1614: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Eleven, Part One

Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
Genre: Supernatural/Drama
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

“Howdy doodly-do, patrons!  Welcome back to Heroes and Villains, the fic that puts the action in inaction.”

Bit of a shorter riff this week, unfortunately.  I’m juggling some big projects right now, so expect next few riffs to be shorter ones.  Anyway, if we take a look at last time, nothing happened.  And nothing really new was discussed either.  But Elsa got to ride in a self-driving Tesla limo, so that was something, I guess.

“You forgot the giant wall-of-text soliloquy!”

No.  I really didn’t.  Let’s just jump into this thing, because it starts on a note that makes me angry and I want to get it out of the way.

“We want happy paintings. Happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news.”

tumblr_mqe3l0fuly1saqds9o1_500

*GONG*

Of all the things to fucking reference in your “supernatural drama,” you pick Bob Ross!?  BOB ROSS!  What the hell were you thinking, Igor!?  And it somehow makes even less sense than your insipid Portal references, which already make about as much sense as a toddler describing how to assemble a VCR from grass clippings!

4:15 A.M. Wednesday, September 10th.

Elsa was fast asleep in the driver’s seat.

“Usually not a good thing.”

Yeah, though we know the context here, so it’s not as alarming as it could be.

Thank goodness it was self-driving.

Hurr durr, I stoopid reeder.  Cant ‘member thing from before time!

Despite having to deal with seemingly endless meetings and paperwork back in Arendelle, Elsa could never pull off an all-nighter.

“Because that’s all there is to being a queen, meetings and paperwork.”

Her absolute record was waking up at 5:30 A.M. with the sunrise one day and falling asleep at 3 A.M. the next day, coming up to 22.5 hours of uninterrupted awake-ness.

Igor!  Before you type something, you need to ask yourself why you’re putting it in your story!  If it doesn’t accomplish anything, then it’s pointless word filler that bogs down the prose and bores the reader.  I only mention it because most of this fic falls into that category.

 Today was pushing it, having woken up at 7:45 on Tuesday, bringing her to 20.5 hours- amazing, honestly, given how little energy she was really capable of producing at the moment.

“Her twenty-three hour day was back when she was a nuclear plant and could produce those high levels of energy.”

Yeah, she hasn’t been nearly as energetic since her meltdown.

twocover

The second she’d hung up after Willow called, she closed her eyes and was dead to the world in minutes.

So naturally she was plagued with nightmares.

“Naturally.  Because of all the terrible things that she’s had to endure.”

Like watching Willow do nothing, or questioning her sister’s ability to lead.

“The horrors!”

Every night they were always the same- sometimes it was the whiteout

“She’s dreaming about the fic?”

Sounds like a nightmare to me.

and Hans’ sword was coming down towards her neck; others it was Anna dying in her arms, a thin film of frost covering her while Elsa could only watch in horror, her voice stolen and hands unable to move.

Being chased by a giant bottle of ketchup.

“Not being able to find my pants.”

You don’t wear pants.

“I know, dreams are weird.”

Hold up, Igor said each night dreams were the same, but then listed two very different dreams.

“I’ll add ‘same’ to the list.”

The worst one, though, was when she was in her old Palace, and had first created Marshmallow- only this time, instead of him tossing out Anna and Kristoff, he killed them right in front of her, throwing them against the wall with frightening power, their heads making a sickening crack against the ice, falling limp as their blood trickled onto the floor with horrible steadiness and their eyes stared blankly at the ceiling.

Then there’s the nightmare I had about being chased by a six inch tall T-Rex.  It kept chewing through the walls of the house to get me.

“I had a nightmare that Crunchy wouldn’t share any of Grumdrop’s cookies with me.  I woke up so irritated with him.”

Wait, was that the morning you set him on fire?

“He should have shared!”

This time, though, it was different.

It?

“The thing.”

She was back in the H.Q., and it was nighttime. No moon shone through the windows, and the lights in the walls flickered ominously. Nobody was there, but that selfsame hum she was so unused to was still there, putting her on edge.

Wow, even in a nightmare nothing is happening at Willow Co.

“They are very dedicated to the void.”

I wonder if they actually manufacture it there.  I’ve always wondered where all the void comes from.

She walked through a few turns aimlessly, apprehensive as the lights continued to waver. Suddenly a loud CRASH sounded from afar, in the direction she was facing.

