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Forum: The Crystal Hall
 Topic: Google Gadgeteer explores stratosphere
Google Gadgeteer explores stratosphere [message #94832] Sat, 25 October 2014 06:13
Baby Valentine is currently offline  Baby Valentine
Messages: 561
Registered: May 2014
Location: Central Illinois
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/24/google_exec_alan_eus tace/

Quote:
On Friday morning, Pacific time, Google's senior veep of Knowledge Alan Eustace rode a helium-filled balloon to more than 135,000 feet above the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in a specially designed space suit before firing a small explosive charge and cutting himself loose for free fall.


He was then picked up by the Air Force, who denied that he was an ET.

Toggle Spoiler


Don't Drick and Drive.
Forum: Character/Story Workshop
 Topic: Twins Divided - Shizuka
Twins Divided - Shizuka [message #94791] Fri, 24 October 2014 17:29
NeoMagus is currently offline  NeoMagus
Messages: 80
Registered: October 2014
Location: Somewhere in the USA
This is one of the primary characters for the storyline I'm working on. Her power set comes with some possibly confusing implications, so I'm putting her up here to get some feedback in that regard.

MID
Codename: SHIZUKA (meaning "Quiet One" in Japanese)
Ratings: (EX-2)(ENG-4; Internal Sonic/Kinetic Absorption)(REG-3)
Techniques: Enhanced Strength & Agility; Pistol Marksmanship; Silent Stealth Engagement; Unarmed Martial Arts
Affiliation: Parkour Hooligans

Additional Data
Name: Keiko Mizashi (formerly: Kaito Mizashi)
Age: 14 years
Height: 5'2"
Weight: 98 lbs.
Build: Trim and athletic, small A-cup bust
Hair: Black, worn in a shoulder length semi-bob style
Eyes: Electric Blue (don't glow, but look like they could)
Origin: Born in Okinawa, Japan but now lives in the Los Angeles area
Language(s): Japanese (Native Language), English (Fluent), ASL (Beginning to learn)
Cottage: Poe
Birthdate: March 30, 2001
Academic Year: Freshman
Family Status: Father - Riku Mizashi; medical doctor who runs a private clinic / Mother - Deceased / Twin Brother - Kenji "Hardlight" Mizashi; Whateley student
Soft Classification: Brick (Exemplar/Internal Energizer)
Key Equipment: Nothing specific at first, but about midway through her first semester she takes up using a customized magnum revolver with specialty ammunition.
Common Attire: Long slacks or jeans; T-shirt or blouse; Running Shoes; Pull-over Hoodie
Favorite Foods: Calamari, Agemochi, Rice Dumplings, etc. (Pretty much anything Japanese or generally Asian. She's proud of her heritage.)
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, Calligraphy, Violin, Parkour, Martial Arts
Sexuality: Confused (she is beginning to find herself attracted to boys but is very resistant to the idea)
Other Notes:
- The sonic absorption aspect of her energizer trait is generally a handicap. While her mouth and vocal cords function normally, any sound waves they produce are instantly absorbed by her body, rendering her effectively mute.
- She is not dealing well with the sudden transition her manifestation has put her through, especially since her identical twin brother doesn't turn into a girl.
- Before manifesting, Kaito was confident and outgoing. Afterwards, Keiko is shy and introverted, generally mistrustful of the world for taking so much away from her. (Her ability to easily communicate with others, her close relationship with her brother, her manhood; you get the idea.)

