Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 3

Issue 3: Werewolf-Therewolf


Man, ever since this Crystal Requliary went up things have gotten weird. Now New Rachel is exploding. Wonder if I can hire out Doctor Zanzibar for some spectral gumshoe work. What? He usually deals with this stuff all the time.  I’m just a very fit man who can negate gravity on people. Well to a point. I just like hitting things with my mighty tech mallet. Leave the spooky stuff to Area 51 and the X-Factor Murder Mysteries.–The Mighty Mallet.

Heals-The-Rifts has commanded me to look into this shape-shifting phenomenon. Some demis have entire tomes attached to whatever afflicts them.  Is this werewolf legend attached to Bardax and the Weave somehow?—Glavie aka Finds-The-Path.

That wolf! Where wolf? Many woof woofs! Finding out the details surrounding this “curse” did quite the number within scholarly pursuits in terms of cosmic footprint. Even now the Weave holds more mysteries than I have uncovered. –Sleeping In Starlight, a Memoir of the 22nd century.

The Outskirts of the Crystal Reliquary

Rachel (Nevada)

January 25th, 2104


            Glaive sniffed at the hard packed earth. There is was again. That exotic scent mixed with the Weave. His intel was correct. Something was phasing in and out of the Weave in this area. Most locals called it the Howling. Because every time that werewolf appeared all the dogs went crazy. Barking at the top of their lungs. It didn’t go the way of legends.  Full moonlight and all that. The Mighty Mallet waved Glaive over. “You that Bardax rep?”

            He lifted his head, <<Indeed. Most Earth people call me Glaive. We must find this werewolf.>> Mallet crossed his arms.

            “Ok, I’ll roll out the silver carpet for it.”

            Glaive sneezed. <<Don’t know if that would affect it. Might want to get a Weave expert.>>

Mallet grunted, “Well they are all busy with this Stone business. I for one wouldn’t want my dreams or mind eaten. Thanks!”

He added. Somewhat apologetic, “I get you. I was able to call in a favor and here are the impressions Dr. Zanzibar got from the place. Sightings.”

Glaive took the readout. Letting his collar run the analysis.

Whatever this creature was it loved to raid areas with high meat content. If he had to guess, high metabolism indicated the creature had limited time within this side of the Weave. Or a limit on its transformation process. He put his nose to good work. Testing each vending stall and restaurant that it had raided. No loss of limb or life. So it wasn’t after raw flesh. It mostly wanted bacon. It's why Glaive assumed it might have some overall ties to Bardax. Or a similar evolutionary background. In their ancient past, many Bardaxians could get to the size of an Earth Clydesdale Horse. Many heroic deeds were done within that age. He hoped to regale Eliza with some stories one of these days.

A frantic civilian turned the corner. “The Howling! It's inside the Bacon Nation Hut!” Mallet and Glaive put on a burst of speed. Wondering what they would find.

As they stepped over the threshold they could hear it. The vigorous chomping of jaws. One brave cook pointed. Then resumed gawking. It wasn’t large at all.

In fact: The Howling was the size and shape of a corgi.

But its fur was that of a pitch-black wolf.

Its orange eyes gleamed as it looked up from his feast.

It overturned another tub of bacon. The nub of a tail was very happy.

“Humans are good. Bacon is extremely good. I protect. Night Shamans bad.”

It could talk without a collar. That was impressive to Glaive.

The mention of the Night Shamans caused the Mallet to twitch. His eyes cased the room. Expecting trouble.

Glaive asked the Howling, <<Brother, might you know where these Night Shamans are?>> The black corgi tilted his head to the side. “Yes! But we need more. They have bad barriers. I alone cannot bite through them!”

Mallet said, “I thought you’d be bigger.” The Howling finished off the last of the bacon.

“I can be. On the other side of the Weave. Beyond the Veil of the Physical World.”

He trotted over to another tub of bacon. Gulping it all down in one go.

He grinned. His tongue hanging out. “Payment for protection services.”


            The Mighty Mallet paused. They were at the base of the mountain near one of the corners of the Requilary. Miles and miles from Rachel. He tried contacting Star but her HeroNet responder was offline. The real one. Not the social network port. Mainly so people wouldn’t know when she was off Earth. Glaive nudged the large demi. <<It will be fine. Between the 3 of us, we can just recon. I have experience and it looks like Howling knows his way around his corner of the Weave.>>

            Mallet’s skin on his arms broke out with goosebumps. “That's what they all say before the Brain Suckers get them in the holovids.” Howling barked. “I am a good hunter! Will not let the Living Stone eat you. I will eat it instead. Clean the corruption!”

            A whispy portal emerged from the base of the mountain. Glaive went in first. Howling waited until Mallet stepped forward. Crossing the barrier into a realm beyond imagining. Is this what magic demis went through? Some sort of strange 3rd eye jigsaw landscape? He couldn’t even place up or down here. His eyes slammed shut. “Think I’m gonna be sick.” Even gravity didn’t work normally here. They were on a stone walkway. The ground and sky in opposing directions. He stared hard at his boots.

            Mallet remarked, “Wonder if I’ll find some goblins and a crystal ball here. Need some lipstick to mark our path.”

            Glaive didn’t know much about human movies but he had an idea where the demi was going with that remark.  Lorain had made all of them watch the Labyrinth alongside the rest of the crew a few years ago.

<<Well luckily we have an expert guide. Plus if I recall that particular video ended fairly well. Although I have a feeling turning into a goblin at the end of the clock strike would be preferable to be eaten mentally by Living Stone.>>

            Howling shifted. Becoming a 20-foot tall bulldozer of destruction as he tore into what looked like an impressionist painting meets deranged squid. Its tentacles tried to wrap around the corgi’s neck but in his battle form, it was Clifford the Pissed off Dog mixed with what one would call a traditional werewolf. Massive claws. Standing on his hind legs. Bipedal and all that. Mallet entered the melee with his signature weapon. The squid let out a warbling sound and the area darkened. The insane Calvary had arrived for old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


            The Bardaxian leaped into the air. Battle tech armor clicking into place over his head, legs and torso. The HUD indicated that there was a figure beyond the mass of Living Stone. Glaive barked at Mallet, <<TOSS ME!>> Mallet dodged. Claws barely missing him. The lightbulb ignited. Negate gravity for Mr. Shake and Bark there. He hurled the Bardaxian in the direction he indicated. Giving him an added boost. Glaive let out a warcry of his own and locked his jaws around the whispy shape controlling the stone. Blood soaked the stone.  Black and muddy. Glaive clung onto the creature until he could hear no more breath come from its body. It was merely an extension of the overall corruption.

