280: A Jedi’s Destiny: Episode I: Rise of the Sith – Chapter Two, Part TwoPosted: June 27, 2012
Title: A Jedi’s Destiny: Episode I: Rise of the Sith
Topic: Star Wars / Land Before Time
Genre: Sci Fi / Adventure
URL: A Jedi’s Destiny: Episode I: Rise of the Sith – Chapter 2
Critiqued by TacoMagic
Welcome back to the second half of chapter 2 of A Jedi’s Destiny.
Last time we were introduced to our main protagonist Markus. He’s a murdering Teeny-Stu who can book impossible flights at the last minute and avoid airport security with the cunning use of Hollywood physics. In the first half of the chapter, Markus destroys some research data/plans/whatever at a poorly-designed top-secret US Army research facility and then makes an improbable getaway made possibly only through inept security. He catches a flight to London and goes up to what is presumably his apartment. We join Markus already on location in his boring apartment room.
Markus tossed the suitcase on bed, preferring not to set it on the already-cluttered desktop. Markus stepped over and sifted through the pile on the desk, stacking together books, videogames, movies, trying to make some room for his computer’s monitor and keyboard. Markus smirked, his expression almost sad as he beheld a full bottle labelled “Corona”.
Oh-em-gee! He’s 16 and drinking crappy beer! What a rebel! Seriously, most teens in England are drinking good beer, so he’s really going against the flow here. And I can relate to his sadness at beholding the full bottle: I’d be pretty sad too if the only beer I had handy was a warm bottle of Corona.
Also, how does one smirk sadly? I think milking that poor Thesaurus is really starting to get to our poor author. I’d revive the drinking game where everyone takes a shot when a character smirks, but we lost half our reader base the last time I did that.
”Can’t let this go to waste.” he murmured, grabbing the bottle and using the corner of the desk to pry off the cap. The teen took a quick swig, relishing the slight burn of the bitter, flavor-filled beer as it slid down his throat.
This fic brought to you by Corona, the flavor-rich tepid lime-water of beer. Yes, when you think of drinking from the Thames, think of Corona!
He sighed, allowing himself a small grin as he set the beer down to return to his task, picking up a paperback entitled, Star Wars: Darth Bane: The Rule Of Two. “I’ve got to finish this thing.”
I don’t know about you, but scenes where the protagonist drinks a random, warm Corona and then sits down to read are just thrilling. I’m on the edge of my seat, which helps maintain good posture and alertness when reading something this mind-numbingly boring.
Markus had always had an affinity for stories of any kind, but Star Wars seemed to speak to him the most. He enjoyed its clean concept of good versus evil, even if it wasn’t realistic, and enjoyed the idea of other worlds beyond his own. He’d started his obsession as a child, but it had been toned down a bit ever since…
There we go, we now have a “plausible,” not-at-all contrived way to explain why Markus will know everything about the Star Wars universe and be instrumental to defending the galaxy later in the fic.
And is it me, or is it entirely likely that Markus spent all his time cheering for the Sith when reading these books? I guess somebody has to root for evil to win, so it might as well be an assassin.
He set it back down as his eyes settled on another object, this time near the corner of his room.
I hate it when my eyes go rolling off and settle onto random objects in the room.
A black and white Flying V guitar leaned against the wall, an amp sitting dutifully beside it. He kept his small grin as he recognized a symbol of one of his other hobbies: music.
*WOOP WOOP WOOP!*
I guess we need to add “Musician” to the list of professions he’s mastered. Anyone else getting a worrying feeling that he’s going to give Serenity a run for her money?
So we’re treated to a barf-inducing history of his love of music and how he started playing at the age of nine blah, blah before he finally picks the damn guitar up and starts to play:
He turned the amp up to a low volume setting before getting into a stance. He sighed deepily before beginning to nod his head to an unseen beat.
So, author, how much LSD do you do on a daily basis? Really, a constant LSD-induced haze is the only explanation behind why you think you need to specifically mention that the beat is unseen. If you are seeing a lot of music, maybe you need to switch to hash or something until you come down a bit.
