most of the other authors admitted they were really hoping I’d kill her off and bring in a new character.
  • Racing the Storm* – A weird sci-fi romp where the main characters are traveling the world trying to stop a fleet of psionic gecko warmongers from taking over the planet. Emilena and her gangmates (including Flora in her first-ever appearance) are actually recurring antagonists who make life harder for the heroes. I was originally planning on killing them off one-by-one, but positive reception led to Flora getting an epilogue where she survives the warship’s destruction.
  •  Around the Folf* – Flora, having crash-landed her escape pod in the Sahara, makes her way to a psionic research facility. The original furry version of Echo Chambers was set during this.
    • Bathroom scene* – Halfway through Around the Folf, the Gang of Five updated their rules to ban sex scenes in forum posts. All subsequent ones were RPed in private via Google Docs. This one was between Flora and a test subject named Yurei.
    • Bedroom scene* – This one was between Flora and a nurse named Emma.
    • Folf in a Hot Tin Pool* – This one starred four characters (including Flora) in a jacuzzi.
    • Taming of the Revenue – This one was completely off the Gang of Five, and starred Flora and ‘Life’, the fursona of someone who paid me real money to RP it. More details here.
  • After the Storm – Apparently, Emilena survived the warship destruction too. She’s now rich and famous due to her role in saving the world, but pretty gray around the muzzle, having aged faster than normal due to unexpected side effects of the Growth Acceleration Program. I wanted to try writing her as a more physically-crippled character who had to rely on her wit and smarts to survive the dangerous situations that keep finding her.
  • Blanking the Slate – Not everyone was happy with how bizarre Racing the Storm got. The other authors created a separate timeline, set immediately after Into the Black and ignoring all other RPs, which returned to the initial city and told another story starring the Purifiers. I completely reworked Flora’s character for the reboot, now she’s a pop star who keeps mouthing off to everyone and I quickly got sick of her new interpretation. She’s lucky the RP died out before I killed her off. Plot was adapted into Tabula Rasa.
    • Enter Bianca* – A sex scene between pop star Flora and a young woman named Bianca, who’s actually Nick’s character Rose in disguise.
    • Epilogue – Like Racing the Storm, I wrote an epilogue after the RP petered out. Flora and Emilena are both present, and the latter dies because I traditionally kill my main character at the end of an RP series.
  • Ask the Characters– An out-of-universe thread where people could ask questions to characters from the various RPs. Emilena and Flora have answered a huge amount of questions over the years.

(If any of these links ever die, I have archived copies of all these RPs in this blog post.)

Casting CS:GO in 9 days oh god I’m not ready

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Update: rofl guess I’m not doing any of that. Pretty relieved, ngl

I’m having more and more doubts regarding the CS:GO Charity tournament I agreed to cast for one of my fellow students from the Business in Esports course I finished last month. It’s not that I don’t want to cast it, I just don’t know anything about casting Counter-Strike because I’m hot garbage at the game. I’ve just never really been into twitch shooters, I prefer arena shooters with their crazy mobility and healing classes. But I’ve been watching CS:GO casters on Twitch for years and years, before Overwatch or my own shoutcasting career was even a thing, so I’m likely more qualified than I’m telling myself. I’ve got a short list of things I want to do before the tournament before I’ll consider myself ready to cast:

  1. Play a game of comp CS:GO to learn the pacing from the players’ perspective
  2. create flashcards of all the gun HUD icons so I can name whatever guns they’re using
  3. Practice learning map callouts. Much as I’d like to learn them, the tourney has 12 maps that aren’t chosen beforehand, so I’m gonna have cheatsheets on my second monitor while casting.
  4. Watch a YouTube video explaining the in-game economy metagame. The money is the one thing I’ve never really understood.
  5. Run a practice cast with bot teams to ensure I can handle the spectator controls. They say a third party will be handling camerawork/streaming, but I’d still rather know how to switch characters and see whatever I want to see in-game. (Especially the ‘switch to freecam’ button, I remember going insane during my first Overwatch cast because I couldn’t figure out how to do that)

I wish this was the main thing on my plate coming up, but I’ve got another League Zero cast this Sunday, and on Saturday my parents are celebrating their 40th Anniversary with a 60s-themed party and I agreed to help them prepare/clean up afterward. Everyone needs to dress up as something from the era, personally I’m going as a redshirt from Star Trek.

