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Subject: "(S33) S3M1 Ad Astra"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Dec-18-06, 02:54 PM (EST)
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"(S33) S3M1 Ad Astra"
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-02-10 AT 01:48 PM (EDT)
9 Ah, this title. A while after this story went live on the EPU website, I started getting PMs on the Forum and emails from people saying that there was no link or title in the spot on the page where the credits, and the positioning of the link to the second movement, made it clear there was supposed to be one there. Every time I got one, I went and looked with every browser I could find, and it was always right where I left it.

Eventually we figured out that the people who were reporting Ad Astra missing were people whose ISPs had badly designed proxying software designed to prevent their users from seeing online advertisements. Seeing that the link called a file with "ad-" in it (ad-astra.txt), it diligently prevented them from seeing it... causing them to assume that I had just, you know, forgotten to link an entire movement into the page.

Yeah, I could've renamed the file (and hoped that the presence of the word ad in the title as well didn't also trip the same stupid mechanism), but it ticked me off. I shouldn't have to go renaming my files because of some other clown's lousy job of programming.

Anyway, Ad Astra (and the second movement's title, Per Ardua) comes from the Latin phrase ad astra per ardua - "to the stars through hardship" - which is, among other things, the motto of the International Police Yards. I got it from a variation, per ardua ad astra, used as the motto of Stark Enterprises' short-lived space division in Iron Man back in the '80s.

26 Here's Bjarnnil's welding/cutting torch attachment (as seen in the source material, if I recall correctly).

73 A lot of hassle would've been spared if Anthy had just said, "No, you idiots, go to dinner without me, get it?", but, alas, she was trying not to be difficult.

251 Well, there wouldn't be; those are Touga's.

275 One of our better conversations.

284 A true sign of reconciliation, between a young samurai and a monkey-mouse. PJM

286 The Curry Incident casts a long shadow indeed.

299 Oh, I don't know. We may find out one of these days...

366 Exozoology is only one of the elder Palmer's several careers.

458 Just as at WPI, Table 11 has become the standard Duelist table in the dining hall at DSM.

479 Though Anthy was a dangerous cook, there were a few things she could do both safely and well back in the day, and the one most often seen on-screen was shaved ice.

537 And so, at last, we meet the elusive Mr. Haineley, who was mentioned (but not seen) in the First Symphony. His appearance is a sort of anime-exaggerated take on the late William Hartnell's portrayal of the First Doctor on Doctor Who, though you'll note that Mr. Haineley is a much kindlier sort of fellow.

615 Command Master Chief Gunner's Mate Arthur J. Haineley, USN (Ret.), is 160 years old when we meet him here.

757 Juri has kind of a thing for pastries, at least in UF.

781 Ambrose Hall is named for the late historian Stephen J. Ambrose.

790 Bell should know; when she received the assignment to fulfill Keiichi Morisato's wish years ago, she thought she'd be out of the office for ten, fifteen minutes tops. Instead, she didn't return to Asgard for years.

831 Few things in this world are as inexorable as an Anthy with a plan.

854 "Epiphany", from Bad Religion's 2002 album The Process of Belief. The interrupted line, the last of the chorus, is "The fallacy of epiphany".

871 Oh, come off it, Corwin. You've been listening to "Parallel" off The Gray Race back-to-back for days and you know it.

883 You'd have excellent penmanship too if you had repeated the seventh grade a hundred times.

994 Or not; the three of them ended up taking that road trip during the 2406-2407 Christmas break, in the unwritten part of the Third Symphony.

1042 "Dude, it's not moonlight... they're on a moon." This kind of thing is why I have Usual Suspects. Well, that and the studio would get awfully lonesome without them.

1070 A semi-running joke from, of all things, Hopelessly Lost. PJM

1107 We keep hearing about Aeryn, but have never managed to see her. I should rectify that someday. (And no, she's not supposed to be the renegade Peacekeeper from Farscape.)

1151 The madonna-whore complex is an actual concept in psychiatry, but we don't need to get into that right now.

1176 Random Japanese names grabbed out of the air. I think I got the surname from the name that was always on the customs slips when I ordered stuff from CD Japan.

1181 Let's be realistic for a moment: Given that Ohtori Academy was a junior/senior high school only, it's a fairly safe bet that Kozue never dated anybody who wasn't lousy in the sack.