“If something happens in Elsa’s dream, does it count as having happened in the fic?”

Naw.  Unless there’s some kind of dream-magic going on, it’s all non-canon stuff that’s usually there to build cheap tension.

 Slowly she turned around, beginning to back away, when she heard a switch being thrown. She looked back fearfully, and after a few moments, she heard music begin to play.

It was a Rascal Flatts and One Direction mix tape!

“The horror!”

It started with a harp, playing some simple arpeggios.

Basic music terminology is basic.

“I bet the harp was playing notes, too!”

In any other setting it might have been calming, but here it was scary.

“You’ll just have to trust Igor on that.”

Lazy writing 101: when you can’t build the scene yourself, tell the audience what they should be feeling and make it their job.

Some sort of wind instrument joined in- flute?

Why is she asking us?

“It’s a Mijwiz!  I’d know that full and slightly reedy sound anywhere!”

Elsa must not be good at identifying instruments by sound, those sound nothing like a flute.

The two played out a haunting tune, and she began to back away again, holding her hands tightly over her chest.

It can’t be!

“But, it is!”

Dramatic Music!

“Nooooooooooo!”

Then, something else began to enter into the music- something she’d never heard before-

Dammit, Crunchy!

And her world erupted into chaos.

“Does this mean something is actually going to happen!?”

Whoa there, let’s not get crazy now.

Thousands of small, black, rectangular objects with red lights in the center started crawling out from the corridor ahead, screeching with unearthly noises as they bore down on her. They seemed to burrow into the walls and floor slightly, bright lights flashing underneath them as they advanced, and everywhere they went they left the surfaces tessellated hexagons and the lights bright red.

That seems very familiar, but I can’t place it right now.  But I’m almost certain that’s a reference to something.

Elsa ran, and the abominations gave chase. No matter how fast she ran, they always seemed to be right on her heels, converting the corridors into frightening red-lit halls, creating a nightmarish symphony of unnatural shrieks and beeps, unrelenting, bearing down on her with ferocious determination.

“Stargate’s replicators, maybe?”

Sorta, definitely some kind of conversion hive, but not really the same as the Stargate one.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The music returned, and she felt another burst of terror as a male voice started singing.

“Thiiiiiiiiiis waaaaaaaaaaas a triiiiiiiii-uuuuuuumph… I’m ma-king a note heeeere: huge succeeeeeeeeeeeess.”

*Taco squints*

Well, that’s a Portal reference, but I don’t recall portal having that kind of conversion hive.  Maybe one of the mods?

“Dunno, but you’re right, it smacks of something.  It may just be that this baddie is so generic that it feels like any number of Space Locusts / Grey Goo that are already out there.”

It’s gonna bug me because I feel like I’ve seen this before.

The voice was getting louder, and the terrifying machines seemed to be closing in on her. She burst into a full-on sprint, trying to escape the things, but to no avail. They continued to close the gap, beginning to eat away the back of her cape.

“Iiiiiiit’s haaaaaaard tooooo oooo-veeeer-staaaaate myyyyy saaaa-tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis-faaaaaaaaaaac-tioooooooooon…”

I hate those nightmares where no matter how fast you try to run, you move in slow motion and can’t get away.

“Like when being chased by a teeny-tiny T-rex?”

Don’t remind me. *Shivers*

She tried to outpace the monsters, but they were too fast. Finally, one got in front of her foot and tripped her, sending her sprawling to the floor as they swarmed over her, biting into her flesh and eating away at her muscle and bones as they continued to sound their hellish song.

Wait, hold up, if these things are small black boxes, how did one trip her?

“Maybe they’re only relatively small.”

Relative to what?

“A really big thing.”

Ahhh, it’s like I can see them, now.

She screamed in agony, tossing about frantically in an futile attempt to shake them off of her, until she no longer had the ability to writhe. Soon she had no lungs with which to scream, and then no body to move, leaving just her head to be slowly consumed.

This seems oddly familiar too.

“It brings to mind Clyde Bruckman’s dream from the X-files.  Not really the same, but has a similar theme of turning into nothing.”