            Still, it wore the face of familiarity. There were many fallen Litari Dreamweavers here.

            The Living Stone had a particular hunger for them.

            Howling tossed the body of the Squid over the side of the walkway and they continued.

            Their guide said, “The Night Shamans help guide the Stone to more potent dreams. It's why I manifested in that town. I knew someone would notice me. Plus the Star likes the shape of Corgis. So I became one. I cannot hide my true eyes or fur though.” Glaive retracted his armor. It would pop out when needed. He sniffed at the ground, <<Many Litari markers here. Tell me, was the Weave here before Earth was manifesting within the physical realm?>> Howling nodded. “Indeed brother. Many souls resided here beyond the Weave before that planet took shape. I even saw the city of Illiarium rise from the green valleys of what you call Mars. Even if I didn’t understand it all at the time.”

            Mallet scratched his chin, “So you're saying something intelligent existed within this Weave before Earth even said hello in caves and spears?” The corgi nodded. “Oh yes. It is why the Unity’s universe is still in pain. Its physical realm may be gone but the wound goes through all aspects of the Weave.”

            Mallet held out his hand, “My name’s Frank Thomson. So what was that about Mars again?”


            After what felt like forever they came upon what looked like a jungle to Mallet. Frank was still wrapping his mind around what Atlantis was. He had a feeling he’d have to talk to Star about it. Didn’t want his brain fried. Glaive merely winked. At the heart of this jungle, the Howling resided, watching over things that pass through this “area.” He still didn’t understand it all but from the looks of it, there were 3 levels to the Weave. The first level was what most magic demis interacted with. The 2nd was this place. A strange mirror of the physical reality and what lay beyond it. The deepest part? That was where the true danger lurked. The Howling said Star had been there already. Mallet didn’t ever want to go that deep. This was confusing enough as it was.

            Glaive seemed more at peace here. The demi’s impression of the Bardaxian was one of “Old Man at Sea.”Glaive had seen much but had a playful side. Frank would never underestimate an Earth dog or Bardaxian ever again. Who knows how many demi dogs his home had. Howling put a stone shard within Mallet’s palm. It faded from view as it sunk into the flesh and marked him.

            He had expected it to hurt. Howling grinned. “That will protect your mind and dreams. When Star returns. Bring her to the base of the Mountain. We will need to hunt!”

            Mallet blinked and they were back at the Bacon Hut. Glaive reclined within one of the booths. <<Mind making us something. I am starving.>> Mallet put together a feast fit for a king. Or a Bardaxian. He even added two thick slices of swiss to the mix. Bacon and any cheese worked but his favorite would always have those delectable white squares.


            The Howling gazed up at the stars. The inner fire of the cosmos was brighter within the 2nd Layer of the Inner Weave. He could see Jupiter Rising. Its bright red and white hull cutting a majestic figure out in the black. He reached out, “Lady Iresh. I am ready on my end. I suggest you tell Star what the Living Stone and Endless Night comes from. We do not have time for politics or secrets. Not with the Bearer.”


            I stared at the console. We would be at Bardax Prime very soon. Iresh was pensive. It was more than worry about her son. I nudged her. “Bardax will need these ship logs. Plus it's only right. To bring this crew and their family records back home.”

            While we left the gravesite undisturbed I wanted to bring the ship and its other artifacts back to the Bardaxians. So pictures, journals, books, or anything of that nature.

            Iresh swayed around my neck. Curling even tighter.

Her voice was barely above a whisper. “The Endless Night? The Living Stone. That is our fault. Our Dreamweavers went mad. The first ones. From the Before Time.” I stared. I didn’t know what to say. I knew Anna would hem and haw. Screaming, “SEE?! It's ALL ON THEM!” I put the ship on auto-flight and headed for the galley. I had a feeling I’d need some more coffee for this one. I made her some tea. She accepted the cup gratefully. Still curled around my neck. For Litari, that was a sign of great trust.

“What happened?”

White replied for the Ambassador, “Unity happened but with that first Turning…the universe existed before the Big Bang. As you know it. The Weave existed before all else.”

“So it’s a corruption of the Weave and Litari Dreamweavers? How did they go insane?”

Iresh said, “Our most powerful Dreamer went with D’ixai’s father to combat the Unity. She came back hungry. Willing to eat the souls of others. Bent her husband to that purpose. We call them the Lord and Lady of Chains. The Children of Chains are theirs. With some horrid output from House Urraden.”

I clasped my hands around my mug. The warmth kept them from shaking. To see your children turned to such a purpose. It made the Night of 1000 Stars even more distressing. They had already been corrupted and Chronos wanted more. Iresh buried herself inside my flight jacket. I waited. This kind of pain wasn’t something you just pushed past. Even with friends. Eventually, she shared an image.

D’iaxi’s father. He was boarding a ship. Unlike any vessel, I’ve ever seen. Iresh added, <<It is made for going through the Weave itself.>>

 A rather stately Litari woman was next to him. With one other. The Piper! Ichabod’s master. The rat usually kept to his favorite spots on the ship. Jupiter tracked him from time to time to make sure he wouldn’t get into trouble.

“So is that why Uplift is so strict?” She nodded.

“Thing is, some of those pirates use tech to move through the Weave.”

Her eyes narrowed. <<This we didn’t know. That worries me. Something like that would have been a top priority for the Typherian Navy to investigate. Y’lansa is only one woman. That means there is more corruption. Say nothing to outsiders for now.>>

So mom, Iresh, and some others were being extremely rebellious.

