Space Quest: The Time Machination
Behind the ScenesBackground
I played Space Quest: Vohaul Strikes Back and Space Quest: Incinerations in late December 2012/early January 2013 and didn't do much at all SQ related for weeks after that, then one night I thought, "Hey, I've got an idea -- I'll write a SQ fanfic!"
I didn't start this story in an attempt to "out-epic" VSB or SQInc -- that sort of idea couldn't have been farther from my mind. This started out as what I thought would be a fun idea, but it quickly exploded into a huge, unruly tangle of scenes, plot points and dialogue that I had to struggle to keep connected. I think I'd created about 26 pages worth of text (after its beginning on March 13, 2012) before I realized that this story might take a little more work than I first thought.
During those first couple of months of writing, I kept asking myself things like:
"What the heck am I doing?"
"Why am I suddenly coming up with all these puzzle ideas when I completely suck at puzzle design?"
"Why am I writing so many scenes involving toilets?"
Then in late May, the Two Guys from Andromeda announced their reunion and their plan to do a sci-fi adventure game starring a plumber. Suddenly, things made so much more sense...
More than ten years ago, I made up a list of the plotlines for the games between SQ7 and SQ12. One of the games (SQ9) involved Roger and Beatrice being presumed dead after a planet they were visiting blows up, and the following games deal with their struggle to return to Xenon (though not until the events of SQ12 have ended). I recycled this basic idea for this story, with many changes and embellishments. Actually, as I was re-reading this ancient list, I found the synopsis for SQ13 eerily similar to the finale I planned for this story.
I made an effort to fill in as many major plot holes as possible without bogging the story down too much. One of the more subtle inconsistencies in the SQ series is the question of why the Sequel Police only attempted to kill Roger in SQ4 and didn't try pursuing him in the five-game gap between it and SQ10. I decided to give that oddity my own convoluted mess of an explanation.
It was tricky getting this story to really "feel" like a SQ game since a number of the elements of in the SQ series don't translate that well to a novel's format. I compensated for having a very linear plot and a lack of constant fourth wall breaks by cramming as many puzzle-solving moments into the story as possible. I also threw in a few gentle jabs at some of the conventions of the SQ series/fandom as well (one word: keycard). I also made up my mind early on in this project to only include references to information from the games themselves (mostly because a lot of the tie-in material has a tendency to contradict the games [as well as each other], plus it was enough of a headache keeping this story from contradicting itself).
The various detailed descriptions of how Roger would have died in various scenarios were inspired by the Dragon's Lair cartoon series (which I probably wouldn't have heard about if it weren't for MarzGurl's review of it in her Don Bluth retrospective on ChannelAwesome.com -- thanks!). The Dragon's Lair video game is infamous for its numerous death scenes, but since the cartoon has to have its protagonist (Dirk the Daring) survive from one episode to the next, when Dirk encounters something potentially fatal, the show sometimes takes a brief time-out to show what would have happened if Dirk made the wrong move (and consequently died) before showing him making the correct move and then moving on with the plot.
I deliberately tried to avoid any SQ fanwork cliches in this story to give it a fresher feel. This is why Vohaul never actually appears in the story itself, Fester Blatz and Monolith Burger never even alluded to, and most of the other characters from the official series don't pop up or get mentioned unless they're part of the plot. It was tempting to cram more characters and references in, but tried to use original material wherever it could be used.
Unused Scenes, Concepts and Dialog
I was also going to do a loose parody of the end of Back to the Future, Part II at the end of the Prelude, but I figured that scene had dragged on long enough already.
A fair majority of the SQ fan fiction I've read that takes place around the SQ12 era features either a dead and/or horribly disfigured Beatrice and an undeniably dead Roger. I don't think I've ever seen a story set in this time period where this wasn't the case...so I decided to write one myself.
"Stam" and "davka" are two Hebrew words which are somewhat tricky to translate, but are used to explain inexplicable events. (I originally called the two planets in the fittingly named Ka'Blui system Heltyr and Skeltyr.)
The whole segment on StarCon was added on the very day this chapter was posted to the Janitorial Times forum. I had planned to include a brief story explaining what had happened to StarCon in the interim between SQVI and SQIX, but at the last minute, I realized that I had never done this, and had to really scramble to get that info shoehorned into the story.
Roger and Beatrice's exchange when Roger recognizes his past self is loosely inspired by a similar scene in the first Thursday Next novel, The Eyre Affair. Thursday and her partner travel through a patch of "bad time" and wind up in the future, and have an exchange very similar to Roger and Beatrice's conversation when Thursday notices her future self.
(Also, Thursday is later visited by a teenager who turns out to be her unborn son, who [ends up/is going to end up] joining the Chronoguard [an organization of officials who travel through time in order to avert world-destroying disasters]. Also, the TN series is somewhat unique in that it stars a female action hero who is married throughout most of her series [she gets married at the end of her first book], yet she remains just as much of an ass-kicker as she is while she's single.)
I also played with the idea of a Planet of the Apes homage with Roger screaming "They blew it up! Damn them all to Hell!" after ending up on Magmetheus, but then I read a new Josh Mandel review who said that an early SQ6 ending had Roger doing the EXACT SAME THING while he and Stellar are riding some kind of horse-like beast along a seashore. Damn you, coincidence -- why must you hinder my efforts to write the first SQ fanfic I've had the inspiration to write in years!?
(Incidentally, this ending keeps getting elaborated upon: the SQ FAQ originally said that Roger and Stellar come across a giant statue, but the designers had no idea what it could be, then Josh Mandel revealed that the statue was going to be of Larry Laffer, now THIS!)
And of course I just HAD to do a search on "plasticrete" on the SQ Wiki to see if the word had been used already (as if I expected a different result other than "Yes, it has" by this point...although to be fair, I've listened to the SQ6 audio files several times, so I guess I can chalk this up to cryptomnesia.)
The "Roger reveals everything" sequence was pretty hard to write, and the inner monologue turned out to be a great element to construct the last part of it around (I also realized that it also kind of works as something that Jerry might say to Roger [read my short story "Co-Pilot" if you don't understand what this means]).
"Pantagama" is a word derived from pantagamy: "a form of marriage in which every woman in a community is married to every man and every man is married to every woman".
I was initially going to have Roger remember all of the unsettling revelations from the end of SQ4 in the years in between it and SQ9, but for the sake of keeping the overall light tone of the story, I decided to keep the level of angst in the narrative as low as possible.