On the ninth beat he began to play, and the grinding, metallic notes from the electric guitar burst forth from the amp. His fingers nimbly climbed up and down the neck of the guitar, clamping down on the necessary strings as his other hand plucked out the notes. The music was heavy, descending, jumping and then descending again as the notes flowed out, their growling cries ringing through the air.
I dub this: music porn. Luckily for everyone, one of his fingers slips and cuts the song short. I’m rather surprised that a Stu could flub a song, especially after just describing such musical prowess. Our author probably didn’t really want to spend the next three chapters describing Marky-Stu playing this song in detail, so decided to cut things short. I’ll take what little good news the story offers me at this point.
Marky-mark takes a shower, throws on some clothes identical to the ones he was wearing and heads up to floor seven, where he encounters a very friendly door:
A sliding door greeted him, opening to reveal a darkened lab much like the one he’d visited just a day ago.
I’m assuming this particular door was installed by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
*Starts painting “Free Thesaurus” on a protest sign*
Even in the dim conditions Markus could see the professor seated at his desk, beside which a huge, altar-like device stood. Two curved, metallic arms reached up to form a circle about seven feet in diameter. Markus noted the device with a slight sense of awe before turning his attention to the professor.
I think our professor here has a Doctor Octopus complex. I’m calling it now, “the professor” made all this out of coconuts.
“Well, I finished your little errand.” he began, allowing frustration and anger to seep into his voice. “I nearly got killed, of course, but what’s that to you? Still, the Americans probably don’t know what hit ‘em, so they probably won’t come back here.”
Yes, because the American military is big on forgiveness of saboteurs who derail critical, top-secret projects and murder soldiers in cold blood. They’re totally not going to be able to trace the substantial amount of evidence back to you and make you disappear. You’re in the clear, bro.
He continued, not noticing that the professor failed to respond. “That leaves, what, a dozen more countries I have to hit in order to undo your damage? Maybe you should’ve thought about the world’s balance of power before you sell dangerous technologies to the whole damn planet! And now you’re making me do the dirty work! You know, when my dad’s will said you’d get custody of me, I guarantee this isn’t what he had in mind!”
I’m a tragic character, damnit! Empathize with me as I whine at my adoptive professor!
Now, and I know logic doesn’t have any place at all in this fic, but if the good Professor here sold the technology to over 13 different countries, most of which would have to be world powers in order to afford the construction of such “forbidden technology,” then how in the name of Flying, Zombie Jesus would that disrupt the power balance? If you have a room full of people with guns who are wary of each other, and then give all of them fusion reactors, the power dynamic hasn’t really changed.
I mean, it sounds like they sold the technology to anyone who could afford it. How much more fucking balanced could that be?! Those with the most power will likely have the technology completed first and remain the most powerful. But almost all the powerful nations will likely have this technology ready within a few months or years of each other, so really any power boost a single nation gets from having it before the others will be minimized.
The focus here should be their worry about these countries weaponizing this technology. That’s an EXTREMELY believable scenario given humanity’s track record with molecular physics being utilized to produce weapons of war. An antimatter warhead is about the scariest damn thing I can think of any of world powers having, given that a blob of antimatter the size of a large brick would be enough to blow up most of the Earth. That seems like a pretty valid concern right there. But, what are they actually worried about? Ruining the power dynamic.
At least pretend to have looked over your fic to make sure the scenarios are plausible. I can only imagine how bad this pile of junk was before the re-write.
So anyway, as foreshadowed in the last quote, Markus discovers that the professor is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the front of his head. Oh, but don’t worry, there’s a suicide note!
I can no longer ignore and live with the evils I have committed. Rationalization cannot change what I have done. Selling these devices to those whom I knew would use them for their own gain, taking you in only to use you to further my own business endeavors…forcing you to kill in order to rectify my own mistakes…
Uh, professor… you are aware that you worked for/owned a technology firm, right? Typically those types of institutions are in the technology business to make money by developing new technologies and not to produce lots of technology so that they can hoard it forever and prevent people from using it. And, really, what technology ISN’T used for gain these days? Just because some people are benefiting from an invention does not automatically make everything evil. At least give us some HINT of what evil shenanigans you fear will go down with this technology. And let us know why it was sold to at least 13 different countries before you thought that maybe it was a bad idea to sell it.
