Author: Foulds PM
As the third Black Hole Army invades with overwhelming strength, the COs must find a way to resist Hawke's unstoppable forces, and to do so must discover the truth about Hawke's motives, and Hawke himself... Chapter 27 is now up! The End!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Mystery - Chapters: 27 - Words: 122,423 - Reviews: 128 - Favs: 29 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 11-09-04 - Published: 05-03-04 - Status: Complete - id: 1846249
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey y'all, settle down. I wanna take this nice and slow. This is the last ever author note of Hawke's Vengeance. True, Soaring to close to the Sun will continue, but I am feeling surprisingly emotional that this, my first ever epic fic, and the longest thing I've ever written, is finally coming to a close after over twenty-five chapters!
The most important thing is that I must give a big 'thank you' to quite a few parties.
Firstly, to my dear Jen, who inspired me to write this in the first place, and then provided unlimited support in characterisation, making tea and not moaning when I spent whole evenings writing this instead of paying attention to her.
Secondly to Genocideking Archfiend, who has been infinitely helpful for his thorough reviews and constructive criticism. There was a point when I considered not continuing (about chapter 9 or 10), but his support at that point made me persevere. Thank you, dear friend.
Also, and no less, to Victory March for being the only person to review several of the early chapters, thus keeping me going. Thanks to Keeperofthescarf for more recently reviewing and supporting Hawke's Vengeance. Thanks also to Master of the Phoenix (if you're still out there!) and Dash 142 for reviews.
Now, time for the main body of the chapter. Read if you want. It is an interview with the director and producer of Hawke's Vengeance… ME! It also includes some deleted scenes and original footage. Anyway, for the very last time sniff, read, enjoy and, REVIEW. I'd love to here if anyone has any favourite moments, scenes, characters or one-liners. After all, knowing that will let me write more scenes like it in the future.
All I would ask is that everyone here at least give Soaring a chance. Please read and review honestly. I'd love to hear about it, as it will be my main (and only!) project for a little while.
All the best, Jon Foulds.
It was a cloudy day in Oxford. It was the sort of the day that made people roll over and go back to sleep instead of getting up. It drizzled throughout the morning, as if the skies themselves were lamenting the departure of Hawke's Vengeance with their tears.
In a quiet back street, hidden behind a tall and sturdy wall and a thick black gate, stood an expansive building, which strongly resembled a church. It was in fact the main hall of the Oxford Union, but today it was being used for a different purpose.
Orange Star infantrymen, lacking much to do until the inevitable fourth invasion, sat in the ornately decorated wooden seats, staring at the expansive stage at the front of the hall. Blue Moon troops lined the balconies that flanked the room.
Two comfortable armchairs were set up on the stage, and both were empty. As the cameras that lined the front of the stage were switched on, some officials called for quiet and the hall's gentle murmuring subsided. Eagle strolled out onto the stage and received his gentle applause. After revelling in the attention for a moment, he raised his hand for silence and spoke to the cameras,
"Good afternoon, people of Wars World. We have with us today a very special guest, who has kindly agreed to appear and give up his precious time to speak to you all. I refer, of course, to myself. However, if, for some reason, you have any reason to want anybody else to talk, then we do also have the Author himself. Please welcome Jon Foulds!"
As riotous applause started, a slightly bemused and scared looking student walked out onto the stage and meekly waved, overwhelmed by the lights and noise. Jon was not exactly a dashing figure, despite being the creator of the known universe. He most closely resembled Andy, but was far scruffier. His hair, unkempt and sticking outwards in wild dark brown curls, appeared not to have been cut, washed or brushed for a significant amount of time. He appeared permanently bewildered by the world in general. He wore a T-shirt with a small stain on the front. He either hadn't noticed it, or hadn't figured out how to use the confusing washing machines of St John's College yet. He also wore smart beige trousers and a pair of socks that almost matched, but not quite.
Guided by Eagle, Jon sat down and took a sip of water from a glass that had kindly been left for him. He breathed deeply. Just remember, he thought to himself, if it gets too stressful, then it is within your power to wipe out the universe. As the applause abated, Eagle himself sat down and turned to Jon,
"Good afternoon, Jon. How are you feeling?"
"Um, fine, I guess…"
Eagle sighed. Colin could have given a better interview than this. Hiding his frustration, he continued,
"So, Hawke's Vengeance is finally over. How do you feel about that?"
"It's a real shame actually. In many ways, I'm quite sad. However, in a way, I am relieved that I was able to finish it at all. It's taken a long time to write and now I can start something new. It's liberating really"
"By something new, what do you mean?"
"Well, I have far too many plans to actually write. I have quite a bit of work to do, you know. I have all sorts of rough plans on my laptop, but most are too vague to actually produce"
"What sort of plans?"
"Well, inspired by Keeperofthescarf, I would like to do something a little more light-hearted. I'd love to try my hand at a romance and humour fic. I loved Don't Worry Green Earth, and I'd like to write something like that. I think it would be relaxing. There's something else as well, but I'll keep that to myself for now"
"You once mentioned a trilogy. Is that still on the cards?"
"In a way. As you're aware, Hawke's Vengeance is a fully self-contained story. Soaring too close to the Sun is a deeper look at the past, more than a huge expansion of any ideas laid out in Hawke's Vengeance. There won't be any shocking revelations that will completely change the meaning of Hawke's Vengeance. Well, maybe one…"
"But what about the third part?"
