ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:04 pm

For a relatively short while, Rey Quirino was the actual factual, metaphysically approved Hero of the Philippines. He underwent the trials and beheld the golden tree of interdependence. He dipped deep into the People Power and returned. He got the nod from the legendary First Hero of the Philippines, and was granted temporary use of the equally legendary First Balisong. Even though it was all set into motion by Darkness' magic and bullshit eschatology, all this represented a legitimate accomplishment of a different degree than, say, pissing on Duende-Voltrons or beating up hypothetical steroidified super-pigs. It also becomes a distinct dividing point in Rey's superhero career where he stops being a vapid worthless celebrity, grows up, and starts leaving a legacy behind. (Or more Doyalistically, the point where I hijack the character for SRS themes and real stakes.)

It was also the high point of Rey's life. His soul relished being in touch with the entire spirit of the Philippines, an euphoric harmony and certainty of purpose that he will never forget. It is also fair to say that enjoyed the tremendous power boost that came with it. Sure, this epiphany also brought the wisdom to let go of the power once he was done with it, but he missed the power and the euphoria and the profound sense of connection with the will of the people. It was like a missing limb, only far larger in scale. It is this feeling that Rey thirsts to recapture, yet he never knows whether he will ever be worthy again of the power; yet he is no longer selfish enough, with his newfound sense of stewardship over the Filipino people, to actually wish for a national crisis of the same magnitude to come around again. The best he can do is to organize, to accrue power and to elevate himself in the nation's eyes the hard way, never really sure if he can be doing all this for altruistic reasons, even if he isn't already thoroughly lost in corruption and power games.

And there is also the gnawing fear that his popularity has peaked, and that the unbroken upward trajectory of Rey Quirino's life will soon come to an unpredictable and unthinkable halt. Maybe he has already reached the top. Maybe he will finally grow stale. So there is a certain cultivation of...eccentricity around him now, like a rock star in his experimental phase. Rey appears in public in outrageous costumes: parodies of generalissimo gear, interpretations of pre-Spanish tribal warpaint, stuff that wouldn't look out of place in a cantopop concert. He carries a gilded cane. The head of the cane has a microphone built into it. The microphone is designed to hijack all nearby PA systems wherever he goes. He has, in a sense, become a parody of himself, performing for himself and his audience of millions both.

So of course when Kai Neusternberger sorties in the Erlengel to totally faceroll the first Stygian megademon to fall upon Neo-Manila, Rey Quirino feels completely upstaged. He has spent too long thinking of it as his city not to.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:42 pm

When Rey becomes old and big and lets himself go, I'd imagine he'd end up looking like Mr. Satan from Dragon Ball.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:43 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:When Rey becomes old and big and lets himself go, I'd imagine he'd end up looking like Mr. Satan from Dragon Ball.
This, maybe plus a bit of middle-aged Elvis. It's hard for me to imagine what Rey looks like decades down the line. Is that heartthrob makeover that came with his super-powers a one-time thing that can go away? Does his super-constitution preserve him from the ravages of partying? Those are unanswered questions. And in any case Rey Quirino as of 2017 isn't even that old anyway - maybe late twenties, approaching thirty at most.

Okay, so we've established that Rey Quirino is suffering from a bit of an early mid-life crisis, which would have less disastrous implications if he didn't also accomplish some genuinely awesome achievements and has reached a tremendous position of power. Above and beyond that, Reyworld is a hell of a thing to get involved in, a project of ever-expanding scope and ever-dragging delays riding a nativist backlash to the foreign quasi-colonization of Neo-Manila - which meant that everything was supposed to built using only native expertise and labor. I think the people of Neo-Manila would take justifiable pride in the theme park they managed to complete, plus the hive-malls, the housing redevelopments and god knows what else, even if it didn't have Rey's name stamped all over it. (Though I think having Rey's name stamped all over it certainly helped the heroic efforts it took to have it all built minus foreign expertise.) On the whole, I admit I put the least thought into Reyworld out of all of Neo-manila's locales so there isn't much more I can say about it. I can add that Rey also has a spiritual patron in the form of the Catholic Church, something of a parallel to the way Mayflower Hills is intimately entwined to the very evangelical and very American Dominion of Powers Church and how New World East struck an alliance with the local and ambitious branch of the Technotheocracy. This most certainly has to do with certain force ghost manifestations surrounding Rey's quest catching the Vatican's eye, though Rey is by no means any more devout a person from their influence.

Despite the lack of prior organized thought, let's talk about the characters surrounding Rey too. I think most of his original staff mentioned in Advent Rey came high and far with him. Luiz in particular Rey should feel grateful for how loyal and capable he still is, even with the occasional scandal involving cosplaying rentboys. That said, his personal circle is probably on the balance still a pack of self-serving sycophants as it always was, even if the necessities of national politics means that he is no longer so isolated from opposing viewpoints and ill-meaning interlocutors.

One person keeps Rey grounded though: The O.K. Kid, urban diwata and the Super Kidlat's official sidekick. Incorrigibly blunt and diwata-like as ever, she hasn't changed much outside adapting to her new circumstances. She was one of the few characters I created specifically for Advent Rey, and I don't even remember what specifically inspired her creation. A combination of Paranoia Agent, Trese, and even some of FROD's old stories, I suppose. She was supposed to fill the "Yuffie" slot, even if the end result turned out not particularly alike. Rey Quirino handed off much of the active day to day superheroing to her, which frankly suits her fine as *she's* the one who had always cared about the little people anyway, with the net result being that St. Kid of the Nailbat is now known city-wide, another rising star except right under Rey's nose. I can't say I have thought out the long-term ramifications of this either, or indeed if the O.K. Kid even survives Advent Rey 2 in any form for this question to arise. But still, her lair and warrens of trash now extends throughout the city and possibly into its digital networks, and any branded uniform you put onto her still instantly grows shabby and two sizes too large. She is also the closest thing Rey has on his side who can combat the covert operations of Jose Rival.

Going back to the beginning with Kai Neusternberger, you can see how Ludwig can so effectively indoctrinate his foster son against Rey. The Rey Quirino Kai knows single-handedly brought the festering chaos of Neo-Manila into being, wholly anathaema to the clinical order of Deutschlandland that he was brought up in. Ludwig tells Kai how Rey squandered the world-changing potential of Darkness, that he squandered his victory on continuing to pursue his indulgences, that he is utterly undeserving of his power over the city, that he flounders to scrape together a working giant robot entirely ignorant to Ludwig's master plan. Of course, some of the ear-poison finds purchase because Rey can't really help being a jealous ass either, in the public occasions where they meet. Nevertheless, Kai is half-Rey by descent* and metaphysics both, and Rey can't help but feel some strange connection to the youth that transmutes into something more like curiosity...

