Empire of Ash

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Teridactyl
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Post by Teridactyl » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:51 pm

Notes
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hey, just because I've been busy doesn't mean I haven't been busy. Sorry to have to break this up like this, but this is another one of those long chapters that is taking a while. There's a lot to cover...and a lot of feels, too.

You can only trigger this scene in the game before you find Valentine, which was kind of a nifty surprise to discover, but the dialogue always seemed a little too stilted. It just seemed to jump ahead way too many leaps before Sole Survivor was like, "Yeah, sure, let me hop in another small enclosed piece of technology without caution! The last one went so well, after all!" I think just even getting IN the thing would set off a panic attack. But a free ride is a free ride, right? Also, Irma always gave off such a Mrs. Robinson vibe, I couldn't help myself. :D

Next part may take me a little longer. My husband and I are heading to the U.K. next Thursday for 10 days! Gonna be in London for two days, then head up to Scotland. Laptop will sadly have to stay home, though. At first I wasn't terribly excited about going, but work has been such a pain lately, I'm looking forward to the time off wherever it is. Rest assured, this project is still (always, always, always) on my mind and constantly in the works. I got some nifty stuff planned and I can't wait to share it. :D

Hey, that reminds me... Here's the freakiest and creepiest cover of one of the most romantic songs I know. It's sets up the perfect tone for what's up next... :nervous:

So, on that happy note :14: ...see ya later, everyone! Take care. :)
Last edited by Teridactyl on Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by Brambleberry » Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:04 pm

Dammit Teri a freakin' Cliff Hanger? That was SOOOOooooooooo good! I like seeing the perspective while he's in the pod. Not something I ever thought about; well done!

sigh . . . back to camping Image

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Post by Serethil » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:39 pm

Ooooo - I read him saying about seeing Nora, and thought "holy shit, he's not going THERE is he?" Apparently.... I have a kind of bad feeling about the next installment! That was really a good read, Teri!
Loving fantasy since 1960 or so, FRPGs since 1975 (appx), and CRPGs since 1985....

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back,
Three from the Circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone:
Five will return, and one go on alone.

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Post by Andra Hawksdaughter » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:24 am

I don't think he thought this through very well. :broken_heart: I know I'm thinking of the bomb/s, Nora shot, Shaun taken... SO not good!! Even good memories of them will be hard, living the loss all over again. Oh man...
Love this, but wanting to cry for him too! I can only hope something good comes from it also, not just the bad memories. Got me in the feels again!
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Post by Teridactyl » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:22 am

Thank you, everyone! You know, I was kinda dumb and jumped right into that pod without thinking about it when I first came to this scene, thinking it'd show us some new content, even though I know I should've known that was way out of the realm of the game. I got caught up in the immersion and got suckered into it, too! I don't blame Irma for false advertising, or Dr. Amari, or Sole Survivor. Just lack of information all around.

Painting frost on eyelashes and skin was something new for me, so now I have a new skill! I'm sure that'll come in handy for family Christmas photos. Blue lips for everyone! :18:

I've been cross-posting Nathan's journal on Archive of Our Own, and my own site teristearns.com, which is basically the same thing I've been posting here, only way more behind than here. (You guys are special...you get advanced screenings.) I mainly use my site as a repository to link my images instead of using a free service like Imgur, but decided to convert the whole thing into Nathan's journal because why not? I'm paying for the space, might as well do something with it, right?

Inevitably, I've edited a few things. Some text, but nothing significant. Mostly, I've changed some images around and added a few more "scrapbook" images (which I've since gone and relinked on previous posts here.)

I just got done planning out the ArcJet entry, and here are a couple of the new images I added to the story with a bit of a hi-tech theme. :)

Synth You've Been Gone...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Synth mod is Synth Overhaul - C.A.S.T., and I highly recommend it. :)
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Post by Andra Hawksdaughter » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:54 am

Wow Teri!! That's a lot of work, I wish I had your patience. Hell, wish I had the time! These are great, I especially like that first one. That overhaul looks really good too, may have to check it out! (after I make sure my games are stable again. Grrr.)
Love your comic a lot, but the journal story also. I couldn't pick a fav, so they both are, heh heh. :D
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Post by Brambleberry » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:26 am

Awesome Teri! Did anyone else think at first glance, "Whoa that Paladin has a Light Saber!" Took my brain a second to process that it was from a laser gun shooting at the Pally.