Even more so than I initially thought. Things must be getting desperate back home for all of them. Even if Typha had overall stewardship of the “Throne” that still didn’t make much sense for them to have the final say. Mom and the others were keeping me in the dark about political maneuvering but I hadn’t given it much thought to why beyond the surface level. IE: My cover as a Markav agent. Or rather Muthra. Sul did say I would still have access after the fact. When the bigger secret of my actual heritage came out.

The Professor popped in as well, <<Lady Iresh, we have a priority communication from Bardax. They expect us shortly.>> Nara was gone before I could say anything. He was mostly a bookish sort but that didn’t stop him from doing what he thought was right. Iresh had been pleased when she found he was aboard. The scandal of one such as himself consorting with K2 level humans had caused quite the stir back home. Until they found out he was covering the Living Stone situation on Earth and beyond. With what Iresh told me. It was no wonder they were so cagey. So many wanted to do well by others but things beyond our lifetime or control took the choice from us.

It was how we dealt with it that would matter most.

He was also keen on locating more Scholar Markers. Like the one Dexter and I activated on the Litari moon. It was pretty funny how he could blend in and just make use of Jupiter’s research facilities. Sometimes he would even ask Doc about human eating rituals. He was rather curious. Most of his people would have a cleansing rite before any meal. To keep the soul fortified. Made an odd sort of sense with what I just learned.

Iresh continued, << To free the souls captured by the Chains, we must destroy the physical form of the Lord and Lady. I will need your help, Eliza Murphy. Will you use Throne Sight on them when the time comes? I must know where to strike.>>

“Of course. I'll be ready.”

I might not use my fists first thing but if being raised by my father taught me one thing:

Always Recon. It will help you find other avenues when direct force wouldn’t work.

She unfurled. <<Now I understand all too well why your mother doesn’t talk about her home as much. She likes being treated as a mother rather than….>>

“A bird in a nice multiversal cage? Or do Typha’s houses operate on a different level from the baseline population?”

Mom’s overall distaste with her Typherian station hit my empathetic pathways every time I saw her at Area 51. Most of it was open to the public now. Via the Crystal Reliquary but the most sensitive spots demanded clearance. Sometimes it was emotional whiplash. She didn’t mean to but her frustration was clear to see. While roaming around as Jennifer Murphy she felt more freedom than she did as Typha’s representative.

Iresh touched my cheek, << It's even more than that. I think we have all changed by being around you. Even without Uplift, you act according to your heart. Not what secrets will wound another. Or who needs to know what. You act. You defend. Simple actions with simple purity.>>

“I just know mom as my mother. Nothing more than that. They could have a whole floating throne set up and I’d still do something silly to make her laugh.”

Iresh chuckled. <<Good. I will be recording that first arrival on Typha. Should be fun.>>

While the universe had all sorts of interesting mysteries out there I was often reminded that home is also important. Jupiter interjected, “We have arrived Captain. Ready to disembark?”

Iresh merely added, <<Many Typherians are as enthusiastic as Earthers. It is the leash around House protocol that divides Typha’s heart. That is why she won’t discuss internal matters with you. She wants you to throw Texan hot sauce on all of them. Step on all the toes. Wake them up.>>

Gulliver waddled in. He was wearing a smaller sized t-shirt that stated, “10 out of 10.” His voice carried within the compartment. The galley could house 100 or so at a time. My ship had 5 of them. It could operate as a starliner or ship of battle. Not quite a ship of the wall but she packed a punch. He said, <<It’s gonna be the best party. So many sticks to extract from so many rear ends. But for now, let’s go meet the heart of Dogdom everywhere. Plus they find paw shakes from humans to be fascinating. Use that!>>

                I sent a burst of calm through my bond to Doc. Whatever was happening with them now was making her irate beyond anything I had experienced.  I wanted to be with them but Queen Guinevere wanted me to stay the course. Get Bardax ready. She had given me threads to wrap around the Weave surrounding Bardax Prime. Made me wonder how fast ships could travel within it. Why only pirates had the ability for now. It explained why X’mil had been able to escape but if Iresh knew about these ships what stopped the higher-ups of Typha from coming out and putting a stop to it?

            We would have to pull together. A united front against all forms of darkness.

            I would pull them all towards the bright light of hope.

            Even if it meant cutting through red tape I had no real understanding of.

            White said, <<Good. We cannot act just yet but you are a red-blooded American. Bullrush all the annoying tape. Ignorance is a good weapon in this case. How do you say it? 1689 all of it!>>

            “1686, the day America declared itself independent from the Demi Monchary of Arcland. It was quite a ride. The Brits broke off as well. About 4 years later.”

            I paused. Thinking about possibilities. “Might as well go all out. Wonder if they’d let me negotiate some things with Bardax.” White squeezed my midsection. <<Now your thinking properly! Do! Don’t ask.>>

            I received a mental image of a toddler spreading finger paint all over a wall.

            Mom was really at it today.

            >>Paint that wall. I know nothing Space Cadet. I never tell myself anything. Bad for business and surprises.<<

Iresh’s warm laughter tickled my inner ear.

To Bardax and the future!

Gulliver flapped his wings and landed in my arms. >>FORWARD! Let us drink and be merry for tomorrow House politics have another capitulation of the vapors. Or preferably a brain aneurysm.<<

Issue 2: Here

Issue 4: Here

Still on A Kick: Endings


For games though? People expect to have a "gold" standard ending. Like with what happened with Bioshock. It was a darker setting but the hero still prevailed. Got his just reward for doing the binary "good option" of saving the Little sisters vs. Harvesting them for an overall minuscule personal gain. Its why I found the closing to Dune even more worthwhile than the closing of Children of Dune or Messiah. 

This game is a rare gem for me. Did everything very well. Even through my rose colored glasses. And it did all of this in less time than most AAA games.

Herbert was free to do what he did but overall, Its the first book I mostly go back to. If I want something more philosophical Ill read God Emperor. He didn't really get to finish his series so I can only guess on what would have happened with Frank at the helm there. 

Its why I am looking for things that shine bright. No matter what happens. 

