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TV Tropes Monday: The Theocracy


 

Tweet of the Day: Crash Curse Literature: George Orwell’s 1984 Part #2

The Theocracy, a government for and by God. Men rule and are ruled in the name of a higher power and under strict religious principles. The word of the religious authorities is absolute. After all how can you argue against the word of God (or the Gods). The worse crimes attempt against the glory of the Heavens and offend the sensibilities of its most faithful servants. In a theocracy, morality is law.

Theocracies make for great villains, or at least they spawn them in the form of self-righteous fanatics. It rarely matters if the rulers intent is good or that they are mere charlatans exploiting belief to attain/retain power. For this reason it is also rare for a writer to portray theocratic rule as positive, lest they be seen as endorsing said form of rule. Add the possibility of religious fueled warfare and this trope has all the negative a tyrannical government needs to be opposed by the settings protagonist.

So praise the lord and past the ammunition for God’s rule has begun.

 

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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 11 (c.3)-Soiree


 

 

Tweet of the Day: Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Human Test Subject

—-

“Sir, our contacts on planet dismissed the intel we provided them.”

“Do we still have eyes on target?”

“We do.”

“Then it is time to activate other assets.”

“Understood.”

—–

Estancia House, Arcadian Fields, Libertas, Sphinx System, Argos Rho Cluster, Attican Traverse, September 10, 2197

Vega and I followed Miri at a respectable distance, close enough to be seen but far enough to giver her space to mingle. The elite of Libertas exchanged polite conversation over champagne and hors d’oeuvres. The gentlemen wore their Sunday best, while the wives competed with each other with a wide array of glittering jewelry.

So much for religious humility.

Miranda was not the only one who had bodyguards nearby. Four burly guards flanked Lord Darcy as he made his way through the assembled guests. Four plains clothes militia tried to blend with the crowd but their eyes were always on Darcy. Our target, Alana Petrova, trailed Darcy. She matched Darcy’s artful glad handling of the men in the room with light smooches to their wives.

“Looks like she is more than a member of his entourage,” whispered Vega.

“Maybe she is angling to become the next Missus Darcy,” I said.

Johnson voice came through the comms, “Sir, we are detecting a—interfe—-do you—py.”

<Broadband interference detected. Area-wide communications jamming in progress>

I responded to my VI warning by pulling my gun from my jacket. Before I could shout a warning, the world exploded around us.  A wall of shattered glass cut through the crowed. Thunder punctuated by dozens of screams filled the air.  The lights went out. The only illumination came from the headlights the truck that crashed through the mansion’s eastern wall. Figures armed with submachine guns sprayed the air in wide arcs. I took cover behind a table, put the Phalanx’s laser sight between the eyes of my target and double tapped the trigger. The man’s head snapped back on the first impact. The second round blew through his barrier and exploded the back of his head. Vega landed several shots on another attacker. She went down in a heap. Darcy’s guards exchanged fire with another group of assailants.

“Let me go!” screamed a woman followed by a stream of curses in Russian. Miranda dragged Petrova toward the kitchens.

“Vega take point, I’ll cover you.”

“Will do jefe!”

I took a few more potshots at the enemy before I booked it. Deep black puddles marred the mirror finish of the Italian marble floor.
The wait staff cowered in every nook available to them. We sped past the kitchen into the loading dock only to find the caterer’s truck in flames.

“So much for our exit,” I said.

Gunfire reverberated in the kitchen.

“Help me,” cried Petrova at the top of her lungs.

I pointed past the burning wreck. “This way.”

The grounds were littered with craters and body parts. More wrecked cars filled the parking area alongside the torn bodies of the valets. I picked the closest one that looked intact. My VI worked the security lock.

<Systems override in progress>

“Less talking and more hacking.”

Seconds ticked by as the gunfire intensified inside the mansion.

<Vehicle unlocked>

We piled in. I took the driving seat. The air car zoomed away from the carnage. Several flashes of light appeared  below us.

“Hold on.”

I banked and zigzagged my way through a volley of rocket fire.

Bud’ty proklyat,” screamed our guest of honor.

“At least they are not gunships,” I said.

“The rapid response team can’t be far behind, jefe,” said Vega.

A minute later the VI chimed in.

<Jamming cleared. Incoming transmission>

“Sir, do you read me?”

