ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:16 pm

How do the Baylor Corps factor into the breakdown? I forgot what the breakdown entailed and why we threw in THE LAST BRAGULAN there...
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:24 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:16 pm
How do the Baylor Corps factor into the breakdown? I forgot what the breakdown entailed and why we threw in THE LAST BRAGULAN there...
At this point, not quite yet. The really metafictional stuff comes out to the protagonists (and the readers) at the endgame of the hypothetical plot.

Fortunately, the endgame of the hypothetical plot is what I've fleshed out the most, so it should take only several more effortposts to get there. :lol:

Also, given the entirely convenient nature of the alliance between Schroedinger and the Filipino political clans carrying water for him, I speculate if all those important politicians' children at the Deutschlandland academy are actually some kind of surety or hostage. I honestly don't know if I'm reflecting on the real-world state of international education and elite brain drain in the Phils here.
"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

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:35 pm

I. Remission / Rapid Fading wrote:“Telegnostic matrix stabilized. The pilot has direct control.”

The reactor breathed. In his skin trembled the bones of titans.

“Schroedinger horizon established. Primary Goetic array operational. Test scan completed. Guard radius set.”

Impressions descended like lightning. The amniotic murk gave way to light.

“Final grounding tether detached. The Erlengel unit is ready for launch.”

Through his mind, bubbles burst. He remembered drowning. He remembered gushing blood beneath a shattering sky.

“Focus, Leutnant! This is not a simulation! Remember your duty and carry out the mission!”

“Yes, Major.” He found his voice and the strength behind it. “Mission objectives confirmed. Transition coordinates confirmed. Another routine mission, right?”

“It’s not your first, Leutnant.”

He grinned a little. “Another routine mission, HQ. Engel-1, launching!”
Now, on to the fighty aspects of the plot.

It is a bit obvious that MANGS (the Manila Association of Neighborhood GuardianS), with its scratch strength of four mecha, three of which are nominally functional, is not a well-honed fighting force. It's fortunate that after the first giant demon attack, there was a gap of months for the Neo-Manilans to assemble said force before the subsequent attacks really ramped up.

To briefly recap, the mecha complement is formally Deutschlandland's Erlengel, the Technotheocracy's Zephyr, Trask Industries' Maverick and Rey Quirino's Super Kidlat. They are listed in the rough order of their readiness. The Erlengel has obviously been there since the very beginning and this is what secures the Germanians' primacy of place in MANGS. It obtained victory before anything else could stand against the monstrous new threat, and its pilot correspondingly became the new rising Hero of the Philippines. True to the Technotheocracy's super-scientific prowess even by the standards of the Comix! setting, the Zephyr and its AI pilot is rushed to deployment at Neo-Manila with remarkable speed and support. Even before the first two machines have a chance to coordinate, I suppose the Zephyr proves its worth at the second giant demon attack by providing useful support/distraction for the Erlengel.

The American Maverick arrives late (and in fact, Carissa Lancaster spends a lot of time waiting for it to arrive at Neo-Manila by ship since her arrival in Chapter 1) because I wanted to do the episode in Evangelion where the Angel attempted to intercept Unit-02 on the way. By now it's a bit meaningless to decide to make it some grand stylistic homage to how the aquatic assailant sinks like half the escorting US Pacific fleet as collateral damage because Captain Capitalism happened to have bought a whole fleet of vintage battleships (like how one of the now-billionaire founding members of Hero Labs bought up the retiring B-52 bomber fleet for kicks), just so said old battlewagons could sacrifice themselves semi-comedically parallel to what Shroom planned to do in Rey Quirino vs. the Rising Sun.

But more likely, the main challenge would be asserting MANGS's embryonic clout against the machinery of national government so Carissa can fly out to the Philippine Sea where the attacked convoy is and get into the Maverick, whereupon it just sits up and blows the shit out of the demon. This gives Carissa the mistaken impression that her job might be easy after all. That probably a more suitable pathos than the angst of getting outperformed at every turn by Kai because unlike Asuka, Carissa has had mere weeks of crash training here, far less formal experience than Kai.