Oh, you’re right!   Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a video of it, so I’ll just post up the quote of his dream:

I’m lying naked in a field of red tulips. I’m not concerned with where I am or how I got there. I’m at peace and it’s then that I realize I’m dead. My body begins to turn a greenish-white with spots of purple. Next, the insects arrive. The inevitable follows, putridity and liquescence. Before I know it, I’m nothing but bones. When I start fading to dust, I lose whatever care I still might have had about where my clothes are and as I begin to feel myself slipping away towards I know not what…

Not nearly as unsettling as a giant, sentient ketchup bottle, but close.

Just before she succumbed, she saw a pair of black boots approach her, stopping just short of the machines.

“Sorry about that,” the man sighed sadly, and her vision went dark.

The horror!

“In her next dream, the mystery man will say, ‘Oh, dude, totally my bad!'”

That’s the kind of thing that sticks with you.

She woke up with a jolt, looking around frantically.

Shit, I’m in a moving car and I’m at the wheel!

“The first few years of self-driving cars will be pretty funny to watch from the outside.”

For a moment she was unsure where she was, until she remembered that she was going down south to L.A. She looked around to see that the entire car was coated in a thick layer of frost, and numerous icicles jutted out from the seat.

“That sounds… comfortable.”

I guess that depends on what you’re into.

“What?”

Never mind.

Frustrated, she closed her eyes and concentrated. Love will thaw… Love will thaw… She opened her eyes, and to her pleasant surprise, she had managed to partially thaw it.  She concentrated again, and when she opened her eyes again it was all gone. She smiled. Good to know that she could still feel warmth sometimes.

“So… what precisely is she feeling love for?”

Willow?

“Oh, right!  Speaking of which, I wonder how Crunchy’s femslash is going.”

Wait, what!?

Her heart thumped loudly in her chest, adrenaline still coursing through her veins as she returned back to reality.

“Very easy to feel love in the middle of a panic attack.”

Forget the panic attack, what is this about Crunchy writing-

“Keep going!”

Though the nightmare was quite obviously not based off anything rational, there was something that bothered her immensely. The person singing had sounded familiar, and the boots also tugged at a memory she couldn’t quite pull up.

Black boots, male, and a formal way of talking. You thinking what I’m thinking?

“I bet I am!”

gaston

“Though that doesn’t really explain what he’s doing leading an army of carnivorous replicators.”

Hans? No, his voice was lower than the strange figure’s. She knew it was someone she’d met before, someone who felt… dangerous.

So, higher voice.  Probably not Gaston after all.

“Duke Weaselton!”

Really, the comic relief villain?

“Crunchy is comic relief and still immensely dangerous when he actually cares to be.  Not that it happens all that often.”

Fair point.  If Crunchy wasn’t enjoying the retired life so much, he’d be a lot less fun to have around.

Behind the soft voice, there was something deadly, not unlike Hans, that made her wary.

“Han’s point was that he didn’t seem dangerous at all; he was a manipulator who could paint the best picture of himself at all times despite having much more devious plans.  His character was devoted to this even to the point of keeping up the act when the only ones who could possibly see him was the audience.   That’s not a good comparison here if Elsa is already wary.”

Well, if they met again, she’d be sure to tread carefully.

“So she spends the rest of her days living in fear of anyone wearing black boots, the end.”

Why does Carlos let you off the hook for those?

“Well I remember to bring him cookies from time to time.”

How does that even work, he’s a cattle prod!

“See, this is why you always get zapped.”

A quick check of the digital clock revealed the time to be 7:30. A little over 3 hours of rest, and an E.T.A. of 7:45. Good thing she’d woken up when she did.

“Hope she brought a brush.  Sleeping-in-the-car hair is a bad way to make a first impression with Bad Horse.”

Second impression, you forgot she went back in time and talked with Bad Horse off-page.

“If I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.”

The phone rang, and Elsa smirked as she recognized the tune.

BAAAAA?

Look, I don’t care if she’s groggy, you don’t bash the Snow Queen without getting iced.

BAAA!

No, you don’t get twenty dollars to go away.  We retired that gag last week.

BA.  BAAA!

Fine, you can use the company account for some surf and turf.

BAA!

*Cerbersheep rushes out.*

“Surf and turf?”

A new special at Lina’s.  A square foot of fresh sod and a bucket of water.

It was Bach’s Little Prelude 2 in C minor, BWV 934– she knew how to play this on the piano.