Up until now, I've usually had Roger remember lots of events from that game in various works of fan fiction, but the more I look at the dialogue from SQ5 and 6, the more I think that what Roger Jr.'s "You won't remember much" comment might have had a definite grain of truth to it.
For example, in the SQ5 intro, he mentions vaguely remembering meeting his son and seeing an image of his future wife, though he doesn't remember her name until he sees her in person, but other than that, virtually all callbacks to the events of SQ4 are made by the narrator, not Roger. It's almost as if he's the only one who recalls everything that happened. (Interestingly, if you use the Mouth icon on the cigar butt in Roger's room in the SQ6 demo, Roger says, "I'm not putting that cigar butt in my mouth! I know where this has been!", while in the actual game, the narrator says, "Don't put that cigar butt in your mouth. You know where this one has been!")
From an in-game perspective, there doesn't seem to be any explanation for the names of the time sectors in SQ4 that doesn't boil down to the sentiment "It's all just a computer game!" So, when it came for me to provide an in-story explanation for the names used in TTM...I decided not to bother coming up with one.
Yes -- I combined Monkey Island, the Hilbert's Hotel paradox and the infinite monkey theorem into a single joke. There's got to be an award for that.
Lo'Li Wormhole is a parody of the name of Richard Scarry's character, Lowly Worm. I had to come up with a name for a wormhole that parodied something, and this was the first thing that came to my mind.
The entire Screevinox scene all started from this one brief dialogue exchange I came up with. After that, it rapidly snowballed into the final result:
Roger: Will this be...dangerous?
?: Well, that depends...your species can't regenerate lost limbs, can it?
?: In that case, I'd say this will be dangerous.
Zanshin is a Japanese word referring to "a state of relaxed alertness in the face of danger". The name of its people is Japanese as well, but I added an extra "u" to keep it from looking too much like the Greek letter which is spelled the same way. Mu in this context means "no-thing; no-mind".
The history of Zanshin borrows heavily from Robert Sheckley's short story, "Legend of Conquistadors."
A very similar version of the Hologarb appeared in one of the story arcs in WSSQ
UID Contd. Other than that, there is no real connection between WSSQUID Contd. and this story.
The Hologarb plot device actually wasn't in the earliest drafts of this story. I decided to include it after I'd written a few hundred pages because I realized "Wait a minute...If Roger and Beatrice were hanging out in the past for a couple of years without some kind of disguises, that seems like it might open a few plot holes." Of course, this meant figuring out how to get the Hologarbs to malfunction at key points in the story where Roger and Beatrice had to be recognized, but this wasn't too hard.
The disguises Roger and Beatrice choose for are similar to the looks of the two main characters in Pledge Quest I and II (also named Roger and Beatrice, but completely unrelated) -- but only in the sense that they have the same hair colors. I think I might have actually designed the Roger and Beatrice in Pledge Quest after I decided what Roger and Beatrice's disguises should look like.
Krej's name is -- I swear -- completely unintentional. There are a lot of names in this story which I used wordplay of one sort or another to come up with, but "Krej" isn't one of them. I was just stringing together random letters together to create an alien-sounding name, and didn't realize that one of the names I came up with was "jerk" spelled backwards. It's doubly ironic, since Krej is one of the least jerkish supporting characters in the story.
Roger's wondering if he has forgotten how to read during the "water incident" is a loose homage to the X-Minus One story "Junkyard", a story by Clifford D. Simak where a group of astronauts land on a planet which, unbeknownst to them, is home to a machine that steals knowledge from all living beings that land on it. It slowly starts draining knowledge from the astronauts, and the protagonist ends up confessing -- with a completely straight face -- that he's forgotten how to read. (The plan the characters come up with to deactivate the machine is an amusingly clever one, and it's worth listening to the story just for that.)
There's no real reason for naming the small, furry inhabitants of Suxtu'biiyu after the infamous electronic toy known as the Furby. It was an idea I came up with on a whim and decided to run with. (Also, the deity the Phurbian customs agent mentions [Tyg] is named after the Furby's manufacturer [Tiger]).
Suxtu'biiyu was titled using the same naming technique as Kiz Urazgubi in Space Quest V.
"Quoob" is an obscure word that is a combination of the words "queer" and "boob".
In case the joke isn't obvious enough, Crazy Cord is a parody of Silly String.
The name of Roger and Bea's ship is the genus name of the dodo.
All of Roger's pseudonyms in this story have appeared either in the SQ series itself or in media directly connected to it (Buston Freem is the Sarien whose ID ends up in Roger's possession in SQ1, Fronzel Neekburm is the "clever" name Roger uses when he's checking into the Dew Beam Inn in SQ6, Ray Trace is a joke in the SQ6 credits) except for Bodge, which is the name of the colonel from the Arcada that Roger meets on the Deltaur in the SQ1 comic (his surname is never mentioned).
The reason I chose "Nellwood" as his first name is because of Kermit Schafer's All-Time Great Bloopers compilation: one blooper in this collection features an audio engineer accidentally switching from the local program to the current network show. The result sounds something like: "It's time now, ladies and gentlemen, for our featured guest: the prominent author, lecturer and social leader, Mrs. Ellwood Dodge, who is -- able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! [whooshing sound effect]"
The "robot designed to malfunction" idea was borrowed from another Sheckley short story called "A Ticket to Tranai." It was such an ingenious idea that I just had to include it in this story.
Minott was originally going to be named Lang (as a nod to Ned Lang, one of Robert Sheckley's pseudonyms), but that was before I heard about how Murray Leinster's 1934 story "Sidewise in Time" is reputed to be the first sci-fi story featuring parallel universes. In light of this, it only seemed fair to name the planet after one of the protagonists of this story. (Any similarity to the name of one of the harpies from King's Quest V is purely coincidental.)
Finndo is a shortened form of yet another one of Robert Sheckley's pseudonyms, and Grenold and Arngor's names are based off the names of the two stars of Sheckley's AAA Ace stories.
"Altitonant" means "thundering from above or on high". True, there is no "up" or "down" in space, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to use a word this awesome for a ship name.
A bit of unintentional synchronicity: "Xenon" is derived from a Greek word meaning "strange" or "stranger", and the prophecy Roger reluctantly ends up fulfilling said that a stranger will liberate the Minottans. I didn't learn this fact about the word "xenon" until long after I'd written the sequence in the Minottans' parallel world.
Quon Dihotae is a parody of Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote.
I'm sure there have been dozens of parodies of the aliens in the movie Signs already, but I couldn't resist doing one of my own in this chapter.