The Super Kidlat...doesn't factor much into the plot at this point. I mean, given the nonexistent state of the Philippines' native giant robot industry it's a miracle Rey Quirino managed to get anything built at all, but on the other hand it has major problems even activating without collapsing into a pile of power leaks and critical software crashes, and Rey just seethes in his primary-colored pilot suit but is too proud to just get out of the cockpit/ready bay and contribute to the battle personally. Some of the robot's early public appearances are just cheating by having the machinery be possessed and animated by what's left of the magic jeepney from ADVENT REY 1. And even when Rey's team manage to get the machine to as good a condition as it gets, the Super Kidlat is still too barebones a fighting mecha to be much more effective than Rey's own fists.*

The first time all four mecha manage to operate together is just for a training exercise, where they promptly trip over each other. (You can imagine Major Seydlitz facepalming here.) At this occasion we are also introduced to Uehara Isshin and Gomiya Hajime, the two carryall pilots seconded from the Manilan Hero Labs mission (still busy operating the fusion-powered purification plants that are slowly turning Manila Bay back from blood into water). The two are consummate professionals with plenty of experience with danger close operations as they're from the kaiju hotspot of Okinawa and have seen plenty of shit from their time in Anthony Andrews' private Thunderbirds team; but what they actually offer is invaluable aerial mecha transport across Neo-Manila because seriously, Neo-Manila isn't a purpose-designed bunker city like Tokyo-3 from Evangelion and I can barely imagine the devastation if something with the Maverick's tonnage tried to cross the city by walking.

The main problem with *that* is they have one carryall to spare in total, which just makes rapid response to demon incursions even more of a crapshoot and places some tough choices on MANGS operational command. Thanks to advanced antigrav technology and general lightness of build the Zephyr can fly itself so it can always arrive first, but that just exacerbates its fragility. Meanwhile, MANGS can either drop the Erlengel or the Maverick in second, which is technically a tactical choice depending on the nature of the foe, but is complicated by how just like the Angels in Evangelion, demons can sudden unveil abilities like splitting into two or will eat your soul if you touch them.

We also can't forget the fact that practical authority in the MANGS command center is split between Lucine Seydlitz and the Socialist Hawk, the former developing ever-closer emotional bonds with the Erlengel's pilot who is also her foster son, and the latter who only took the job to keep the Maverick's pilot alive. This is further complicated by the fact both Kai and Carissa want to prove themselves.

*I assume that some of the Filipino military's infamous hardware inadequacies has been ameliorated by the Comix-ness of the Comixverse, that the country has benefitted from background technological advancements, and that it can't be embezzling all the funding from the pan-Pacific anti-kaiju treaty organization, so the Super Kidlat does have built-in conventional guns and missiles and stuff, and its pair of deployable forearm blades are actually quite cool. But it just pales next to the well-integrated (or at least far more robust) superscience that the other machines are packed with.
"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

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:40 pm

I... can't even remember what caused the demon incursions!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:01 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:40 pm
I... can't even remember what caused the demon incursions!
Well, several ideas were floated.

It's probably useful to recap the background behind the Angel attacks in neon Genesis Evangelion (or my understanding thereof without doing wiki a refresher course first): Adam, the First Angel and progenitor of its own whole branch of life, was dug up from Antarctica and grown into the crucified giant down in the basement of the NERV headquarters, and all the Angels were attacking Tokyo-3 so that they can make contact and merge with Adam (Adamite life not being big on the whole "reproduce and divide" thing like humans). Meanwhile, NERV's backers (and Gendo Ikari, for his own reasons) aren't paying for the giant robots and the weaponized cityblocks just so to repel the Angels indefinitely; they want to merge shit into Adam *on their own terms*, with humanity-ending consequences whoever does it first. This is what ADVENT REY 2 must justify.

It boiled down to two ideas: either Lord Stygius of Stygia* (from Darkness' own backstory) wants Darkness back and is sending demons to get him, and Ludwig needs to hold them off while he enacts his ritual of INFINITE GERMANITY; or the whole thing is being orchestrated by Ludwig and the attacking demons are the embodied possibilities that Ludwig wants to prune away in order to leave behind INFINITE GERMANITY, taking the form of Advent Rey echoed again and again because it's the occult path of least resistance. Looking back, I favor the latter, and indeed the latter is what more groundwork has been laid for.

*One of those names Kamin really liked.

Either way, it is necessary to crucify Darkness in a lake of his own balut-juices because he opened the way to cosmos-altering shenanigans in Advent Rey 1**, making himself metaphysically significant in a way that can be exploited by Ludwig. The wizard originally summoned him to Comixverse and presumably still has some unique hold over him.

**And that he was reduced to pure, exploitable potentiality, simultaneously himself and a balut of himself, by his subsequent defeat and purification by Rey Quirino.

However, it would be against Evangelion's original point if Ludwig had too much control over the plot. MANGS wouldn't have needed to be run so ragged if Ludwig could actually summon the demon attacks at his leisure, because there were going to be some genuine close calls where Deutschlandland stood to lose as much as the other MANGS members. Of course, Ludwig could also be playing an extra balancing game in order to damage his rivals more, but I would also need to account for a lot more once that deception blows up. Ultimately, like Gendo Ikari, I don't think Ludwig Schroedinger should be in that much actual control.