Look! Igor knows a Bach piece!  He can even name it!  Impressive, right!?

She answered the call. “Hello?”

“Hi, Elsa, it’s me,” Willow replied. “How’s everything going?”

Your ringtone is Bach!  Little Prelude 2 in C minor!  I even have the catalogue number if you want it.

“No, that’s quite-”

It’s 943!

“Well enough,” Elsa allowed. “I just had the worst nightmare I’ve had in years, but it was sleep nonetheless.”

Please tell me they aren’t going to talk about the dream.  You just showed it to us, no need to go over it again.

“What was it about?” Willow asked curiously.

Oh for the love of fuck.

You know what, no.  Elsa launches into a carbon-copy explanation of the scene that’s STILL ON THE SCREEN, but I’m going to skip it because we literally just read the damn thing.

“…Interesting,” Willow replied eventually.

“Translation:  I was just being polite, I didn’t actually want to know.”

“…How close are you to the E.L.E.’s headquarters?”

“A little under fifteen minutes away, so says the car,” Elsa replied, stifling a yawn.

I hate that this fic constantly reminds me of much better things.

“Good. I have some happy news too.”

“Oh? Do tell.”

“I managed to hack into Jordan Belfort’s account- lots of money.”

“I see that Igor is still trying to tread that anti-hero line.”

Making them actual villains would be too dark and difficult to write, especially if they try for redemption later.  No room for that kind of tension in supernatural drama.  Especially no room for that in a Buffy fanfic.

Who?” Elsa asked, extremely confused.

“He was a stock broker who was charged with fraud and money laundering- he was a scammer basically,” Willow explained.

“Igor needed to connect this all to the real world while dumping trivia on the audience and maintaining our reputations as heroes even though we call ourselves villains.”

Don’t spoil the secretes!

“Okay… so I presume he still has more than enough funds to help us?” Elsa asked pointedly.

Probably. Depends on which accounts you use, really.  All of the ones we know about are pretty slim, but he’s got overseas accounts that are hard to touch or account for.  Still, those accounts are generally held by less than savory people.  Robbing from them is as likely to end with a horse head in your bed as anything else.

“No kidding- he has hundreds of millions- 3 million dollars is a drop in the bucket for him,” Willow laughed.

“Wait, didn’t the Evil League have to take out a huge loan from Willow Corp to fund the economic collapse?  Surely that would be way more than three million right there.

Nope.  Didn’t happen.

“I can even scroll up, it’s right there in Dr. Horrible’s speech.”

Chapters before the current one didn’t happen!  Willow has no money.

“But it even says that all they do is shadow work and funding ev-”

They spent it all on Tesla cars.

“Ahhh, right.”

It’s amazing how every chapter makes Willow’s organization look more incompetent than ever.

“So I’m sending someone from our L.A. outpost to get the cash from the bank while you’re out with the E.L.E.’s team- make sure they don’t foul anything up, y’know?”

“Why not wire the money?  It’s not like a bank is just going to have three million in cash just laying around.”

Electronic money transfer didn’t exist back then!

“It’s supposed to be 2014.”

DIDN’T EXIST!

“I understand,” Elsa nodded.

“Goody. Also, just so you know, Doc’s gonna be going too. Maybe see if you can warm him up any.”

Have the guy who doesn’t want to be transferred help on the heist which will determine if he’s transferred.

fine

“Alright,” Elsa agreed. “Will you be coming down later?”

“…I might,” Willow admitted. “But not for very long. Like I said: built up a bit of a bad rep down there. On some hit lists.”

Oh, well I guess the Mafia already wants her dead.  I suppose pissing them off further doesn’t really change their response.  Well, aside from some additional torture.

“Okay, I don’t understand what either of those mean,” Elsa sighed.

“You’ll have to forgive Elsa, her colloquial savviness comes and goes.”

“But something will likely get screwed up somehow,” Willow continued, “and we will need to be ready for that.”

We built our contingency plan to fail, we should prepare for that too.

“By not preparing!”

“I am,” Elsa affirmed.

“Good. And remember- Doc is gonna be a bit… disagreeable if this does go through. Let’s give him a little space.”

“This is still fine.”

“Willow, I only just met the man,” Elsa laughed. “It’s not like there was some sort of love-at-first-sight moment.”

Ruh-roh.  Willow ‘gon get jealous of Dr. Horrible.

