11/1/2013: Story rebooted under the name "I, Battlecast"
2/20/2013 update: Chapter Two added.
2/12/2013: Prologue removed, flashback in chapter one removed, gonna start working on Chapter 2 soon.
2/11/2013: The prologue is mostly going to be removed. There's not much value in it (most of it is in the lore iirc) and Chapter 1 stands on its own. Most likely this post will turn into a table of contents+summary page or something.
2/10/2013 update: Chapter 1 is up! See the second post.
So I've written stuff for a while, but I tend to self-filter too much and never actually post my stuff anywhere. This is only the second one I've actually posted (first one was about Sejuani and bombed horribly), but hopefully this time I'll do a little better.
A/N: Two quick questions here. I know it's a little annoying to scroll through pages of story to find comments, but I've been struggling for a bit on how to compact updates so the thread doesn't become hell to scroll through. I was thinking of using Google Docs and setting my documents to "anyone can view if they have the link"-is that a good way to do it?
Also, PLEASE comment and criticize. It helps me become a better writer which will allow me to give you guys better stuff to read
Chapter 1: Specs
The Institute of War
Rumble’s eyes snapped open at the same institute the hallway lights at the Institute of War flicked on. Although there was an enforced lights on/lights out time, champions could sleep in or retire whenever they wished. Rumble just prefered to use every moment he could working on something, whether he was upgrading Tristy, engineering side projects, getting drunk, or hitting on female yordles. It was a holdover from his days in the Meglings-if you weren’t doing something every moment you were awake, you were probably going to spend the rest of the day doing some task the commanding officer contrived for you.
Rumble hopped out of bed and padded across his quarters to the closet. He threw on the same outfit that he wore every day-mechanic's jacket, cargo pants, utility belt. And goggles. Don't forget the goggles.
Rumble threw open his door and walked out into the Bandle City quarters. The quarters were a circular room centered about a fireplace that was surrounded by specially shortened armchairs. It almost felt like home for the yordle champions when they stayed at the Institute.
The mess hall was another hallway away, and it was nothing short of amazing. Every champion had a breakfast specially made for them, so long as they slept at the Institute the previous night. In Rumble's case, it was as spartan as the rest of his belongings-two slices of toast with fresh yordleberry jam, a perfectly poached egg, and a mug of coffee.
"Anything else you'd like today, Rumble? I've heard this year's crop of Ionian black cherries is amazing."
Rumble glanced across the dining hall and spotted Tristana.
"Rumble, are you alright? RUMBLE?"
"I'm fine, thanks."
"You just started staring off into space for a second. I was worried."
"Just...thinking about something."
"A new design? Well, I hope it comes out right." The woman placed a flask of red liquid on Rumble's tray. His pain medication-twice a day relief to the pain he still felt every day in his knee, ribcage, and left hand from a fight years ago.
Rumble took his tray and sat down across from Tristana. For a minute, neither of them spoke.
"Rumble, are you alright? Don't tell me you're still taking that dreadful medication!"
Rumble took a swig of the liquid, and washed away the bitter taste with coffee. "Given that I have four screws holding my right knee together and my ribs never healed, I think I'm entitled to a little relief."
"When are you going to move on? You can't keep living from flask to flask of that stuff, adding new tools of destruction to your robot all the while. That's no way to live."
"What is, then? My body's a mess, the Meglings kicked me out-the robot is all I have left." Rumble was careful not to use Tristy's name in front of Tristana.
"Fall in love. Learn to paint. I don't know-there's a lot out there, Rumble, you just need to go looking for it."
"You know that for all the girls I chase, there's only one for me."
"Rumble, you're a good friend. But the Meglings are my life-I don't know what else I'd do with my life if I got kicked out because of you."
"They were my life too, Tristy! You didn't even defend me, didn't even try to persuade that ***** commander not to discharge me. Those humans took everything from me, and 'this life' is the only way I can take some of it back." In the background, a public address system turned on.
“Good morning, champions! Today, there are no official matches, but there are two training matches. Freiljord and Piltover scrimmage at 10:30, and Ionia and Demacia at 3:30. Affiliated champions...”
“Looks like I’m not fighting today.” said Rumble. “I’m gonna go upgrade Tristy.” He grabbed his plate and took it with him towards the stairs, leaving Tristana alone at the table.
“Rumble! WAIT!” The mechanic ignored her. Tristana put her head in her hands.
