Interesting days, limited time to write about them… Cell-phone roaming charges being what they are, I mostly don’t get to post stuff until I get up to work in the middle of the night. And I do actually need to work (no, really…<g>. I’m answering the copy-edit of the BESIEGED novella, so the whole SEVEN STONES book can go to press). A quick bit, though, of Our Adventures to Date:
Friday was our first full day in Cape Town, and the major activity was going to the Outlander Studio, to meet Maril and everybody, and tour the amazing new sets!
Wonderful to see Maril, Sam and Caitriona again, as well as Nick Heckstall-Smith (AD) and a few other of the Scottish crew that have come down. Also Luke Schelhaas, one of the new writers, who’s covering this block (meaning he’s the writer on set every day, responsible for the billions of on-the-spot changes and adjustments to the script that are needed; all scripts flex a _lot_ during the actual filming, no matter how many revisions they’ve been through beforehand).
We were just in time to catch David Brown, the Executive Producer for the whole show (meaning he’s the person without whom none of this could happen–he knows where to find anything and anybody, and how it all works) before he caught his flight back to Scotland (where the flock is gathering to begin prep for Season 4–this stuff takes a _LOT_ of work and thought and planning). David drove us off at high speed in his golf-cart, and we zipped out to tour the ships (I figure I’m not giving away any state secrets by telling you there are ships in this part of the show…), which are fabulous, and I don’t only mean cosmetically (my baseline for 18th century sailing ships is Disneyland’s “Columbia” and these are even better); they’re equipped with all kinds of hydraulics, gimbals, and water cannons (!!!) that make the ships nearly as expressive as the actors.
We also roared through several newly-built (and in-progress) outdoor sets, some adapted from the existing Black Sails sets (but you’ll never recognize them) and some newly built. Most striking aspects were the landscape plantings and the sand (I won’t tell you why; you’ll just have to wait and see…). Ditto several enormous tanks of water (well, we didn’t roar _through_ those; just up to the edge to have a look).
Then David had to rush to catch a plane, so Maril took over and we had a look at the indoor sets inside the (HUGE!!) studio buildings. The last one we came to was in use, and we waited a moment for the take to finish. Then Maril led us up a short flight of stairs to the door. It opened before she could reach for the door-handle, and out popped Sam and then Caitriona, both in costume and perspiring as though it was in fact July in Jamaica (film lights are Way Hot, especially in a small, confined space). Lovely to see them both again.
Short break, then back to filming. We were kindly accommodated with seats in the DOP (Director of Photography)’s tent, with headphones, so we could watch the filming. Usual mixture of fascination and boredom, with incidental entertainment (as someone said to me afterward, “How can they be giggling and poking each other, then in half a second, they’re somebody else completely and doing their lines?” To which the only reply is, “They’re actors.”)
Shared the late lunch/tea-break (they were shooting until 11 PM, so “lunch” was at 6:00 PM) with the crew, watched a bit more filming, and then bade the hard-working cast and crew a cheery farewell, and rolled back to our hotel to eat medium-rare springbok and mango sorbet. And the morning and the evening were the First Day…
301. Being Better Is So Much Harder /
June 09 - 8:00 PM
In the aftermath of the explosion, the Raza crew fights to survive. Help comes from a surprising source.
302. It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This /
June 09 - 9:00 PM
It’s friend vs. friend as the Raza works to recover a deadly drive. Five’s past also isn’t what you think.
303. Welcome To The Revolution /
June 16 - 9:00 PM
The crew tries to broker peace for a rebellion, but they won’t go out the way they came in.
304. All The Time In the World / June 23 - 9:00 PM
Unbeknownst to the rest of the crew, Three has been trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day.
305. Give It Up, Princess / June 30 - 9:00 PM
The crew must rescue kidnapped royalty to retrieve a file which could halt intergalactic war.
306. One Last Card To Play / July 7 - 9:00 PM
Raza vs Raza. When other dimensional alternates of the crew steal weapons, the real crew must get them back.
307. Wish I Could Believe You /
July 14 - 9:00 PM
An injured crew member is haunted by the past, unaware of the dangers that are lurking in the present.
A familiar face returns as one of the Raza crew learns a game changing bombshell about their past.
308. Hot Chocolate / July 21 - 9:00 PM
While providing safe transport for some allies, the Raza comes under attack from within.
309. Isn’t That A Paradox? / July 28 - 9:00 PM
When the Blink Drive self activates during a diagnostic, the Raza and its crew are transported through space and time.
310. Built, Not Born / August 4 - 9:00 PM
A distress call from the Android’s friend, Victor, leads to answers about Two’s past.
311. The Dwarf Star Conspiracy / August 11 - 9:00 PM
One of the Android’s newly discovered memories leads the crew to a suspicious Dwarf Star facility on Nova 17.
312. My Final Gift To You
Ryo takes a hostage to trade for the Blink Drive, but his former crew are not his only opponents.