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Post by Teridactyl » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:38 am

I love doing all this. Everything I've been learning along the way has been a total blast and is absolutely worth it. The fact that you all appreciate it just furthers my motivation. :)

And Bram, now you have me thinking about Danse as a Jedi. Come to think of it, the BoS and the Jedi order have an awful lot in common. There are some good ones, and there's some not-so-good ones, but almost all of them are assholes in one fashion or another. :lol: Of course that's not ALL the similarities, but that basically covers it.

But Danse in Jedi robes... Hm. Further meditation this requires, thinks I. :mrgreen:
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Post by Brambleberry » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:37 am

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Post by Teridactyl » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:32 am

Artifacts - Part II

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I'm baaa~aack! 8-)
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Post by Brambleberry » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:20 am

Best freakin' picture story EVAH!!!! :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart:

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Post by Serethil » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:03 pm

Got me again Teri.... That's what I was afraid of, when he went there. *sniffles*

Heartbreaking and gut-wrenching.... but also VERY well done!
Loving fantasy since 1960 or so, FRPGs since 1975 (appx), and CRPGs since 1985....

When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back,
Three from the Circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone:
Five will return, and one go on alone.

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Post by Andra Hawksdaughter » Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:10 pm

Broke my heart again, and his! Oh Teri, this is SO freaking good, but makes me wanna bawl! Perfect, and wonderfully done!!!
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Post by Teridactyl » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:48 am

Well, we've all seen this scene like a gazillion times. I've always thought it lacked something. Several things, in fact. If you're gonna have the guts to tell this kind of story, then I think your audience should feel that blow pretty hard. I wasn't sure this would turn out to have the effect that I wanted it to, but I am really glad to hear that you all appreciated it. :heart:

Gotta say, though, those digital artifacts were a hoot to learn how to do. It was a little like building a carefully crafted sandcastle only to turn right around and bulldoze the hell out of my own work. That wasn't part of my plan when I started, but it's kind of an effective visual storytelling device. How accurate are memories, anyway?

Oh, and this brain mapping stuff is real! Not quite to this sci-fi level of clarity, but pretty freaking amazing (or scary?) nonetheless!
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Post by Brambleberry » Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:06 pm

Hmmmmm looks like a Institute scientist to me and my characters have issues with those dweebs! ;) Keep up the super duper stories in every form Teri they are just incredible.

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Post by Andra Hawksdaughter » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:45 pm

Thanks for the link Teri, though those guys in Berkely are getting kinda scary! :D
Keep doing what you do, you have a talent for touching every emotion in your stories!
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Post by Teridactyl » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:20 pm

Brambleberry wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:06 pm
Hmmmmm looks like a Institute scientist to me and my characters have issues with those dweebs! ;)
:lol: I love that "C.I.T." is not even a subtle parallel of M.I.T. It's even located in the same place in Boston. And "College Square" is so obviously Harvard Yard, but interesting thing about video games--the developers have to get permission to use well-known private institutions in their maps. It's why the Empire State building is missing from just about every video game map of New York.

It's not so much that Harvard school building is missing (which IS that huge, sprawling brick building next to the Police Station in Cambridge), as the name. I guess Harvard was too good to be part of the Fallout-verse. I wish someone would make a mod to be able to go in there. Maybe it's 'cause nobody could figure out where to "pahk theh cah" when Bethesda went to ask.

Sorry. I just can't pronounce that like a normal human being anymore. Does Courtney Taylor make fun of the accents in the game, too? Or is that just something Brian Delaney did because he's awesome? He doesn't do it often, but when he does, I just want to hug the hell out of him.

:fallout:
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Post by Teridactyl » Thu Aug 01, 2019 3:32 pm

Speaking of which...

Image

:rofl:
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Post by Andra Hawksdaughter » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:40 pm

:lol: :lol:
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Post by Teridactyl » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:58 am

Image

0022 | A Momentary Lapse of Reason

"Let me out, let me out, let me out! LET ME OUT NOW!"

"Okay, calm down... It opens automatically. Just give it a second."

As soon as I could, I shot to my feet, legs wobbly, but still working. My heart was racing, thudding in my ears. I was breathing like I'd just finished a 500 yard sprint. And I wanted to keep going. I wanted to run. Fight or flight.

"You're safe, now, sweetheart. I'm so, so sorry... If I'd had any idea we were going to put you through that again, I would've said no."

"I'm fine, I'm fine," I said trying to push past her. "I just need to find Shaun, now. I need to find...my... Oh...god."

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I was the opposite of fine in pretty every way possible. I felt horrible. Sick. Dizzy. Nauseous. My head was wasn't pounding so much as stabbing me between my eyes. And then my legs stopped working. I don't even remember feeling myself fall, but I wound up on their filthy floor along with all the loose papers, debris, trash, dust...