Stuff that gives me that: (I keep trying to link all sorts of things but even I have favorites.)

It also has themes of heroism and family. 

Gonna back Yakov's new project when it launches. 

Because that's what I want. Bright heroes and heroines shining despite the darkness. Defeating evil. No slippery slopes. Something clear cut. 

Some will explore bad endings as the "what if" scenario. But I am not gonna lie: I want that diabetes ending. No matter the setting. I crave it like a woman on a chocolate kick. 

It does feel like people are finally getting tired of grim dark for grim's sake. It's just a matter of getting those readers active with their favorite books again. So they can discover people walking the same path.

Mr. Alex just got his 2nd sword and planet book out: Here

I'll be reading that soon enough. Another site I found, well after the fact: Noblebright 

Might help me find more wheelhouses that cater to more of what I want. Rather than the endless sea of GRRM/The Boys/Downer Stuff. Gonna go through and really make a list of Uplifting Stuff ala Uplift Protocol, Star Warden ect. Or at least the series that come closest to it. Because yes: I want my fucking happy endings. No bones about it. Honestly most of the last book, Sleeping in Starlight, will be one nice big denouncement/sendoff for the main sequence. Because I can. Just like others can have their fracked up GRRM infused stuff? Well I will make my Rainbow Bridge and give everyone Happy Ending Overload. 

Games I thought had excellent endings: (plus an option to show how your character won, got that gold ending, more should copy New Vegas as far as offering stuff thats the journey worth it. How you changed things, went off into the sunset afterwards.)

  • Bioshock
  • BG 1 (renounced a certain thing and went off on a sunset adventure.)
  • Fallout New Vegas 
  • Fallout 1 and 2. (2 shows that FO 1s Vault Dweller made their own community and eventually found love as well)
  • Fist of the North Star Lost Paradise
  • ME 1, good way to spring board while closing out threads from the overall first arc. Even ME2 had a fuck yeah ending you could get behind. 
  • Vampyr: Yes, you can get an ending where Jonathan's love saves his dear lady. (It ends on a very upbeat note if you manage to not eat any characters in the game/Combat doesn't count.) You gotta go through some things to get that ending but its just fluffy enough to make the sap in me happy.

How to do Bittersweet with a more Uplifting Beat:

  • SOMA (Had a similar bent to some of V's situation)
  • The Black Company. (Yeah, you will see what I mean by Glittering Stone. Then again Cook does likeable characters leagues better than GRRM)
  • Babylon 5///Not everyone makes it to the end but it wasn't hollow.

Examples of Shit Endings: (Railroaded, feels empty, like why the hell did I do this setup.)

  • Mass Effect 3 (3 colors of Death! ENJOY!)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (Unless some DLC changes this.) When you guys get there you will understand that even with the Nomad ending, its all very much BITTER sweet.
  • Fallout 3 (Before the DLC)
  • Fallout 4 *seriously, copy FONV. Even ME3 failed to do that with the extended cut. 

Can self sacrifice lead to a good ending? Sure. But when you are playing a game, you want to see the player character genuinely win.(Dragon Age Origins) Unless its an absolute Horror game. But even Dead Space has Issac win some uplifting moments. Esp. in DS 2.  

Cyberpunk infused stuff can have a happier ending. 

With GITS, the Major was also in a similar situation to V at some points. (Movies/Manga) and the writer managed to find a way to make that more satisfying. I recommend GIG and 2nd GIG as well. Irresponsible Capt. Tylor has good ending. Need to re-watch. 

This just makes me realize I haven't played too much recent things. I keep going back to stuff I know will give me an ending I want. Even Suikoden has golden endings if you get all the Stars. 

Yeah, gonna spoil people bad with all sorts of good cake at the end of Uplift Protocol. Its funny, even though I am writing Book 2 atm. I have all sorts of notes compiled on how Sleeping in Starlight will work. Yes, there will be Bardaxians and more ahoy! So many good things come to those who wait. 

As a reader I want to know that the light at the end will be there. Even if the characters don't.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Book Promotion

 carousel image 0


Usually what catches my eye:

  • How often do you spam promotions? If its every other post on your feed I eventually tune out. Make your social media a variety. Try to put recommendations on there that are closest to the type of wheelhouse you want to promote.
  • If its romance primary: IE The MAIN DRAW WILL BE THE COUPLE IN AND OF ITSELF! Put "A Romantic Space Adventure" or "Romance then X genre." It will set the overall tone and tell me even if I want to pick it up. Its how I avoid most smutmance choices. You will get less readers who want to trash that wheelhouse if you do.

Because to be frank: Most romance isn't just the courtship or how they work as a couple. Its bed hopping and how many lovers in a port of call. It's why I gravitate towards older pulps. The endgame aspect had the main protag get together with the main romance interest. There wasn't Anita Blake X-rated BS going on.  

Clean Romances: 

Flying Sparks:  Here /// The Stars Wait Not: Here

My overall preferences:

Hero gets the happy ending, gets the mission done, gets the girl. That sorta thing. (Because the market is flooded with downer endings and "well that wasn't worth it!" adventures)

  • I massively prefer upbeat endings. Even in Craptastic Worlds. 
  • More sapient dogs/uplifted animals.
  • The Science doesn't have to make actual sense. (IE Our World's Physics.)  It just has to be consistent with whatever systems you've made to the setting. 
  • Likeable > Relatable because in this day and age relatable often means "Sad Sack Woke ID politics" protag to follow. Take Claire from CP 2077, she's trans, mentions it in passing during a mission, but she's likable. Not a walking billboard for whatever trans "issues of current year" I could give two shits about. I really don't want sermons from people in games or books or media. Make escapism happen. With whatever characters you like. Want representation that doesn't feel empty or forced? Aeon 14: Here 
  • Heck, most of CP 2077s cast fits that bill. They are likable > relatable.

Guys are allowed to write women via visual description. Women do that to men in the fracking smutmances all the time. Male writers are just more honest about it. Help us readers find our wheelhouses or enough overlapping themes we enjoy. Love GRRM? Add his influence to your blurb. 