Now, turning your adoptive son into a weapon of murder just to keep your technology from hitting the street… yeah, I’ll give you that one. Pretty evil there, Doc. One might think that if you were actually a smart person, you would have trained him to infiltrate and destroy the technology in a covert manner that leaves people believing that the science itself is flawed and that the project needs to be abandoned entirely due to the flaws. But then, that would require you to have adopted a smart and effective son. I guess the Doc was just working with what he had available.
But you know what is really, really stupid? If he’d wanted to avoid the power disruption AND keep his son on the straight and narrow, the professor had one, simple plan of action staring him right in the face: publish the damn technology. Once you publish the technology EVERYONE has access to it. That levels the playing field quite a bit there, Sparky.
But no longer. If you have found this note, you have no doubt discovered my body. I know this cannot possibly atone for what I have done, but still…Even with my death, however, my failure will still continue. Once the nations of the world realize that I am dead, and therefore can no longer provide them with the technological advances they crave, they will converge on this building and take anything they can get their hands on, including you. I realize that, even if you leave, they will not stop until they capture you, until they squeeze every last piece of information you contain. That is why my final invention is dedicated to your escape.
Translation: I took the easy way out and left a mess behind that will get much, much worse. Instead of thinking about what is best for you, I decided that you’d be fine running away and hiding. Not that you really had much of a life here anyway, you loser.
You may notice the rather large construct to the left of my desk. While it would take far too long to explain exactly what it does or how it works, it can be summarized as a generator of subspace tears, rifts in space and time. There is only one control, a red button on my desk wired directly to the machine. Now I must ask you to trust me, no matter how difficult or impossible this may sound.
So uh, he made a Holly Hop Drive? 4, 3, 1: Blast-off!
When a rift is generated, I want you to walk into it.
Please, listen to me. I want you to do this quickly, for three reasons. The rift can only be opened for a short time and it cannot generate another, the control also arms a one-minute timer for a bomb that, when the timer reaches zero, will cause the entire building to implode, and this may be the only real way you can hope to escape being imprisoned…or worse. Please, I’m begging you. Leave now, destroy this place. Find a new life, a better life, for yourself. You deserve it.
Is it me, or is this a “FUCK THE WORLD! AHAHAHAHA” situation? Seriously, 12 other countries still have this “forbidden technology” and you’re basically telling your son to abandon ship before things fall apart. How exactly is this a path to redemption? If anything, this is going to make things much, much worse.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we call Nuking the Fridge.
This is just so illogical that I’m going to have to take some drastic measures.
*Heads out to tinker at his workbench for several hours*
I give you the Suspension of Disbelief Machine! I just put on this handy-dandy helmet and turn it on.
Good. After reading the note, our Stu hems and haws a little bit about actually doing the dimension jump, but in the end decides to go for it. He smirks some more and then slaps the button. A portal appears and he goes for it.
He closed his eyes and charged forward, yelling at the top of his lungs in sheer terror as he plunged into the white light, leaving his world, and everything he knew, behind.
Markus didn’t know what to expect when he entered the rift. Still, it did come as a complete surprise when he suddenly landed on his face. Crying out at gravity’s sudden direction change, it took a moment for him to realize that not only was he still alive, he could breath and that he had hit something cold and smooth…something metal.
This scene plays way better if you pretend that he came out of that portal, screaming at the top of his lungs in terror, in front of a large crowd of people.
Markus picked himself up, shaking his head to remove his feeling of dizziness. “That was weird.” he mumbled to himself, referring to the sudden change in gravity.
So your adoptive father, who happens to be a nameless professor, quickly invents a device that can create a one-way dimensional rift, rigs it to an implosion bomb, writes a letter telling you to rift jump, and then kills himself. And the thing that seems weird in all this is the gravity change? That seems to be a legitimate response.