Rumble ascended the stairs to the third floor, where all of the workshops were located. The fourth floor was reserved for the summoners, the second floor to the champions, and everything else was shared. Except the basement. Nobody went in the basement.
His workshop was in the southeast corner of the third floor. Rumble stood in front of a door, pressed his hand to a seemingly random spot on the wall, then looked into a scanner on the wall. Satisfied, the door unlocked itself. Rumble strode over to his tool cabinet to see his assistant, Flora, already hard at work.
“What brings you here this early, Flora?”
“‘bout to ask you the same thing, Rumble.” Flora lifted her welding mask, revealing her pristine green skin. “I was just working on a new hextech mana capacitor. The old one doesn’t work half the time and it drives me nuts when I have to replace Tristy’s battery on a split-second notice because the capacitor didn’t charge her up overnight.”
“You don’t have to worry about it today, I’m not fighting today. But thanks for working on it!”
“Also, we got a message last night after you left from Poppy, the Demacian ambassador. She wants to talk to you in 10 minutes, do you have time?”
“Of course, I’ll talk with her. Make sure to let her in so my countermeasures don’t blow her sky high.”
Rumble crossed the room and plopped onto a stool at his drawing table. He normally didn't like to draw out his components, but sometimes he needed more precision then "weld a bunch of stuff together and hope it works". This time, he was working on Tristy’s legs.
In his last League match against Demacia, the weakness of Tristy’s legs had almost cost Bandle City the match. Vayne had tumbled out of the path of one of Tristy’s harpoons and fired a massive bolt into the ball bearing joint on Tristy’s thin, spindly leg, causing it to fly out from under the robot and sending Rumble crashing to the ground. In the midst of the teamfight, he had to fight on foot against Garen, who was using a sword roughly twice Rumble’s weight and height. It didn’t end well.
Never mind that the legs were perfectly functional under most combat circumstances and much more energy efficient then the new legs would be. If they were a liability, they had to go. In this case, Rumble’s new design called for much heavier armored legs that would be difficult to knock out from under the torso, and would also do a better job of shielding the delicate ball bearing joints in the robot’s knees and hips. The heavy steel plate armor would require more power to operate, which would force him to install a longer lasting mana battery, which would be bigger and heavier and-
“Good morning, Rumble.” Rumble spun on the stool to see Poppy waiting for him in a sparkling dark-blue dress, which contrasted nicely with her white hair and turquoise skin.
“Oh, hello! Flora told me you were coming. So, how’s that ‘sucking up to humans’ thing going?”
Poppy grinned. “I prefer to call it ‘diplomacy’. And it’s going fine.”
“Really?” Rumble popped off the stool. “I wouldn’t say so. Can’t be going well if you’re putting on dresses to try and look better.”
“We’re a different, more intelligent, more practical species. I only wear this ridiculous human stuff to make them feel better about compromising with me.” The yordle woman patted Rumble on the back as they set out for a more comfortable area of the workshop. “So, what were you working on?”
“New legs for Tristy. Don’t want those Demacians knocking her over again.”
“Oh yeah...I remember that. That was pretty ugly.”
“Yeah, don’t remind me.” Too late for that. Rumble had already recalled Garen’s massive sword slicing straight through his wrench, and then through his neck. “Once I get the measurements and specs tested, I can build a new leg in a day-in fact, I can get both legs done in one day if Flora does the other one.”
“Do you think you have time for another project?” The two reached a corner of the workshop that had a set of three matching couches and a hextech screen wired up to BlitzNet.
“Depends. What kind of project?”
“The Meglings are launching a competition. They feel their equipment is becoming outdated, and given the small size of us yordles they want to make sure they remain the most technologically advanced force on Runeterra.”
“Blah blah blah, spare me the speech, what are the specs?”
“They want small arms, specifically. I gave the spec scroll to your assistant.”
Rumble pressed the button on the BlitzCom unit on his utility belt. “Flora, come to the lounge. Bring the scroll Poppy just gave you.”
“So, why is the yordle military interested now?” Rumble asked. “Far as I know, their equipment is doing just fine. Take a look at Tristana’s cannon-it’s holding up just fine on the Fields.”