Want to attract readers like me? 

Mention Paragons of Virtue. Or OPTIMISTIC STORIES OF OLD! Or Superversive. Or "Do you hate sad sack protagonists? Navel gazing? MY book is the opposite of that!" Be very blunt. My kingdom for more Bright Futures and Genuine escapism!  

When you compare things to Firefly: Mention in what way. Are the characters cobbled together against an overwhelming foe? Is it a space western? Does it have the overall themes of Babylon 5: Ancient mysteries and old civilizations guiding the younger through ingrained manipulation? Is it a mix of that settings politics with face paced pew pew? 

How craptastic is your world? Mention the contrast. Does it have a paragon at the wheel trying to light the way to a better tomorrow? I have to get better with that in my own reviews. How is this related to X Y or Z for me. 

Galaxy Ascendant has characters built like B5s: Some have much brighter outcomes. They face insurmountable odds against a universe filled with ancient mysteries. The politics of the setting muck up everything. Go buy it: LIKABLE CHARACTERS EVERYWHERE! Here


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Once Upon A Time

I enjoyed that show. Season 1 and 2 mostly. As it went on they added way too many characters and plot lines. For books? That's easier to juggle. Because you can expand the story outward without worrying about sets, $$$$ ect.  

Snow and Charming were my favorites. The true love trope personified. They would always find each other. Which is why Uplift Protocol has such a heavy family theme. I esp loved how they had to reconnect with their daughter. She wasn't abandoned on purpose. But that's why I didn't start with a broken setup for Protocol. Sure, Anna is an outrageous ex but even there, I have plans. She will see the light soon. 

I wish the series had mostly focused in on the initial cast of S1. They had so many plotlines they could follow with just those characters. But each one got bigger and bigger and old characters and plots were forgotten. Still enjoyed Charming and Snow though. Main reason why I watched it to the end. 

It was pretty well written but they didn't really have a big endgame in mind from the start. 

Having an orphaned angle does give the character more internal factor but I wanted a complete family for Uplift. The external factor comes in from Anna being abrasive. To make a point. But Snow and Charming are so likable that you know they will do right by their daughter. This series also makes a point for what prolong would do with families. You'd have generations extended around each other. With parents and grandparents still working, having more kids, through tech or magic keeping them younger. I did love the "What was this fairy tail really about" aspect. 

If they had all the seasons plotted out from the get go it probably would have flowed better. Its why its good to have tent poles to work towards in each season. The acting and music really helped. The Dark One aspect, I did incorporate some of that into Mordred and his sword. 

Later seasons, esp past S2, got to "muddled arcs of redeem the villain but add more villains to it." The Evil Queen aka Regina and Mr. Gold, those two I could see with a redemption arc but they wanted to make sure they straddled that "Anti-Hero" line rather than a full conversion. Didn't really enjoy any aspects of Hook. Because they went with "Emma is gonna frack up" in different ways but along the same lines. Even though Snow and Charming were forced to give her up.  Basically they went too "modernistic" and not enough sappy for my liking. But if you do view once season, make it the first one. The story is strait forward and it has clear good vs evil. 10th Kingdom is more my speed. It does go through a more traditional heroes journey and doesn't overstay its welcome. 


Once's Later seasons:

  • Too many threads
  • Too many characters
  • Everyone is related somehow to the Main Charming Family either through marriage or children.
  • Didn't find Hook appealing
  • Mr. Gold's son plot line (Baelfire) was just KO'd to bring in Hook. They could have built more.
  • Should have just followed the characters established in Season 1. There was plenty to work with.
  • Too much subversion with the Villains esp. Not everyone needs to be a Sympathetic Villain. 
  • The Faults of Characters began to take center stage. Snow and Charming carried the show for me. Basically. But some found them boring because they were in a stable marriage.
  • Mr Gold and Bell. Could have been even more developed if not for the sprawl of later seasons. 
  • What ever happened to the Mad Hatter. That was dropped big time.
  • The Black Fairy. Yeah, should have plotted out your overall meta arc first. Then again these guys did Lost. So yeah. 

And yes, I did forget that the original fairy tails are pretty dark. Bluebeard/The Little Mermaid. Mr. Finn does it again! 

Oh yeah! They made Mulan "teh" gays just because. I had forgotten that. In a world where happy endings should happen....Once ran out of gas.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Cyberpunk 2077: X-Mas Present Edition

So yeah, I have over 100 hrs clocked in now. Havent even beaten the main game or all the side missions yet. Mostly running around Night City to see where some fun secrets are at. Currently: Sword Master. Swish Swish! 

I still think they need to work on their hat game. Just now getting into finding all of Silverhand's items.

Yes, the initial meeting with him is very abrasive but somehow V's personality can be a Light to his Darkness. Sure, he's still a prick but you can mellow him out somewhat.  Quick Points:

  • Many of the side characters are genuinely likeable, Vic, Misty, Judy, Panam. You end up caring about them. Even Takamura. I ended up saving him. Go back into the hotel. Don't leave it. There's a hole in the side of the wall that you can use to go back upstairs to save him. Its the mission where he asks for 4 knocks! AND I DO MEAN 4 KNOCKS AT THE DOOR! (Its called Search and Destroy)
  • Have 10 intelligence in order to save a certain flamingo car and its siblings in a later quest. I didn't. You can max 3 attributes to 20 if you want.
  • Most of the endings are very downer ones. Because every hero's journey needs that option in games. (sarcasm).With books its up to the writer but with games, you have to give the player an option for a optimal win ending: Hero gets the girl, rides off  into the sunset, no matter the genre or setting. Its why Mass Effect had such a blacklash to its ending. 
  • Happy endings don't ruin games. Even in horror games. Give players the option. Esp. if its a hardcore RPG. People play to win the OVER THE TOP GOOD WINS. Even if they don't admit it outright. I will. ME WANT OPTIMISTIC HAPPY ENDINGS! 
  • I like looking for mysteries and crafting all sorts of things. 
  • Please improve car responses. The Shion from the Badlands is best car so far for racing/handling. Still have to finish that side quest too. The motorcycles handle fine. In comparison.  
  • It would be fun to have a "Running Man" gag.
  • The montage after "Chippin In" was hilarious. I just knew that kinda crazy would happen.

