When the Skies Fell – Reflections

So, it’s been a few weeks since the final chapter of When the Skies Fell was posted.  I promised a little bit of insight into my inspirations and reasoning for the story, and decided to do it here rather than clog up the forums.

When the Skies Fell was inspired, in part, by an amazing picture.

Ala, by Lady Owl

I haven’t gotten around to reading Lady Owl’s “Everything Under the Stars” story, but I do know that there is an alien named Neelix involved.  And no, not THAT Neelix.  But it was a random deviantArt search looking for new aliens to try and emulate using the Star Trek Online character creator that let me stumble on this picture.  I very quickly fell in love with the design, and decided I wanted to use it.

Now, at this point, I was looking for aliens to include in a FAR future story of Rafale, post-Undisputed Border and post-Strength (the next two stories in the series).  WTSF was nowhere in my series “bible.”

I honestly can’t say I remember when I woke up deciding to destroy a planet.  But I do know I began RPing it out.

Now, a quick pause.  RP is short for “Role-Play,” a term I have become very intimate with since I’ve started playing MMORPGs (like Star Trek Online).  But even before I dove into the worlds of video games, I RPed my stories out in my head.  Every action, every character, every opening credits…this was, for years, how I imagined my Star Trek stories.  And it wasn’t just Star Trek.  Anything that interested me I would do this.  I still do it.

So, I began imagining the Rafale responsible for the destruction of a planet by an asteroid/comet.  It had always been that way.  It wasn’t because of the ship crashing, or shooting the planet.  It wasn’t some other alien influence.

Asteroid meets planet.  Planet dies.  Rafale watches helplessly.  The end.

The “Armageddon”/”Deep Impact” angle came when I decided that, in trying to stop the asteroid, Rafale would first be unable to do anything, and then second would be trapped and equally doomed.  I removed the first part of Rafale trying to destroy the comet for timing issues; looking back, I wish I had left it in.  Hindsight and all that…

But I needed a catalyst, something that would ensure a) the planet died, and b) the ship survived.

After the events of Multiverse 2, and the resounding disdain for the character over the previous year, I had my scapegoat.  Someone I was desperate to kill off because I, too, was beginning to hate even showing him.

SoniaSeymour Sonia.  Creepy ‘stache and all.

I was going to kill Seymour.  He was going to fail, be the reason for the deaths of billions, and get himself killed as well.  It would be glorious.

And then I realized…he’d die trying to save people.  He’d have a noble sacrifice.

I couldn’t do that for him.

Sonia’s actions, and his insubordination, wind up destroying the planet.  But he doesn’t get the glory.  He doesn’t get off easily, not having to pay for his actions.  Sonia lives.

And then, in one final twist of the dagger for anyone rooting for him to finally get what’s coming to him…I give him one final out.  Which he takes.

He lives to see the consequences of his actions…only to run away from them again in a final, cowardly act of desperation.  Because it would have been too easy to just kill the bastard.  Besides, now I can use him as a potential foil for Jessica and the Rafale, and for TPhoenix’s T’Randa Rembrant and Independence.

All that was left now was to find the perfect race to destroy.  A young-to-the-galaxy, taking its first small steps in warp travel, desperate to survive.

I decided on the beautiful Ala as the starting point, and went from there.  Sad to do it, but so much more infuriating when it all falls apart and her people die.  I had to do it.

WTSF came out of nowhere; there is a mission that comes close in the game Star Trek Online, in that there is a comet threatening a planet, but that’s the end of the similarity.  WTSF was the second story separated from actual, in-game missions (the first being Fix You, although that was based on previous RP between myself and Justine’s player, while WTSF was all original) and came to fruition from concept to publishing in under a year – the first time I did that was the first story I ever posted on Ad Astra, After Darkness (since renamed “Darkness Dawns”, to deconflict from the “Into Darkness” movie and “After Darkness” comics, both completely unrelated and completely AFTER I chose my title, but whatever…).  While there are still some things I wish I had done differently and left in from the original concept, I’m pretty pleased with this foray and I can’t wait till after Undisputed Border and Strength when I go away from game missions again.

Any other questions about the story?  Hit me up with questions here or on the forums!

2 thoughts on “When the Skies Fell – Reflections

  1. It’s a great story, and I’m so glad you don’t flinch from showing the end of it. After all, it’s a nasty business. The loss of a planet and its people is horrific under any circumstances, and you’re smart not to just pull some random savior mechanism out of thin air. Hey, stuff happens. That’s the way of the universe. It’s unpleasant but it’s reality.

    Also, good job on Sonia (who I get the feeling will never, ever die now). By giving him this cowardly out, you also open up plotting possibilities with the Section.

    I think we can often want to have some form of closure but, as writers, that’s actually an impulse we should try to squelch. We don’t want overall closure, not really. We want open stuff. We want alternatives and possibilities. Because that’s where the plot bunnies breed.

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