“The Meglings can’t afford to manufacture nor train all their members with the cannons. You of all people should know that. Officially, this contract is just a standard force-wide upgrade. Unofficially, the higher ups in Bandle City are scared, and rightfully so. Just in the past few months we’ve seen another Voidling and another two monsters from the Shadow Isles surface, go on a rampage, and then be subdued and locked up by the league.”
“So? What’s the problem? We actually DID manage to subdue them, or just convince them not to try to recruit people in Elise’s case.”
“The Meglings don’t trust the League anymore. They think that the League is no longer impartial-that the League is being manipulated by the Demacians and Noxians and that it won’t intervene if, say, Noxus invaded us. The civilian leaders think that the League can’t contain all these monsters from the Void and the Shadow Isles forever and eventually they’ll have a breakout. Either way, they came to the same conclusion-”
“Better weapons.” said Rumble as Flora joined them, sitting down next to Rumble. “So, Flora, let’s see the specs.”
Flora unfurled the scroll and pulled a pair of glasses from her vest pocket. “Let’s see...they want an effective range of five hundred League units, semiautomatic or automatic fire, five LU spread at effective range, and reload free hextech ammunition. The weapon must be able to lethally penetrate standard chain mail at the effective range. Additionally, the weapon must be able to withstand normal firing temperatures and shocks, as well as require less then fifty stoppages per one thousand rounds fired. Reward is five thousand yordle ingots for presenting a prototype that meets or exceeds specs, fifty thousand ingots for the best weapon presented, and another fifty thousand ingots plus production costs upon the full order of five hundred weapons being delivered.”
Rumble’s eyes narrowed as Flora read the specs. “Are you guys playing a trick on me?”
“No.” Poppy said. “This is real.”
“You can’t make a weapon with those specs. It’s not possible.”
“Obviously they think someone can do it, or they wouldn’t have issued the request.”
“You’re asking for something that can’t be done. You simply can’t make a semiautomatic weapon with that kind of reliability.”
“Actually, Rumble...” Flora scratched her chin, “...I think we could do this. It’s just within the realm of possibility. If we use hextech laser capacitors-”
“Now, now, don’t tell me your idea.” Poppy said. “Us diplomats...we’re not exactly great at keeping our mouths shut. Are you two in?”
“We’re in.” Flora said. “How long do we have?”
“They want a prototype in one month.”
“Well, we better get to work, then.”
Author's note: Scratched the whole flashback segment because Dregen helped me realise how unnecessary it was. Something of the sort will show up later, but right now I need to go off and actually draw up a design for Rumble's robot so I can try to explain how it works.
Please comment and criticize so I can make future chapters better!
Well you asked for concrit, so I'm here to give it
In terms of grammer/spelling it's good, a few slightly odd sentences but nothing glaring.
In terms of story/structure, the prologue seemed to be hastily written. There's very little narration, and not much reason to empathize with Rumble. It also doesn't really introduce any potential plot or mysteries, or raise many questions. All you did was describe a yordle getting beat up, mostly. This is fine if it's in the middle of a story, but at the beginning? When you're trying to make readers decide if they should continue? Not a good idea.
The first chapter is actually very interesting, and contains a lot of pseudo-science/techy stuff that should appeal to a lot of people. I liked the actual chapter, and it has a lot of potential. My suggestion is to just remove the prologue, and slowly reveal Rumble's motivations/past through the telling of the actual story. You'll need to set it up better, though, and reveal it more slowly so that you don't answer everything at once. The prologue just isn't critical to the story as a whole. I think you already know this implicitly, because you actually tell your audience in the intro: (I'm paraphrasing) "I promise there's a story behind this, if you just sit through the prologue!".
Also, think about the situation in your story. Rumble sees Tristana everyday. Why would seeing her during a routine breakfast suddenly trigger all those memories? It seems a bit forced. It might be better to reveal bits of it during conversation, maybe from something she says. Or an event in the future. Maybe start the story off with him dreaming, revealing a very brief flashback of the prologue scene.
Anyway, that's about it for my concrit It's a nice start, and the first chapter makes me want to read more. Good job.
My problem as a writer is always some combination of description and writer's block. I never know whether the amount of description I put in is too much or too little, so I tend to either say too little (see: some of the scenes in the Prologue) or too much (the description of Lulu's bar in the prologue is like a third of the chapter).
Writer's block is always a problem for me. Most of the time, I have a clear idea of the story I want to tell, and I have a clear idea of what I'm going to put in chapters as far as 3 or 4 away, but I have no idea how to get in and out of chapters and overall just kick the chapter off well.