What Ludwig definitely does though is anticipate the demon attacks via his occult divinations, and informs MANGS as a whole through Seydlitz in order to establish her credibility. This also lets him set the codename for each attacking demon, which is always a Major Arcana + a mythological creature, so they're all called HERMIT WENDIGO, HIEROPHANT PHOENIX, DEATH DRAGON and so forth. You can imagine Ludwig actually playing the tarot cards very symbolically and everything.
"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

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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:39 pm

I can't say I have planned out any specific chapters or episodes for the first half of the plot, but I can catalogue the progression of several major narrative threads:

There is a kind of see-saw tension between the strength and confidence of MANGS and the looming menace of the demon threat. The demons come out of nowhere* and there is no question of trying to take them out at the source - except Seydlitz's vague assurances that it would be over one day. They also get smarter and more formidable, finding novel vectors of attack that MANGS must scramble to cover and eventually just becoming nasty enough to take all of MANGS's strength head on like Zeruel (that would be the one called DEATH DRAGON, in my mind). But the last bit is for the late plot.

MANGS is also in many respects far more constrained than NERV. They absolutely cannot mobilize the resources of their host city. They are not backed by most of the UN's budget, all the conventional military assets they can requisition, or even municipal laws. Through John Baylor's connections MANGS has on retainer a small platoon of Saints, mercenary cyborgs from Saintly Services who are asskickers of Fordian verve and can go through any equivalent force in Neo-Manila like a hot knife - but their services are so ludicrously expensive that there's only enough room in MANGS's annual budget to buy about half an hour of their active operation time, so mostly they just sit around. Even though it is within MANGS's remit to deal with civil disturbances that are caused by the demon attacks, they are barely part of the plot until shit hits the fan.

Neo-Manila is something MANGS has to trust to take care of itself, despite MANGS's actual mission. It's partly in the Ankh-Morpork sense that the city itself will eat lesser threats alive, partly in the sense that nothing can suppress its unnatural vigor anyway, property damage will vanish in a month and casualties will be replaced by yet more immigrants, and kaiju-scale throwdowns are just another of the dozen things holding up the morning commute. This would be a nice continuation of the themes of its prequel.

But still, MANGS slowly gets its shit together. Tactical coordination improves as the pilots get used to each other (an important skill for Kai) and learn to trust the chain of command, namely the German lady with no discernible military experience and the laid-back socialist activist guy. Engagements end less with one or more mecha semi-totaled as the pilots sort out their tactics for cracking whatever the demons' equivalent of a core is, quite possibly with Ludwig grudgingly allowing the other mecha teams to develop their own supplements to the Erlengel's indispensable Schroedinger horizon. Maintenance and repair procedures are streamlined in operation, and maybe Rey Quirino and whatever political allies he has put more money on the line. The mobile command skyship finally comes online, allowing for direct battlefield oversight rather than have the combatants try to push 4K feeds through the occult static onto the Corregidor HQ's expensive imported wall-screens while being knocked around.

*Relatively locally, as a bit of an explanation as to why the rest of Comix Earth doesn't get involved, and I suppose it remains perceived as a regional subset of the escalating pan-pacific kaiju threat of the Comix+5 timeline. MANGS just doesn't stand out in the context of the fortification of many more first-rate coastal metropoli, or even amid the general unreality of Neo-Manila.

Then, there is the Silberengel. A lot of the characters would also react with "wait, Deutschlandland had a whole second mecha?!" but we need an analogue to Eva-00, after all. If the Erlengel is the prototype, the Silberengel was the testbed for giant robot/demon hybridization technology, never designed to be deployed in combat at all. Nevertheless, there is always the temptation to put it into the field to carry the extra mecha-sized gun, or just to put an extra body in the demon's path. It helps(?) that unlike the Erlengel's painfully exclusive link to Kai and Kai alone, anyone can hop into the Silberengel's cockpit and make it move. (Looking at you, want-to-save-your-new-friend Stalag Luft V.) Unfortunately, the Silberengel is also not the protagonist machineunable to pull the performance highs that the Erlengel can, synchronized as it is with Kai. Both are clones of the original Darkness, and both are in a sense an indispensable part of each other.

