Expulsion is done. Unlike incursion, this is All New Material. Lots of firsts, the biggest of which is a clear glimpse at The Overplot. Unlike (most) of the other actors in this drama, Yang and Aeon are in possession of most of the facts. Unlike previous posts, I'm comfortable divulging this information.
Seven new pages worked over the past couple of weeks, uploaded in one swat. You'd think being laid off from my day job 12 days ago would have been a big kick in the ass, and it was - just not necessarily in the way I'd expected. I'm still just as Deeply Unmotivated as I have been for the past two years - the difference now is I've got plenty of paperwork and other stuff to keep me busy. I'm also FINALLY catching up on sleep. Eighteen months of five to six hours a night (eight, rarely) has left me Truly, Madly, Deeply burned out. Finally having a PC that can run games and do ATC renders in 1/10th the time of previous setups has turned out to mean hours of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. : Shadow of Chernobyl, finding out what the big deal with The Orange Box was,* and Team Fortress 2. So much Team Fortress 2. Production has suffered accordingly. As of the 13th, I'm out of excuses, and I'm out of real-world roadblocks - for a couple of weeks, anyway.
If I felt any less motivated - if I had any less energy - I'd be violating a few laws of physics. More than a few. That doesn't change what needs doing, where things are, how much has been done, and the massive amount of uploading I'll be doing over the next few days. Chapters Five and Six have been done for awhile - my next task will be Once Over-ing both of them while setting up renders for the two remaining pages of Chapter Seven.
Then seven and eight go up. Then it's on to a wealth of other Things That Need Doing - some of it's is ATC related, some of it's Finding A Job related. There is some overlap. There is potentially a lot of overlap. The lack of energy is most likely a combination of seasonal and layoff factors, as well as all the fear and uncertainty that comes with the latter. Part of my slate has been cleared for me - I figure it's on me to clear the rest of it as quickly as possible, making the beginning of 2010 the start of Life 2.0.
This is, perhaps, one of the most critical scenes in The Dualist. It's also Yang's first color appearance, the first appearance of Aeon's "avatar" (given the present Definite Shape of the pre-Dualist outline), my first animal, the first bit of Non-Crazy Astral Space** in the book, the first instance of the ligature to appear inside the story... and the whole thing's orange enough to counteract the overabundance of blue elsewhere.
Forty Orange and the first blatant statement of what this whole damned thing - what these years of effort - might actually be leading to. It's... unnerving. Like you're in the middle of a meeting and you suddenly realize your zipper might be down.
Motion in a couple of days - and hopefully some motivation to go with it. Inertia will carry this thing through - I'd prefer some ZIP! and some ZING! and preferably some :D and some ^_^ to go with it. If they show up for the party, awesome. If they don't... well, so be it.
* Portal? Five hours of awesome. Half-Life 2 and episodes? There's quite a bit of goodness there, but it's ultimately A Shooter With An Interesting Story. Emphasis on A Shooter. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is the kind of FPS single-player I've always wanted to play, and as such my opinion of HL2 boils down to "It's the best Doom since Doom 3." One of these days FPS games that aren't Halo will implement per-weapon melee attacks and - holy of holies - bayonets. Optional breakable bayonets if my trusty AKM/74 with optional scope and grenade launcher (and in Clear Sky, silencer and accuracy mod) in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are anything to go by. Did Bungee patent pistol whipping? Is that why every FPS I've played since hasn't implemented it?
Rounding out the "review," TF2 is the most online fun I've had since Wolfenstein : Enemy Territory. It's basically WET (or Counter Strike or Team Fortress or Quake 3 or, yanno... whatever) with a hell of a lot more fine-tuning, beautiful art direction, a great sense of humor, and the same problem every online multiplayer game has - finding a good server can be a real pain in the trigger finger. You get over that hurdle, and the fun... the fun rolls on for hours. If you're wondering why this scene wasn't up sooner, don't blame my former employer and the last week of craziness - blame Valve. Or if I do an ATC-themed game model (like I've been not-very-seriously considering on occasion), thank them.
** Strictly speaking, this isn't quite Astral. The Aeon's AI has organic components - it's technically a sentient life form and as such, it has an astral form. That said form happens to be a dog is in keeping with the ship's present mental state - it's been lost, sniffing around the galaxy for its masters for the past forever-and-a-half. While this is technically some kind of Super Holodeck, there's no actual interface hardware - this entire scene occurs as a psychic communication between Aeon and Yang.