Hey, humans! Okay, now we’re cooking! Chapter three was when things really started coming together in my head. By this point, I had large swathes of the story figured out, I knew where things were going, and I had a plan, a destination to move towards. Quite literally, since this is the last chapter we’ll be at the asteroid base for most of the remainder of the series!

I really do like this chapter, especially the little exchanges between Sander and Mara. I think by this time I had their character voices down, as well as the tone of how they would interact with each other. I wanted to give their relationship a sense of history, an unspoken ease between the two of them. After all, they have been living in relatively close quarters for many years, it’s natural they’d develop a certain closeness.

And really, this is Mara’s time to shine, her first real showcase chapter. She comes into the sex here, almost becomes the focus of it, though at this point I was still pretty devoted to casting Amy in the lead role for that purpose. This is the time where I started cementing both her character and Amy’s, and it’s convenient I was able to do both together.

For Mara’s part, the idea was to create a counterpoint to Sander’s more controlled sexuality, and Amy’s repressed and resistant one; Mara is aggressively sexual, using it almost as a cudgel to keep people on edge. Frankly, she does this because she finds it amusing, but I wanted at least one character of the three to just enjoy sex for its own sake. Mara’s the most pleasure-centric of the main cast, and really I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d been the one to pitch the whole sex slave thing to Sander in the first place.

I’ll be honest about Amy, though: at this point, she was just resistant because it seemed natural. There was no overarching plotline for her until quite a while later, so for now I just found her outrage and uncomfortable nature hot. Yes, I am a huge pervert, I know.

This also marks the first time Amy is exposed to lesbianism within the context of the story. Believe me, if I’d been able to see Space and Time, with her weird Sapphic attraction to herself, I’d have changed the way this scene ran, but at the time the only information I had was that Amy was married to Rory, so the natural assumption to make was straight. It was a little hard to handle, partly because I don’t have girl parts, and partly because I really had no idea how to approach it. Obviously the idea of teasing her, edging Amy into compliance is a strong one, else I wouldn’t keep using it, but as to her actual reactions to being presented with Mara for the first time, I had no clue. Hopefully, I made it work. Honestly, Amy was pretty hard to write for most of this series.

Which is in stark contrast to Mara, who I actually found the easiest to write for. Her dialogue is actually pretty similar to how I talk, on occasion, so she’s fun to write. The scene where she appears naked in front of Sander was essentially to introduce the idea that she and him would be sleeping together at some stage, though I hadn’t really envisioned the kind of long term romantic entanglement they ended up in. I’d discarded the idea that she was a lesbian by this point, and instead decided to mold her after Captain Jack, in a way: she’s attracted to people, not genders or species. In fact, this ended up becoming my philosophy for any character that’s native to the 34th century, in which this story takes place. Pleasure became their only sexual motivator.

The other big thing to happen this chapter was Shimizu trying to kill Amy. There are two reasons for this; one, the most eminently practical, is that I wanted Shimizu out of the picture. To me, she just seemed like a repetition of territory I could easily cover with Mara, and beyond that I didn’t really have a concrete story for her. The second reason is that… well, goddamn did I ever want to get these characters away from the same goddamn rooms. It was around this time that I started figuring it out: it would be really boring to just have these guys hang around the base for however long I wanted before ending things. I needed to get them out and about, to flex my creative muscles and build them a world to go and inhabit. And that’s how we end up with Theros.

There aren’t any changes to this chapter, basically because… well, I like it the way it is, and any changes I could make would only serve to extend the length, rather than add anything new. I really don’t want to go all George Lucas on these things, so expect that I’ll actually think things over before adding, or taking stuff out, here. That said, I did go through and clean up the spelling and grammar, so let it not be said that this is merely lazy re-releasing.

Honestly, I thought I’d have more to say about this chapter, but really I don’t. Most of the cool stuff I’ll want to comment on doesn’t start happening until the next chapter so… I guess I’ll see you there!

Kurokami, signing off!