Kai is not initially aware of how special he is. He is in fact the Key of Nebuchadnezzar (apologies to Ford), a vital component both physical and metaphysical to Ludwig's plan to immanertize the eschaton. He does not suspect this at first, briefed only on his indefinite demon-fighting mission and too daunted by Ludwig's patriarchal forbiddence to ask. But Seydlitz grows soft over time (and living together is not long-term conducive to OpSec) and the experience of living helps Kai develop his natural curiosity and so on, but the most telling development that not even Ludwig cannot ignore is Darkness' memories - and powers - bleeding through to Kai.

It's a dangerous form of self-assertion, your pilot slowing becoming an inhumanly strong, darkfire-slinging terror outside the cockpit. Starting to emphasize with the giant demon you have crucified in your basement is even worse. To Kai, it's the usual puberty metaphor plus a sign of his assertiveness, affording him the leverage (along with his growing fame and success) to start asking uncomfortable questions. And maybe here is where Ludwig snaps (and Dr. Theo wryly affirms) that Kai is replaceable, or where Kai digs through his own files (he knows he was grown in a lab, but nevertheless) and finds that he has a Major Arcana designation himself. To Ludwig, these symptoms add an additional dimension of urgency to his master plan - he's not only racing against demon attacks that might grow too much for MANGS to handle, but also the ultimate rebellion of the Key itself.
"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 Jun 24, 2018 5:20 pm

Something I *have* specifically planned out is what I call the TRIPLE DARKNESS Arc, where the monsters of the week in question don't immediately gun for their primogenitor in Castle Neusternberg's basement, but actually wait until three of them have manifested before planning and springing a joint attack. Three cooperating demons would already be a huge step up for MANGS to deal with, used to enjoying tactical superiority as they are. But the demons' ability to individually blend into the crowds of Neo-Manila to strike from anonymity is something the short-handed MANGS is utterly unequipped to deal with.* Of course, MANGS has also been upping its game in response to every new demon attack, so this arc is intended to serve as the big test for their competence, the point after which the ground will shift beneath everyone and the whole we've-beaten-the-monster-of-the-week-let's-go-back-to-base-for-debriefing status quo is no more.

*Admittedly at this point the plot has probably covered the requisite "demon which is a computer virus**" Evangelion pastiche, so MANGS already has some taste of the unconventional attack vectors the demons can have, but this is on another level entirely.

**This one was probably settled by digitizing the OK Kid and she beating it to death with a (digital) baseball bat.

Thematically, having three whole Darkness clones re-enact their father's eschaton is also an even more accurate Final Fantasy: Advent Children pastiche than ADVENT REY 1 was, so it sort of shows that things have scaled up so much that a threat on the scale of Advent Rey is now just one-arc material for the good guys.

Not that the good guys have a good time of it. The Socialist Hawk and the OK Kid spar in the shadows with Jose Rival as usual, continuing to dig into the fishiness of the Germanian conspiracy that they've already noticed at this point in the plot, helped along by cryptic hints from John Baylor and Jose Rival himself, who has always been a double agent passing along his own hints via performative katana fights. But here, all of them must work together in the face of a dark force rising from the fabric of Neo-Manila itself.

What the Darkness clones were doing while laying low were fomenting Darkness cults - people who do want the devil-messiah to cleanse everything away. Maybe the root causes are that Neo-Manila is genuinely a shitty place for lots of people and its whole dizzying unreality is just asking for the mother of all future-shock backlashes. Maybe it never came up until now because the devastation of the tokusatsu fights pushed it over the edge, or because the clones have nigh-arbitrary powers of charm and domination as Darkness himself did, or maybe Darkness-cults have always been there but they just never stood out from all the other cultists and sewer morlocks and the city's general weirdness level. Or maybe, when I mentioned how people used the remnants of the fallen Tree of Anti-Life from Advent Rey as firewood for years, this means that the ash and soot of Darkness' power has in fact permeated every square inch of Neo-Manila since the very beginning, only waiting for his heirs to stir up.

Such stirrings were not unnoticeable. The cyborg ninjas (yeah, that's what I'm calling the characters capable of being covert agents now - which does include Carissa Lancaster, come to think of it, but it's not like her uncle would willingly bring her along.) have an abortive fight with one of their cells or something, do some digging and discover too late that it's much bigger and connected than they thought, because by that point other cells are striking across the city, attempting assassinations on MANGS's backers and summoning the now-familiar shadow demons to cause general chaos. (This includes wrecking the previously mentioned Hero Labs water purification operation.)

Apart from causing a general confidence crisis in public security, the general assault is just a smokescreen for the true objective - the three Darkness clones personally kidnapping Kai, possibly demonstrating the extensive shapeshifting powers that let them stay undetectable until now. The apparent human-ness of the three demons disorients Kai enough to start the dialogue in the first place, though it's possible that it's also Kai himself who leaves behind enough clues, or gets in contact with Seydlitz enough to finally inform MANGS what they should be looking out for.

