Hybrid, Prologue: The Last Battle
The Last Battle
An army of white skinned, blue-eyed beings called the Spacers ran desperately as they were pursued by their ruthless enemies, the Titans. Clad in bulky plate-mail and wielded advanced plasma weaponry, the Titans were recklessly destroying everything in their path.
The Spacers fled dived into a trench and fired their particle beam rifles at the enemy. A few of them stopped and threw grenades that released powerful gamma explosions to vaporize the Titan squad.
As they looked up, each Titan was fully armored with bulky muscles and grey skin with glowing purple wounds, their scars clearly visible. They were slightly larger than a Spacer, and had goat horns sticking out at each side of their heads. Each of them carried heavy duty weapons.
A Spacer soldier touched a communicator in his ear and shouted, "Captain Carato, we are being pinned down along North of the Atla Region!"
Captain Carato ordered
The Culinary Tastes of Aliens"What have you done?"
"The juices on your planet are delectable," he said, as though he hadn't heard her. She looked around her kitchen. There was blood and fur everywhere, and were those bits of bone?
"You ruined my juicer!"
He gave the appliance a dirty look. "Yes. You should probably go and purchase one of higher quality."
She was afraid to ask, but morbid curiosity took over. "What did you use?"
"I believe you call them 'squirrels'. Tomorrow I shall catch the avian you call a 'bluejay'. If it tastes half as good as the squirrel I believe I shall stay here for a long time."
The SirenThere was a dead body on Sandie's back porch, and it was trying to get in.
She wrung the coffee out of the front of her shirt, made damn sure that all of her doors and windows were locked, and called Mike.
"Yeah? Sandie? That you?"
"You don't know anything about this, do you?"
"Mike, there's a zombie on my back porch. It's leaving smears on the glass door. Is it yours?"
"I... Could you repeat that?"
"Zombie, Mike. It's a dead body in a puddle of nasty, and it's leaving more nasty on my door. God, I can even smell it. This is one thorough job, man."
She edged away from the door, keeping an eye on the intruder beyond the glass. It was bloated and purple with decay, green and black fungus speckling its face. There was fluid coming out of its mouth and dripping from its nose. It had no eyes, and all indication of sex or age had rotted away.
"Robotic, maybe? One of its legs is about to fall off. You didn't sic one of your Cyber Derby friends
McKennas boots struck the floor hard as she paced back and forth in her frigates underbelly. The holo-image showed a young woman bonded. She wasnt going anywhere. At least she was given a mat to provide some comfort. There was hatred in her eyes and not fear. That was good. Hate kept captives alive. She stomped past her image again. It felt wrong to walk through the image of her prisoner. So, she avoided her each time. Space was so cramped down here. Ades over in the corner striking his punching bag and smoking at the same time. It did not help that he had turned this into his own personal gym.
The young womans fate was in her hands. Possessing that power over another was intoxicating. However that wasnt the reason she chose her new profession. She got no pleasure in doing to other women what was done to her.
Dont even breathe in my direction, got it? She refused to ask what he would do in this situation.
He let loose a series of h
Sweatshirt Brigade | The Rads: Culture and HistoryThe Rad peoples have dominated the southern nations through a hegemonic control of trade and military power for much of their history. From humble isolated origins, the rise of the Rad people and their culture is tied to the development of the United Federation.Sweatshirt Brigade | The Rads: Culture and History by joeabuy1000
The Rads are the largest single ethnic group in the United Federation, numbering at over 900 million individuals.
Rads are a mixed-race people, descended from Northern European and Sub-Saharan African descent. They come in a wide array of skin tones and hair colors, but usually are noted for having predominantly brown hair and brown or green eyes.
A multiracial ethnic group, Rads have families that often have children with widely divergent skin tones, leading to a stereotype that Rad children can be a completely different race from their parents (but identical to their grandparents), which while a rare occurrence among Rads as with other ethnic groups, has become strongly as
The Robot and the PrincessDarkness fell heavily across the cityscape at sunset, casting long shadows from the countless pinnacles that reach heavenwards toward the two moons suspended like great rough-skinned melons above them. The dark canyon abyss that was the streets below was both the shelter and the harsh climate for billions of souls. Despite the legions of brilliant lights that flashed, called out, and beckoned lost souls to them in veritable rainbows of color along every thoroughfare, the streets themselves seemed eternally cloaked in shadows. It almost seemed that the harsh lights only caused the shadows to appear darker, and such shadows. They resembled the humans that cast them, yet were hideously skewed, and stretched into twisted shapes from positions the of the lighting. Such was the world called Talonus.The Robot and the Princess by desuran
Talonus is an odd world of outcasts, unwanted by the even the conquering Thressian Empire that ravaged that place with war, not eighty years prior. Though they fought, died, and killed for the ri
The Ascension Chronicles is an upcoming comic book written and illustrated by ILJackson iljackson.deviantart.com/ that is set in his Freelancers universe iljackson.deviantart.com/galle…. As previously explained by ILJackson fav.me/d6kqqvu the Ascension Chronicles is a space opera that finds a happy middle ground between hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi and it has a general atmosphere similar to a mixture of “Firefly” and an H.P. Lovecraft story. While the comic itself is not freely accessible on dA, a large number of appendix-related illustrations and descriptions have been posted that will eventually be included as part of the interactive experience that will be available when viewing the webcomic.