“Loud and clear, Johnson,” I said.

“Shuttle is on its way to your location,” said Johnson.

“Good work.”

We landed in a snow covered field. The Kodiak came in a minute later. A squad of marines jumped out and secured the perimeter. At the sight of the marines Petrova deflated. We boarded the shuttle and made a hasty retreat from the colony.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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TV Tropes Monday: You All Meet in an Inn


Tweet of the Day: Hacking the 5th 

“Start and the beginning and keep on writing,” is a common piece of writing advice. But where do you start, exactly? What if you need a convenient location where it would make sense for the protagonist to meet, discuss the adventure to be had, and perhaps get waylaid by the bad guys all in one scene? Well, then how about, “You All Meet in an Inn“?

Inns, bars, clubs, and taverns are ideal places for both total strangers to meet as well as old acquaintances. Yes, it is a cliche as old as Chaucer, if not older. Even to this day, the local pub is the social focal point of many a English village. And as the tropes points out many a historical event got started at or near such a place. Plus writers love their their drinks, be it coffee, tea, or beer. So if you are a writer nose deep into your notebook, or laptop and you need ideas, you might decide to populate your story with the people around you.

Of course, this is such a prevailing trope (specially in tabletop roleplaying games) that some rule books tell you to NOT start your adventure this way. Others suggest that if you must do so, find a way to subvert the trope as thoroughly as possible. Up to you how you proceed, but just in case, a pint of ale, friendly service, and adventure waits when You All Meet in an Inn.

 

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TV Tropes Monday: Standard Sci-Fi History


 

Tweet of the Day: A Many Patterned Strangeness 

You heard about the Standard Sci-Fi Army.

You loved the Standard Sci-Fi Fleet.

Now comes the Standard Sci-Fi History!

And one stop shop for all things sci-fi history. It has wars, rumors of wars, great discoveries, and an easy explanation on How We Got Here. It is shorthand that a lot of readers (and not a few writers) expect in their works. In fact, any deviation from it would raise some eyebrows. The history given is concise, covers most of the bases of socioeconomic and technological advance, and answers many a question that would otherwise derail a story if the writer has to stop and explain the details every five pages or so. At the same time, since it is a general view of history, the author can fill in the blanks or modify any part of it as they see fit. I tend to skip WWIII myself, it just seems so Cold War to me. And what I really like about it is that it has all that nice coherency and consistency that I love.

So, deploy your standard historical analogies, this is the Standard Sci-Fi History.

 

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Post Hurricane Maria Post: Still Alive


It’s been awhile….

It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it?

Well I just got my internet, although it and the power are still shaky.

So…I’m back….

Still alive!

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Hurricane Season Post


As you might have heard another hurricane is barreling down toward my beloved island. This one will make landfall, it is juts a matter of seeing if it hits with a Category 3 or Category 4 force winds. The last time we were hit was with Hugo, and it was a Cat 3. The problem is that the island infrastructure is so degraded that it barely withstood a brush by Irma (a Cat 5 storm, but we got hit by the edge, the equivalent of a Cat 1).

So while expect a miracle at any moment, that is unlikely to happen.

We are hunkering down and will continue to post as long as the power holds.

Take care and stay safe.

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Tales from the D&D Table: Not the Best Man for the Job.


 

Tweet of the Day: Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction 

“You’re going to be late,” Liandra said, her nose buried in her book.

I adjusted my pantaloons, “I will not be late. I am never late.”

“Just like you were not late for Da and Ma anniversary?” she asked.

I tucked in my shirt, “Raisa needed some help with her gown.”

“Yes, of all the tailor’s in Waterdeep she could have asked to help her, she asked you instead.”

I checked the sleeves. They felt a wee bit too short, “I am always ready to help.”

“The same way you helped the ladies of the Smiling Siren all through the day of the Guildhall’s opening.”

“Madame Trodau insisted that I stay and pump the morale of those unfortunate girls.”

“As much as you pumped my dear friend Alyssa under the kitchen table while we waited for Da’s announcement of his new expedition to Amn.”

“Well she felt a bit under the weather and need a bit of cheering up,” I said.

With her eyes still on the page, Liandra placed an hourglass on the table beside the mirror, “And now you are going to be late to your best friend’s wedding.”