I mean, look how long the thread is now: Here


If anything has even a remote level of player choice or agency, be like Bioshock 1. Have an ending to that heroes journey that makes the adventure worth while. People may say that "Happy Endings" are boring but the reaction says otherwise. They want it on the table.  Jack in Bioshock, even though the ending was short it was sweet. You got to see him raise a family and die as an old man surrounded by loved ones. Even though Bioshock had darker themes, the bright ending shined all the brighter for him, Its why I wished Bioshock Infinte would have had something better for the Booker and Elizabeth you played. A version of them continue, its implied but....just what a hit to the system. I can only take so much BITTTER BIIIITTTER Endings. 

Which is why I am aiming for the Nomad one. Out of all of them, that leaves on the lightest note. But that specter is still in the background like a cancer waiting to hit the Player Character. I wont say much more just to state that of all the Endings, this one seems the least Pyrrhic. Heck, I think that's why I am putzing around with my first playthru to see what clicks. Hopefully the DLC will add some hope at the end of the tunnel. Even Sheridan within B5 ended up coming back and still having more time with Delenn. B5 could have had a complete downer ending if JMS wanted to. But he didnt, he interjected just enough hope for most of the characters that made the journey worth while. 

Yes, I've crashed 2 times. (PC version). In my case its just the framerate. Even with Outer Worlds I had to cap it at 60. 

Give us brighter endings, even in a craptastic world: Bright Swords

Fist of the North Star is a favorite of mine because of the sheer contrast of the hero vs a downer world. He doesn't let it change him. He actively makes people better. The ones who want to change that is. I plan on playing through Lost Paradise next anyways. Even Berserks brighter moments shine in comparison. 

V has just enough personality on their own to be an avatar for the player and to have their own drives, which will usually match the player's: Survival. 

I just don't want that avatar to go out like a roman candle. Hopefully the DLC will add another avenue or sequel to V's quest. Feels like the game was changed for Reeves' Silverhand portrayal. He had some great lines and even some character development that changed Silverhand for the better but I really want to see V succeed. Even if CP 2077 isnt as RPG intensive as Fallout New Vegas or those of that nature. I still hope they will add that to the game. Its why I dont mind spoiling people for this.

Uplift Protocol's ending will give people sugary diabetic attacks. Count on it.  

Note: (Addendum) There is a sidequest with the Lady from the 2013 trailer. Its called Bullets (The Clothing Store has it)

You have to visit a few times, It triggered in Act 3 for me. Some side quests wont even happen until you do other side quests before it. Its why I didn't fly through the main Quest. I'm not even sure what the hard stop point is just yet.


The DLC looks like it will occur outside Night City in some parts. Based on what I could see here for the main roads out in the Badlands and beyond the Oil Fields. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Uplift Protocol: TB Issue 2


Issue 2: The Summoning


            We all have our secrets but some inner terrors are harder to face. I realized this as we went through the trials alongside Arthur. The issue of the Sleepers was paramount. This place knew this and mocked me for it.—Arthon.

            There wasn’t much for it to latch on with Cooper or Robert. Guess they saw the truth before we did. Doesn’t really surprise me. It’s hard to really fool a dog.—Jonas “Eddie” Olsten

            At the end of it all, I am forever grateful that I didn’t have to endure all that alone. But in the end, through all those trials I discovered hidden steel within me. Which I suppose was the point.—Arthur

            It took a few weeks but Doc eventually told me most of what happened during those 7 trials. It was a test but also a purification ritual. I thought it fitting to offer the Wielder a spot on the Redeemers. I got flashes via my link to Doc about somethings that occurred. I wish I could have been there. The visions that Doc was shone. I could have cleared some of that up. But every time I tried to talk about it my throat would lock up. Did they have some special 42nd-century device on me? Not quite. Imagine a tesseract of yourself, through Throne Sight, guiding your actions to a foregone conclusion. One of these days I will have that talk with my older self. Wonder if she will answer.—Sleeping in Starlight, a memoir of the 22nd century.

Within the Weave

Trials of the Ordained

Date Unknown


                Lorain shivered as the wind cut through her demi suit. This thing was top of the line. What here could do this? Ghostly fingers kept tugging at her hair. She could almost hear the voices. Cooper floated next to her head. His nose quivering. <<We must find the armor!>> Robert, the massive Great Dane was pawing at the massive doors before them.

His barks were distorted.

Arthon approached the door. Pushing on it ever so slightly. It creaked open.

Lorain saw deteriorated banners and the remains of old furniture. Cheery place.

Eddie entered last. His senses scrambled. Everything here was hidden. He winced. Clutching his head. Lorain touched his shoulder. Bestowing a barrier. The shooting pain behind his eyes subsided. “Thanks. Looks like this thing is prepared.” Arthur pointed. A painting was situated at the head of the upper stairway. “I never had a beard.”

The picture was him but the style was quite archaic.  

The Redeemers turned as the massive oak doors to their left flew open. Another lancing wind cut through Doc. Fingers gripped her. Nearly twisting her shoulder from its socket. Eddie shouted. Firing a blast through the spectral entity. It’s mocking laughter echoed throughout the whole castle. “What do you fear?” Doc felt her eardrums pop and she found herself staring at Eliza’s lifeless corpse. She dashed over. Flooding it with her healing energies but nothing helped. Her captain’s lips remained blue and cold. Lorain cradled the body to her chest.

“This can’t be real.”


            Cooper and Robert spun in circles. All their humans were gone. His sense of smell wasn’t broken. The Bardaxian could trace their scents. Each of them was in a different part of this castle construct. The German Shepherd barked at Robert. He trotted over to the painting of Arthur. The man was trapped within its surfaces. Robert lifted a paw.  Why was the Queen doing all this? A shimmering light flooded the room.  Her golden hair plated about her head. She knelt and kissed both dogs between their eyes. “This trial isn’t for you dear ones. They have to face their greatest fears here.”