The Minottan's conversation after Roger leaves was a much later addition. I thought that describing Roger decision to leave a place where he was truly appreciated provided enough closure to that section, but adding that one extra detail to the Minottan's prophecy seemed to add a much-needed bit of twisted Space-Questy humor, ending the scene on a much more funny note.
I was trying to think of what sort of questions Beatrice might ask Roger to prove his identity to her, and I ended up making a twofold reference to:A) The complaints that sprung up when fans were informed that the online SpaceVenture tech demo required Google Chrome to runMaybe I could have picked a better color for Roger to like, but given how quickly this idea came to me, I didn't feel like discarding it.
B) An audio drama about an organization of aliens who are trying to aid various civilizations to get through their equivalent of the 1950's (which every civilization eventually goes through, according to this story). At one point, one of the supporting characters is asked if he likes chrome, and in a slightly confused voice, he replies, "my favorite color."
The part where Roger is contacted by a microscopic civilization is a parody of Robert Sheckley's short story "Starting from Scratch". That story begins with the microscopic organism contacting the protagonist, and ends with the protagonist mentioning having "some unpleasant intuitions about the earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault, and the renewed volcanic activity in Mexico," and apparently speaking to the reader, saying that he needs the reader's help.
This ending never really made sense to me -- I thought the logical ending would be the protagonist trying to contact his planet or something similarly large in scale (heck -- in "Sarkanger", another Sheckley short story, the two protagonists talk to a planet). In short, I ended up deciding, "Ah, what the heck, I'll have Roger have a chat with the universe. Why not?" (Although I was a bit disappointed when I reread the Space Quest Smackdown, since it has an ending that makes what I came up with look pathetic by comparison.)
Xirdneth is the name of one of the gods in the Cthulu mythos. As I was wondering what to name some of the planets in the story, I recalled how we named the planets in our solar system after Roman gods and thought it would be a nice touch if I did something similar in this story.
"Trans-temporal" is a term I borrowed from the ZBS audio drama The Insiders' Lounge, and it means pretty much what the context implies -- someone outside of his/her native time.
Chedla is somewhat inspired by Chedka from Sheckley's "All the Things you Are". Chedka is a lemur-like alien who sleeps a lot, and a member of an expedition with several other humans who attempt to establish contact with an alien world. (This is one of my favorite Sheckley stories, incidentally.)
Chedla (formerly Chiba) was originally a male, but I decided at the last minute to change him to a female, because I figured, why not?
Marconi isn't really the inventor of the radio (Nikola Tesla deserves credit for it), but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use a fun portmanteau like MarChroni to describe a two-way radio that sends broadcasts into the future and the past. This was partially inspired by the film Frequency, but also an X-Minus One episode called "Sam, This is You" (written by Murry Leinster), where a telephone lineman starts receiving phone calls from his future self.
The Angry Birds parody is one of the only modern-day references I included in this story. (Since the majority of it takes place in the past, most of the references are much less topical.)
The reason Roger asks the robot to call him "Sir" fifty-four more times isn't completely arbitrary -- the atomic number of the element xenon is 54.
The blue, booth-shaped machine Roger uses to travel through time could be perceived as a Doctor Who reference, but I decided to deliberately describe the booth so vaguely that it could also just be an entity unto itself. (There's some caustic irony here, since as I was writing this list, I inadvertently discovered that "The Time Machination" had already been used for the title of a Doctor Who comic. I was frustrated, but not all that surprised.)
The scene where Roger changes the course of time by stepping on a small, winged creature is a reference to Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound of Thunder" (another obvious reference for most sci-fi fans).
The name of Vurspyltmilc Cryo might sound familiar to you if you move the words around a little and try saying them out loud.
I thought the idea of describing RJ's birth and revealing that he was a test tube baby at the very end was a neat, original idea -- then I found out that according to the Space Quest Companion, Roger himself is a test tube baby. I hate it when things like this happen.
Tera: Warrior Empress. Well...you see..."Xena" sounds a bit like a feminine version of "Xenon", and since the TV show I'm parodying with this title comes from Earth and the parody itself comes from Xenon, I thought it made sense to use the name "Tera", since "Eartha" seemed too obvious. It was a little difficult to create a feminine version out of an already feminine-sounding name like "Terra", but I think that I succeeded...with...
Okay, okay, I'll stop.
Smurl's joke is another Thursday Next homage. In The Eyre Affair, a member of the Chronoguard makes a similar joke right after Thursday and her partner make it out of a patch of "bad time" and ask how long they've been gone. I haven't encountered many chapter endings that are both so hilarious yet so "Oh shit!"-inducing at the same time.
Sometime after coming up with the name "PlanetAid", I found out that there is a real charity organization named Planet Aid, but since I couldn't come up with a more perfect name for the organization in this story, I decided to keep it as it was.
Chapter XIX:Sometime prior to this point in the story, I toyed with the idea of some alien vine growing around the outside of the Raphus while Roger and Beatrice are in cryosleep and being in flower around the time they awaken. Roger has to peel the vines off the ship so they can get inside and offers Beatrice a flower. After the incident at the Rotunda, a shocked Beatrice slowly walks back to the Raphus and notices one of the flowers still clinging to the side, now frozen like ice from the trip through the vacuum of space.
Even though I liked this idea, the "There's enough romantic angst in this chapter already; let's get back to the plot ASAP!" part of my brain decided not to incorporate it.
At one point, I was considering having Wilbur and Astral from the adventure game Orion Burger appear in the bar Beatrice visited. However, this just seemed to drag the scene out longer than it needed to be, the scene seemed somber enough without contrasting their happiness with Beatrice's misery, and not only is Orion Burger a pretty obscure game, but even readers who may have played it at one point probably wouldn't recognize Wilbur and Astral from just their physical descriptions.
The drink Beatrice orders at the MoonShot Bar and Grill was originally a blue drink called Gin and Sonic, renowned for how incredibly quickly it got its drinkers intoxicated. I'm sorry.
"Dekampi" is a rewording of L. Sprague de Camp's surname. There's no real connection between him and the species I decided to give that name to; I just thought I'd namedrop another underrated sci-fi/fantasy author.
I really wanted to sneak in some sort of biting satire of feminism in the section that revolved around Estros and its culture, but given what some parts of feminism have become in the last few years, that was one area I really didn't want to come anywhere near.
If you didn't understand the significance of the name of the Latex Babe that Beatrice is mistaken for, look up the phrase "Bechdel Test."
The description of the "manly" spacecraft in the Man Cave is borrowed from Dave Barry's description of the Humvee in Boogers are My Beat.