Hmm… the SDM seems to be heating up a bit. I can’t imagine why, I haven’t seen anything illogical yet.
When he managed to concentrate on his surroundings, however, his mind was completely blown. He was in a hallway, with the ceiling, floor and walls composed entirely of a grayish metal. Behind him, the hallway branched out to a larger room, but in front of him the hallway only continued for a few feet, up to a small, lit-up room. The area seemed to hum and vibrate slightly, and Markus reasoned they were probably the effects of some sort of appliance.
WHOA! Greyish-metal hallways, a hallway fork, and a room! And there’s a humming sound WITH vibration!?! Holy crap, that’s some seriously mind-blowing stuff right there!
Huh, why does it keep getting warmer? I don’t understand at all.
Before he could even utter a “What the hell?”, however, the entire hallway shook, as if something had impacted whatever he was in. Markus was thrown against the wall, and, despite being shocked at his improbable situation, ran up to the smaller room, hoping to find some answers as to where exactly he was.
So wait, he’s thrown against the wall AND runs up to the room at the same time? Talented boy to do both at once, but I don’t see a problem there.
I think this thing is malfunctioning or something.
The small lit-up room turned out to be a cockpit, with four control stations arranged in a square pattern. Each station featured rows of computer displays and controls, the sheer number of them threatening to overload Markus’ senses.
I’ve always found that people who are intimately familiar with computers, science, and “forbidden technology” are easily dazzled by lots of computer displays and controls.
What is with this damn thing?
A large rectangular window stretched from the front of the squarish cockpit and tapered off at the sides, allowing good visibility of the surround area. Despite the complete confusion Markus was feeling, he couldn’t help but notice that the room seemed strangely familiar. All of his wonderings were smashed when he looked out the window. Markus now knew he was in some sort of aerial vehicle, moving at a reasonably high speed. He could see a greenish landscape outside, and he would have stopped to admire it were it not headed straight at it, the ground rushing up to hit the plummeting craft.
Oh, so, he managed to teleport onto a ship. That has been abandoned. And is in the process of crashing. I bet the odds of that happening are rather fair, 2:1 at worst.
AHH! That was one nasty shock! That’s it, I’m turning the SDM off, I haven’t needed it anyway.
Markus said nothing as he jumped into the left-front seat, didn’t even cry out as he tried to utilize the complicated controls which, if only Markus had slowed down enough to notice, were labeled in English. The ground came closer and closer, and just as Markus pulled up what looked like a control stick, the craft dipped low enough that tree branches began impacting against it, snapping off under the craft’s weight and velocity. The craft skimmed over the tree line, with Markus frantically trying to find some way to stop the machine. He managed to jab a switch labeled “landing cycle” just as the tree line gave way to a small clearing.
The craft suddenly dipped and settled into the clearing, setting down with a thud. Then, before Markus even had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, a feeling of extreme fatigue came over him, and he fell into unconsciousness, his body going limp in the seat.
You know, for a craft that has lots of complex and confusing controls, it sure is easy land. Heck, there’s even a button for it. They probably automated the landing because that’s typically the most difficult part of flying. Heck, most craft are designed so that landing can’t be automated due to the complexity of the task, so automating the whole process makes even more sense! I doubt being in a situation where the craft was plummeting uncontrolled toward the ground would complicate matters too much either. I mean there’s a button to land it, so how hard could it be to pull the ship out of an uncontrolled descent? Everyone knows you just pull back on the stick and a plane/starship will pull out of a dive. And then you push the landing button!
I feel sorry for the saps who abandoned this perfectly functional starship. They probably tethered it up to an asteroid and forgot to set the parking brake when they all went for a space walk. Once they were out of sight it just slid downhill right toward the nearest planet. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen that happen.
And there ends chapter 2. I’m actually really impressed. About 2/3 of the way through today’s section the logic improved significantly. I feel silly for wasting all that time making the SDM. Damn thing didn’t work anyway.