*I think I just remembered how the whole idea of a Rey clone came about. It was in some ancient MSN conversation where "Rei Quirino" came about quite naturally, because cloning Rey is quite a dickish thing to do to him, and therefore must be done. But then that was a little too obvious for the purposes of the story so the clone found his current name.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:05 am

The first ill-defined giant demon attack was a game-changer. Before that Neo-Manila chugged along in its inimitable way, everyone was civilly jockeying for power, Ludwig was plotting in the shadows and Rey was grasping futilely at each and every sign of power. Then some giant shadow demon thing comes out of nowhere and starts battering away at the city, doubtlessly in a way that survivors of the Darkness Ascension Crisis would find disturbingly familiar. It looks and acts nothing like the typical Pacific Rim Kaiju, and in any case Manila was never a target for these things. But what's even more shocking is before SDI or NAKAIDO can hurriedly redeploy their assets to combat the monster, a giant robot launches out of the artificial mountain of Neusternberg and, after some fumbling, manages to dispatch it via obviously occult means. Good thing the boffins of Deutschlandland, who as we remember have made a name for themselves as the foremost experts of the Darkness phenomenon over the last 5 years, were farsighted enough to have a giant robot ready for this very contingency, right?

Not that this unprecedented attack wasn't entirely anticipated by Ludwig Schroedinger, and formed part and parcel of his own convoluted Schattenjahrtausendplan.

That I was planning to work out the exact hows and whys of this as I wrote the story speaks a lot about the ways my plotting fell down. I had two competing ideas about why Ludwig was anticipating the attack and saw building the Erlengel to defeat them as key. One was that it was all some part of an elaborate ritual sequence that he had divined from his occult learnings and found a way to plan around. The first shadow demon attack - and there were going to be a dozen more - was some twisted universal echo of Advent Rey 1, of some monstrous interloper marching upon the new heart of the Philippines, and only by defeating each trial in turn could Ludwig (or I suppose more accurately speaking, Kai and his half-demon giant robot) earn the proper legitimacy to achieve ASCENSION, whereas Darkness tried the brute-force approach and failed.

The second idea goes back to Darkness' purported origins as Kamin wrote in the rather brief LUDWIG'S HATE, KAISER'S WRATH. Darkness was an entity from the shadowed realm of Stygia whom Ludwig summoned to this plane, beholden not only to the old warlock but also, metaphysically, to the place of his origin. And while the ruling authorities of Stygia seem rather cowed by Ludwig's terms back then, they weren't going to appreciate Ludwig using one of their own to springboard his way to cosmic power and multiverse-rewriting, at least without adequate recompense. So each of the shadow demon attacks on Neo-Manila are in truth sent from Stygia to take Darkness back, and Ludwig needed to hold them off he can complete whatever he needs to do with Kai and the Erlengel. This is the more Evangelion-y idea, and the one I've already given some support to in Advent Rey's epilogue.

Of course, these two ideas aren't incompatible and I was most likely going to incorporate elements of both to fill all the holes. And in both cases, only Ludwig can detect an imminent shadow demon attack and all the uniquely effective ways to counter their increasingly clever and insidious vectors. Very suddenly, the status quo of Neo-Manila is broken and the Germanian faction, whom nobody particularly likes or trusts, holds primacy of power over the continued security and prosperity of the city. The national government of the Philippines doesn't have the resources to do anything, and Rey Quirino's reaction over this upset is almost as bad as having Kai Neusternberger become the new media darling of the city (that Ludwig and co. vigorously promotes Kai as the giant robot pilot who saved their city just to rub it in didn't help). And of course, plenty of people saw Deutschlandland's giant robot save as awfully coincidental. There was suddenly a lot of smug looks and suspicious glances across all sides.

Until then-legendary arms merchant John Baylor stepped in to propose that Neo-Manila's safety ought to be the joint responsibility of all stakeholding factions. This was an acceptable proposition to Rey, the American and the Chinese/Technotheocracy camps, because a joint body for coordinating shadow demon defense efforts meant they could keep an eye on the perfidious Germanians, and maybe get them to share some of that uniquely effective occult giant robot technology. Ludwig and his proxies also grudgingly agreed because they needed to cooperate to allay suspicion, and because Ludwig himself is not entirely confidential that Kai and the Erlengel could hold off all the shadow demon attacks on their lonesome, backed by Deutschlandland's secret and therefore rather limited infrastructural capacity. And why not let his rivals put themselves on the firing line for him?

And so it was agreed that a joint organization was to be set up for combating future shadow demon threats. Each foreign enclave-faction (plus Reyworld) was to contribute their own giant robot and prepare it for joint operations. They would contribute funding into a common pool, as well as ensure that municipal safety measures are properly followed in their own slices of the city. A neutral(-ish) operational commander was selected. The Manila Association of Neighborhood GuardianS (MANGS) were born.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:15 am

That was all just a set up for the pun/terrible acronym, wasn't it? :P

I love how you did all the legwork of trawling Kamin's literature and the Darkness/Ludwig stuffs to contrive some reason for random kaiju attacks. I don't remember our bull sessions ever touching that topic, maybe since my brain thought that random giant monster attacks don't need reasons to happen or just happen because they do.

Also, unless you consider it unnecessary exposition, this risks the need of even more info on Stygia or Heck or wherever the kaiju comes from and the hell-barons' terms with Darkness and Ludwig, to explain the demon kaiju incursions. Detail-creep, etc.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:51 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:That was all just a set up for the pun/terrible acronym, wasn't it? :P

I love how you did all the legwork of trawling Kamin's literature and the Darkness/Ludwig stuffs to contrive some reason for random kaiju attacks. I don't remember our bull sessions ever touching that topic, maybe since my brain thought that random giant monster attacks don't need reasons to happen or just happen because they do.

Also, unless you consider it unnecessary exposition, this risks the need of even more info on Stygia or Heck or wherever the kaiju comes from and the hell-barons' terms with Darkness and Ludwig, to explain the demon kaiju incursions. Detail-creep, etc.
The earlier idea about the shadow demons attacks as symbolic/metaphysical trial was indeed an attempt to forestall detail creep. Implying that LORD EREBUS was sending lackeys after Ludwig needed me to work out the motivations of yet another faction, and that required giving them all the wordcount that their significance deserved, and bleh. At least the symbolic trial option wouldn't have required me to write yet more characters into the plot and lets Ludwig plot and brood over his plan to his leisure, even if his plan was probably going to end up as well-defined and coherent as a fever dream.

That said, one particular plot point did require some intelligently malevolent intent behind the source of the shadow-demon attacks besides Ludwig himself. I've previously dropped vague pointers to that in this thread - remember how one discarded origin to Lucine Seydlitz was that she was an AU refugee, plucked into full existence by one of Ludwig's dry runs into enacting full Germanity? I had the whole setting backbone based on that for a while, and that the main job of the Erlengel was in fact to explore these vague never-were and never-have-been realities for useful fictives Ludwig could plop into the universe itself. The shadow demons were just getting in the way of this. But some of these half-real realities independently envied the truthfulness of the universe, and would have invaded our universe through the ways Ludwig opened...But as you said, I later trashed all this as detail-creep.