During the commentary of Space Quest: Incinerations, one issue that was brought up was that in the beta version, Sludge Vohaul (who appears in that game as a gigantic, floating, anatomically incorrect, naked humanoid) had a vertical dotted line running up his crotch, which had to be removed because it looked as if he had "lady parts". I find this very amusing since I added Bea's line about Sludge Vohaul having a sex change operation to this story many months earlier.
"Kwidnunk" is a deliberate misspelling of quidnunc (meaning "someone who always wants to know what's going on"). "Keech" means "a lump of fat", "Fyerk" is an obsolete word meaning "to flick away with the forefinger and thumb."
I decided to give the scientist who becomes Roger's ally a name roughly similar to his -- one based on a military acronym or abbreviation. Since the SQ Companion used FUBAR and SNAFU for both the first and last names of Roger's boss on Xenon Orbital Station 4, the acronym I eventually settled on was BOHICA: "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again."
The glow-in-the-dark sandwich spread is an idea I borrowed from Space Cases, a sci-fi show that aired on Nickelodeon in the '90s. It can probably be best described as "Star Trek for kids", where a bunch of young people from various planets in the solar system (plus two bumbling adults) are lost in space on a strange ship. One episode features one of the adults absorbing too much knowledge from the ship's computer and becoming super-intelligent (grossly enlarged head, acting completely superior to everyone else, telekinetic powers, the lot).
At one point, she stops and thinks for a moment, then in a completely deadpan voice, she says something like: "I have just come up with a formula for [extremely complicated technobabble describing a highly advanced concept]...and a sandwich spread that glows in the dark."
"Toast goblins!" is just a random phrase that came to me from out of the blue when I was nearly done with this story, and it seemed so funny to me that I was compelled to use it in one of my projects. I was planning on using it in the third entry in the Thalia James series, but I was unable to find a suitable place for it. (The phrase Roger was originally going to be yelling was "Weasel lip sausage!")
"What the purpose of purple is" is a nod to Robert Sheckley's 1953 short story "Ask a Foolish Question", which centers around an ancient, all-knowing computer that all sorts of truly alien beings come to with their people's most pressing questions. One individual in the story asks why his people are required to gather purple and a build a mound out of it.
The universe's comment about an individual whose head contains the minds of every person on his now incinerated home planet is also from a Sheckley short story...unfortunately, that comment pretty much ruins that story's ending, so in an attempt to keep things fair, I'm not going to reveal the name of the story.
The species which the universe says is older than it is a reference to the species with a very similar history in Clifford D. Simak's (amazing*) book The Goblin Reservation.
*Seriously: magic, fantasy creatures, interstellar travel, aliens, ghosts, resurrected extinct species, time travel and a species older than the universe, all in one book. It is amazing.
Why beige? Because according to a 2002 paper published by a team of astronomers from Johns Hopkins University, that is the color that all the light in the universe adds up to.
The universe's acts of self-preservation were inspired by a short story by Paul Levinson called "The Chronology Protection Case", in which several scientists about to make their discoveries about time travel public begin dying under peculiar circumstances. Two of the survivors come to the conclusion that the universe is deliberately causing their deaths in order to prevent time travel from being discovered in order to keep both humanity and itself from being destroyed by time paradoxes.
I didn't name the planet Pygalgia until much, much later in the story. I decided that I wanted a name that sounded fancy and was Latin or Greek derived, but actually had a surprisingly unflattering meaning. It means "pain in the butt."
I originally had the universe create the message about PlanetAid by rearranging the stars to form the words, but I eventually decided that the universe wouldn't bend over backwards that much to help Roger, no matter how "interesting" it found him. The "message in the stars" concept is borrowed from Fredric Brown's short story "Pi in the Sky", where Earth's astronomers notice some of the stars begin to move, and some scientists realize that they're starting to spell out a message. The story starts out pretty serious and starts building up some real suspense, but ends on a veritable hydrogen bomb of funny.
(And wow -- I looked the story to refresh myself and found out that the guy the narrative stays with for the first part of the story who initially notices the stars starting to move is named Roger. Huh.)
The personal gravity adjustment device was inspired by a sci-fi comic called Cosmic Crew, which I read in the kids' magazine 3-2-1 Contact (later changed to Contact Kids). In the climax of the first story arc, the young protagonists end up on Earth, captured by antagonists from various planets in our solar system. They are able to incapacitate some of their captors by messing with the settings on the gear they're wearing that helps them acclimate to other planets. One of the baddies is from Mercury (just roll with it), so setting the temperature on her acclimation gear makes her start shivering violently, and two others are from Jupiter (again, just roll with it), so turning the gravity settings on their gear down to the same level as Earth sends them hurtling into the air.
The line about Sfazekz hypothetically using Roger's head to play "the ancient Terran sport known as 'Kickball'" is another joke borrowed from Dave Barry -- specifically, from his article that mentions the mating habits of the praying mantis in Dave Barry is Not Taking This Sitting Down!
The Door Scanner Override Code is actually a pair of dates. They might look familiar if you know a certain two guys fairly well. ;)
The end of the countdown sequence isn't a deliberate reference to the movie Galaxy Quest, but I guess it is what it is.
Changing Roger's hair color again was something I didn't think up until I had planned out most of the scene with the scientists. It seemed like the sort of thing an eccentric group like them would do, and I don't think I've seen this sort of thing done in any SQ fan fiction before. (Obviously, I'm disregarding the SQ1 comic and the SQ2 manual, which show Roger with blond hair before SQ4 -- I tried to stick strictly the way his hair looks in the games themselves [sans the SQ1 remake].)
Fairbain is the surname of the voice actor who plays a variety of characters in a number of ZBS's audio dramas (which actually isn't his real name -- a lot of the voice actors who participated in those productions used pseudonyms). No real reason for assigning that name to that particular character aside from giving ZBS yet another shout-out.
I originally planned on having Stellar arrive on Xenon along with a bunch of other characters from past SQ games coming to Xenon on various ships (sort of like the end of Titan A. E.), but this seemed like it would make for a scene that was way too busy and hackneyed. I still wanted Stellar to make an appearance, so I had her appear as a police officer in this chapter instead.
Rixi was originally just a character that appeared once and was never mentioned again, but I couldn't resist the idea of continuing her story and having her found an Orat reserve on Kerona as an adult (due in part to the money she made off of Roger way back in Chapter V).
I ended up cramming a bunch of elements from SQ1 into this one chapter to give the story a sort of "bookendy" feel, right down to Beatrice's last line where she reminds him to fasten his seat belt (remember the Arcada's escape pod?).