General Outline
Background
> Riku Mizashi moved his family to the States in the summer of 2004, following the untimely death of his wife, Kiyo. The twins were three years old at the time.
> Growing up in Santa Monica, Kaito and Kenji were inseparable, doing virtually everything together. Both were interested in martial arts and music, and were also introduced to parkour by their sensei.
> Kaito was an exemplary student, even more so than Kenji in most classes, and was well liked by most of his classmates because of his approachable and helpful personality. Though he easily could have, he never really ran with the "in-crowd," mostly because he and Kenji preferred to do their own thing rather than trying to fit in.
Manifestation
> Kaito and Kenji both manifest simultaneously, which they recognize is rather unusual, late in the summer of 2015.
> During an encounter with a villainous devisor, Kaito is seriously injured while trying to protect Kenji. This causes his regen to overtax his newly manifested body and trigger a major burnout.
> Kaito regains consciousness two days later only to discover that he can no longer speak and that he has turned into a girl (completely due to the combination of his regen and the burnout). The inability to speak is a result of the burnout modifying his energizer ability to include sonic energy.
> While at first Kaito believes his muteness to be the more immediate concern, that changes when Kenji comes into the hospital room in an attempt to be supportive. It freaks Kaito out that he has turned into a girl but his brother hasn't. Kenji feels guilty about that, and since the two don't know how to relate to each other anymore, a rift develops in the formerly close relationship they shared.
> Over the following few days, Kaito is encouraged/comforted/instructed by Izumi Kenning, one of his martial arts instructors and the closest thing he has to a mother figure. Absinthe (Morpheus's character, who I have permission to use for this fanfic) is also involved at this point and helps to encourage him/her as well. It is during this time that Kaito takes the name Keiko and the codename Shizuka, both at Izumi's suggestion.
> The twins then leave for Whateley, less than a week after manifesting. They are escorted on the journey by Absinthe, who is returning to her usual post as the MCO Liaison at Whateley. (I'm assuming she stays on in that role for some time after graduating, since she is the best candidate for the job and it would give her an opportunity to do some additional studies.)
Arrival at Whateley
> Keiko arrives the day before the fall 2015 term starts, as part of the regular freshman intake for Poe Cottage. (Note that even though Kenji arrives at the same time, I don't plan on him being informed of Poe's Secret. He gets assigned to Twain and spends the day with other early arrivals there, mostly GSD cases who had to get to Whateley before the start of term because of safety issues.)
> Keiko is likely the least adjusted of the changeling freshmen, due to the sudden nature and recent occurrence of her transformation. She is possibly the only one who is 100% transformed, but has also had the least amount of time to get used to the idea. As a result, her self-confidence is rather lacking as she interacts with the other students.
> She also has the issue of her muteness to deal with, which makes it even harder to relate to most of her new cottage-mates. Overwatch takes note of this detail and offers to tutor Keiko and anyone else in the cottage who wants to learn American Sign Language, so that it will be easier for Keiko to communicate with the others.
> Keiko ends up rooming with Skye "Solstice" Nilsdottir, a better adjusted MtF mage from Iceland.
Interpersonal Interactions
> Keiko's muteness puts a severe limit on the amount of interaction she has with other students, especially early in the term. At first her closest friends are Solstice and Wilder, Solstice because she is Keiko's roommate and Wilder because he also went through an almost instant gender-swap. Overwatch becomes something of a mentor to the trio, especially when he introduces Keiko and Wilder to the Hooligans.
> Keiko quickly develops a relatively strong bond with the Hooligans, because parkour allows her to vent stress and doesn't require her to talk in order to interact. The group in turn readily accepts her, more than willing to be patient with her when communication is required.
> About midway through the term, when Overwatch encourages her to find a way to protect herself from a distance, Keiko starts to frequent Range 2 pretty regularly, finding that she has a knack for pistol marksmanship. She develops a reputation on the range for her quiet demeanor (obviously) and focused attitude.
> Her relationship with Kenji remains strained over the course of the fall term, the rift that developed between them when she transformed being exacerbated by the two of them living in different cottages and having different circles of friends. Part of her wishes that two of them could be close again, but the other part of her is both scared of being rejected and also still resentful that she has to deal with an unwanted sex change while he doesn't.
> Her friendship with Wilder is bolstered when she starts tutoring him in Tai Chi, as a means of helping him to control his rager instincts. This friendship could eventually become romantic (I haven't decided yet), but Keiko still has quite a lot of adjusting to do before that happens, and Wilder certainly isn't going to force her into anything.
> Keiko's reputation with the other Poesies does get a bit of a boost when she finally gets comfortable enough to start practicing with her violin again. She's quite talented with it, even after not playing it for quite some time due to the stresses she's been dealing with, and her "recitals" in the sunroom are a notably pleasant contrast to her usual silent (and easy to overlook) existence.
Story Plans
> Again, Keiko is rather limited in how she interacts with most of the student body (since the majority of them aren't likely to be inclined to learn sign language), so it will probably be difficult for other authors to use her as a supporting character in their own stories.
> My eventual plan for Keiko is for her to be a founding member of Vanguard, the parkour-based training team I'm putting together. This will take place at the start of winter term, after the fall term Combat Finals.
> On that note, a specific story idea I have in mind of Keiko is her Combat Final, which I plan to be a Crash event involving her and five other students, including Kenji, in a free-for-all match-up. The idea is that she and Kenji manage to reconcile enough during the match to work together and win the scenario as a team, before fully reconciling after the match is over. This is what will bring Kenji into the fold to be another founding member of Vanguard.
> The primary focus for most of Keiko's stories over the fall term will be how she handles the general day-to-day chaos of Whateley, particularly in the light of adjusting to both her gender-change and handicap, her strained relationship with Kenji, and the overall rebuilding of her shattered self-confidence and identity.
Power Specifics
> Exemplar 2 - While this trait is the source of her unwanted sex-change, it's a little unusual compared to most exemplars. While she has all of the enhanced physical and mental abilities of an EX-2 (highest limits of baseline potential), her appearance wasn't drastically altered (sex-change and eye color notwithstanding). She didn't develop GSD, but she also didn't get the usual "Exemplar Effect" of enhanced attractiveness. She's basically a rather plain looking female version of her old self. Why her BIT is female yet still so similar to Kenji's BIT is unclear.
> Energizer 4 - This is at once both Keiko's key combat ability and the bane of her social existence. When she first manifested, she had the ability to absorb just kinetic energy and store it internally for later use. It wasn't until her burnout that sonic energy was added to the mix, resulting in her inability to speak (and other troublesome side-effects, such as her inability to clap) The passive effects of this absorption power include: virtual immunity to impact based weapons and attacks (or fall damage, for that matter) and the muffling of both her footsteps and the sound her clothes make when she moves (making if very difficult to detect her audibly even when she isn't trying to be sneaky). Active Effects: she can use her stored energy to temporarily boost her physical abilities, making her comparable to an EX-5 for brief periods (possibly even EX-6 if she gets into a fight with a strong enough opponent who keeps giving her additional energy); alternatively she can use her stored energy to temporarily accelerate her regen ability up to about REG-5, though this use is very inefficient and has a high chance of causing burnout with more serious injuries. Another notable active ability she develops toward the end of fall term is extending the area from which she absorbs sound. She can extend this area to about 10 inches from her body, further muffling her movements and automatically silencing her revolver when fired.
> Regeneration 3 - Pretty standard here. She's practically immune to sickness, and heals from what injuries she is vulnerable to (such as knives and cutting weapons) very quickly.
Forum: Writing Tools
 Topic: Advice about writing advice
Advice about writing advice [message #95058] Thu, 30 October 2014 16:42
jmhyp is currently offline  jmhyp
Messages: 129
Registered: June 2014
I found this an interesting read: http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/bad-writing-advice-exp lained/
Forum: Fan Fiction Discussion
 Topic: Wolkenritter
Wolkenritter [message #95025] Wed, 29 October 2014 23:37
IXthe9 is currently offline  IXthe9
Messages: 1
Registered: October 2014