There was one element of this version that still remained - the Erlengel was able to generate an occult AT-Field Schroedinger Horizon, which reinforced reality and solidified the shadow-demons into some concrete and fightable. It also meant that without the presence of at least one Germanian mecha, all the other machines could do was to distract and delay demon incursions.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:50 am

Heh, MANGs :)

I agree that Lord Erebus would add an unnecessary layer of detail to the whole scenario, but am I correct in thinking your implication is that the shadow demons could be entities from the unrealised Infinite Reichs Ludwig was trying to summon into existence, maybe even the model for his Erlengel? And that if he brought them into the type of full reality that you talk about would risk blowing his cover when someone realised the shadow demon looked an awful lot like the German robot?

I think that could have worked, since these realities are unreal, there don't have to be authorities that are sending these things at Ludwig, those realities could vanish or reform while their shadow demons are attacking, meaning that each one essentially becomes an independent actor, or something. And Ludwig could be happy to use them as part of the ritual since they are, in a sense, shadows, enough to make for a decent stand in anyway.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sat May 02, 2015 4:53 pm

speaker-to-trolls wrote:Heh, MANGs :)

I agree that Lord Erebus would add an unnecessary layer of detail to the whole scenario, but am I correct in thinking your implication is that the shadow demons could be entities from the unrealised Infinite Reichs Ludwig was trying to summon into existence, maybe even the model for his Erlengel? And that if he brought them into the type of full reality that you talk about would risk blowing his cover when someone realised the shadow demon looked an awful lot like the German robot?

I think that could have worked, since these realities are unreal, there don't have to be authorities that are sending these things at Ludwig, those realities could vanish or reform while their shadow demons are attacking, meaning that each one essentially becomes an independent actor, or something. And Ludwig could be happy to use them as part of the ritual since they are, in a sense, shadows, enough to make for a decent stand in anyway.
It works, you know, the idea that the attacking shadow demons are in fact the embodiments of the alternate ab-realities that Ludwig had stirred up. Causing them to called into physical shape, and then having Kai destroy them with the Erlengel, could be his way of filtering out the aspects of Infinite Germanity that he *didn't* want. Of course, this is not an idea I had back then but it would have been a lot easier going if it was.

The Erlengel (and its earlier prototype/spare, the Silberengel), is of course disguised under a layer of photogenic cybernetic armor, like its source inspiration. And since under the 'shadow' theory the demons share no Stygian origins with the Engels, they don't really look alike, no. But of course, what the Erlengel does resemble under all that armor is a giant Darkness, and I bet people of Neo-Manila will recognize that...

And yes, some of the shadow demons were going to be very independent actors. Increasingly so as the plot progressed as to up the difficulty.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu May 07, 2015 10:24 am

I wonder if Rey Quirino will degenerate into a religious person, a dedicated believer in the theological warfare being conducted around him or something. Just like Mangy Pacquiao
Koncz asks me to push the plate of chicken and broccoli closer to Pacquiao. I give it a nudge. Koncz, evidently unhappy with my nudge, reaches past me to nudge it further. Pacquiao does not notice. Now he is shouting across the room to another table full of men in his entourage. “God made man,” he shouts, “in his image!”
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Thu May 07, 2015 11:13 am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:I wonder if Rey Quirino will degenerate into a religious person, a dedicated believer in the theological warfare being conducted around him or something. Just like Mangy Pacquiao
Unlikely as of the now of Advent Rey 2; he's still too high on wounded ego and practical experience. It's gonna be difficult to convince him that you can pray the demon-haunted darkness away when he already *knows* that punching it in the face is perfectly effective. But even further into the future? Who knows.

And it looks like I predicted Manny's political ambitions. (He's a senator in Advent Rey 2) Underestimated them, even.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
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REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sat May 09, 2015 7:01 pm

MANGS would have been a deeply dysfunctional organization from the very beginning. Its first training exercises were near-disasters. Its assets were divided between several factions which have never cooperated and weren't about to start. Its operating protocols were largely built on mutual distrust and the need to one-up each other. Its logistics, even when not counting the problems caused by the above issues, were fundamentally hampered by the need to operate giant robots in a badly developed technically-third-world boomtown like Neo-Manila because technology like giant robots push the envelope a bit even in Future Comixverse. And it's underfunded.

Nevertheless, MANGS held together. Throughout the story the giant shadow demons attack again and again, and the organization manages to put enough units back into working shape to beat the incursion back. Its pilots and field personnel develop the bonds of trust and camaraderie in their patrons' place, and it is here where Kai Neusternberger acquires a sense of self-purpose and is forced into contact with other perspectives, eventually coming into his own as a fighter and his eventual role as metaphysical lynchpin.

Despite all the deliberate measures to dilute its influence, Deutschlandland dominates the organization by dint of prestige and superior preparation. It's the faction that already has a launch-capable giant robot or two and the mission infrastructure necessary to support it, all tucked away in the bulk of Castle Neusternberg. It's the faction that comes right out of the gate with a record of success. It does not hesitate to leverage its unique ability to anticipate and counter future incursions. As politically galling as it is, it leads all the others by example. For good or for ill, its machines become the centerpiece of all MANGS operations and their presence become a pillar for morale. Its chief operations officer, the brilliant but inexperienced Lucine Seydlitz, also becomes the de facto operational commander for MANGS as a whole, and the double responsibility of orchestrating successful battles and gatekeeping Deutschlandland's darker secrets wears at her.

Fortunately, the Erlengel is a superlative combat unit that generally manages to come out on top of whatever it's thrown at, flexible and resilient and always up for pulling off a bit of specification-exceeding performance with some coaxing from its pilot. Of course this is because it cheats, not actually being a giant robot but more of a lobotomized giant Darkness clone, and ADVENT REY already amply demonstrates the kind of physics-defying bullshit a Darkness is capable of. Kai, the pilot, is designed to synchronize with the machine to bring out its maximum performance which means a lot rides on his mental state as is proper for the protagonist of an Evangelion-alike story, but at least he starts off as sterner stuff than, say, Shinji Ikari. Deutschlandland also possesses a second Engel, the Silberengel, which is largely intended as a test platform, and doesn't do nearly as well when pressed into combat (and believe me, it would have been at some point). But at least the latter is a lot less picky when it comes to pilots.

The American executives of Mayflower Hills looked to Sam Trask to provide a giant robot to show up the perfidious Germanians, and despite some minor issues encountered with shipping it across the Pacific, they very quickly had the Maverick operational in Neo-Manila, a ponderous but heavily-armed product of good ol' American kaiju-busting knowhow and Trask Industries' own considerable investments into robotics*. The Maverick is equipped with things like eye-lasers, holstered atomic revolvers and all kinds of features that only makes sense in the demented mind of Captain Capitalism, who in this story was going to take a distinct resemblance after Cave Johnson of Portal fame, and in general tries to compensate for all its inadequacies with firepower. Which admittedly it sometimes does.