Ascension Chronicles Cover Art fav.me/d6gntl3
Liberte Modified Assault Transport fav.me/d4zlrlh
A Few of My Favorite Things fav.me/d6nwuyc
Ten of my other favorite deviations from the Ascension Chronicles Universe:
1) Terran Protectorate Stellar Navy fav.me/d6bstvr
2) SOAR Team Epsilon fav.me/d6llblh
3) The P’dekh Mir fav.me/d6lbp9o
4) Dual Suns Shipping Anchorage fav.me/d5vdh8n
5) Helium-3 refinery fav.me/d5sod8w
6) The Riverport fav.me/d5q73nh
7) Starship Scale Chart fav.me/d1z5r7d
8) Ruins of the Ascended fav.me/d39fwku
9) Freelancers Visual Sonata fav.me/d3fq7a2
10) Sci Fi Ship Class Guide fav.me/d6qcfpt
To sum it up there are five things that make ILJackson’s art stand out: 1) stunning visuals, 2) interesting descriptions, 3) originality, 4) continuity, and 5) innovation. Stunning visuals are important because images are the first things that draw viewers in and cause them to think about a new universe. While most writers on dA have a Pageviews/Comments ratio close to 2:1, ILJackson’s ratio is over 10:1, and that is largely because of his stunning visuals. Not only does ILJackson provide breathtaking images, but unlike many 3D artists that I have come across on dA he also writes immersive descriptions for these images that succeed in capturing the viewer’s imagination over a period of time. Part of what helps to bring about a growing interest in his art over a period of time are the elements of originality and continuity within his artwork. While fan art has the intrinsic advantage of evoking nostalgia there are also times when viewing the Millenium Falcon or the Enterprise for the 400th time can get rather old. Likewise, viewing a thousand original concepts can be quite enthralling, but without a cohesive story to tie them together the sense of escapism can only go so far. However, whenever I notice something from ILJackson that is part of the Freelancers universe I can always be sure that whatever it is, it will be something that is new to me as well as relevant to an ongoing sci-fi universe. Finally, I would like to wrap this up with a talk about innovation. Just as it is important for a scientist to vary up techniques and develop new assays in order to enhance his or her chance of making meaningful discoveries, it is also important for artists to try new things and evolve over time. One thing that I have noticed about a lot of the Freelancers art is that many of the pieces started out as experiments with new software programs and/or techniques. For more info about ILJackson and his writing and visual art check out his interview with “From the Rifts&” www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z82wV… and his interview in Issue 10 of 3D Art Direct 3dartdirect.
Below is an interview that I conducted with ILJackson:
SPACE-COMMANDER: I recall from your “From the Rifts &” interview that you are now the leader writer for the Robotech RPGs from Palladium Books. How has your strong background in pencil and paper RPGs influenced your development as a writer?
ILJACKSON: The two kind of grew in tandem. I've been roleplaying for as long as I can remember, and I've been writing for about as long. I've always been hugely interested in worldbuilding, which RPG designing and writing allows you to do in spades. Making cohesive worlds, cultures and universes, and then being able to portray them through writing and art is my passion. The two skills strengthen each other.
SPACE-COMMANDER: While we are on the subject of RPGs, what are some of the advantages that paper and pencil RPGs bring to the gaming experience that is lacking in many of the video games?
ILJACKSON: As great as some of the so-called "sandbox" games are, like the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and to a lesser degree Mass Effect franchises, there are still a lot of limits as to what you can do and how predicaments and challenges can be solved. There's also limits on where you can go and how you can grow as a character.
In a game like Mass Effect, you were usually limited to where you could go, a good example being the Citadel Space Station. There were only a few locations you could visit in a space station that was miles across. In Skyrim, you can't book passage on a boat to Morrowind or Elseweyr. You also can't nominate yourself for the council in Mass Effect or snag the throne in Skyrim. In a pen and paper RPG, and with a flexible and quick-witted game master, all options are on the table.
But I will say that video games have come a long way. Skyrim is a great example of a game with nearly limitless options.
SPACE-COMMANDER: My understanding is that in addition to the Ascension Chronicles graphic novel you are also planning to make a pencil and paper RPG that is set in the Freelancers universe. Could you give a brief overview of an example of what one could experience during a play through of this RPG?
