This is the reason what was originally one chapter was cut into two. The subject matter of one did not match what occurred in the other. So I decided to have the attack happen in a different chapter while building up to it in another. I think it came out looking way better this way and more consistent.
A few short things about this chapter because, as an action piece, there isn't much to really talk about. First off, I do enjoy showing the Spartans working as a team. It's so intriguing to showcase while these guys are a big deal in the UNSC. They are a well oiled machine that works better together than most people. Yet they're not robots, they have distinct abilities and personalities. Making them all the more awesome to play off one another. Of course, we might be seeing the Spartans ranks expand soon, but that's for another day.
Creating action set pieces is always a challenge. You usually come up with the idea of where your characters are going to be, but it's not until later, after you've really gone over the layout in your mind, that you decide how to creatively use that space. It's not about explosions or where you place enemies, in my opinion it's about the environment you create and how you utilize it. Sure, blow up that building, have a tank smash through the doors, but unless you do something with the space you make, something that catches folks off guard or is visually interesting, you're just playing it safe.
That's the impetus for Zek's space walk. I could have just had him board the ship like a regular person through the airlock. But that just seems to mundane. I've done that before and writing another scene of that just didn't feel right. I want to keep people engaged, I want to spice things up. So, we pull off a different method and we hope it comes out looking more interesting than the first idea we had pop into our heads.
I'm not sure WHY I decided to have the Jackals become obsessed with Ultraman. Maybe it was me flaunting my Tokusatsu nerdom, but I like to think it was about character and world building. Jackal life seems to revolve around a lot of violence. Tokusatsu is basically just Wrestling in rubber suits. Something about that concept just feels like it appeals to the Kig-yar culture. They love a good scrap. Fights are a way to prove dominance and skill over your opponents, which is basically capitalism in a some respects and we all know that the kig-yar exist in a very free market capitalist society. I don't think the Jackals have big expectations when it comes to on screen violence either, it's probably more about just seeing someone come out on top in a life or death struggle. No honor, no traditions, nothing that say a warrior race obsess over. Just good old fashioned down and dirty beatdowns where anything goes. Kaiju battles feel most suited that style. Monsters rarely care about how they win after all.
As for the sugar related sub plot at the end, yeah, I kinda had to do this for foreshadowing future events, but mostly this was needed for another reason. I needed Zek and Retz to actually pull something past the others. I needed them to actually get away with a scheme of theirs. Why? Cause if I keep having them bumble their way through things they look like idiots who don't know how to pull a Con. They needed to have an ulterior motive for hitting the plant. The sugar sub plot seemed like a good thing to bring in.
The idea was that Zek and Retz had already sent off a sample to a contact to be analyzed and produced for them in a sufficient quantity to start up a business venture. The problem is that getting the info off the ship is easy, getting it back on is not. So they needed a cover, a job, any job really. Once Holland went for something, they could make the arrangements to get their supplies. Their contact sneaks their crate aboard one of the cargo ships bound for their destination and leaves the job of pick up to them. Classic dead drop scenario, only this time involving more explosions.
Will this come back to bite them? Perhaps eventually, but for now they prove they're capable of actually being effective liars, criminals and con-men. They didn't do anything particularly wrong, no, but they still lied about their real goals. The UNSC doesn't like that, as they've made very clear. I have no real intention of ever letting the strains between the factions go away. Maybe it becomes less of an issue, maybe it fades a bit into the background so it doesn't dominate every chapter and become tedious, but the trick is to make sure it's always there. That there is always tension between the sides. This was my way of finally giving Zek a win while also setting up future problems down the road for him.
As for the cliffhanger... well, sorry. You're just gonna have to wait to see how that pans out. That's all for now, hope you enjoyed the chapter and this little look behind it's creation.