(This was all conceptualized before PACIFIC RIM, by the way.)

*As exemplified in FIDEL SOUP and other stories.

Less appreciated is Trask's chosen pilot for the Maverick, one Carissa Anne Matilda Lancaster. Volatile, put upon, re-trained on short notice but taking pride in mastering everything on the go anyway, Carissa is not exactly the most motivated pilot. She nevertheless settles into being Kai's primary foil on the giant robot piloting front, as well being Kai's deeply mistaken model on how a regular human being functions. Carissa on her part is hardly happy about being compared to some test tube-grown golden boy, driven as she is by a stubborn pride in overcoming whatever bullshit that her patron will throw her into next. She's here to do her job and go home when Trask is seized by his next mad scheme.

Unfortunately, she kind of is the Asuka of this piece and there is a fair chance that she wouldn't have survived to the end. Sorry Heretic.

In contrast, the property development consortium behind New World East are basically ordinary businessmen who have no idea where to start looking for a giant robot, so they entirely relied on their Technotheocratic allies. The Nexarchate of the Philippines is not exactly a rich and powerful branch of the church either, but they manage to rustle up a small but serviceable mecha and an AI on probation to pilot it with. I did a bit of incidental worldbuilding that the Technotheocracy is involved in the reform and rehabilitation of rogue AIs in Comix, and so has quite a number available for dangerous jobs like these. I never managed to flesh out Delta or its two attendant Technopriests much, but it was supposed to have a surprisingly photogenic hologram avatar and basically was the calm, stoic one out of all the pilots, whose resignation to its duty and design served as the other pole whom Kai could compare himself by (and decide not to be like). The Chinese mecha is a swift, fragile one that goes down to one good hit, which ironically suits makes it pretty good at harassment and being a decoy. It was probably going to be totalled repeatedly.

If you thought the Chinese property tycoons had it bad at giant robot operations, look no further than Reyworld - because building and fielding a proper giant robot without any foreign assistance just as it did with its theme park...well. Really, if it was about providing raw brawn Rey Quirino could probably have done it personally, but national pride was at stake, dammit. Outside a few plot moments, they don't really succeed at all, something that rankles Rey's ego ever the more if existing circumstances weren't bad enough already.

The overall commander of MANGS is yet another colorful character, ostensibly not attached to any of the existing factions: Wolf Trask, the Socialist Hawk. Here I needed another perspective character "on the street" as it were, a competent outsider who had a mandate to poke around everywhere and wasn't limited by Kai's naivete. I originally considered debuting the Comix! version of Leonard Bateau for this role, but after discussion with FROD decided to stick to the economy of existing characters. In any case, with his martial accomplishments Wolf also makes for a good cyborg ninja, which he technically is, and of course lets him spar and deal with Jose Rival and everything else going on behind the shadows. (I also decided that his "prosthetic skin" is actually polymimetic camouflage that can alter his appearance.) He comes with his antagonistic connections to his brother, and took on the job at the latter's invitation really to keep an eye on Carissa.

Aside from him, the inimitable John Baylor acts as go-between for all the factions, greasing all the wheels.

MANGS's headquarters is on the island of Corregidor off Manila Bay, a traditional defensive location located a safe distance away from the city, and later acquires a skyship (possibly thanks to the Germanians) as as field command center which was later totally going to be used to ram something. Baylor pulled strings to have a few more conventional anti-Kaiju defenses emplaced around Neo-Manila on a rather stretch dime: nearby Drum Island was bulldozed and converted into one giant railgun turret, and heavy airlift services were commissioned from Hero Labs (who also has ongoing infrastructural commitments in Neo-Manila, like the fusion-powered water purification station which is still working on Manila Bay, turned to blood during the Ascension Crisis) for giant robot transport services.

On Wolf's recommendation, a small unit of Saint Industries combat cyborgs were also retained and stationed in the city, who simply came to be known as the Saints. They are killing machines a cut above the chromed heavies who walk the streets as well as any potential SS demonhosts who might be lurking into the shadows, and this hunch eventually proves fruitful. Never mind that that there's about enough in MANGS's annual operating budget to keep them active for about half an hour at a time.

And with this, I think the setup is about complete. We'll be going over the plot points next.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Thu May 14, 2015 5:03 pm

Interlude: JOHN BAYLOR RISING

The role John Baylor would have played in ADVENT REY 2 is different enough that I should write a bit about it here. Like many of the other characters whom I've appropriated for the story, Baylor was reshaped to fit the shape of the pastiche I wanted to write. However, the brainstorming eventually ballooned into a bunch of worldbuilding detail that's unrelated to the plot but still forms the Comix! Earth of year 2017 in which the story was set, as well as my private vision of what Comix! would have looked like after five-year timeskip (circa 2012). The Rebuild of Comix!

Now, John Baylor's a gunrunning schmuck who flies around in an army surplus airship in Africa, basically designed by Shroom to be a small-timer caught between a lot of large and horrible forces. I at least had him be more than a one-man operation* by the time of Advent Rey, and hinted at a bunch of plot developments in his entrepreneurial foray into the Phils. Still, his heroic role in the Ascension Crisis netted him nothing more than a medal and lots of profit. So why, five years later, is he a silver-tongued titan on the international arms scene, commanding the ear of international consortiums, national governments, and even Saint Industries itself? Okay, it's because I wanted a Kaji/Drebin. And having the suave-yet-shady connections guy for *every* giant robot faction be the same guy was funny. But at this point of the story his influence has grown even beyond the characters he's supposed to be the pastiche of. His role turned out to be far more prominent.

*Akinwale Mango, erstwide driver, bodyguard and all-round man Friday was a Kenyan ex-park ranger who was thought up as a character in MSN before the story, actually, and I took the chance to introduce him in Advent Rey because why not. (And I needed a Barrett expy.)

John Baylor was pretty close to the heart of the Ascension Crisis, and more or less understood what was going on. He witnessed the ascension of the Hero of the Philippines and the granting of its miracles and mantles. He witnessed the Dark Heart of the Philippines and its own dark ascension, defeat and banishment, and how doing that lifted the malaise of a whole country. And after that he went back to the Dark Continent, the horribly exotic magical Africa, where warlords claim the spiritual totems of beasts and one guy literally powers his magic with the death and suffering of the entire place. it suffices to say that he made certain connections.

Now, Baylor isn't that naive about Africa to think that taking down General Mustafa Crimson, most brazen and awful of the Seven Serpents of Crime, will instantly fix the place up. But Crimson is just too obvious of a big bad, you know? And Siege did postulate that he's too obvious a Big Bad to have a nice long career. Hypothetical alignments of geopolitics paved the way of his downfall, only awaiting the man with the plan.