I glance at the nearly empty hourglass, grains of white sand slipped through the neck and piled at the bottom, “Gods! Well gotta go.” I ran past Liandra, raced down the bottom of the stairs, gave Ma a quick peck on the cheek, busted through estate front doors, jumped into the back of my horse, and galloped into the streets of the city in a mad race against time.

I made it with moments to spare. Large fluted columns held aloft heavy gold threaded drapes over the rows of pews full with the creme of the city’s aristocracy. They provided ribbons of shade from the late spring sun. And near the altar stood my friend Landrew, the groom to be.

A deep frown creased his face, “Where in all the Nine Hells were you?”

“Getting ready, of course, wouldn’t want to miss your wedding.”

He shook his head, “Of course not.”

Mother Altea frowned even deeper than Landrew. Her plump jowls trembled as she spoke, “If it were up to me, boy, I would have you flayed alive in the city’s square. Of all the days, and of all the places-”

“Ahem, here comes the bride,” I said

And enter she did, for Shayanne of House Ravengard outshone all with her blue and purple dress. Keen green eyes shone underneath the gossamer veil that covered her pale face. Landrew trembled visibly at the sight of his wife to be.

“Easy now. Follow Mother’s Altea’s words and you will be fine. Also breathing, breathing would help.”

“How would you know, you never been married,” said Landrew through clenched teeth.

“I dodged enough nuptials to pick up a few things.”

“I bet,” murmured Mother Altea.

Shayanne reached the altar and knelled. Landrew followed suit.

Altea began her recitation, “We are gathered here under the watchfull eye of the Great Mother, Goddess of Li-”

“YOU!” came the shout from behind us.

Heads whipped about like startled chickens. A small group of swordsmen entered the park, five or six in all followed by a bored young lady whose pouty cherry red lips I recognized in a heart beat.

“Yes you!” shouted the man leading the pack.

Landrew looked ready to fight, as did most of House Talion, “What do you want, Frederick?”

“Shut your mouth Landrew this is about-”

“Is that him?,” asked another angry young man dragging a familiar and extremely put upon beauty. His retinue was about seven or eight strong, all armed with long daggers and a few bucklers. And the young lady dragged about was even more familiar to me.

“For the love of all the Goddesses, what are you doing here,” shouted Altea.

But before any of the interlopers could answer a stream of obscenities echoed through the gardens of the park as an even larger group approached the wedding party.

“Listen to me jackass, if you lay a hand on him, I swear by all the heavens that I will cut your manhood and dangled it from the city walls,” said the lady in question.

The leader of the pack, beet red from embarrassment, hurried to avoid the woman’s scathing words.

Landrew turned to me, “This is your doing, isn’t it?”

“Well…I…”

“Fix this.”

“Of course,” I said. I stepped forward, “Gentlemen, what seems to be the matter?”

“The matter? You knave, you took my sister’s virtue,” said the leader of the first group. Lubya, the raven beauty, rolled her eyes in disgust.

“And you besmirched my family’s honor. She broke up her engagement with Lord Farquat.” Lady Aerid looked like she was about to faint at her brother’s accusation.

“And you-”

Lady Charlotte jumped in, “Shut it you!”

“But,” stammered her brother.

But nothing.”

“I am sorry m’lord, but one can not steal what is freely given” I said. Once again my tongue moved faster than my mind. Lady Lubya replied with a wink. “Beside, m’lords, this is a wedding. This is no time for hostilities.”

Martin, Lubya’s brother drew his sword, “This is about to become a funeral.”

Acting on instinct, and with the full intent to scare, not harm, I pointed my finger over Martin’s head and launched a speck of fire in his direction. Too bad that a very pregnant and flammable curtain laid in the path of the spell. Flames engulfed it and spread across the drapes. Shouts erupted from the guests as everyone scrambled for safety. With swiftness that would startled a lion, the bride to be hoisted Landrew over her shoulders and made a run for it. I fired off a few more spells to cover our retreat. Fleet of foot, Shayanne led the way through the streets of the city until we reached a nearby ale house. She flopped Landrew on a nearby chair, tore her veil off, and ordered a large mug of ale.

“Well now, and I thought you lot were a boring bunch,” she pinched Landrew’s cheek, “handsome but boring. Glad to see I was proven wrong. Mind you I will never hear the end of it from Father, but who cares.”

I drank deep from the mug, “This one a keeper Lan.”

 

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