313. Nowhere To Go
The Raza’s crew attempt to unite Ferrous’ enemies and put an end to the corporate war before the new fleet can be used.
Kay y’all, you get a weird PM out of nowhere saying “Hey Let’s Talk” and you don’t know them, Tinyurl or not, it might be something that can log you out, send PMs to your crew and get them logged the hell out. Stay safe. Block. Block. And
any and all exiles are little hand-held magical “apps”–sprites “programmed” for various purposes. there are multiple copies of them but they are all equally adorable.
PM takes messages, WV organizes things for you, AR is a “firewall” for the others, WQ is like an upgrade to everyone else’s efficiency, etc. the Midnight Crew was a team of virus demons designed for hacking. literal hacking. (they’re in. well, their weapons are in. in your helpful little people. this is upsetting.)
once upon a time, it is said that someone tried to program larger versions of two of these sprites to create the ultimate “search engine”–they would not stop hunting for the answer to a question asked until it was found. unfortunately they were too dangerous (especially when separated) and had to be sealed away. sometimes, though, a group of magic users will get together and try to summon them to ask some ultimate question.
(it is also said that the search demons had terrible auto-finish functions.)
(this request night is over! browse the tag “spellbound probably” to learn more!)
The rest of Nico’s week had to be hell. He was sure of it. He must have died and gone to hell, and this was his eternal punishment. Wondering if someone he knew would win the contest, find him out, and boom life as he knew it was over. The teasing would begin again and he would have to move….again. That’s why he liked the anonymity of being Ghost King. People didn’t view him as a freak, they viewed him as cool and edgy and mysterious. They looked up to him because of his abilities, they weren’t scared by them. That’s why his heart nearly jumped out of his chest when Will, Percy, Annabeth, Grover, Reyna, Austin, Kayla, Lou Ellen, and Cecil all announced that they joined the contest. Because with Nico’s luck, one of them would win, yes he was on the Judges Panel but the videos were being sent in via email, he didn’t know anyone’s email except for his dad’s.
To say he was stressed would be the hugest understatement of the year.
Thankfully Bianca and Hazel joined, so there was a possibility that they could win as well, Jason also joined, but that boy could barely handle showing Nico a video on YouTube without messing up somehow. The Italian wasn’t confident that his self proclaimed best friend was even going to place. ‘Bianca might though,’ he thought as he stared down as his textbook, his brain and body feeling numb. His eyes were seeing the words, but his brain wasn’t processing them at all so he had to re-read the same page about five times before he could turn the page.
The producers decided to have places for the contest. First place would, of course get to go on his lock down of sorts with him and get a customary Ghost King sweater and get a self with the man himself, Second place got the sweater and an autographed picture of him, along with a poster, and third got the autographed picture, a poster and bracelets. They said it was only fair since so many people were sending in videos, they felt the need to add other prizes. And all those who sent in a video got a bracelet.
Nico vaguely could feel himself turn to the next page.
Sure he was excited about all the new equipment he would get to keep and use, but he also feared for his fan. Because it’s one thing to watch his videos, it was another to actually be in them. Yes some people thought he was a fake but actually some locations could be dangerous. And the one they wanted him to film in was an abandoned hospital in the next town over. Hospitals were like ghost magnets. And there was always malevolent spirits who got pleasure from harming people. One time he got scratched in a mental ward by a spirit who had suffered from the delusion that they were the reincarnation of Lycaon. Luckily his friend Reyna had followed him that night and hastily stitched up his arm before trying to get him out of there and to a hospital. They said he was attacked by a dog. So now he has nasty scars to prove that spirits exist, yet he never shows this evidence to anyone or proudly proclaims how he got them. He had bled a lot that night, and only added to the many blood stains that painted the floors and walls of that mental ward, he made an oath to never go back to that location, and he never posted that part of the video.
So yeah. He was also worried about something going wrong.
Could you blame him?
The judging began and Nico could feel himself sweating nervously as he and the other judged viewed the videos, one by one.
It felt like a millennium had passed before they finally picked the winners. Third place went to this kid in New Haven where they would be filming, Second went to this kid he had dance with, he forgot her name, and First went to…….. Lou Ellen.
At first Nico had freaked out, he had to excuse himself to the bathroom so he could panic in private, well until his dad went to calm him down, but then he was grateful that it wasn’t Will.
Yes he liked Will, like a lot, but if he had won, Nico was sure he would have found out who he was somehow. But Lou Ellen was also his friend, so he also worried about her finding out. She wasn’t the type to gossip, but she was the type to push his to tell his friends, or blackmail him. She still has a really embarrassing picture of him that she uses to get him to do favors for her, imagine if she found this out!
So all he could do was breath in, and breathe out, and just hope filming went okay.
And so he anxiously awaited weekend.
