8FOLD: Mancers # 2, "Company Man"

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Thu Aug 23 07:46:34 PDT 2018

On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at 2:04:04 AM UTC-4, Drew Perron wrote:
> On 7/16/2018 9:46 AM, Tom Russell wrote:

> > MAILE AKAKA, age 19. Aeromancer.
> > The Company's top field agent and assassin, her memory has been wiped,
> Yay, full names and-- wait, she became the top field agent and assassin at 
> *nineteen*? :o I hope we find out how *that* happened!

Won't be finding out in this arc. But it mostly has to do with her having a special aptitude for the work, both in terms of effectiveness and enthusiasm.

> > He had
> > started a few books, books which were perfectly good on their own
> > merits, but only ever gave each of them a few pages or chapters before
> > losing interest. He'd come back to them later, he knew, and would fall
> > deeply in love with them.
> Interesting. Is this pulled from personal experience?

Not really. I tend to finish most books that I read, though these days I'm more likely to read non-fiction than fiction.

> >     They got into an argument, one of those meaningless loose pieces of
> > string that you both keep tugging at against your better judgment, and
> > just when things reach detente, you pull at it again, until the whole
> > thing is a tangled mess that can't ever be put straight again. The
> > sort of argument that could end everything they had built together. In
> > a panic, he stole the hour from her. She forgot about it, though she
> > wondered for the rest of the night why her throat was so raw, and why
> > her eyes were so red. She forgot, but he remembered. Sometimes when he
> > looks at her, he gets overwhelmed by the guilt, and he wants to make
> > himself forget, so he doesn't have to keep living with it. But he
> > holds onto it instead. He remembers it on purpose, so that he'll never
> > do it again. She deserves better than that.
> Ohhhhhh. God, yeah, I can imagine panicking and doing something like that and 
> uuuuuuugh jeez louise that's Viscerally Painful @. at v

Thanks. That's more or less what I was going for there.

> >     "Well, I think I told you on Tuesday or Wednesday about how they're
> > supposed to be merging Q and A across the board. Maybe they're giving
> > the London crew the boot."
> This is disturbingly corporate for this kind of organization. Good job!

Yes, The Company is the "evil corporation" trope writ large, and a lot of the fun I'm having with it is marrying the end-of-the-world villain stuff to the language and forms of office work.

> >     "I know you do," says David. "And I wouldn't have met you, and you
> > wouldn't have met me, if not for us both working for The Company.
> > Confidentially, I got the better end of that deal." He smiles, like
> > it's a joke, but he knows it's true; they both know it's true; he's
> > seen it in her eyes when she thinks he isn't looking.
> Aw sweetie. I wonder how much that's true and how much that's David's own anxieties.

With David being the viewpoint character, it's kinda hard to tell. But it's also kinda hard to imagine the confident, takes-no-crap Trinity Tran we met in JOLT CITY choosing a partner like David or choosing to work for a place like The Company. This is very much not the life that she wanted or worked toward, and even someone who is as... uh, "non-observant"... as David is likely to pick up on that, and to feel slighted.
> >     "This isn't your fault, David," says Claire. "You're the victim
> > here, as much as Maile is. The Company is going to fight on your
> > behalf. I'm going to fight on your behalf. And I think you'll find
> > that I'm a great person to have in your corner."
> What a fucking manipulator. Excellent job! <3 <3 <3

All the <3 for Claire! She's one of those characters like Ress, where I'd never want to meet or spend time with anyone like that, but man, are they a delight for me as a writer.

> >     "Unfortunately, we can't let the enemy know that we're on to them,"
> > says Claire. "So, I'm going to need to wipe this entire conversation
> > from your mind. I'm sure you understand."
> And of course that puts this "we are on your side" pitch outside of conscious 
> memory, where it can be engaged it, burying it deep in the land of unquestioned 
> assumptions.

> There's a lot of really intense power dynamics in this series, and it feels 
> almost like it's running on the emotions that fuel BDSM, though I'm sure that's 
> just subtex--

Early drafts of this scene were a lot more explicit - not quite as bad as some of the sex scenes in JOLT CITY, but they weren't shy - but I toned it down quite a bit when trying to make the series less explicitly ACRA. I mean, I wouldn't want kids reading this stuff regardless... but I definitely wanted to keep it relatively clean.

Thanks for the comments, Drew (and also Scott!).


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