You can read this week's story HERE!
Summary: The Gongen assault on the Earther facility takes place, and is defeated by cunning from James Howler. Sheria Coreg kills people like a badass and then vanishes.
Its an unfortunate truth of WARS that it was left unfinished. Plot threads dangle unconnected and unresolved. Characters we learned about open their mouths to say unfinished sentences, and the stars themselves shed light on half of half berried secrets, enticing us with the romance of a dead could have been empire. We said there was Nowhere to Hide, but it seems in the end we can hide ourselves in obscurity.
Its December 9th, 2004. We've had some time since the first part of this tale, and we've had the first really proper cliffhanger in WARS serialization. The story picks up where the last one left off, and we get most of a resolution to what we'd been wondering about. Most of one, anyways. This story though doesn't really end, there are too many unanswered questions here, ones which mostly weren’t questions we were asking to begin
Sheria Coreg: who was she in the end? She was the symbol of Earther Jingoism, but also the symbol of its future. Sheria was the hope in a united humanity, one that could stand together against the onslaught of outsiders. Certainly there are important questions about this ideal: is the binding of humanity to one ideal the murder of its diversity? Is a forced freedom one person chooses really freedom when its restricted? But these questions seem oddly worthless when Sheria is in fact lost in the end of WARS. She may as well have stepped into the rift at this point, because she is gone from our sight. Has her mind been gutted by CiSyn? Is she being trained to be a super soldier? A super hero? She's fairly clearly a Kizen, but what are the intentions here?
With. These questions haunt the narrative like ghosts. You can keep reading on till the end of this blog, you won't find any answers to them. They haven't been resolved. They won't be resolved. Well, a few will. A handful. A smattering. But this is in fact the story's greatest weakness, and its one it has no control over, which really is a pity because
Which also makes us question Kizen powers. The disappearance of Sheria is troubling because she is our introduction to the Earthers, she is their firmest believer and largest stalwart, and what does it say about the Earthers if she becomes and other to them? That something uncooth is going on here is fairly clear: after all CiSyn informs no one, simply whisking Sheria away. But what? And why?
Really this story is quite good, and its the kind of thing WARS needed to be. The actual battle itself is resolved wonderfully, and the switching of perspectives between the Gongen and the Earthers actually works incredibly well as a way to spice up the story. Where part 1 kept its suspense by showing us what the Earthers are doing without telling us who or what was planning against them till the very end, this story keeps moving by showing what everyone is thinking or feeling about the battle, even as both sides make incorrect assumptions, and follow their plans through realistically with no knowledge of the other side's plans. This not only works well, it works spectacularly, and ends up being a rather perfect model for how these sort of stories can be told in the
And who is that Gongen man anyways? The one we've never seem before, shadowy and elusive? What role does he have to play in the future? Who is he? What are his end goals? Certainly he is concerned about Traginium, and wants a lot of it. We will learn more about why they want the material in the future, and that mystery will be made clear, but this figure will continue to sit in the shadows. His motivations as elusive as the Illuminati. An all seeing eye of insight, perhaps.
Future. But what sort of future this is leading to is still a mystery. Certainly we are finally in the realm of space opera, rather than cyberpunk, but we're also in the realm of comparisons. Previously WARS showed us individual's stories, with the enemies in the stories showing us their vision of who those people are. Here though, we're given the group's views of each other. Whats strange is how it took us going into a more mainstream story style to get here. Star Wars of course isn't structured like this story, we don't see the empire's point of view on the battles. We aren't shown the view of a stormtrooper who thinks the Jedi were a dogmatic group holding the galaxy back through religious zeal, or how General Veers planned the invasion of Hoth. This is a huge shift, and after quite a bit of turmoil WARS has finally figured out how to properly be Star Wars while not being Star Wars. In many ways this lesson won't become apparent till WARS returns, but we're going to see more of this, and we're definitely going to see more adventures rather than philosophical ruminations. Of course, there is no reason why we can't have all of these things, and having all of them makes WARS stronger than it would be without them, but the shift comes here, in the middle, in the second part of a two part story, long after what WARS is has already been decided. This isn't a refinement, WARS doesn't stop being what it was, but it does open up new frontiers.
Its also nice to just see so many returning figures again, after all, these people have been disappearing from the page quite readily. We've had a massive turnover rate of characters, and some continuity is a blessing. The sad thing is, that after this there is only one more story that is a sequel. There isn't any other story like Nowhere to Hide, its a big event piece, the kind of thing you might expect WARS to have more of. After all, this story actively changes the setting. This doesn't just introduce new factions or concepts, but is taking the ones already there and throwing them into new roles. This is the direction you want any property like this to go in, a direction
That is filled with untapped potential. Reading this is an act in frustration. Its like trying to grasp water by clenching your fists. There are no answers, only guesses, only possibilities. We're most left to wonder about the fates of the characters who aren't world shaping in regards to their futures. We can be assured that Sheria would show up again and do something interesting, as with Jylan Rythe, and James Howler, but what about the Gongen who gets his arm cut off and is in custody? Or the interestingly paralleled Eather with a broken arm? What happens to these people? Even if these stories get finished someday, will the little guys fall through the cracks? In search of the larger answers, will the fates of tiny characters be diminished? One is reminded of Sisyphus the Hamster in “The Fault in Our Stars” whom the protagonist searches for the elusive fate of from the author of her favorite book. There is no answer there, and there is no answer here. Only the abrupt end of the things we love.
That is sustainable. Its easy to forget that WARS was supposed to go on for a very long time, and was cut short. This story is frustrating in the present tense, but exiting in the past tense. These unanswered questions are everything the story should be in 2004, its intriguing, its mysterious, and the world of WARS finally feels like its going someplace as a universe rather than as simply being a collection of stories. These events are larger than the characters in this one tale, there are big things going on, and these things will impact the future. Finally WARS is fulfilling on a promise: these stories will create a collective story told over the coarse of many stories, a big web of tales that defies the expectations that it needs to be a novel at all. What if WARS could just be short stories, and we get to see events unfold through a thousand unconnected eyes, drawing us into their own view, showing us a new way of thinking about the world and these character's places in it?
Only, we of course won't ever get to see that.
But the possibility is here. This is the lynchpin in a new way of telling a story, one that never comes to fruition, but one that would have been amazing to watch as it unfolded. Finally, WARS becomes clear as a project, the plan makes sense. This wasn't a bad idea, it was an idea that didn't understand what it needed to do to establish itself until it was too late.
Imagine: stories whose mysteries blur into each other. Actions characters do in one story impact people they will never meet. Perspectives shift. The world is deeper and more complicated than we imagined. We didn't need a novel after all, but if only we'd realized that.
But we didn't, or rather the consumers at large didn't quite catch on to the grand scheme till WARS had already had its big chance at establishing itself in the limelight. When it launched, it was new and could be anything, now its trying to redefine itself, and the way its doing it is amazing.
The only problem is if people are listening to hear the changes when the sales of the next cardset come in.