            Cooper asked, <<I know what my fear is. All of Bardax knows.>>

She nodded. “Indeed you do. Robert will one day have a voice. Help him defeat the Endless Night. It was created out of fear and desperation.” The Green Defender’s ears drooped, plastering themselves to his head, <<Litari fear it too.>>

            He continued, <<Is that why Star isn’t here?>>

            The Queen raised her gaze to the painting, “Yes. Star already is aware of her greatest fears. She has lived with them her whole life. To wield Excalibur is to know thy self. As the saying goes.” Cooper sat. He cocked his head to the side. <<Yet so many keep things from her.>> The Queen reclined on one of the chairs. It creaked as she leaned forward.

            “Most don’t believe she can handle such truths. White knows better. So do I. There is more than one way to skin a Dragon.”


            Eddie cupped his nose. Blood spurting out between his fingers.

Charlie McNickles was gloating. Familiar setting. It was elementary school all over again. He glared at the bully. “Look at that! Olsten fell on his ass again!” Unlike real life, Eddie was seeing red. He raised his fists. Tackling Charlie and cracking him across the jaw. With each blow, he screamed, “I hate you!” When his head cleared, he found McNickles unresponsive. Jonas’ knuckles were raw and bleeding. The corpse under him shifted. His mother’s blazing blue eyes staring accusingly.

            “You will never be good enough. Could have married into that Murphy family.”

            His breath hitched. What was this? His parents were stationed on Mars.

            The Olstens were about as stable as you could get. Even in this day and age.

            He never had any romantic leanings for Eliza.

            Whatever this thing was it continued to glare. “Useless! Everyone knows who Star is. Not you though. The Puzzler? Can’t even find his way out of a maze. Nose for all Hidden things but yourself!” He found himself staring at a billboard. Holographic messages everywhere.  Star was front and center. With Doctor Impossible leaning into her embrace. He didn’t see himself, Arthon, Horus, or the others. A vice squeezed his heart.

            “You are only in it for the glory!”

            He whirled. His breath shallow and panicked.

            “No! I care about my friends!”

            His voice sounded weak. He clenched his jaw.

            The voice continued to mock him.

            “Yet all INet talks about is Star.”

            He faced his child self. He remembered that day with the bullies. Eliza had saved him. Swooping in to tackle the other two. Knowing that she was a girl would make them pause. She didn’t even hit them beyond that initial distraction. Merely offered him her hand, “Heya! I’m Eliza. My parents just transferred here too. What’s New Ashbury like?”

            He had noticed the way she held herself despite the horrific pain in her back.  She always had that brace. Until her powers took off at the tail end of middle school. It was little things at first. He cradled his face in his hands. “I’m not good enough.”

The voices murmered. Taking on the sounds of family and friends.

            He raised his head to the sky yelling, “I’m not in it for the fame! It’s the right thing to do!”

            The barrage of INet ads mocked him.

            “You wanted Lorain, didn’t you? You want everything Eliza has. You are no friend!”

            He withdrew his blasters and fired into all the holographic images around him.

            He knelt. The hard pavement soaking through his demi uniform. Leaving the grime of dirty streets behind.


            Arthon was surrounded by the mummified remains of a dead world. Mars as she was. Illarium was a ruined dilapidated husk. The red winds of Mars eating away at it. Nuul’s hands rested on his shoulders. “You bare all the weight of this my son. The sins will never be truly forgotten. They scar the landscape of Mars and Earth. We meddled for their good. Like wolves among sheep.”

            He swung at his father.

Knowing that the hit wouldn’t connect. The specters of the dead swirled around him.

Nuul smiled. It was empty of warmth.

“You sleep as well. We all do. Why do you even fight the Unity of all Worlds.”

The Muthra ran. The remains of Markav thrown about. Forgotten playthings of Chronos.

“Earth should listen to Atlantis. We have better tech! Even those Typherians should listen to us. We are perfect. We are whole. Join us Arthon.” He screamed as the skeletal remains of the Markav dragged him under the blasted sands of Mars. Their paper-thin voices scratching at his ears.

“Save us!”

He replied, “ I don’t know how! I can’t even save myself!”

He landed in front of the Queen once more. His eyes tracking every movement.

“What just happened?”

Cooper jumped into his lap. <<You faced your fear! That was quick!>>

            He grimaced. He hated this feeling. Not being able to save himself was bad enough.

            After a few more minutes Eddie reappeared. Looking about as bruised and battered as Arthon felt. Guinevere handed them some simple cups filled with water. It tasted divine after all that. From what he could tell of his comrade’s features his trial had been keenly dismaying as well. The steady ticking of a grandfather clock struck midnight. Arthur and Lorain were still missing. Arthon stated, “What’s happening to the others?”

            The Queen of Avalon replied, “Their fears are deeper. But no less profound than yours.”

            Eddies’ voice was subdued, “They have even more to lose.”

            Arthon had a bad feeling about this.


            Arthur muttered into his tankard, “What’s the use? Why should I care! No one cares about me anyway! If I was some character in Captain Cosmos, I’d be the greenie that dies out in deep space. No love interest! No buxom companions. Not even a gravesite.”

            His drink sloshed onto the table as the barkeep stared blankly.

            “Star makes it look so easy. Wish I had her confidence.”

            An old woman sat down next to him. “That’s right dearie. Why should you give any two shits about the world? It's not like it's done you any favors!”

            Everything had a price.

            Arthur was sick of paying it. Waking up every day. With no recourse. Only to sit out every day as the same damn thing. Over and over. With no chance to show his quality.

            The barkeep took his tankard, “That’s enough lad. Just look at you!” Arthur glanced at the doorway and nearly reeled back with complete fright. An armored madman was in the doorway. His black pommeled sword gleaming with crimson sigils. “Long live the king!” The blade rammed into Arthur’s chest. “Give my mother my regards, Wielder!” The cries of crows followed him into the darkness.


            Lorain wanted to scream.