Jesus, doesn't anyone know how to use a broom, anymore?

"Calm down, take it easy..."

I wish people would stop telling me that!

I felt hands on me...a woman's hands. I tried to crawl away...didn't want to be touched. Leave me alone, I'm a married man! I wanted to yell, and then realized abruptly, No you're not.

Nora. Goddamnit. Nora. Why? WHY HER? It should've been me...

I put my hand over my heart—I could feel it pounding like it was trying to break free. What the hell did that machine do to me? And then I realized...

I wasn't just reliving the visual memory of watching Nora die in full 3D and stereophonic sound, I was reliving everything. Not only the psychological trauma—guilt, grief, fear, anger, all that fun stuff—but the physiological responses, too: the cryo-sickness, the disorientation, and the pain. Ooooh,God, the pain.

The body remembers.

Image

I might've been kind of impressed, if it wasn't taking all my willpower not to throw up.

Maybe I should. At least it'd force them to use a mop.

I tried to laugh or cry or shout, but I couldn’t stop wheezing. My tongue felt numb. Couldn't catch my breath. My face was wet with or sweat or tears or both. My whole body was shaking from the feeling of a million needle pricks in my skin...this one I knew a little too well: frostbite thaw. Jesus, really, that too?

Damnit, I don't have time for this!

"Doctor Amari, get the Calmex! He's going into mnemonic shock!"

"On my way!"

I tried to crawl away again, and collapsed on my face. Someone took my hand. I squeezed it, thought they were trying to help me to me feet and realized they were pushing up my sleeve instead. Someone else—not lady hands—was pushing me back onto the floor.

"Kent, hold him still. I need to find a vein."

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"I'm trying, Doc. He's strong for a wiry guy!"

"Don't hurt him," worried the couch lady.

"I don't think that's a problem," said the gravelly-voiced man. "Guy could give Grognak a run for his money!"

Shucks, guys, I'm really not that strong. Especially since my shoulder surgery.

Trying to initiate a little romantic Mommy and Daddy alone-time, I tried to pick up Nora a couple weeks ago to whisk her away, and we both went down like a sack of wet cats. We cried with laughter. Even Shaun giggled as he peered at us through the bars of his crib. Codsworth thought we were dying. He wanted to call 9-1-1 until we finally got ourselves under control and convinced him we were fine.

Nora called me a "geriatric parent." I said I was "seasoned." She said it's pronounced "senile". I pushed her in the bedroom and said I'd show her something that rhymes with "senile"...

"My smile," I said and grinned to demonstrate.

There was a lot less talking after that.

Shit. Did I just say a couple weeks ago? It was a couple centuries ago... Talk about a geriatric parent.

How can that be possible? How can any of this be possible? Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe this is my psyche trying to grasp the fact that I'm really lying in the snowfield somewhere in B.F.E. Alaska bleeding from a gunshot hole in my head as my body systemically shuts down.

Let's face it, what makes more sense here: our hero witnesses a devastating world event only to wake up from cryogenic sleep 200-years later to see his wife murdered and son kidnapped, sending him on a path of revenge and redemption into an increasingly nightmarish world of mutated monsters, and surrounded by a cast of increasingly outrageous characters...

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...or an average soldier of average skill dying in a snowbank watching his formerly average life flash before his eyes until he finally accepts the truth...that he never had a son, never made it home to marry his girl, never had much of anything at all.

Cut. Print. Fade to white.

Isn't that how the twist ending always goes?

Don't worry, though, she'll be fine. The girl, that is. She'll get over me in no time. I was never much of a lover, anyway. Just...average. She'll marry that Preston guy in her same apartment building. He's nice. He's not military. He's got a good job. He has a foosball table. I never had a foosball table. I'm too average.

Pinprick in my arm. I stopped shaking. I stopped struggling. The nausea, the pain, even the panic all started to go away.

Sorry, Shaun. Sorry, Nora. If this is all a dream, then maybe you're both still safe. Or not even real at all. I kinda wish it was true... I guess we'll see if I wake up.

If.



Image



Notes:
I've been wanting to do an animated gif for a long time. This worked out way better than my first attempt. So hey! I learned another thing!

Doctor Amari wouldn't do anything I wanted her to, except type on her console. She was stuck in that animation. I could moodpos her around, just not get her to stick a pose, so you see her head and feet, and that's it.

Oh, poor Nathan! But it does start to get better after this, for a while, anyway. This is a pretty dark moment for him, but also a big turning point and wake-up call. He's got some choices to make after this that'll kick his butt into gear a little harder. And maybe a happier memory or two to pick him up again. :heart:
Last edited by Teridactyl on Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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