“Just saying- we’re gonna need to leave him be for a little while.”

“And the best way to give him space is to make him help us!”

“I know, Willow. I have far too much experience in leaving people alone.”

See, it’s poignant because it references her life of isolation!

“Hey, you’re right!”

Anyway, at this point we get a scene break.  But, that’s all the time I have this week, so were calling it there.

“Until next week, patrons!”

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30 Comments on “1614: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Eleven, Part One”

  1. GhostCat says:

    Her absolute record was waking up at 5:30 A.M. with the sunrise one day and falling asleep at 3 A.M. the next day, coming up to 22.5 hours of uninterrupted awake-ness.

    Pfff-t! Amateur.

    • andiliteman says:

      *Hides under blanket*

      It’s not a contest.

    • agigabyte says:

      Geronimo: Three months, here.

      Dakota: Really.

      Geronimo: I was on a planet controlled entirely by the old Rebellion.

      Dakota: That doesn’t make this feat any more believ- Oh, wait, Your ridiculous rage-based abilities.

      Geronimo: Yep. There’s a reason I’m described as She-Hulk in bright yellow armor.

  2. GhostCat says:

    “So I’m sending someone from our L.A. outpost to get the cash from the bank while you’re out with the E.L.E.’s team- make sure they don’t foul anything up, y’know?”

    “Why not wire the money? It’s not like a bank is just going to have three million in cash just laying around.”

    It would be very difficult to find a bank that could scrape together that much cash, but not completely impossible – it would likely have to be specially ordered from Loomis Fargo or a similar company and there would have to be special arrangements for transporting and securely storing such a large volume as well. The big issue would be the paperwork; there is a LOT of paperwork involved in large cash transactions. The government gets very, very suspicious when large amounts of cash are involved because that typically means you’re up to some sort of shenanigans, so the paper trail is well-documented.

  3. BatJamags says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised by this point, but this fic just keeps accomplishing new heights of nothing.

    • GhostCat says:

      Which is really saying something given the number of nothing-narratives we have in the Library. We’ve got more Nothing than The Neverending Story.

    • andiliteman says:

      At least she didn’t make war dragons boring and useless.

    • Leider Hosen says:

      Honestly, I have to wonder what takes more talent: adding outrageous bullshit to something that is already outrageously bullshit, or having absolutely nothing happen, and still finding ways to add even less and summarize even more.

      GIVE ME SOMETHING MOCK VICIOUSLY DAMMIT

      • GhostCat says:

        I’ve got a folder of fics that are bad, but just not the “right” kind of bad, that are like black holes ; they just suck too hard to be worthwhile.

      • andiliteman says:

        That’s how I feel looking for something to riff. Everything is either too good, too boring or too short to be any good.

        • agigabyte says:

          Yep. The ones that are the right level of badness are usually either hundreds of thousands of words (ain’t no way I’m getting into that shit. I don’t have that kinda dedication) or are under a thousand words.

      • Leider Hosen says:

        I hope you find your muse. I think there are definite red flags to watch out for. I think edgy purple prose is one of the largest. ANY wish fulfillment power fantasy has a very high chance of producing dangerous levels of fail, and purple prose reeks of self importance.

        I got really lucky in finding The Savior, which I stumbled on casually. It was doomed based on the summary alone, but once I dug in I found a motherlode of suck the likes of which I couldn’t imagine. I may also review “My Gentle Hornet”, which is significantly more bearable than Savior, but still hilariously bad. For some reason the Dark Souls side of FF is a badfic factory.

      • andiliteman says:

        Oh, yeah. I’m in a few fandoms that are nightmarish badfic factories. Undertale, RWBY and Minecraft come readily to mind. I might be digging through them pretty soon if I can’t find anything else. Although the MCU has some real doozies in there. Why don’t we do more MCU around here?

        As for finding badfics, though, I haven’t developed much of a radar quite yet. I usually look for summaries that are unhelpful, describe the main character, or that try to sound philosophical instead of, you know, summarizing the story.

      • BatJamags says:

        Occasionally you stumble across a boring one that’s still stupid enough to mock, like my next riff. Most of the time, though, it’s a matter of hunting down something that’s outrageous enough to yell at but not so outrageous that it mocks itself.