Setting[ 2 votes ]
1. First Generation 1 / 50%
2. Second Generation 0 / 0%
3. Bad idea, don't make 1 / 50%

So having watched and enjoyed Nanoha myself, an idea took form when Jade started working on a Raising Heart with Bunny about a character whom could spell disaster should they meet Jade. Someone, who like Billie, had a form mostly inspired by anime. Fast-forward to today and I find myself unable to let go of the idea, but I have a dilemma in the fact that the second generation setting is now present, leaving me wonder what people feel would be a better setting. Should I write a non-cannon entry wherein people must keep my character from being seen by team wondercute/Jade (being probably the last thing needed to start the apocalypse, also trying to respect the canon characters by not arbitrarily assuming I could accurately portray them the way their creators would), or would it be better to start delving into a completely untapped setting. I admit both ideas are equally appealing to myself, so I bring the question of what would my fellow forum-goers prefer to read as the tiebreaker so that I can move along on this.

For reference I see the character as having a Dev/Wiz/Man 3, Ex 2, Reg 2 powerset though somewhat limited in some aspects. Basically with the div wiz etc... the character defies standard classification as they do devisor things like they're a wizard or manifestor, while they cast their spells and manifest objects like they're a devisor, need some level of exemplar for the physical changes as well as the little extra toughness since Nanoha and crew take some serious beatings, and most anime characters get back to normal life way too fast to not be regenerators unless the injury is plot relevant. They will be doing a MtF change when they manifest, going from a young teenage lone wolf to being somewhat of a mix between Presea (Tales of Phantasia, gamecube), Vita (Nanoha Strikers series), and Madoka/Mami/Kyoko (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) having an axe inspired by Presea for their intelligent devise and a wolf theme instead of Vita's dead bunny theme while the Madoka characters inspire physical body-type and how the Knights Clothing (barrier jacket) is created. While they have 7 total ranks in mutant powers I see their main one of being a weird dev/wiz/man as being very limited in what can be done with it at the trade off of being harder to neutralize/negate/counter.



Current Time: Fri Oct 31 01:27:26 EDT 2014

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