They know Kai, not them, is the true key to triggering the Ascension process, and if Kai only has suspicions of this at this point they're now thoroughly confirmed. And if Kai wasn't sure if he was a Superboy-style clone of both Darkness and Rey Quirino at this point, the three demons very helpfully explain everything to him, in order to convince him to willingly sacrifice himself to end the world, or something? The demons are obviously not very good at persuasion, and Kai is too metaphysically powerful for them to mind-whammy, so they mostly just keep him incapacitated as they transport him to the second Tree of Anti-Life that they have raised in the middle of Manila Bay, where the Ritual of Ascension will be enacted anew.

I suppose what really plants doubt in Kai's mind is not the demons' exhortations which is the most melodramatic villain monologue nonsense you can imagine, but rather the feeling that Ludwig Schroedinger let it happen...

Meanwhile, MANGS in their splendidly isolated headquarters under Corregidor, on the other side of Manila Bay from the city, is slowly establishing control over the situation. Lines of communication with the international enclaves are re-established, civic defences are coordinated with help from judicious (and totally illegal) bombardment via the Fort Drum railgun, the Saints deploy and earn their keep for once by safeguarding someone really political, and I suppose a lot of the delay comes from rousing Rey Quirino's massive fanclub enough to sweep all before them in a tide of tri-color shirts. Not that the good citizens of Neo-Manila need a *lot* of help, because this hardened lot is not nearly as helpless before the rampaging shadow demons as they were in Advent Rey 1. And in any case, the appearance of the replica Tree of Anti-Life suddenly makes the tactical objective very clear.

Seydlitz orders the Silberengel launched to compensate for the missing Kai, but for everyone who has built bonds with Kai through the story it's pretty personal this time. Two of the demons leave the Tree and assume their giant demon forms to engage and delay the MANGS mecha force, preferably while declaring things like "I AM THE GHOST OF DARKNESS PAST" for maximum annoyance. The third stays with Kai, and this is where it gets really messed up because the third demon's human form looks just like Kai from the future.

Well, he's probably not literally Kai from the future, here to erase his own mistakes or as a double agent from the other side to empower Kai with the truth earlier on - that idea came fully from the "Ludwig is mining possibility from actual alternate never-weres" version of the backing metaphysics that I never settled on, and which I never reconciled with the other possible ideas I had (such as the more moderate, "the elimination of the demons is a trial symbolizing the ritual pruning of possibilities Ludwig doesn't want" idea that I would favor now.) But Future Kai is definitely a version of Kai, maybe an echo of what Kai could have been, and the greatest sign so far that Kai *needs* to break out of his fate. They proceed to have a talk that the third demon wouldn't even let the other two demons overhear. To be sure, some kind of Mobian conspiracy twist happens here, right under the visual (but audioless) feed of the MANGS command skyship, which means Ludwig himself is definitely monitoring the situation, fingers steepled.

In the end the third demon locks Kai inside a giant egg, as MANGS is slowly wearing through the other two demons. The sky is twisting in a familiar way and they don't know how much time they have left. Carissa Lancaster does something self-sacrificing. Rey Quirino, more pissed than usual because even he really wants to save the kid, jumps out of his own semi-functional mecha and throws it at an enemy or something, then proceeds to scramble up the Tree like he did 5 years ago. But he doesn't get there first - surprising everyone, even Seydlitz herself, the Silberengel gets to the top of the Tree and gently cracks the egg open, rescuing Kai before he gets too balut-Tetsuo.

And Kai, the last shreds of his consciousness being torn away by the trauma, manages to catch a glimpse of the white-haired girl in the Silberengel's open cockpit whom he has never seen before, but nevertheless seems to find familiar.
"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 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:46 pm

Oh yeah, the Erlengel's name was originally the Erzengel ("Archangel"), but I changed it to match what Ludwig Schroedinger called Darkness prime in the epilogue of Advent Rey - his Erlkönig.

The Silberengel is, correspondingly, a more prosaic reference to the Silbervogel, probably Nazi Germany's most out there amerikabomber design.
"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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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:42 pm

Let's take a short interlude to talk about John Baylor's role as the plot progresses.