Three days later, the prologue seems like something I wrote at 3 in the morning while I was high. That's honestly not that far from the truth when I think about it. I finally got the plot line sorted out in my head, and all of the stuff I had read in Rumble's lore and judgement just poured out onto the page. Not to say that their weren't any good elements in the prologue that I'd like to preserve somehow-Graggy Ice was a nice way to explain how Rumble is arguably the best inventor on Runeterra but is somehow stupid enough to pick a fight with three people all twice his size. Oh, and I'd like to return to Lulu's bar sometime
That being said, you helped me to see how the flashback segment and prologue are really hurting the story as it stands right now. I will probably banish the prologue and said flashback into wherever minimized windows go until I find a good time in the story to bring the events back. Not right now, though-I want to mull over your comments some more first, it's late, and I'm typing on an iPhone in bed which isn't exactly the most conducive environment for wide, sweeping changes!
Chapter Two: Ball
Rumble returned to his drawing after Poppy left, but he couldn't quite get rid of a nagging voice in his head running through ideas for the project.
Actually, it wasn't in his head.
"Rumble, I'm so excited for this! Our first real opportunity to prove ourselves, and it's EASY. All we have to do is throw together the laser diodes like the ones in Lux's wand and-"
"Those things don't actually DO anything, they're just there to make sure Lux always has a source of light to manipulate."
"Why not use a mana capacitor to fire concentrated burst of pure mana, like with Viktor's death ray? If we shorten the bursts, we won't need too much-"
"That thing is attached to his body, and that laser may be the single least reliable weapon I've ever seen. Half the time it doesn't even fire." He had initially hired Flora for an alternate, younger perspective on his engineering projects. Most of the time it paid off and he was tempted to give her a raise. This was not one of those times.
"Well, we have to do something! How about creating the bullet in the chamber before the propulsion fires? Like Tristana's cannon?"
"Actually, you might be on the right track there, except that matter creation takes a ludicrous amount of power and all that mana or hextricity has to come from somewhere." Rumble grabbed another roll of parchment and threw it over his drawing of Tristy's legs. "What if we did something..." Rumble drew a bullet, and marked it with a rune. "Like..." He drew a rudimentary rifle frame. "This." He marked the chamber with an identical rune.
"What's that? Bullets with runes?"
"A few weeks ago, Nidalee threw a spear at me during a practice match. By some miracle, I caught it. Before she teleported it back to her manually, I spotted some glowing runes carved into the tip. What would happen if we did the same thing with a bullet?"
"Is that even feasible?"
"We mark the bullet and the gun with a unique magic rune. Upon impact and deceleration, the bullet will teleport back to the barrel, allowing it to be fired again. Also, each gun will only need one bullet, so long as the bullet is tough enough to survive repeated fire."
"Rumble, that's brilliant! It'll save us so much time making the prototype if we don't have to construct ammo."
"Hold up, Flora. There's still some issues." Flora frowned as Rumble began scribbling a list on the parchment. "Firstly, the bullets have to be tough enough to survive repeated firing and impacts with chain mail, AND be soft enough for us to carve the runes. Secondly, we have to find a way to fire the bullets at high velocity without gunpowder. Finally, we have to ensure that the gun still meets accuracy and penetration specs."
"None of that seems like an issue except the firing mechanism." Flora glanced at her chronometer. "It's about lunch time, do you want me to go grab some sandwiches for us?"
"Get one for yourself, I'm not hungry." Flora turned to leave. "Flora, I'm assigning you the magic bullets. Find out what runes we should use, how we can engrave them, the whole nine yards. I'll take care of the firing mechanism."
"What about the penetration?"
"We'll have to work on that together." Rumble rolled up his schematic and handed it to Flora. "I want to start prototyping by the end of the week. We'll need it to compete with everyone else who's gunning for this contract."
"Got it, Rumble. I'll get to work right after lunch." The green-skinned assistant left, leaving Rumble alone with his drawings. He returned to the problem before him, Tristy’s legs.
A heavier pair of legs was absolutely necessary. At the same time, they would need a much larger power source then the mana battery he was currently using to power them for any length of time. He could draw mana from the surroundings, the way Tristana powered her cannon on Summoner’s Rift, but Rumble prefered his creations to always be functional, in the event he ever had to defend himself.