ILJACKSON: The Freelancer RPG would allow players to create characters in a very broad universe with multiple ongoing storylines, plots and conspiracies. You and your fellow players could be naval officers on a ship of the Terran Protectorate Stellar Navy, embroiled in a war with the Imperial Consortium, or treasure hunters daring the unexplored depths of the Sea of Dead Stars. There are several alien species, multiple professions, tons of different stories, worlds and cultures. It will be extremely broad-based and open-ended, and the game master could design a campaign that revolves around simply doing enough jobs to put food in your stomach while avoiding pirates, or launch the players into vast, interstellar conspiracies involving the return of ancient, eldritch alien horrors. I hope to have well-rounded ground combat, skill use and deep role-playing options, a rich character creation process and well-thought-out space combat as well.
SPACE-COMMANDER: I remember from your “From the Rifts&” interview that you place a very strong emphasis on outlines. When you were writing the Ascension Chronicles did you stick to a core story and gradually “snowflake” outward, or was it more like a jigsaw puzzle of several hundred independent components fusing together?
ILJACKSON: I created the universe long before I created the specific story. The universe was created through years of mental tinkering, but the specific story of the Ascension Chronicles started out with an overarching theme and story, then character development, and then doing that classic outline and breaking it down from big pieces to smaller and smaller chunks. Outlines are very important for writers, and are often neglected. They really help you get from A to B in a consistent fashion, help with pacing and make sure you don't go too far off the reservation. A lot of times writers will have a start point and an end point, and a few ideas of some specific incidents that happen in between, but they don't really know how to string it all together. An outline helps you get that done.
SPACE-COMMANDER: From a world building standpoint what were some of the most challenging aspects of the Freelancers universe that required research into real-world scientific principles and/or social/historical modeling?
ILJACKSON: The personalities and mentality of spacers and colonists. It's easy to look up theoretical physics and extrapolate. The math is the math and the science is the science, and even when you know you are going to bend it, it's easy to base it in some form of reality. But we've never actually colonized space. That kind of activity is going to draw certain personality types. That, in turn is going to affect the culture. Then there's going to be the friction between the central government and the colonists and the politics springing from that. Then you have to think, who is going to buy a space ship and start hauling stuff around to make a living? What's life going to actually be like on a ship like that? What makes someone become a pirate? What's the law going to look like? What is going to need to be transported back and forth? Overall, how will that kind of lifestyle affect the human condition? After a few generations, these people are going to be rather different from you and I. Many are going to be extroverts, isolationists, extremists, criminals, you name it. Not everybody who goes to the fringes does so because of some idealistic desire to see the stars. Many will go out there because they are running away from their old life, they couldn't handle society, they have dark secrets or desires they can live out in peace, they have beliefs that are not considered acceptable, you name it. And then they're going to have to do business with one another to survive.
The reason those things are the hardest, and in my mind most important, is because every story should be about people and the human condition. Even in a fantastical science fiction setting, the stories that draw us and keep us are, at their heart, about being human.
SPACE-COMMANDER: Beyond dA, which social network do you feel is the most important for sci-fi artists such as yourself?
ILJACKSON: Go local. Science fiction clubs, writing groups, anything that gets you off the computer and out into the world. As a writer, you have to be a part of the world if you're going to write stories that people can buy into as a real world. It's hard to write a story about a swashbuckling ladies man of a hero if you've never talked to a girl. You will have a hard time capturing a sense of adventure and awe and wonder of exploration if you've never been out of your home country or experienced other cultures. So the world is your best social network, from the waitress at the diner to ethnic community in your city other than your own. Go out and explore and step outside of your bubble and away from your computer.
SPACE-COMMANDER: Who are some of your favorite sci-fi artists on dA?
ILJACKSON: I am a big fan of the artist Karanak, for his ship designs, LordDoomhammer, for his fantastic composition and brilliant use of colors, JamesLedgerConcepts environment shots are astounding, as are the urban dystopian settings of JacobCharlesDietz. Steve-burg is another big favorite of mine and I've learned quite a bit from his work. I am also a huge fan of ChuckWalton, a long-time friend who was one of my first RPG game masters. He and I have long planned to do another comic book series called Dominant Species, a post-apocalyptic setting where mankind lost a war against an alien species of werewolves and begin trying to take back the planet with a mixture of mystical martial arts powers and mecha. For better of worse, he and I have been victims of our own successes and put the project aside to work on things that were paying the bills. That's the bane of doing your own intellectual property. There's no paycheck coming for quite a while. However, if you are successful, the payoff is worth the wait.
Questions for the Reader:
1) Who are some of your favorite 3D artists on dA?
2) Have you ever played a pencil and paper role-playing game? If so, how has that experience influenced your writing and/or visual art?
3) Do you have any experience with local artistic, writing, and/or sci-fi groups?
4) Do you think that a core plot should be written prior to the development of a setting, the setting should basically write the plot, or that the development of plot and world building should be a completely bidirectional process?
2013 SPRING FEATURE: The White Angel space-commander.deviantart.com…
2013 SUMMER FEATURE: Spindrift space-commander.deviantart.com…
2013 FALL FEATURE: Mass Effect: Interceptor fav.me/d6m7e1h