1233 Mind you, she'd only be doing it as a favor for a friend. She certainly wouldn't get anything out of it. A completely selfless act. Yeah.

1269 Actually, Buttercup probably would've said something like, "Bitch, take a number."

1271 Not the last time Corwin will ask himself this question.

1358 Not one of my more popular design decisions, I must say, judging by the number of "dude, wtf" messages I got when it came out.

1383 Eventually, Corwin's style would win out over Mia's and become Anthy's dominant fighting style, but there remain elements of the Minbari way in her approach.

1419 Worse than Kaitlyn, even.

1496 Apparently "dab hand" isn't one of those expressions that's remained current in Standard through the centuries.

1531 Exactly how much more we won't really find out until the Fourth Symphony.

1545 Janice's degree studies kind of went by the wayside as the Fourth Symphony unfolded; ending up in the middle of a civil war will do that. She does, however, trade it for a master's candidacy in kickassery.

1564 G'Kron! It's been a while since we got G'Kron onto the screen.

1652 We had this exchange kicking around the studio for quite a while before we found the right spot for it.

1778 Clarissa's barking up the wrong tree with this plan; though the Bajorans are particular about things like the sanctity of vows, they haven't got any major hang-ups about who those vows happen to be between.

1815 I'd hardly call Orron III a "backwater farm planet"; its megafarms feed not only the utterly-non-self-sufficient planetary metroplex of Orron IV but most of the rest of the Corporate Sector besides.

1984 Some people complained that this scene was a bit heavy-handed - Clarissa bumbles like Dirk Dastardly - but I thought it was important to establish that Clarissa's early attempts at villainy were very clumsy, to better contrast what she will eventually become.

Saionji, student of the Shadow Arts! PJM

2036 Another of the few direct Chronicles of Amber references in the Symphony: To complement the fact that Asgard's Engine-Key was already established in Twilight as a sword bearing the (in UF, Alvish) name Grayswandir, this is Werewindle, its golden counterpart.

2050 A small advancement over Yggdrasil's design that Corwin implemented; the Great World-Engine uses punch cards.

2061 Charles Babbage and whoever invented punched tape would be damned proud of Corwin right about now. PJM

2143 R. Dorothy making an Earthworm Jim reference? She must have spent some time exploring the care package of Flying Yak games Marty Rose sent as a Castlewarming present.

Well, Dorothy is a good sight better looking than Peter Puppy when she delivers this line. PJM

2268 Oh look, quartectic fever again. Endemic among spacers of a certain age (the technologies that can cause it have been largely eliminated by the time these stories are set), it is rarely fatal in itself; perhaps the narrator meant that the previous ambassador to Minbar had died from complications thereof.

2311 Phlox comes from Star Trek: Enterprise.

2449 This is part of a joke coming up later in the story, but apparently I made it too subtle - most people didn't catch it.

2462 As seen in the Babylon 5 episode "Babylon Squared", which provided the idea for the aforementioned joke in the first place.

2525 Derek's commission being seconded to the IPSF means that the commission itself is still in the Wedge Defense Force's name, and the WDF's commanders can recall him from his IPSF assignment at any time - or force him to resign his WDF commission, at which point the IPSF might or might not offer him its own, depending on the circumstances. Similarly, they can take back the Pennsylvania with proper notification to IPSF command. The IPO has seconding arrangements with many allied forces. Master Chief John Spartan, for instance, is still technically a noncommissioned officer of the Royal Salusian Navy, his duty posting to the IPO Tactical Division notwithstanding.

2546 Babylon 5 is called by its number in official correspondence and the number appears on its unit crest and uniform patches, but on the highest-level of official documents, such as formal orders, it is technically known only as Station Babylon.

2629 The Babylon 6 hack, like the scene back in the Second Symphony at Babylon Station's grand opening, is a scene that had been kicking around the EPU cutting room for a long time before it found a home here. Hell, Derek Bacon himself was involved in the planning, which should give you an idea of how long ago it was.

I've got pencil art from 1996 which features both Delenn and Kosh in normal and superdeformed renditions, with the "Babylon 6" logo. PJM

2632 Derek's amazing power to make Ivanova laugh may be a sign of latent Force-sensitivity in one or both of them. Or maybe I'm making that up and it's just weird chemistry.