I admit that using the time gun to convert the Raphus into a timeworthy vehicle is an idea I borrowed from the SQ fan fiction novel Future's History. Not an intentional homage, but given how the plot eventually turned out, it was a somewhat unavoidable occurrence.
I tried to shoehorn a tiny bit of a pro-science message in Bohica's spiel. It was hard to do, given what the Supercomputer did to Xenon (even if it was the mind behind it that was responsible for what it did rather than the machine itself), but I still felt it was something that needed to be said.
The constellation of the platypuses seen from Xenon is a homage to the 1998 Talkspot Sierra Reunion. When Space Quest 7 is being discussed, a fan calls into the program and expresses his wish to see "really big platypuses" in the game, should it ever be released.
For more than a year, the working title for this story was "Time and Again" (after the Clifford D. Simak novel which involves time travel, but has little else in common with this story). I knew there had to be a better title than this (I contemplated using "Time, Time Again" briefly), but eventually decided on The Time Machination. It's simple, effective, and the sci-fi work whose title it parodies is the one of the oldest and best known novels featuring time travel. I doubt I could come up with a better title (unfortunately, it's a title that's already been used -- see the notes for Chapter XV).
Many of the various alien species' names and a few planets' names are derived from captcha codes generated by the SpaceQuest.net chat room (back when the captcha codes used random letter combos instead of random number combos).I went out of my way to use the word "species" instead of "race" to describe the various types of life forms throughout this story, since "race" tends to be a loaded term in other contexts, and "species" has a much more clear-cut meaning.
When I first started writing this story, I began with a skeletal outline that I kept building on, with both the story and the notes crammed into the same document. Instead of deleting notes as I altered them or fleshed them out, I would move them to another document which ended up with 66 pages of random text scraps, some of which were no more than brief jokes that I couldn't fit in anywhere. Here are some of the more interesting samplings from the cutting room floor:
An extended version of the scene where Roger and Beatrice check into the Hilbert Hotel.
Once inside the hotel lobby, Roger strode up to the counter (with Beatrice cautiously following him) and informed the broadly smiling receptionist that he and his wife needed a room.
"Do you have a reservation?" the receptionist inquired.
"No," Roger admitted, "But could you please try to get us a room -- with two beds?"
"Let me see," the receptionist said, tapping a few keys on her keyboard. "Hmm...it looks like we do have a few rooms free on the 11th floor..."
"Great," Roger said. "We'll take any of them -- non-smoking, please."
"Very well, Sir." the receptionist smiled. "Your names?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Butston Freem," Roger said.
"All-righty," the receptionist chirped, handing Roger a keycard. "Your room number is 3x1023, and the elevators are down the hall to your left -- enjoy your stay at the Hilbert Hotel!"
A discarded concept from early on in the story.
Roger recalls having an android duplicate of himself made to be with Beatrice and junior to free up more time for himself. In a difficult moment, he confesses this to Beatrice. To his surprise, Beatrice confesses doing the same thing (their androids eventually meet, fall in love and elope)
["The Robot Who Looked Like Me" homage]
At one point, the universe was going to have a name which referenced another adventure game. As you can see by the scratched out text and the notes in brackets, I realized that this wouldn't work, and eventually scrapped the entire idea.
The universe tells Roger that it may call it Lynn (Callahan's Crosstime Saloon reference, another universe)(This wouldn't work -- in CCC, Earth's universe is said to be the only one where humor exists, and SQ3 describes earth as being in a parallel universe, so this reference wouldn't fit in the framework of this story) Archibald instead?
When the universe muses on what might have happened if it weren't so cautious, Roger was originally going to catch a glimpse of a number of parallel universes.
Dozens of parallel universes simultaneously appeared before Roger, yet he could see each one as clearly as if he were viewing each one individually. In one universe, he never married Beatrice or had a son, yet for reasons unclear to him, there had been no time paradox. In another universe, he and Beatrice had married and both died shortly after Junior was born after the Vohaul virus's much earlier infection of the Xenon Supercomputer. In another, there had been an accident with a cloning machine, and it wasn't Roger who ended up marrying Beatrice and dying shortly afterwards, but his clone. There were also many instances where Roger's decision to not marry Beatrice had resulted in the cessation of his existence.
More talking with the universe.
"So...no more weird accidents happening to me?"
"No more weird accidents...at least, none directly caused by me."
"So..., does that mean that Beatrice and I can go back home after I get out of this mess?"
"I'm afraid that you cannot return, Wilco...not yet."
"'Not yet??'" Roger shouted. "We've been stuck in the past for twenty years and now we're at the same time we were at when we got shot back there in the first place! What do you mean, 'not yet!?'"
Another exasperated sigh.
"You still don't understand, do you, Wilco?"
"I guess not."
The universe speaks of the futility of the scientists operating on Roger.
Universe: "They won't discover any of my mysteries by vivisecting you. I believe your ancestors had a fictional tale about an avian that produced an egg composed of a rare metal every diurnal period. The owner of this avian was pleased by this endless source of wealth, but he eventually grew avaricious and killed the unfortunate creature, hoping to remove all the eggs it had within it at once. However, when the avian's body was opened, no more eggs were found inside it, and the owner had lost his sole means of income."
Another scrapped concept from the conversation with the universe.
[the universe mentions Steve -- its neighbor]
R: You mean...another universe?
U: No, I mean the trans-dimensional platypus who lives next door to me and patches up my black holes when they start getting too big. [pause] Of course I mean another universe.
A synopsis of Roger's past when he and Beatrice are en route to Gritt. Obviously, this was before I decided to make Roger forget almost everything from SQ4.
Roger had first heard about Beatrice from his then-unborn son many years in the future. Though his memory of what happened during that journey through time was very hazy, he had never completely forgotten what his son had said about her:
"This is my mother and your wife. Her name was Beatrice. Beatrice Wankmeister."
"She was quite beautiful, wasn't she?"
It was strange how such a simple, three-letter word could cause a man such consternation for so long. For years, that unspoken implication that Beatrice was either dead, horribly disfigured or both at that point in the future had made Roger quickly change the subject whenever Beatrice brought up the topic of marriage. As long as he didn't marry Beatrice, then there was no danger of her dying. The possibility of creating a time paradox occasionally popped into his mind, but he usually brushed the thought away. After all, that future I saw could just be a potential future, he reasoned. Maybe if I do things differently now, things will end up different then.