      • GhostCat says:

        If I’m looking for something new, I usually go to the crossover sections. Doesn’t matter what the source material is, there’s always a crossover section.

      • andiliteman says:

        Good to know. I’ll be heading there, today.

  4. andiliteman says:

    Thiiiiiiiiiis waaaaaaaaaaas a triiiiiiiii-uuuuuuumph… I’m ma-king a note heeeere: huge succeeeeeeeeeeeess.”

    SONG OF A YEERKING FLIP-FLYING CRAPMUFFIN CONVENTION!

    Time to break out the big guns!

    I knew something good would come from that Undertale Roleplay.

  5. andiliteman says:

    was Bach’s Little Prelude 2 in C minor, BWV 934– she knew how to play this on the piano.

    Look! Igor knows a Bach piece! He can even name it! Impressive, right!?

    That doesn’t change the fact that the song has nothing to do with the overall narrative, despite the fact that, in a better-written work, random details like that could be used to develop nuance and paint a picture. But here it’s just dumb and random. And I’m still fuming from those IDIOTIC references on top of it all.

  6. andiliteman says:

    “Good. And remember- Doc is gonna be a bit… disagreeable if this does go through. Let’s give him a little space.”

    “Willow, I only just met the man,” Elsa laughed. “It’s not like there was some sort of love-at-first-sight moment.”

    *reads over a few times.*

    I don’t see how that warning from Willow warrants that response from Elsa. Nobody said anything about love.

  7. andiliteman says:

    Ugh. There’s no much nothing happening, but it’s happening in a vacuum of stupid. I don’t even have any snide remarks on the content.

    *Loads scyther-rifle*

    So I think I’ll just shoot at it while shouting rude words for a few hours.

  8. agigabyte says:

    which already make about as much sense as a toddler describing how to assemble a VCR from grass clippings.

    *Pours tea out of keyboard*

  9. Leider Hosen says:

    “The voice was getting louder, and the terrifying machines seemed to be closing in on her. She burst into a full-on sprint, trying to escape the things, but to no avail. They continued to close the gap, beginning to eat away the back of her cape.

    “Iiiiiiit’s haaaaaaard tooooo oooo-veeeer-staaaaate myyyyy saaaa-tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis-faaaaaaaaaaac-tioooooooooon…””

    OH MY GOD. This is stupid, this is so fucking stupid it makes my head hurt. I can barely remember what’s going on in the “plot” but I have to say this stroke of idiocy is the most standout moment in the fic. I was going to make a subtle jab at it, but the more I think about it the more pissed off I get.

    How does dying to a generic techno plague rank higher than losing her sister as far as nightmares freaking her out? If the author wanted to say that she was drowning in technology and felt out of place, why not just focus on that and not mention the other dream? Dreams are meant to show off a character’s subconscious fears. I feel that losing her sister would actually make sense as one of Elsa’s fears considering her history. It says a lot about Elsa’s insecurity and fear of herself, and explains why she doesn’t like to deal with people. Once again, a moment that would god forbid develop character, IS OFFSCREEN IN A FLASHBACK.

    As for the nightmare itself, this fails so fucking hard it’s unreal. the concept of an inescapable grey goo with the blaring screech of machinery would be frightening… IF IT WASN’T RUINED BY THE FUCKING STUPID SINGING. IT WOULD BE INFINITELY CREEPIER IF THE PLAGUE WAS VOICELESS. Trying so very hard to make fucking PORTAL scary is Creepypasta tier stupidity and it makes me unreasonably angry. Gee, it’s almost like THE FUCKING SINGING MADE NO FUCKING SENSE IN THE CONTEXT AND WAS FORCED IN FOR NO FUCKING REASON.

    The grey goo itself comes out of nowhere and is thrown right in your face rather than building up atmosphere first, which makes the sheer randomness and wasted concept even more lackluster. This sequence is just shock imagery, with all the legitimately potentially frightening content and character development underplayed or offscreen. The man was obviously the focus, but he’s reduced to an offscreen cameo at the end RATHER THAN BEING THE FOCUS OF THE DREAM.

    What makes me so pissed is that this scene had every right to actually do something, and instead, because our author is a genius, IT DID NOTHING, AGAIN. Save for maybe drum up some cheap mystery, but I’m not holding onto hope it’s going anywhere. AUTHOR. USE YOUR TEXT TO DO THINGS, STOP WASTING EVERY IDEA YOU COME UP WITH.