Baylor is not really analogous to his character equivalent in Evangelion in a variety of ways. He's doesn't have a history with the Deutschlandland crew, he doesn't serve as a surrogate father figure to a protagonist whose real father is absent from his life (Kai has at least three dads already). He *is* kind of a guy with ambiguous motivations as presented in the story, dealing in weapons and logistics and suddenly missing red tape, making things easier not just for the various factions of MANGS who were not previously in the giant robot-fielding biz, but also for the Germanians - including the more nefarious parts of them. In a sense, making sure MANGS functions smoothly and keeping the giant demons beaten in itself furthers Schroedinger's goals.

On the other hand, hypothetical O1 readers who are familiar with the multiversal archetype that is John Baylor knows he is generally a doof on the side of the angels - which is to say, nothing like how he is portrayed here. The metafictional tension is definitely intentional, to be maintained throughout the plot.

I explained what happened to him in the 5 years between Advent Reys 1 and 2 earlier on in this thread, but I'm not sure in what form it would come out in Advent Rey 2 itself. The facts would be known to all sorts of parties represented at the Chapter 1 party - from the predictably well-informed like Lucine Seydlitz to Rey Quirino himself, who is at best incurious by nature but still has compelling reasons for having kept in contact with his old boss-fight buddy. Even Kai picks up on a bit of his life-story, I suppose, and it contributes to the general sense that all the adults around him seem to belong to the same pit of impenetrable machinations.

I realize the key point would be how much Ludwig Schroedinger himself knows. Regarding the metaphysical nature of Darkness and his ties to the Philippines' Heart of Darkness, Ludwig understands better than anyone; it would be a fair bet that he inferred the events of the climax of Advent Rey 1, if he didn't simply interrogate it out of Darkness' own memories while his balut-form was under Ludwig's tender mercies.* It wouldn't be beyond him to also infer the similar processes that underlaid the destruction of Mustafa Crimson and note Baylor's involvement in that, and then take appropriate precautions.

*Now here's an idea: Ludwig can't do this directly, but realizes soon enough that the flashes of aberrant impression that Kai is having are essentially Darkness' distorted memories, and has to find a way to tease them out (which also means letting Kai grow steadily more Darkness-like and uncontrollable) without sticking him under magical torture or something. Cue Dr. Elbing complaining "I'm a theozoologist, not a psychiatrist!"

THAT said, Baylor has never been open about what exactly happened when he faced down Africa's own Heart of Darkness, and I suppose he keeps enough of his old obfuscating charm to give any overt hint that he knows what Ludwig knows about him. The two dance, taking advantage of each other, perhaps with a bit more worry demonstrated by Ludwig because he's not sure what Baylor is getting out of furthering his DARK MILLENNIUM PLAN, because on the other hand Baylor seems quite aware of what Ludwig is doing.

Okay, I'm not that sure either. MANGS is obviously a solution to mitigate Deutschlandland's leverage wrt the giant demon attack situation, as well as to counter-program Kai out from under Ludwig's thumb. The latter is probably the main objective, assuming Baylor already knows all about the Key of Nebuchadnezzar business and like with Shinji, the fate of the world is going to come down to the guy in the Erlengel's cockpit making a choice.

In response, there's really less reason Ludwig can offer to dissuade Kai from just having a chat with Baylor from time to time, unlike with Rey Quirino (false idol, squanderer of godhood, obviously an asshole etc). Kai's daily routine is under total control as it already is, but neither MANGS' organizational structure nor Seydlitz's personal clout can prevent Baylor from taking a few minutes with Kai while the latter is in the ready bay waiting for the technicians to fix the power surge in the launch rails, or sitting in on operation debriefings and making cryptic remarks, or just taking advantage of all the little gaps and lapses of life that are the natural consequence of Kai not being locked in Castle Neusternberg 24/7.

What does Kai himself think about Baylor? As mentioned earlier, he already has three dads to deal with: the one locked in the basement whose shadow nevertheless hangs over his every active moment; the distant one who set the framework of his life and the purpose of his existence; and his other genetic parent, the one he was taught to hate and usurp but never quite managed to, even if their mutual pseudo-metaphysical empathetic link wasn't also a thing. Compared to that, Baylor's like the weird uncle.

On the other hand, if Baylor is also one of the conspiracy of adults keeping Kai in the dark about everything, then maybe it's because Baylor himself can't trust Kai to handle it yet, or to keep it secret from Ludwig. He waits until Kai is obviously discontent and increasingly self-actualized before jumping in with plot exposition, which is genuinely a bit sketch now that I think about it.