Baylor was the man. And the first thing he did was to approach Charlotte Saint, Princess of Mercenaries. His plan plainly impressed Saint in a horribly fascinating way, because they next thing that happened was that Saint let him him borrow her unbelievably formidable rolodex. Other parties were approached: the rising superheroes of Africa; the hard-pressed remnants of the Ghost Tree magi who already owe Baylor favors for the timely balut shipments; Lord Fahrenheit, resident expert on all things Red Weed; Spider Simango; and countless others.

Now, I can't tell you what exactly happened in the process - in the end, it's only a bit of background fluff for Baylor's character (and I haven't really worked it out). But Baylor and Simango treats with Crimson's mystic patrons, the Mwami, and bargains for them to withdraw their protection at some tremendous price. (Possibly Simango and his Totem itself, but he probably cheats his way out of it later) Various forces coordinate on a scale as never before and subvert control of the Red Weed and other Martian remnant technology from under Crimson in one fell swoop. Then finally, Baylor "brings the sun down" upon Crimson, not only destroying him but reaching back *through* his connection with all the pain and suffering of the continent to punch all the pain and suffering of the continent in the face.

In the end, there are now openly magocratic political parties active in West Africa, Nigeria has formal diplomatic contact with Mars, and there won't be a Serpent of Africa for a long time. The only thing left of Mustafa Crimson is his glass eye, now a trinket somewhere in Jurgen Baccara's connection. It's all one big "noodle incident" as TVTropes would call it, and it all serves to give John Baylor a massive and somewhat terrifying reputation, someone who can arrange whole metaphysical schemes to accomplish what the best superheroes have failed. And it all grew from the seed of Manila.

And John Baylor didn't seem to have come through all of it the same person either. He had tread a similar path to Rey Quirino's own profound transformation. He had ordered horrible things done. He has gained an awareness of some rather tremendous responsibilities. And when he returns to the city now called Neo-Manila, he is quite aware of what is going on...
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri May 15, 2015 1:03 pm

I am super surprized at this super John Baylor who did something that the likes of Archwind and Wayward Son couldn't do. But I like it. And perhaps this could be some meta-commentary on the end of the age of superheroes, where Comix! does genre-commentating where the superhero-supervillain cycle of villainy (meta- promoted by the comics industry) is in-universe ending as non-superhero but still incredible capeless individuals are transcending and doing cool shit to change the world in a non-stagnant and dynamic way (meta- the emerging indie comics scene, IMAGE COMICS FUCKYEAH).

I guess John Baylor would be instrumental in that, as the dealmaker and behind the scenes guy, but the super heavy lifting must be from the locals to avoid White Savior cliche. Bleach.

This is incredible though and I love it mangs.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Sun May 17, 2015 3:56 pm

WHEW, that is a lot of setup

I find an oligarchy of corporate interests bringing in a guy who calls himself Socialist Hawk as head of their super-security force to be a little odd. Is the idea something like that his distaste for all of them means they are all reasonably confident he won't sell out to one of their competitors?

I like the idea of Baylor being part of the team that put down Mustafa Crimson, and I would imagine that in that story Spider Simango would be the designated protagonist and ends up being the Hero of Africa... but not being that into fame and fortune he would probably let his legend spread around the world while he himself went back to playing juvenile pranks on Crimson's lesser warlords. It would probably paralell Rey's story, at least superficially (though Simango is obviously a lot more connected with his mythic responsibilities)

Also it would be a metaphor for... decolonisation and stuff? The fact that it was largely an African effort led (or figureheaded) by an African hero? I don't know. I love the stuff about how it ends up with the Ghost Tree going political and magocracy becoming an open, viable force in West African politics. One imagines the French and particularly the British would HATE this whole development.

I am going to nitpick, though, because it was my character, Lord Deimos, who was in control of the red weed and defiled, degenerated Martian stuff. He was the de facto leader of the Ghost Tree and Crimson's biggest enemy in West Africa. So the Red Weed wouldn't have been Crimson's to subvert.

Sorry :geek:

OH, would this whole Saga of the Crimson Sunset get into how Schroedinger got his hands on the Darkness Balut after the ex-President of the Philippines gave it to Baylor to do away with?
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Thu May 21, 2015 12:31 pm

speaker-to-trolls wrote:I find an oligarchy of corporate interests bringing in a guy who calls himself Socialist Hawk as head of their super-security force to be a little odd. Is the idea something like that his distaste for all of them means they are all reasonably confident he won't sell out to one of their competitors?
More or less. I mean, the actual responsibilities of his job don't extend much beyond shouting orders dramatically from the really high Commander's seat (mostly on Seydlitz's recommendations) and smashing big red buttons to authorize contingency measures without bothering to flip the safety glass covers first. Him being able to look after himself is also a bonus considering the working environment. Which is why between giant demon attacks Wolf gets a lot of time to hang out around the city and maybe even get a bit of social justice in.
speaker-to-trolls wrote:I am going to nitpick, though, because it was my character, Lord Deimos, who was in control of the red weed and defiled, degenerated Martian stuff. He was the de facto leader of the Ghost Tree and Crimson's biggest enemy in West Africa. So the Red Weed wouldn't have been Crimson's to subvert.
I may have extrapolated a bit too much from half-remembered plotlines, but wasn't there also Black Mars? Who isn't entirely a Crimson lackey either, but certainly not on the side of the angels. But yeah, this mostly came from the realization that actual Martians were still alive and on hand to make the Martian stuff work, if they could only be made to pay attention. And the process of it gives Africans (well, mostly the Ghost Tree) a proper means of controlling and utilizing the Red Weed without resorting to risky blood magic, and that goes a long way towards making it work for the continent's welfare.*

And oh yeah, Akinwale Mango runs a preserve for the treatment and rehabilitation of demon balrog elephants now. Come to think of it, a lot of the changes in Baylor's character was initiated as a rationale for why his loyal assistant is no longer around; the things that Baylor did had to be scary enough that not even Mango is comfortable working for him any more.

*I keep making oblique mentions to indigenous African superheroes who spearheaded the effort and well, it's actually years-old OC material that never quite made it to the character ideas thread so I'm a bit embarrassed to bring it out now, but hey whatever.

Adama Tal is a Malian dude who discovered his gnarly geokinetic powers a few years ago, became an Imam and started gathering followers, performing good works and surviving attempts by various warlords to whack him. I don't want to say that his influence and stubborn survival is what started swinging the pendulum around, but by Crimsonfall he *was* a sizeable force on his own, considering that he can raise and demolish fortresses in a night, open oases anywhere and bury whole armies in fissures.(And maybe even manipulate the weather to match. I never decided.) His entourage included an oracular albino kid, an alligator-totem warlord whose speedboat squadrons were good at spreading his message and smuggling him around, and a Turaeg woman who could hulk out into a giant made of red-hot, anti-magic iron and could pass lesser forms of her transformation to others. Together they're pretty badass.