And so for several years, Roger continued to shy away from the marriage prospect whenever it entered the conversation, and his life remained relatively uneventful until that one night he and Beatrice had spent at the old bar on the planet Kerona. Roger had no idea what the drink he wound up was, but it was definitely not the Keronian Ale that he'd ordered.
The next thing Roger knew, he was waking up next to Beatrice in an unfamiliar hotel room. According to what Beatrice said, he had gotten down on one knee and proposed to her in the bar, and she was so moved by his sudden change of character that she said "yes" immediately. They were married just a few days later on one of the many picturesque moons of the planet Pantagama and were now a week or so into their honeymoon.
Roger was sure that Beatrice was playing an elaborate practical joke on him until the showed him the hologram that had been taken of her during their wedding. The hologram showed Beatrice from the waist up, an elaborate crown of some sort atop her head, her golden hair framing her perfect face, her body clad in some sort of traditional style of dress that Roger wasn't familiar with...
It was the same hologram that Roger's son had showed him in the future.
"She was quite beautiful, wasn't she?"
Roger backed away from the hologram with a shudder. Though the next few weeks he spent with Beatrice were indeed enjoyable ones, anxiety still gnawed at his mind. He was now married to Beatrice. The events leading up to that horrible future seemed to be taking place despite his efforts to avoid them.
And of course, it wasn't just Beatrice who was in trouble. Roger's son had had to go back in time to bring Roger to the future in order to save Xenon, and he had refused to tell Roger why. Though this did seem to point to Roger being either missing, incapacitated or deceased by the time his son was nineteen, somehow this didn't worry Roger as much as Beatrice's fate did. He had been lucky so far -- almost impossibly lucky. He had almost been blown up, shot, crushed, digested, flattened, mutated, decompressed, vaporized, sliced, diced and skewered hundreds of times during his adventures, and yet he had always come out of these situations relatively unscathed. The thought of his own death didn't really frighten him that much anymore -- what did was the thought of the death of the gorgeous woman who had just become his wife.
He had often wondered if he should tell Beatrice what he knew about the future -- what would happen to them, their son, and Xenon...but the thought of what her reaction would be made him fear the worst. She might leave him, taking their son (or at the very least, the potential for a son) with her...or have Roger arrested for putting her in a situation he knew might be fatal for her...or perhaps the universe might end due to the resulting time paradox. Every one of these possibilities ended up with Roger never seeing Beatrice again...and that wasn't a future he looked forward to, either.
"You shouldn't worry," Beatrice said, her words jolting Roger back into the present. "After everything I've managed to survive, I'm sure I'll be able to handle a fight breaking out at a peace conference without any problem."
A brief, early outline of the final battle on Gritt.
The ultimate weapons both sides threaten to activate are a machine that releases a lethal amount of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere so that everyone except the attacking side literally dies laughing; the other side plans on using a giant lens to fry the location where the peace conference is being held, killing every member of the other side present.
"Laughing gas? Why aren't they using that crust-melter or that gravity-magnifier?"
"Rog, they want this planet, remember!? You wouldn't mess up a planet's geology or gravity if you were going to live on it later, would you?"
A fragmented description of Roger Prime, when Roger first notices him on Magmetheus.
[He was] wearing just the sort of dazed, befuddled look one would expect of a man who has just traveled into the future, learned the fate of his home world, met his future son and learned about his future wife, only to be returned to the past with only the faintest memory of the whole event.
Roger was originally going to be much more talkative during the water "incident" on Zanshin II.
"I need a pen and some paper," he said breathlessly, "And fast!"
Beatrice started to leave, then stared warily at Roger.
"You're not going to try to eat those things like you tried to do with that extra pillow I brought you, are you, Roger?"
"No, no, I swear I'm not," Roger said, "There's just something I've got to write down, and I've got to write it down now!"
The urgency in his voice convinced Beatice that he was serious. She turned and ran into their living room, while Roger returned to studying the manual, hoping that he'd be able to accomplish his goal before it was too late.
More backstory from the draft where Roger still remembered everything that happened in SQ4.
Though Beatrice was eager to return to her duties as an ambassador once RJ was old enough to leave the Medical Hub, Roger insisted on staying with the baby in their apartment rather than leaving him in the care of the NannyBot. Though Roger was secretly somewhat repulsed by the pink little grub, the fact that this pink little grub was going to travel back in time and save his life in a couple of decades had imprinted Roger with the urge to keep his son as safe as possible.
However, with a mind like Roger's, even deeply engrained instincts could be easily forgotten. During the frequent periods that Roger spent cleaning up RJ's messes, RJ himself would be toddling around, invariably gravitating towards the most potentially lethal spots in the apartment. Fortunately for both father and son, however, Roger's uncanny luck continued to hold. Every time RJ attempted to climb out a window, crawl into a disposal unit or turn on the Massage-O-Matic while it was set to "Ruthless Pummelling", his father would be there just in time to pull him out of danger. Such acts of heroism were certainly a far cry from saving the galaxy from being overrun by insurance salesman or a repulsive mutagen, they were still enough to provide Roger with a sense of accomplishment (even though the possibility of being charged with parental negligence meant that he couldn't brag about his feats to anybody, especially Beatrice).
to say that roger was relieved when RJ was old enough to start attending school was an understatement. Still, though he was now free to take trips to other spots on Xenon and some of the neighboring planets, he was still required to be with his son for several hours in order to fill his half of the strictly enforced Parent-Child Socialization Quota -- Roger and Beatrice couldn't afford the android duplicates that some of the wealthier couples in their district used to monitor their children in their stead.
Roger talking with Beatrice about Gritt, as well as Stam and Davka (still called Heltyr and Skeltyr here).
"I've got an idea," Roger said during the flight to the Ka'Blui system (where Heltyr and Skeltyr were located), "Why don't you make up some story about Gritt already having some intelligent life already living on it and say that those guys are the ones that Gritt really belongs to? We could get a bunch of those great animal 'bots that RJ had back when he was a kid and turn them loose there, and if we -- "
"Roger," Beatrice replied with strained patience, "I don't want to deceive these people. Even if a stunt like that worked, what do you think would happen if Heltyrians and the Skeltyrians found out I lied to them?"
Roger considered this for a moment, then cast his eyes downward.
"I guess I see what you mean," he mumbled.
"I just don't see what it is about that place that makes it so special," Beatrice said, apparently not acknowledging his response. "It's got practically no natural resources, the scenery's not that impressive and there's barely any life -- plant, animal or otherwise. It's just so...so..."
"Exactly. I just don't understand why these people would be killing each other over a planet like that."