It helps that unlike Kaji, Baylor isn't going to get silenced by Ludwig sending zombie nazi minions after him because he's still John Baylor. On the individual level, he's perfectly capable of coming to the rescue of other characters and overcoming difficulties of that scale. But on the giant robot fight scale, he's a spectator like the others, and ultimately must pin his hopes onto Kai like everybody else.
"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 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:03 pm

Hmm... the surface level would be I guess he wants to make a quick buck, which is why he ended up in all these places so coincidentally... (I forgot how he ended up in Advent Rey 1!)... I guess seeing two Heart of Darknesses occur and his pivotal yet not-central role in both - assisting Rey in the PH and either Simango or some other local hero (SHEBA?) in Shaka Abeeku - has clued him in on how being lured into these kinds of situations leads to even worser things.

Maybe FIDEL V. RAMOS is clueing him in too...

And it would be hilarious if EDGE and CHAOS reappear but this time as Baylor's hired help. They're like "why the hell are we here again?!" and I guess they end up helping out awkwardly with a reformed PYTHON UNIT in sweeping whatever demon-remnant growth hell-remoras crawl out of slain kaijus.

(And I want it so that Akinwale Mango is some African superspy type who was actually undercover and posed as Baylor's "bodyguard" to travel the world and get a good picture of the underworld arms trade and techno-mystic scene... for his own purposes, whether Baylor is aware of this or not!)

Maybe DEADLIGHT HOLLOWS is also informing Baylor of his divinations as to what Ludwig's up to... in between his new career as TRANS SUPERMODEL and LGBTQIA+ globe trotting fashionista icon Jojo Protagonist!

Like, Baylor is unsubtle so he's the main front but a whole bunch of the surviving protagonists from the first Advent Rey figure out that It's Not Over Yet and are figuring out what's next and what they can do to fix things, and Baylor's their front. Heck, even the O.K. Kid and BOLO are in on it - covertly working as like janitors or engineers or whatever staff in Deutchslandland to gather more info. The O.K. Kid could still exist, continuing in the slums right across Deutchslandland's walls!
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:21 pm

Lots of good ideas here, if I were to actually write this thing. Some of the characters you mentioned I already would be using: The O.K. Kid has been working as Rey Quirino's official sidekick, the newfound fame and adulation from the common people makes her more powerful than ever before, and her trash warrens do extend throughout Neo-Manila.

Out of all the non-foreign characters she probably has the most idea what's going on, being an urban diwata with her finger on the occult pulse of the city (which has additionally been rebuilt around her) and all that. She would be the one who facilitates the tactical sneaking missions of Baylor and the Socialist Hawk and maybe even Kai himself with entrances to her personal otherworld wherever there is junk and clutter. Even in Deutschlandland, where the order and occult wards don't have 100% coverage.

Fidel Ramos I intend a well-deserved retirement for. I assume he and Baylor could have talked some more at some point after Advent Rey 1 - but Ramos doesn't need to be an ongoing presence in the plot, it being busy enough with the Marcos and the Aquinos and whatever else.

I assume Akinwale Mango stayed behind to deal with the fallout of CRIMSONFALL, and setting up his own refuge for rehabilitating DEMON BALROG ELEPHANTS is probably his lifelong dream anyway (he's not that old, come to think of it, and Crimson's depredations are his childhood memories), but yeah, maybe his own secrets are another reason for his estrangement with Baylor. Just as well, considering what happened to the African heroes Baylor sidekicked with...

Man, Deadlight Hollow is a bit of a pickle. His role in Advent Rey 1 was purely that of a passing meddler, and I do hope that in the spirit of the Comix+5 timeline's dynamism he's in a better place by the time of Advent Rey 2, or has at least gone in some other direction. I mean, he's literally I in the LGBTQIA+ and he can go in a lot of directions with that.

You're right that if I sketched out Baylor's influence network, it would include a lot of his old ADVENT REY buddies. It would include the more worried members of Rey Quirino's own staff; less savory elements of the New World East Tsinoys/Hongkongers; the inexplicably hyper-devolved residents of FALLEN MANILA; and Butch Baylor - his own brother! - whom I forgot actually runs a Filipino smuggling network. Man, he can be the one who takes Carissa to rendezvous with her mecha in the Philippine Sea.*

*Now, after re-reading Siege's Arcadian Expanse stuff, I kind of want the Maverick to be transported on a decommissioned US supercarrier now, tarped to the deck dramatically like in Evangelion. Maybe old carriers are just hot possessions for eccentric billionaires like Trask. Maybe there are just a lot more of them floating around because the RUNAWAY DEFENSE BUDGET obsoleted whole extra generations of US naval vessels. Maybe robust and re-militarizable cargo ships are actually in vogue because of escalating kaiju attacks across the Pacific.