There was a bit of contrast with, say, Deimos. Imam Tal has an urban background, is university-educated and speaks fluent French, and generally fits more into the Western mold of a philanthropic leader from a recognizable religious tradition. The Ghost Tree doesn't like him for not being nativist enough, and he doesn't like *them* for not being nativist enough, preferring to have the Red Weed eradicated from the continent as an alien imposition. Deimos has more connections with the world of magic, while Tal has more cachet with the mainstream Western superhero crowd. Baylor did get them to work together though.
OH, would this whole Saga of the Crimson Sunset get into how Schroedinger got his hands on the Darkness Balut after the ex-President of the Philippines gave it to Baylor to do away with?
No idea! I assumed that Schroedinger, being Darkness' summoner, used his magic to track down and capture Darkness while he was still in helpless balut form.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Thu May 21, 2015 4:34 pm

On Deimos: True enough, I never did get around to writing up Black Mars or working out exactly what his powers were. He certainly wouldn't have Deimos' degree of control over the weed but there is no reason he couldn't have some control over it, especially with Mwami assistance.

Black Mars started off as Crimson's lackey, I imagined he would get angrier and more egomaniacal ever since the Incident. Basically he ate some Martians but, since he broke a sacred oath he gave to Deimos, the result was to turn him slowly into a Martian himself, the mix of body horror and the change in consciousness, with the vastly increased Martian brainpower and spiritual link to the ghosts of Mars, was driving him mad. Ultimately he might well have seen himself as having a MIGHTY DESTINY! And trying to break out of Crimson's organisation, which could only help with Crimsonfall.

African Heroes: this guy sounds solid, as I said at one point Africa in Comix needed some big, real heroes, what with Simango being a trickstery jerk and Deimos just being less evil than the most evil being in the entire world. I like the fact they see Deimos use of Red Weed as anti-nativist, that is a particularly nice twist.

Balrog Elephant Refuge: This is adorably horrifying.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu May 21, 2015 5:53 pm

Frightening, we are now on the verge of somehow organically (ala SOTS thread, and the late great Mad Ideas thread) spontaneously doing conversational worldbuilding. As it should be!

We need a (possibly female?) superhero, perhaps in the mold of a successful Pan-Africanist thing... something harkening to Angola beating South Africa in the 80s.

EDIT:

Man, Comix Africa can have internment camps... with like nine districts ;) of Martian POWs who somehow resisted plague! And like... rogue Saintly Concerns robocops falling in with totally zef gangstas who were once rappers who turned to crime when their ridiculous music careers and film careers flopped. :D

And Sharlto Copley running around screaming, in exo-armor. With a katana!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon May 25, 2015 3:03 pm

speaker-to-trolls wrote:Black Mars started off as Crimson's lackey, I imagined he would get angrier and more egomaniacal ever since the Incident. Basically he ate some Martians but, since he broke a sacred oath he gave to Deimos, the result was to turn him slowly into a Martian himself, the mix of body horror and the change in consciousness, with the vastly increased Martian brainpower and spiritual link to the ghosts of Mars, was driving him mad. Ultimately he might well have seen himself as having a MIGHTY DESTINY! And trying to break out of Crimson's organisation, which could only help with Crimsonfall.

African Heroes: this guy sounds solid, as I said at one point Africa in Comix needed some big, real heroes, what with Simango being a trickstery jerk and Deimos just being less evil than the most evil being in the entire world. I like the fact they see Deimos use of Red Weed as anti-nativist, that is a particularly nice twist.
I don't imagine Black Mars ended up anywhere great either.
Shroom Man 777 wrote:Frightening, we are now on the verge of somehow organically (ala SOTS thread, and the late great Mad Ideas thread) spontaneously doing conversational worldbuilding. As it should be!

We need a (possibly female?) superhero, perhaps in the mold of a successful Pan-Africanist thing... something harkening to Angola beating South Africa in the 80s.

EDIT:

Man, Comix Africa can have internment camps... with like nine districts ;) of Martian POWs who somehow resisted plague! And like... rogue Saintly Concerns robocops falling in with totally zef gangstas who were once rappers who turned to crime when their ridiculous music careers and film careers flopped. :D

And Sharlto Copley running around screaming, in exo-armor. With a katana!
While this is probably not the thread for it, I daresay we can come up with a better (in more than one sense of the word) Africa for the Comixverse than the one we had all those years ago.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed May 27, 2015 12:57 pm

speaker-to-trolls wrote:OH, would this whole Saga of the Crimson Sunset get into how Schroedinger got his hands on the Darkness Balut after the ex-President of the Philippines gave it to Baylor to do away with?
Wait, I misread this the first time round.

That scene was actually written before 99% of the story. In fact, it was the first proper bits of Advent Rey I wrote alongside the Darkness/Chaos/Edge opening scene and the "people vote to fuck you with switchblades" climax. And I *didn't* mean what you thought it meant. All Fidel Ramos sold to Baylor was ordinary balut, as physical and karmic recompense for his role in the story. The ex-keeper of the Dark Heart of the Phillipines in balut form *also* happened to be a wholesale merchant of perfectly ordinary balut because ha ha ironic cover. But by the time I finished the story I supposed the themes matched up :P

But no, the Darkness-balut flew off beyond the horizon and was gone, and stayed gone until Schroedinger tracked it down and recovered it. That's what I, the notably dead writer, intended anyway.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Sun May 31, 2015 2:46 pm

^Ah. My mistake.

I think that scene might have been more relevant if my version was correct, but it would have added more detail creep, plus it would raise more questions because Darkness flew over the horizon.

Yeah.

On making a better Comix Africa, would it be worth someone starting another thread to talk about the possible setup for Crimsonfall and its aftermath?
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:13 am

Re: call

He came to the wasteland wrapped in the skin of angels, seeking an answer to the world’s pain.

His gait was long and his head was high as he strode through the ruined city, and he moved so swiftly that his memories struggled to catch him.

“Slow down.” The raven said. “You are lost.”

“Am I not seeking an answer to the world’s pain?” He replied. “Surely pain is a blasted and ugly thing, so its answer cannot be so. The answer I seek cannot be in the ruined city, where night molders and shadows skulk.”

With swiftness he left the ruined city, and came upon the shattered city.

His gait was long and his head was high as he strode through the shattered city, and he moved so swiftly that his memories struggled to catch him.

“Slow down.” The raven said a second time. “You are lost.”

“Am I not seeking an answer to the world’s pain?” He replied. “Surely pain is a loud and seething thing, so its answer cannot be so. The answer I seek cannot be in the shattered city, where voices babble and fever festers.”

With swiftness he left the shattered city, and came upon the sunken city.

His gait was long and his head was high, but the waters of the sunken city were deep and wide. He strode and sank into the deep waters, weighed down by the skin of angels.