He thought he could catch a break at school but the news that Lou Ellen had won was now the hot new topic, and so he had to sit there and pretend he wasn’t having a mental breakdown and pretend he was so excited for her. Will was pleasantly jealous and made that fact known almost every thirty minutes. He also complained that he should have won, in all honesty, he placed fifth. So he had been so close. Too close.
Filming day arrived, and it was hectic. Lou was signing her waver at the station and was going to be dropped off at the hospital at 10 o’ clock pm.
The filming crew was signing their wavers at the location and setting up some equipment with Nico outside, and some inside but not a lot, and Nico was just trying to calm down. He was excited and nervous all at once, it was an odd sensation to say the least.
He made sure to eat before coming to the location but did pack some snacks in his backpack. He remembered to wear the sweater that had the where the eyes on the skull were supposed to be were cut out so he could actually see, but he did paint around his eyes with black so Lou would only get to see his eyes if she was lucky. He also double checked to make sure he had extra batteries for everything, especially his voice modifier.
As he once again double checked everything, Lou Ellen arrived. She excitedly ran up to him and shook his hand.
“Oh my god it’s you! In the flesh!!! Well sorta! Haha….sorry that was lame, I’m just so excited and nervous to be here with you….and I’m babbling aren’t i? Sorry. Um, well, I’m Lou Ellen and I look forward to being your partner for this evening.”
Lou exclaimed in one breath. Nico held down a laugh at her enthusiasm and settled for a modest chuckle as he shook her hand, hoping she couldn’t feel his pulse rushing underneath his glove. He could do this. He could do this. He was the fucking Ghost King for heaven’s sake, he could do this.
“Nice to meet you, Lou? Was it? I’m, as you know, Ghost King. Are you ready to see some ghosts?”
Ik'ladi is similar to marriage but with key differences. Ik'ladi is a permanent, unbreakable union of romantic, passionate love between three to five people. An individual ik'ladi always gets a unique name, i.e. “The Midnight Crew.“
Ik'ladi is formed through mutual consent between the people in question to have an ik'ladera. An ik'ladera is a ritual ceremony where an exchange of uniquely crafted keys seal the ik'ladi together for life and eternity. The keys symbolize that the members of the ik'ladi close their hearts (and loins) to all but the ones who have compatible keys to their love. There is no ik'ladi equivalent to a "Honeymoon Phase.” Ik'ladi are just expected to copulate regularly.
Once an ik'ladi has been formed, members can exit due to death, divorce, or long term separation. However, no new person can “join their club” so to speak: to ask for such a thing is disrespectful and incredibly fucking rude. It implies that the person believes the ik'ladi is dysfunctional, equivalent to a stranger coming up to a squabbling couple and demanding they get a divorce so the stranger can marry one of them instead. Sex and romance with people outside an ik'ladi with no intention of “joining the club” or “seceding from the union” must be communicated clearly and granted express permission from the Leader (more in a second).
The members of an ik'ladi are expected to fulfill unique roles within their union, much like the traditional gender roles of a husband and wife in human marriage. These roles are as follows:
The Speaker is the “boss.” The ik'ladi is not obligated to follow his every command, but the Speaker is the one who gets the final say on topics relevant to the ik'ladi as a whole. The ik'ladi plans the outings, writes the grocery lists, and buys the gifts. SS is the Speaker of the Midnight Crew. WV is the Speaker of oreoshipping.
The Tower is the “protector.” The Tower is he most physically powerful and capable of the ik'ladi and has been entrusted with the duty of protecting it. They trust the Tower to defend all of the members at once, and express their pleasure with the Tower’s work by resting atop their body. HB is the Tower of the Midnight Crew. PM is the Tower of oreoshipping.
The Vizier is the “housewife.” The Vizier is expected to cook the meals, tend to the home, do the shopping, manage the finances, and is the one to primarily raise the children. Viziers are trusted the most with the education of the child as well, as no public schooling exists on Skaia. DD is the Vizier of the Midnight Crew. AR is the Vizier of oreoshipping.
These three roles are the absolute minimum for a functioning ik'ladi. The members of an ik'ladi don’t have to fit into the roles rigidly: sometimes the best cook in the family is the Tower rather than the Vizier. But these responsibilities are required for the ik'ladi to be functional rather than dysfunctional. There are also two more roles that can be filled in ik'ladi:
The Auspice is the “honeymoon police” so to speak.
The Auspice is expected to keep the family from falling apart, maintaining emotional communication, spicing up the sex life, and encouraging more bonding activities to ensure the ik'ladi does not drift away from each other. CD is the Auspice of the Midnight Crew. If the white royalty are included in oreoshipping, then WK would be the Auspice.
The Spicer is the “wild card.” Because five is the maximum number of members for an ik'ladi, should the intended union have four members but still be in danger of not functioning, a Spicer is sought as the final member to fill that unique void. The Midnight Crew does not have a Spicer, but if they did, it would be Ms Paint. Oreoshipping’s Spicer would be WQ.