In other news, two new Emilena stories! The first, Hapsburg Manor, was a writing experiment to practice heavily using flashbacks. It chronicles Emilena solving a case as a child and then having to reopen it as an adult when new complications arise. (Flora also cameos; Eric Hapsburg was her name before she transitioned to female in college). The second story, Rust in Peace, involves her investigating an eco-terrorist gang disrupting a housing development project in the shrublands. The gang’s leader, Hania, briefly appeared in the canon as an anti-humanist nutjob who rubbed Serris the wrong way, and he was certainly fun to bring back in a prequel adventure.

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One of my videos got thirteen thousand views!

Also E3 coverage is wrapping up on VGFAQ, which means I can start transitioning into making more freeform content. Maybe I could start making the sort of list-based videos I specialized in on the SPUF of Legend. A lot of my video-making time is now streaming time; I got my first regular viewer who amazingly hasn’t missed a stream even though I never schedule them ahead of time. I’ve now made $35 dollars total, mostly in bits. It’s not much, but I’m pretty happy getting anything streaming. I vividly remember 2014 aabicus discovering Twitch and wondering if he could ever make a single dollar streaming, so I’m pretty glad to inform him that he could.

Last but not least, since I’m not updating this blog as much as I used to I encourage any hypothetical viewers to check out my Twitter since it’s finally something worth looking at. I’ve added a picture and made it look nice, and more importantly, I now tweet whenever I do anything for any of the zillion projects I work for. It’s the best place to keep abreast of whatever I’m doing in real time.

Updates on Things

Sorry I haven’t posted recently, I’ve got so many different things I’m doing here and there.

1. New Emilena story! This one was started ages ago, but I finally finished the other 80%. It’s readable here and takes place directly after “Orphanage”, the story where she returned to her childhood orphanage and killed her old warden. In this story, she confesses to the murder and is incarcerated in an all-women’s prison. It explains why she’s no longer a police officer in the follow-up “private investigator” story, and it gives her the chance to butt heads with a bunch of characters she defeated from older stories, most of whom are excited for a chance to even the score.

2. I’ve added a number of categories to the Darwin’s Soldiers Wiki, including Destroyed objects, destroyed locations, books, and family trees. I dunno why, encyclopedic cataloging just relaxes me. Sometimes I wish we had an Into the Black wiki, and other times I thank god we don’t have one because there’s way too much content to even fathom starting now.

3. I’ve shoutcasted a ton of Overwatch matches on Twitch. Most are part of League Zero, but there’s also a fair amount of pick-up scrims I’ve been publishing on VGFAQ. I’ve really enjoyed making videos for that channel, since it gets way better traffic than the SPUF of Legend. Maybe it’s possible I should feel bad for letting my own channel grow stagnant while earning click revenue and a bunch of unearned views on someone else’s site, but the SPUF of Legend has almost completely lost its fanbase since I gave up on Payday videos so I don’t think anyone’s particularly sad. And I might make more videos every now and then, but right now I’m scrambling to keep up with the many videos I want to make for VGFAQ. I need to start on a video for Inside the Magic as well…

4. I have taken out two extensions on the eSports course for the sole reason that I need to finish that darn final essay. It’s not even particularly long but its got a lot of parts and I’ve constantly had more important things to worry about. But I really should button that up one of these days so I can take it off my mental checklist.

5. I haven’t had much time to game for fun, sadly. That kinda happens when its your job to play games for various sources of income. Pretty much my only guilty pleasure is ARK Survival Evolved, which is an awesome survival game and the only one I’ve ever heard of that remains fun whether you’re playing with 0 other people, 100 other people or any number in between. Personally, I don’t have the time or patience to deal with online idiots, so I play on a solo server with Sydney and most of our time is spent taming dinosaurs and creating Miasmata-style outposts throughout the map. You can see our complete idiotic adventures in this playlist, which is finally populated enough I feel okay letting people know about it.

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Look at how cool my bird is! She has ‘FEAR ME’ written across her wings!