    • andiliteman says:

      Whoo. That hit harder than my anti-universe megabomb, which I promise to use only for peaceful purposes from this day onward.

      As a random side note, Harry101uk’s music videos actually did a pretty good job at upping the creep factor for the Aperture facilities, especially his “Pit” song. But a lot of the creep factor comes simply from how flipping insane the place is, and it’s REAL subtle. Just throwing that out there in Portal’s defense.

      Anywho, yeah. This story becomes increasingly idiotic with each passing riff. I feel like Igor has an occasional really good idea, but then stacks on eighty bad ideas on top of it in hopes of improving what he has.

      He wants epicness, so he adds meaningless feels. He wants length, so he pads it out with nonsense. He wants mystery, so he dances around actually describing anything. He clearly wants good things for the stories, but goes about them in the wrongest way possible

      But for me, the three things that really kills this story are 1) He obviously has no plan and is writing by the seat of his pants. 2) Buffy/Horrible/Frozen is perhaps the dumbest crossover I’ve ever seen and 3) THE STUPID, STUPID REFERENCES. I mean, seriously. A poorly-executed or inappropriate reference can be pretty painful as is, but these references don’t even have CONTEXT. Context is what makes a reference in the first place. I’d be more forgiving if Igor made even contrived situations to force the references, but he doesn’t even do that. He just has characters puke out Portal quotes at absolute random, and that’s stupid to the nth degree.

      • Leider Hosen says:

        I was going to say that dissonant serenity is a thing. You can make something very upbeat very scary if you show it in an uncanny way. I feel like that’s what Igor tried to do, but he failed because he didn’t have a plan, nor did he build up an atmosphere for the upbeat music to clash with. Plus, ya know, it being a pointless reference.

        I hate nothing more than wasted potential. If I were to do this scene here’s what I would do:

        Elsa believes that she’s woken up in the middle of the night by a noise. She goes to investigate and finds her sister horribly mangled by machinery. Of course, I would describe the computers and machinery in a way that would keep them intimidating, and maybe add in the dissonant happy music to accompany Elsa having a breakdown and trying to convince her sister that she left for a reason. I would have the grey goo kill Anna (i think her name is) off and then have Elsa trying to run away, maybe threading through a maze-like server farm to be a metaphor for her being lost in a confusing world she doesn’t understand.

        Instead of her tripping for no reason, she should hit a dead end and be engulfed, and she sees the man standing in the goo, but he’s in the shadows so she can only see a silhouette and hear his voice. He’d say something she can’t make out through the background noise, rather than a short line that says really nothing about him.

        When she wakes up, I would have a span of a few pages where she’s in shock and reflects on her sister, her exile, and the fact she’s in this alien world. For the rest of the chapter, I’d have her trying to figure out who the man was, and show a slightly more pronounced phobia towards machines and insistence to not use them until she recovers.

        There. Both dreams in one package, with all the elements they WANTED to say brought to the forefront, and that was off the top of my head.

      • BatJamags says:

        Well, let’s be fair: PCC-Brand Meaningful Dreams™ (buy one at your local PCC outlet TODAY for only $0.99 offerendsdecembereighth) are overplayed regardless. Personally, I wouldn’t use them unless there’s a damn good reason for information to be communicated through a dream (e.g. someone who is directly capable of manipulating dreams is trying to communicate something), which I doubt we’re going to get.

      • Leider Hosen says:

        It’s cliche and gimmicky, absolutely, but I think it can be done. I have an unhealthy level of anxiety and more than once something that’s really been bothering me has slipped into my dreams, though it’s usually warped since dreams are so damn surreal. Because of that, dreams and visions tend to pop up in my work a lot because I do believe they say a lot about a person, in fact one character of mine has a HUGE emphasis on her dreams, to the point where it’s one of her defining traits.

        To capture that without supernatural shenanigans involved, you have to make it clear the stress on the character is SO extreme the trauma has seeped into their subconscious, or like you said, give them control over dreams and have them be an extension of the character.

        This, of course, should SUPPORT something you are already doing, make it one of their many developed traits or one of many moments that show their personality, rather than brushing over their characterization and using their dreams as a cheap tactic of telling instead of showing that they have an issue (like here).


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