His memories, which struggled to catch him, caught him then. “Why did you slow down?” They asked. “Are you not lost?”

“I am seeking an answer to the world’s pain.” He replied. “Surely pain is a cold and relentless thing, so its answer cannot be so. The answer I seek cannot be in the sunken city, where roots rot and hope sinks.”

“Then why do you stay?” His memories mocked.

“My strides meet only water. I cannot leave.” He said.

“Remove your skin of angels.” His memories told him. “We will catch you and bear you away.”

He did so, and naked he floated in the deep waters, and his memories seized him and locked him in a cage of briars and bore him away.

“I told you you were lost.” The raven said.
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:10 pm

Okay, let's get on with expunging recording Advent Rey 2 for posterity.

I will admit at this point that memory becomes legend and legend becomes myth. The bulk of the material I had managed to write down has already been relayed earlier on in the thread, and I won't claim to remember all of the rest, especially the more speculative twists and turns in a plot I've never settled on.

Previously, what I dumped onto this thread was strictly limited to what I had concrete ideas about, and I didn't want to waste brainpower filling the gaps in a failed enterprise. But the road ahead is pretty patchy and, in order to have stuff to write, I will admit beforehand that some
C O N F A B U L A T I O N will take place for what I will write below. I haven't been using that story-writing brain much these days anyway.

---

It begins in the back of a limo. Kai Neusternberger is fiddling with his tuxedo, uncomfortable with the fanciness of the party he is going to and the general media spotlight he is currently under. Seated next to him is Lucine Seydlitz, a trusted lieutenant of Kai's father who is both Kai's parental guardian for everyday life purposes and his commanding officer for giant robot operations purposes. Seydlitz also covers as the Chief Media Officer of the sprawling Deutschlandland enterprise in the city of Neo-Manila and has engineered half the media coverage around Kai in the first place, which are just a few of the reasons why she is a lot more comfortable about the situation than Kai is. As far Kai is concerned, Seydlitz is cool and confident during Important Situations because she is older and An Adult and this is what Responsible Grown People are supposed to be able to do.

In contrast, Kai just managed to beat up *one* giant shadow demon. And he almost didn't! His performance was significantly worse than in training simulations even in the basic aspects of soul synchronization and piloting procedures in his Erlengel. Considering that he had been training for this ever since he woke up in one of Dr. Elbing's gestation pods, it felt like a disgrace. All of Seydlitz's words about all the inevitable flaws in hardware and doctrine that can only be tested and corrected when the rubber meets the road he understands as a soldier, but doesn't really feel.

The limo they are in is in fact a hover-limo, one of a small motorcade of German-made hovercars entirely intended for the Deutschlandland faction to strut its stuff for this occasion. (Though Ludwig Schroedinger is nowhere near Jurgen Baccara in the money leagues so it's more like one second-hand Stadtler SA-7, an older, less advanced and definitely very out of fashion model, followed by two rather wobbly SA-4s. Still enough, I suppose, for impressing Filipino bigwigs.) The occasion? A ball celebrating the founding of MANGS (The Manilla Association of Neighborhood GuardianS) at city hall, to be attended by everyone who matters in Neo-Manila. The civic ceremony and press conference earlier that afternoon was the tame, respectable part of the process. The evening ball is where the knives come out.

The real patron and mastermind behind Deutschlandland is of course Ludwig Schroedinger, but given that he is an internationally wanted Nazi warlock supervillain he cannot attend public occasions, which is why Lucine Seydlitz and a bunch of very professional, very whitewashed executives trained by EVIL Inc. are attending the party in his place. And Kai, too, since his battle spurred the formation of MANGS in the first place, and guaranteed Deutschlandland's primacy in the organization. He is in a sense not just the headliner of the Germanian delegation, but the star of the entire show. So okay, maybe Kai is being tossed into a pool full of circling sharks, or more precisely a social occasion he has never been prepared for, and he ought to be nervous.

---

Well okay it actually begins in a cold open where Jose Rival, the infamous masked vigilante whom we last saw establishing a temporary alliance with Ludwig Schroedinger and the Marcos family, confronts Senator Manny Pacquiao and tosses him out of a penthouse window. As well as being a Watchmen homage, that I suppose set the political tone behind Neo-Manila and what I understood of Filipino politics in general. Pacquiao is a real life famous boxer who cameo'd in Advent Rey just so I could pull off a gratuitous Salvation Wars joke, which when I look back wasn't a high point of my writing, but which I ran with anyway in the spirit of taking all the jokes in Advent Rey and playing them straight in the sequel. When we last saw Pacquiao in Comix he was in a car crash, so I had him suffer a career-ending injury, leverage his fame to go into politics and become a Senator, because all kinds of personalities* seem to become Senators in the Phils. Then he becomes hip-deep in corrupt dealings involving Neo-Manila's burgeoning killer cyborg industry masquerading as licensed sports teams (which, if you take my profile on PAINSAW as a guide, is as deeply unethical as it sounds) which earns him a dose of terminal justice in Jose Rival's eyes, or something.

*By the way, Lito Lapid had a cameo in Advent Rey too!

(Of course, in formulating the above I deeply underestimated the turn Filipino politics would actually take, which is another reason why this story is too outdated to be written.)

The scene implies that Jose Rival has been acting as black ops bag man for the Germanian faction for the last five years, clearing away the city's political resistance against Schroedinger's plans. It doesn't hurt Rival that a lot of these targets are the sort of people he would have gone after anyway, but it does hurt him to admit that his vigilante activities are actually being facilitated by the clout of an evil apocalyptic wizard and literal Imelda Marcos, She of the Shoes.

Manny Pacquiao knows this much, and even puts up a bit of a fight with his own reconstructive prosthetics, but is ultimately screwed by the choice of acquiring a very expensive apartment right at the top floor of one of the prestigious and well-managed apartment towers in New World East, the Chinese property development that pretty much symbolizes mundane aspiration in a place like Neo-Manila. For all the overt manifestations of weirdness in Neo-Manila, mundanity is only skin-deep. Just as all the expected rich important people security features that New World East has in place are no defense against a cyborg ninja. Manny's death only presages the depths behind the city's, and the story's, facade.

What Pacquiao doesn't know is that his murderer is playing even more sides than that, being your designated cyborg ninja character. Maybe his murders are bit too loud and egregious than necessary, leaving a trail that subtly implicates the Marcos and the Germanians. And this, I suppose, is the thread for Wolfe Trask, the Socialist Hawk, to start pulling at on everyone's behalf, forming the foundation of the street-level side of the story.

---

Back at the MANGS commemorative ball, news of the murder isn't a big deal. All the power players behind MANGS are international investors specifically not beholden to the local politics, and their host, Rey Quirino, doesn't care either. And even the death of a Senator contributes little to the simmering pot that is the local political atmosphere, already long filled will prideful and rapacious actors at odds with each other, catalyzed by the prediction of more catastrophic giant monster attacks. There's a lot more on everyone's minds.