Also I think Shroom talked me into EDGE and CHAOS coming back for the sequel - as long as they were back in the Phils for their HONEYMOON. Yes, subtlety is dead in TYOL 2017, and after the 5-year timeskip they finally decided to tie the knot. Why they decide to spend their honeymoon at the location of one of their worst mercenary clusterfucks may be attributed to yet another all-night bender, or maybe it's even something heartwarming involving their formative bonding experience during and after the events of Advent Rey 1.

Actually, their whole Kamin mercenary squad is coming with them, and they're all strictly on holiday mode. Which is all the more fun when MANGS runs out of budget and Wolf needs professional goons on a dime!
"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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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:07 pm

I love that Edge and Chaos are <3... and in my head the merc network should be called the Killer Assassin Mercenary International Network! :lol:
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Re: ADVENT REY 2: REVERGELTUNG

Post by Invictus » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:23 pm

Last time on ADVENT REY 2...
Invictus wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:20 pm
And Kai, the last shreds of his consciousness being torn away by the trauma, manages to catch a glimpse of the white-haired girl in the Silberengel's open cockpit whom he has never seen before, but nevertheless seems to find familiar.
Theresa Neusternberg is basically the Kaworu figure. With hair so blonde that it's practically blinding, pale skin that never tans under the Filipino sun, and appearing apparently fully-formed in Ludwig Schroedinger's confidence one day, similar to Kai in almost every way but better. She shares a surname with him! She has all the clearances around Castle Neusternberg that not even Kai has! She pilots the upgraded Silberengel effortlessly! She'd be an awful rival to a teenage pilot's ego if she didn't seem to come just as the plot strips away most of Kai's social support network. Instead, I'd be remiss not to characterize it as an enormous crush.

Theresa Sternberg is also another frequent Kamin character idea whose mentions are scattered across the forum, most relevant to the Comixverse as the steel-winged, plate-armor'd, kiloton-tanking (but modestly not much more!) anthropomorphic personification of Germany, because having superpowered avatars reflecting the actual countries of Comix! Earth running around on top of everything else didn't open another can of worms. But here, I would have had a purpose for her.

Theresa is the one who is beside Kai as he wakes up from being reconstituted from balutoid grotesquification in Dr. Elbing's labs, only partly because Dr. Elbing himself has terrible bedside manner and Kai never liked him. As Kai slowly convalesces while confined to the bowels of Castle Neusternberg on Ludwig's orders, isolated from his high school friends and even Lucine Seydlitz whose apartment he usually shares (while, conveniently, there are no further giant demon attacks), Theresa keeps him company, sharing his interest in whatever thematic musical instrument he practices - which I don't see any reason to change from the piano, come to think of it. So when Kai returns to his abrogated daily routine with a combination of reluctance and anticipation, he's overjoyed that Theresa also drops into his academy class as a transfer student with no questions asked. Their relationship becomes normalized.

This relationship grows in parallel with Kai's reclaiming of his autonomy. In better days, before the previous arc, Kai was in good enough of a place that Seydlitz and Ludwig lets him go into the city as publicity and reward. Now Kai would go on trips into Neo-Manila with Theresa, showing her around what he knows as a bit of showing-off, and this is one area where he does have the better of her. Or maybe she just humors him very well. I'm not sure if it would be clear in the plot at this point, or whether Kai would ever grow perceptive enough to tell. I suppose what Theresa doesn't have is the raw combat prowess of Kai's manifested Darkness-powers, which by this point is enough to handle whatever physical threat the rough town can throw at them, but I suppose logically this is also how he understands first-hand the traumas that his demon dad inflicted on the city.

Good thing Theresa helps absolve him of his guilt. Even if Kai learns to fear and loathe the very source of his power and worth, even if he is growing to resent the duty thrust upon him by an unreasonable father figure, he has still grown attached to enough ordinary people in this city to want to protect them, and this means getting back into the robot. And when Kai gingerly enters the cockpit of the Erlengel for the first time in a while, Theresa is true to her promise to bear the duty with him and is right there alongside him in the Silberengel's cockpit. With Carissa at best still recovering in the hospital and the Super Kidlat more totaled than usual due to the TRIPLE DARKNESS ARC, they might even enjoy the experience of fighting in tandem. Whatever her agenda is, it definitely aims towards the continued course of things so Ludwig's Schattenjahrtausendplan* can proceed to its completion. She just uses a softer touch.

*I should have explained earlier that the "Dark Millennium Plan" comes from yet another quite suitable Kamin idea that again, never quite made it past idea stage. Ironically appropriate, I suppose, for something that's about a reality that never comes to be.
"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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