Roger shrugged, indicating that he didn't understand either.
Beatrice originally got to Estros by flying the Raphus there and landing on a plateau outside the Latex Babes' fortress. Her escape with Roger is also considerably different.
if you don't get off that bed and get moving right now, you'll definitely get us both caught."
"Okay," Roger said groggily, swinging his legs over the side of the bed and sitting up. Beatrice turned and took a few steps towards the door, then looked over her shoulder and saw that he hadn't moved from that position.
"Come on!" she hissed. "If we don't move fast, those guards will be all over us!"
"I still don't feel that good," Roger said.
"Can you stand?" Beatrice asked.
Roger tried, and found that he could.
"What about walking? Can you do that?"
Yes, he could...slowly and unsteadily, but yes.
Beatrice strode up to him, grabbed his hand and began leading him to the door.
"Just try to keep up with me," she said. "And try not to do anything stupid."
Zondra catches up to them -- armed and dangerous, roger disarms her before catching up with Beatrice.
He quickly glanced down at Zondra's right hand, then continued talking:
"It was nice while it lasted, Zondra...but I'm afraid I've got to leave now. The stars are calling me."
A half-choked sob escaped Zondra's throat. Roger grabbed the spear-gun from her now almost completely slack fingers and pitched the weapon over the cliff. He then turned and ran for the waiting ship.
Zondra stood and watched him as he ran, her body trembling with rage. She watched the ship as it illuminated the plateau in a white-hot blaze of fire and arced off into the night sky.
"You'll pay for this, Wilco!" she roared. "YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!"
Little did she know that for Roger, her revenge had already taken place many years earlier.
"Are you okay?" Beatrice asked once they were free of the atmosphere. Roger had done nothing but lie in his seat panting during the takeoff, and she hadn't spoken to him until now.
"Never better, Sweetheart," Roger said. "Maybe a little shook up, but sometimes it's better that way."
"I think that stuff that woman sprayed you with hasn't completely worn off yet," Beatrice remarked.
"Whatever," Roger muttered, his head lolling to one side as he lapsed into unconsciousness.
An entry from my to-do list, along with an addendum showing just how wonderful my organization skills are.
To do (7-20-12): The storm is called a sfrilek storm -- there seems to be no English equivalent to "sfrilek", and the natives merely say "it is just what it says" when asked about its definition. When Roger returns, Beatrice explains that she has discovered that sfrilek means "luminous spiral that relocates any organism it strikes to an alternate version of [world]." EDIT: lost track of this paragraph, used "thlekthra" instead.
More Gritt commentary.
The two species had been prompted to make peace with each other -- Gritt getting destroyed was a bit overkill, but if there was one thing Roger had learned during his years as part-time savior of the galaxy, there were some problems that really couldn't be solved any other way other than being blown up.
Originally, the reader was going to immediately be told what exactly Roger sees when he notices his reflection in the surgical tray in the OR, but I thought it would build a bit more suspense if I left the reader hanging for a few more chapters.
His hair was brown.
He started to frantically wonder how this could have happened when he remembered where he had been for the last few days. This had to be the scientists' doing, but why? Why would they change the color of his hair? Were they trying to mess with his head...figuratively and literally?
Some backstory for Vohaul which turned out to be too convoluted and unnecessary. I decided to leave Vohaul's backstory as well as his ultimate fate very vague.
(in sq7, the vohaul there was an android replication created from one of the original LSL4 disk, and NOT the vohaul that roger confronted at the end of SQ4 -- this disks were ejected from the computer by one of xenon's scientists, stuffed back into their box and lost in the chaos, but that box ended up being one of the first objects the supercomputer ended up sending back in time (vohaul either forgetting or being unaware that that disk was the one he ended up being copied to -- in sq2, he transferred a copy of his mind to a datacube, which was jettisoned from the asteroid in a protective container by a droid. Before it could be collected, it was sucked into the same black hole as roger and ended up crashing on earth near Oakhurst. The cube was eventually able to transfer its contents to the lsl4 disks, and the lsl4 box was then launched into orbit and eventually reached Earnon, but the details are sketchy]
A completely unsubtle Avatar parody that went completely unused. Later, to my chagrin, I discovered that "Irretreivium" had already been used as the name of an imaginary element in Rosel George Brown's short science fiction story "From an Unseen Censor", which was published in 1958.
rog and bea are sitting in a bar flipping through want ads when a sleazy looking character sidles up to them and asks if they'd be interested in helping to retrieve a rare, valuable ore called Irretreivium from a remote moon
R: What IS that? What does it do?
guy: Uh...I dunno...all I know is that it's important!
guy: Oh -- and in order to get this stuff, we'll need to transplant your consciousness into a body of one of the natives so you can mingle among them.
guy: And the best part about those guys is that when they...well, 'do it'...they do it by hooking up their ponytails.
[rog and bea stare at him blankly for a minute, then leave]
guy: Oh, come on, you two! Ponytail sex! How the heck could you pass up something like THAT!?
An alternate version of the final showdown with Fauxhall and Kwidnunk.
-encounters "vohaul" after dealing with every scientist but the last one (at the top level), thinks he is a hologram at first, but vohaul catches and breaks the plunger roger swings at him. Roger nearly falls off a high catwalk tying to evade him, vohaul falls but roger is able to pull himself up with the help of a push-broom hooked over the catwalk's railing.
-finale -- roger defeats final boss by breaking a couple of vials to create a noxious cloud of fumes, which the boss staggers back from, only to fall backwards over a large, gas-filled canister sitting on a small cart.
Alternate version of the conversation with Chelda (Chiba in this draft) after Roger rescues Beatrice from the time rip he accidentally creates. I was using the term "tempornaut" instead of "chrononaut" here.
"...and if they pull our funding because of this, I will personally find and install a pain sensor that's compatible with your..."
Suddenly, she noticed Roger and Beatrice. Suddenly self-conscious, she straightened up, smoothed her fur and slowly walked in their direction.
"Oh...it's you again," she muttered upon recognizing Roger.
"I'm sorry," Roger said, "I'm really sorry...but I just couldn't -- "
Chiba made a hissing noise and raised one of her hands, which, Roger suddenly noticed, had remarkably long claws on the tips of its fingers.
"If what RD-720 told me is correct," Chiba said quietly, "Then what happened here was an accident."
She turned towards the robot with eyes that could cut steel.
"Which wouldn't have happened if RD-720 hadn't been a complete nimrod and left that device in the back, like it should have."
The robot made a feeble whirring noise and retreated into the back room, its legs squeaking piteously. Beatrice turned and looked Roger in the eyes with an equally piercing glare.