The murder especially goes over the head of Kai Neusternberger, who is still swimming in his foster mom's last-minute advice and navigating the delicate balance between playing the role his father demands of him and just making a scene. This is important, as he (and the reader) is introduced to all the other characters who will be involved in MANGS, including:
  • Sam "Captain Capitalism" Trask, who in this story is a J. K. Simmonsesque figure who is only a slightly larger ham than he is a ranting grandpa, but who is also older and more philosophical about getting his revenge on Rey Quirino in particular and the entire country of the Philippines in general;
  • Carissa Anne Matilda Lancaster, Trask's ward and designated American mecha pilot, who is for once in her natural element at a high society function and only freezes up for a moment when Kai inappropriately remarks on the calluses on her hand;
  • Wolfe Trask-Trotsky, prospective Commander of MANGS despite his qualifications as mostly a socialist agitator-vigilante because god knows what kind of strings his brother pulled, wearing something that barely meets the party dress code, who makes it quite clear to Kai that he took the job only to keep an eye on Carissa who is basically a favorite niece to him, which would be an uncommon display of human depth of CapCap's part if this was actually his idea all along;
  • Two richly robed Technopriests flanking a mobile hologram projector, displaying the AI that will be piloting the Chinese mecha. It's some kind of repentant ex-rampant AI who is quite unconcerned about being reloaded from backup every time its mecha gets blown up, which is enough of a display of being an obedient instrument that it creeps Kai out, because Kai recognizes on some level that this is what Ludwig Schroedinger wants out of him. And on the replaceability point, maybe he's also righter than he thinks ooh foreshadowing.
  • Rey Quirino, Chairman of Neo-Manila and Hero of the Philippines, who doesn't come to introduce himself to Kai like everybody else because what is he, a peasant? Instead he uses his control cane (which, remember, can hijack every unsecured PA system in Neo-Manila) to draw everyone's attention to his resplendent presence on an actual stage set up for the purpose.
In any case, Rey doesn't like Kai. He doesn't like the way he is being upstaged in his own city. He doesn't like that his own rash stake in MANGS puts him in direct competition with Germanian giant robot building expertise, a race he doesn't even begin to know how to win. He doesn't like Kai for all kinds of predictable ego-related reasons and this doesn't cast him as a very likable person, especially to Kai.

But later in the night they bump into each other in the bathroom. When Kai's guard is down and Rey is no longer putting on a show for his ever-present audience, the latter recognizes that the former is just a kid, whereas Kai has a sudden and very brief flashback of someone else's memories. There is some mysterious connection between the two, not the least because Kai was created with Rey's DNA, which establishes their evolving relationship going on in the story.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
Coming NEVER

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Invictus
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:10 pm

And oh of course, John Baylor was there too, intervening just as Rey's unsubtle put-downs and Kai's teenage temper was about to cause a public scene, cutting a dashing figure in his bold hawaiian shirt-patterned suit in the style of the Congoese sapeur*. This is where Kai gets his first look at the man and the legend, the small-time gunrunner ("I prefer the term violencier", Baylor says) turned hero of Africa, who was right there beside Rey Quirino himself in facing down the Manila Ascension Crisis. And from the way Baylor navigates the crowd during the rest of the night, it becomes apparent who's the actual diplomatic mastermind behind MANGS. (Well Lucine points it out to Kai, since Kai is half Rey and half Darkness by DNA and I can't think of a less socially incisive combo off the top of my head)

However, from the perspective of a reader who is already familiar with Comix!Baylor (who else am I writing for? ;) ) all of this seems wrong. John Baylor's schmuckness is a thing that transcends universes, so what business does he have being a slick facilitator while dropping casual hints of hidden depths?

*Though if the events of the Comix Africa timeline go by as I previously described, the technicolor dandyism of sape may well have broken out into international fashion. It wouldn't be just Baylor being eccentric!**

**Though he would still have no idea how to coordinate pocket squares.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
Coming NEVER

User avatar
Invictus
Posts: 1190
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 11:44 pm

Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:46 pm

Anyway, the introductory chapter ends with various gears set into motion, all the factions having considered to have obtained enough of a measure of each other to start making the next stage of their plans. As stakeholders with billions invested into Neo-Manila, they obviously want to protect what they have built from giant shadow demon attacks (even Ludwig, in the short term). But more ulterior agendas also drive the moving forces of the plot going forward:

The Americans are mostly driven by Captain Capitalism's grudge against Rey Quirino, even though being able to beat the Filipinos in a giant robot engineering contest is more or less a foregone conclusion. (There was a bit of errant worldbuilding in Comix+5 where giant robots are a relatively mature technology for American industries, the whole Asia-Pacific kaiju incursion having escalating into a low-key Pacific Rim situation, and seeing how Heretic seemed to feature a lot of Trask Industries-built robots in his stories...) Still, assuming that Trask is trying to break into a giant robot industry dominated by more established corps, this new crisis in Neo-Manila is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how competitive his designs are in an analogous scenario. Of course, the scenario rapidly becomes not very analogous at all and although the Maverick *is* probably the most technically formidable mecha in MANGS's stable right out of the gate, this just means it takes the lion's share of mission damage.

The Chinese have the least skin in the game wrt the other factions, though they have the most wealth and success to defend. Their ambition really comes from the their Technotheocrat allies, who already have achieved a nigh-unprecedented level of influence in Neo-Manila by taking taking advantage of the massive overthrow of the social order five years ago; *their* mecha is aimed at impressing their new Chinese patrons enough to earn more material backing, and also at impressing fellow Technotheocrats enough to obtain the legitimacy for Nexarch Balbinus to build his own autonomous diocese around the Asia-Pacific. This is complicated by...well, them being the least plot-relevant faction.

The Filipino "native" faction under Rey Quirino are, let's be honest here, the ones most behind on the giant robot race in the sense that they don't manage to field a functional one most of the time. The much touted Super Kidlat is simply absent for most of the early chapters where the mecha are meant to train and spar and learn to coordinate with each other, and even in its few operational deployments its fighting capacity is better served by just having its pilot (Rey Quirino) jump out of the cockpit to punch things. Not that Rey listens because it's about the principle of it, damn it.

But among the many, many things the guests leaving the party didn't account for is the entirely accidental bathroom rapport between Rey and Kai, which is set to entirely undermine the goals of the Germanian faction.
"This explanation posits that external observation leads to the collapse of the quantum wave function. This is another expression of reactionary idealism, and it's indeed the most brazen expression."
-
REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 1 - Rey Quirino Versus the Dark Heart of the Philippines
"...a literary atrocity against the senses..." - Ford

REBUILD OF COMIX STAGE 2 - Advent Rey Returns: REVERGELTUNG
Coming NEVER

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