Beat her hands on the glass encasing Eliza. It had been a lovely ceremony. Doc’s detachment was profound. Eliza’s siblings had laid out flowers and other trinkets. The triplets were 10 now. Every year everyone came to this memorial site. The Last Stand of the Banner. Even Anna had finally buried the hatchet. Wonder what else she would hate instead of Eliza. She rested her head on the glass. “Why? I wanted you to stay.”

            Lines appeared on the casket but she took no heed of them.

            Pain stabbed at her palms as she broke through it.


            Eliza’s features morphed. Someone else she hated stared back.

            She glared at X’mil. The Typherian gripped her chin.

            “Do you love her out of pity I wonder?  The blind leading the blind.”

            Lorain slapped him.

            “Such a horrid bedside manner doctor. Oh! That’s it! Healing is one thing. Command the very body of the Universe to bow to you. Fill me with pain my dear. Need a whip too? Why heal when hurting feels so much better.”

            He planted one finger upon her forehead. Poking insistently.

            Lanis was not amused.

            “The best healer in the Multiverse. No one will fight you on it. Except you can’t save the one thing you care about most. Who warms your bed. Such a grand folly to be remembered for.”

            He cupped his hands over his face and shouted, “She cannot save that which she loves most! False love that. Utter tripe. Only fairy tales get happy endings.” His face melted. His bony fingers digging into Doc’s arms.

            “Kiss us. That way you know the true taste of death!”

            The ground swallowed her up.

            Please. I don’t want to lose you.


            Arthur raised his eyes. A golden-haired woman kissed his cheek. “This is not the path for you. Go deeper.” Everything shifted. A raven-haired man with an immaculate beard glared daggers at him. The table was round. Many armored men around it. “You will regret this slight Wielder!” He could see the banners flying in the breeze around him. The Man Who Pulled the Sword from the Stone. Its silver and white hilt gleamed within. Guiding him to evergreen hills. Water as clear as crystal.  The woman re-emerged. “Father dear friend. Husband. Farther.” He awoke within a cave. The light was dim by the fire. Across the walls were pictures. He raised his spear. The pale gray walkers had come for him again.

            “Further still.”

            Stars whirled around him. Cities of light and wonder. Aether greeted him. “We have done it! We have found the source of everything! Soon our expedition will set course. Will you join us?”

            Arthur came back to his body. His sobs muffled by his hands. A woman was caressing his head tenderly. “Rest now husband.”

            Arthon gut fell into his feet. The queen had shown them those final images from Arthur. This Earth just wasn’t the heart of the Edenverse, the primary universe, it was the focal point for convergence as well. Robert trotted over and licked the tears from Arthur’s cheeks. The Endless Night would have much to answer for. The earth dog didn’t how it happened. Only that it would be stopped. Lorain was still missing. Cooper howled. Hoping the sound would reach Lorain. The Bardiaxian was extremely worried. How deep was Doc’s fear?


            Lorain shivered. Her demi uniform was shredded. Various small wounds were pelted across her body. Each footstep bringing her closer to the Cliffside. X’mil’s bony form providing a run on commentary. “To your health doctor!” He took off his head and began to juggle it in the air. Adding more bones to the merriment. The darkened sea crashed against the rocks. It would be so easy wouldn’t it? IF she was gone? A howling noise stopped her. A warm hand on her shoulder caused her to turn. Eliza’s gray eyes stared down at her. “Penny for your thoughts doc?”

            “You must hate me. I made you into a project. Not a friend.”

            Warm arms encircled her. “Why do you say that?”

            “Because there’s a bad side to my powers captain. And I knew I couldn’t really hurt you. Since so many nerves were dead.”

            She buried her face into Eliza’s chest. The heartbeat was solid. Thrumming along. Strong and without fear. “Well like dad told me recently, every hand has the ability for defense and offense. We need to test both. Can’t hide that fear from me, Lorain. Gotta look into that mirror sometimes.” A comforting weight settled across her shoulders. Eliza’s favorite jacket! That goofy Texan grin was back in place. “Like that one line, take this for when things get dark ok?”

            Doc replied, “For when all other lights go out. You dork.”

            Eliza grinned, “I’m not the one who remembered that line better!”

            Lorain gazed out across the ocean. Steps formed. She strode forward.

            Finding herself standing by the same fireplace. The landscape of the castle had shifted. This room was warm and inviting now. Eddie chuckled, “I thought Eliza wasn’t here.” His eyes locked onto Lorain for a brief second. Like he was seeing her for the first time. Doc pulled the flight jacket in around herself. It was almost as good as the real thing. She collapsed in a fluffy chair. Putting her feet up near the fire. Her uniform was back in one piece once more.

The Queen smiled, “There are many bonds at work here.  Rest now. There are 6 more trials ahead.”

A helm appeared on an armor rack along the banner wall.

It was a simple dome shape with a T guard along the bridge of the nose. Metal links formed the backside of it. To add to the chainmail coif if Arthon guessed correctly.


            I rummaged around my apartment. What a strange dream. I had a feeling there was more to it though. I couldn’t for the life of me find my favorite flight jacket. Gulliver quacked at me. <<Don’t worry hot sauce. It will turn up. You have my Omega oath on that!>> I finished packing. Uncle Paxton and I would be heading to Bardax Prime soon.

A note was on the nightstand. With Doc’s neat handwriting. It merely said, “Thank you.” I blushed as I noticed her favorite lipstick adorning the note. Doc did love her sappy romantic comedies. I was watching them for research purposes. I knew I needed all the help I could get in the seduction department.  Watson would be joining us. Along with the Morrigan. She wanted to see what the home of Dogddom everywhere was like. Augustus as well. He promised to bring his fellow King’s Corgis some state of the art Bardaxian literature.

            I ran an index finger across the note. Taking care not to smudge the lipstick.

            I sent another burst of emotions across the Typherian Bond.

            Doc’s gratitude flooded my senses.

            Ironic that my romantic life was improving while the Universe decided to have 3 +crisis points happening simultaneously.  

            One step at a time.


            Aether trembled. The Wielder was coming.

            Once all the pieces were together the final confrontation would begin.

    Issue 1: Here

    Issue 3:  Here