2670 I was shocked by the number of readers who didn't get this joke. Babylon 5 was blue, Babylon 4 was green - doesn't anybody teach the rainbow spectrum in grade school any more?

2679 The Great Babylon 6 Hack, as it became known, was indeed the crowning achivement of Derek and Garibaldi's career. It topped even their previous record-holder, a colossally audacious job in which they altered the Starfleet motto, "To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before", to read "Boldly Going Where Angels Fear to Tread" on stationery, the official website, and - most impressively - the mosaic floor in the atrium of the admin building at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Both jobs were pulled off with the aid of the Shiranui ninja clan of Tomodachi.

And yes, good eyes - "Boldly Going Where Angels Fear to Tread" is, indeed, the motto of the Stellar Patrol in Planetfall.

2687 Given that Ishiyaman starships really are steam-powered, it seemed logical that they would be the ones to build the UF version of the Steamrunner class.

2725 Admiral Dodonna is an adaptation of one of the Rebel leaders from the original Star Wars trilogy. In UF, he comes from a long line of Salusian naval officers and shipwrights.

2738 The Steamrunners are larger, more powerful, but somewhat less agile ships; the IPSF calls them "heavy destroyers", but they could also be classified as frigates.

2801 Trust Derek and Garibaldi to get Saionji to help them perform a song as absurd as this: "I Feel Better than James Brown", from the 1990 Was (Not Was) album Are You Okay? Blame Truss for this: he brought to my attention how sarcastically appropriate some of the lyrics were to Saionji in the Bad Old Days.

2852 Naturally, in the original this is "Havana goes back to the Mob."

2918 The Art of Noise's "The End of the World" is adapted from They Might Be Giants' "Spiraling Shape", from their 1996 album Factory Showroom. The first two verses are, in fact, unchanged; only a few bits of the later verses (the references are obvious) and the chorus has been altered.

2955 It took these two lines about half a second to become a studio catchphrase. I'm sure the sentence has turned up in at least one other story by now.

2970 From Touga's repeated speech in the third arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena, in which he again and again invites people to come for a ride in Akio's 'Vette (with predictable results). We'll see a variation on the same speech in Sympathy for the Devil.

3036 As it happens, Akio didn't think this was very funny.

3043 In retrospect, this whole Valiant thing fails on a few levels. Don't get me wrong, it led to some satisfying moments, but it's such a huge and abrupt departure from what's gone before that it jars the sensibilities, not to mention that it has a tendency to stretch many readers' credulity. I wanted to get something of an early-UF-without-quite-so-many-jokes feel with it, and a kind of Tom Swiftian vibe given the youth of the key cast members involved. I looked to things like Legion of Super-Heroes and the aforementioned Tom Swift adventures for precedent and more or less convinced myself that this was a perfectly viable direction to take. And maybe it is, but now it just feels weird - not only because the core cast is so young to be doing the things they're doing, but because the sudden leap into straight-up space opera is like stepping off an escalator to find oneself in a rock quarry.

I don't have so much of a problem with the Fourth Symphony; they're older there, around the same age that the founding Wedge Defenders were when they began their great adventure, and at a time in their lives when one expects things to change. Today I think it would've been better if I had waited until then, around 2409-2410, to start their space adventures.

Of course, that would have left me with the problem of what they did for the intervening years. One of the reasons I took the step of making the Third Symphony space opera in the first place was because I felt I had pretty well mined out the "adventures in high school" vein. Plus, so much of what was going on, if only in the background, in the first two Symphonies had to do with repairing the damage left behind in the wake of Revolutionary Girl Utena. By the end of the Second Symphony, that's pretty well done. Maybe I should've left them more or less alone for a few years and let them finish school uneventfully before picking them back up as young adults to continue their adventures in a new format, with a new series title...

... but what's done is done.

3080 Juri's got a bright future in sales. PJM

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(S33) S3M1 Ad Astra [View All] Gryphonadmin Dec-18-06 TOP
   RE: Annotations: S3M1 twipper Dec-19-06 1
   RE: Annotations: S3M1 Matrix Dragon Dec-20-06 2
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