Some people laughed off the possibility of attacks. Rumble knew better. There were enough scientists with questionable credentials and even more questionable methods and morality in the League alone to require a method of self defense. Competing against them for a weapons contract? It would get ugly.
Maybe he would keep one of the prototypes himself.
"hello RuMBlE." Rumble spun around, gripping his wrench. A ball floated in midair in front of him.
"What the HELL are you doing in my workshop? How did you-" Rumble knew how Orianna's ball got in. The countermeasures he had erected both at the door and at the lift he used to take Tristy to the practice fields scanned for body heat. Orianna's Ball, being mechanical, could waltz right past any heat sensor without triggering it.
"I CamE tO deLIVer a mESsage. FROM: noxus."
"What is it, Orianna. I'm working on something."
"Playing message." A speaker popped out of The Ball. "MeSSagE begins."
Talon's voice emanated from the speaker. "Hello, Rumble. If you're going to pursue the contract, dont. Step away while you still can. If Noxus hears that you're still participating at the end of the week, I might lose one of my knives in your back." Unfazed, Rumble turned back to his drawing. "mESSaGe EnDS. Do yOU wISH tO reCOrD a rePLy?" Rumble turned back and saw a lens poking out from behind the ball. The damn thing was taking pictures.
"Tell them that this sentence is false. Do you understand?"
"Yes, I under-under-under-under..." The blabbering stopped when Rumble drew his wrench and smashed it onto the Ball's chrome exterior. It crashed to the ground, unmoving.
"Oldest trick in the book." Rumble ran to grab a crowbar. He pried off a plate on the Ball, and stared at the components inside. “Wow, you’re pretty impressive.”
“Boot sequence activated.” Gears and motors began to whir inside the ball.
“DAMN IT!” Rumble searched through the Ball for the film storage.
“Rumble? What's going on?" Flora turned the corner just as the Ball started to rise back into the air. It tried to, anyways.
"Caught this thing...taking pictures of drawings...don't know how much it saw..." Rumble grunted, trying to keep the Ball pinned down while searching for the film storage. "Expose film...worthless."
"Wait, let me help you!" Flora dashed off to get some tool or another, leaving the Ball and Rumble to struggle.
"CAN YOU HURRY?"
"I'm back, I'm back!" Flora squeaked. "I can find the film if you can disable it again!"
"I don't know if I can!"
"How did you do it the first time?!"
"I hit it with a paradox attack, but I doubt it'll fall for the same paradox again."
"Boot sequence complete." The Ball said. Its sensors noticed it was below its normal height, and when it failed to gain altitude under Rumble's weight it said,"CeAse and DeSiST immediately."
"Flora, I need a new paradox. NOW!"
"Hey, I'll make him let you go, just answer one question for me." Flora crooned.
"YOuR TeRMs are AcCePTabLe."
"If I walk halfway to a door, then half of the remaining distance, then half of that distance, and so on...will I ever reach the door?"
"It will take approximately 5 cycles-les-les-les-les-les..." The Ball collapsed back to the ground.
Rumble flopped off the Ball and lay on his back, panting. "Good...good one, Flora."
"Don't mention it." Flora picked through the insides of the ball. "I found where it's keeping the camera equipment."
"Digital or film?"
"It's film-makes sense, if they wanted to see what we're planning they'd need the resolution. What do you want me to do?"
"Expose all the film. It'll white it all out when they develop it and they won't have anything. In fact, just rip out the entire film container and I'll burn it, just to be safe."
“On it.” Flora’s agile fingers darted around the inside of the Ball, pulling at screws. She pulled out the film box just as the Ball began another reboot sequence. It floated up, encountered no resistance, and drifted out the door leading to the balcony.
“I’m getting slower, Flora. Would never have found that thing without you.”
“You probably could have found it, but you could never have reached it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Those giant blue mitts of yours wouldn’t have fit. Turns out I am good for something.”
Rumble ignored the unsaid implication. “Also, Flora, while you’re here, let me tell you the moral as it portains to life at the Institute, since with your talent you’ll be replacing me in ten-odd years.”
Flora blushed. “What’s the moral?”
“Just because you’re paranoid,” Rumble said as he hopped back onto his stool,”doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you.”
Author's Note: more techie stuff for anyone who's into it. I should probably stop writing it and move to the plotline but it's just so much fun to write.
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