"'Accident?'" she said.
"IaccidentallysentyoubacktothepastbutIfoundyouandbroughtyoubackandnoweverythingsfine," Roger blurted out.
Beatrice was silent for a moment. Whatever had happened after he and the robot were struggling with the time gun had happened so quickly that she hadn't had the chance to internalize any of it. Then she remembered the way the air and light had changed, the spongy plants she had landed on, and the blue thing that had appeared shortly afterward -- the same blue thing that was standing behind her. Roger apparently had sent her to a different time (another place at the very least), but now they were both back in the same time and place they were before. Beatrice felt that she should be angry with Roger for his mistake, but when the mistake had been corrected before she realized it was made, she couldn't summon enough anger to even call him an idiot...until a certain thought crossed her mind.
"Roger...why didn't you use that booth to take us back to the future Xenon?" she said slowly.
"Uh..." Roger said.
Chiba suddenly stepped in between them, holding up her hands.
"Look," she said with a quiet urgency to her voice, "I understand your frustration, and I know RD-720 wasn't exactly the most helpful receptionist I could have asked to cover for me..."
She looked into Roger's and Beatrice's faces, then sighed.
"But I'm afraid that what it told you was the truth," she said, "I can't transport you two into the future -- even if it is your own time."
"But what about the time gun?" Roger protested.
"Ah, yes," Chiba said quietly. "I had a good look at that device of yours. It's very impressive...where did you get it?"
"Well," Roger began, "It's from the future -- "
"But we found it in the past," Beatrice clarified.
"After we got shot back there from the future."
"Which isn't the same time the gun is from."
"Right. It may be just a few years later -- "
"But we can't say for certain."
Chiba nodded solemnly.
"Well, it seems as if your gun is working," she said. "But even though it does seem capable of travel into the future, it...well, I'll show you."
Chiba turned and hurried into the back room. In a minute or so she was back, holding not just the time gun (now back in its guitron case) but Beatrice's computer, which she handed back to her.
Roger was about to ask how she could have studied the gun for that long if he and Beatrice had returned to the Oritull Shelter almost as soon as he had departed, but then remembered that he was talking to a tempornaut.
Some trivia on the naming tradition of the Minottans (called Langians here).
Langians (after ned lang): table aliens' names (believing names are sacred, they ony use a limited number of them. They have numbers after names, each child is given the number that follows its parent's. This name reuse continues until the number reaches 17 [a sacred number among the aliens]. By this time, the oldest aliens bearing this name will no longer be alive, and the next descendant given that name will be a 1):
Squio-5, Dalk-12, Vrivri-2, Erki-9, Nimu-4
An unused dialog exchange with Bohica.
"Wait a minute...do you know what all those machines on that lower level do?
"Do I? I made some of those beauties myself -- of course I know what they do."
"I'm an engineer, but I also know a good deal about astronomy, psychology and latrinology."
"The study of restroom graffiti."
Roger stared blankly at him.
"I was on a long flight where everyone had to be cryogenically frozen, and there was nothing else in the ship's library to read except romance novels." Bohica muttered.
A very brief snippet from scene with Bohica, Roger, Beatrice and RJ on Xenon which I thought might interrupt the flow of the scene. It was going to appear at some point during Bohica's discussion of time travel.
"time travel is fascinating!" [Bohica said.]
RJ slowly shuffled sideways, hoping that he could keep Bohica from noticing the two time pods parked near the far side of the landing bay.
I wanted to use this line during a tense scene where Roger (or Beatrice) are asking somebody a series of questions, with this remark preceding the final one. Unfortunately, I never found an appropriate place to put it (it's a parody of the phrase popularized by the American radio quiz show Take it or Leave It).
R: Now for the 64-Buckazoid Question...
An unused scene which pretty much speaks for itself.
Rog arguing with his boss over the phone: Oh come on! How was I supposed to know that you guys use a base-thirteen number system? I mean, who the heck would use a number system like THAT!?
Oh...Yeah...I guess it would make sense for a species with a tail with thirteen spines on it to...Yes...yes, Sir, I understand.
An unused scene from the time before I decided to keep Roger and Beatrice disguised throughout the majority of the story. (Hello, obvious parody of the 2009 Star Trek movie!)
Young director wanting to make a remake out of The Sarien Encounter expanded to include roger's later adventures -- "we'll just change the beginning so that your dad is killed at the time you're born...we're also going to blow up xenon during the second act -- oh, and I also think it would be great if there a scene where you and Flo were making out..."
[this is where Roger draws the line]
A very brief commentary on RJ's name.
RJ: Junior...why did they have to name him Junior? Why couldn't he have been named Roger Wilco II or Roger 2.0? Anything would have been better than Junior.
A dialogue exchange between Roger and another character, shortly after Roger gets into another scrape.
"Hey, that could have happened to anyone..."
"True...especially [to] humanoids whose first name begins and ends with an 'R'..."
Notes and Sketches
Even if a project I'm working on is a text-only story, I sometimes sketch out elements of the story first in order to get a better feel for them. I also made a lot of barely legible notes on any piece of paper I could find that had enough blank spaces on it.
I originally based Bohica's design on a Jackson's Chameleon, then later changed him into more of a generic lizardy thing. There's also an idea for a Bilkoria item in the top left corner.
The rest of the page is made up of sketches for a WSSQ
UID Contd. comic which I started around the same time as TTM, but never had the motivation to finish.
It features Xandra waking up Roger with her computer to show him the various fangames he has been featured in, reminding him that there are still people who remember him. As you might guess from the sketches in the lower right corner, it gets pretty sentimental towards the end.
Sketches of the Muu as well as Gezma and Rixi's designs (plus some unrelated game notes). A sketch and description of the (then nameless) Idavaro. A sketch of a Minottan as well as a shot of the Minottan landscape, with the invaders' fortess on the left. A sketch of Suxtu'biiyu and the Phubians' colony, plus a dsecription of the Phurbians (plus the top half of a thumbnail sketch of Ace Hardway, a prelimary drawing for the picture I did for the SQ community's "Thank You" video. An entry form for a photography contest with my notes scribbled all over it (with some details intentionally blocked out). I copy+pasted the various notes below the form and rotated them so that they could be more easily read (not that making most of my writing out can be defined as "easy"). The back side of the previous piece of paper. Notes aplenty. Concept art for the cover I did for the PDF version of the story. The composition of the sketch in the upper left corner has a slightly yonic look to it, which I swear was not intentional.