"Ah. Now that is probably my next fic. A lot of work has already gone into that project. Speeches have been drafted. Plans have been made. I concede, how to end it is killing me. I really don't know. Just hope I'm in a good mood when I write the final chapter"
Eagle gulped as Jon grinned at him with an insane smile,
"Am I in this fic?"
"Well of course. A big part as well"
"Well lucky me. So you're working on that next?"
"Actually, I may take a short break from Advance Wars. I'll keep writing Soaring, if maybe quite slowly. The thing is, I have a Star Wars fic I really want to write, so look out for it!"
"No advertising other fandoms!"
"So, you say that the three are a trilogy in a way. What do you mean?"
"Well, they aren't strongly connected by plot. Just as Soaring isn't really about the White Sun, neither is the new story. It probably won't be mentioned in fact. The way they are connected is thematic"
"I wrote the prequel and sequel as an examination of the mentality of war. Hawke's Vengeance is very much about war itself. The struggles in war. The loss. The death. The endless futility. Soaring however isn't really about war. It is about what leads to war. Emotions. People"
"Does that mean that there won't be many battle scenes in Soaring?"
"Sadly, not as many, which is a shame, as many reviewers liked Hawke's Vengeance during the battles. But I think that a deep study of characters is more interesting as watching them shooting at each other"
"So where does the new story fit into this?"
"My new fic is, slightly predictably, a story of what happens after a war. It's about what is left behind. Can war, even a victorious one, ever have good consequences?"
"Indeed. I'm quite proud of it"
"So how do you feel about how the three stories interrelate?"
"Hawke's Vengeance is the lightest story of the trilogy. There are some dark bits, like Hawke and Sturm and the soldier's suicide, but the characters were rather protected by a magic bubble the whole time. Everyone survived. Everyone got redeemed. Everyone got a happy ending in some way. There was the occasional dark bit, but there were more instances of humour"
"That is a darker story. There's not as much humour, and, as Deinos has clearly shown, death is a possibility for everyone. That's the joy of original characters. You all know that Sensei has to survive, but who can say what will happen to the scientist, Phoenix, Deinos, Nestor and any original characters. Some might die. Some might get different endings"
"The characters themselves are darker, aren't they?"
"That's right. I've been very careful not to include a single hero in Soaring. I remember Genocideking once supporting Deinos against the scientist. But they're both bad guys! Both of them want to exploit Phoenix. I have a collection of villains and antiheroes. But no heroes"
"And how does your new fic fit into this?"
"I'm willing to say that it will be the darkest one yet. And, more importantly, the characters' magic bubble will be gone. Characters can and will die. As for which ones, wait and see…"
"Of course, Hawke's Vengeance wasn't entirely light-hearted. Most recently, the soldier's suicide caused a bit of controversy"
"I had to do that. I just hate the happy-go-lucky mentality of some of the COs. Once more, I have a problem with Andy. In AW2 he gets the lab plans in an attack in which men died and his reaction is to organise a barbeque! After the final battle, hundreds of men have died, and he wants to party! I had to show that even though the alliance won, they didn't really win"
"So, getting back to Hawke's Vengeance, how did it all begin? What was in your mind at first?"
"It was the island assault that later evolved into the attack where Eagle had to bomb the depot with Drake and Jess inside it. Oddly, it wasn't an Advance Wars fic at that point. I originally envisaged it as a Star Wars fic, so it was filled with X-wings and TIEs. However, I've always got crossovers on the mind, so I had this image of Eagle's airforce dropping out of hyperspace and attacking the X-wings! Green Earth fighters against the rebel alliance. In time, the X-wings disappeared, and the imperial base became a Black Hole refuelling depot"
"What was the original plan for the fic? How did it evolve as it was written?"
"Some of the middle was made up after the original plan. The original script said that as soon as Adder arrived, they went and took on the White Sun. Rescuing Jess happened during that battle. However, I wanted more time to develop Hawke's character, so I diverted the action into the five chapter section at Hawke's base. Ironically, that bit ended up as one of my favourites, especially the bits with Lash"
"What about character evolution? Which characters picked up bigger roles as they went through?"
"Adder wasn't originally going to have a big part, but as I wrote I realised that he had great comic potential. I paired him up with Eagle at every available opportunity. Those scenes just wrote themselves. And then there were the scenes between Flak and Adder. I enjoyed writing their interaction as well. I think that their dysfunctional friendship is so sweet"
"So Adder's role grew. Why?"
"Because Adder had protection. Firstly, people seemed to like the Adder bits, but more importantly, my dear Jen became a devout Adder fan, and refused to let me leave him out of any sequence. I originally intended to kill him off, but in the end he gets his redemption and walks into the sunset. I wanted him around for the sequel, as I think he's a deep character. Cocky and arrogant, but inwardly deeply insecure. A high ranking leader with nothing more than superficial leadership qualities"
"What about the characters that got given smaller parts?"
"As you may have noticed, Andy barely features in the fic. I dislike him. He's an unrealistic character. Nobody that young and overexcited could ever lead an army. The soldiers in AW2's cut scenes had so much more sense than he did. So at the first available opportunity, I put him 'in charge of the reserves' and left him out completely"
"Well, Jess got a small role as well, and not just because she was captured. The thing is that she is traditionally, Eagle, your antagonist. And you had an antagonist in this fic already. It's Hawke. Jess and you would argue at home, as happens in the early chapters, and then you'd argue with Hawke in battles. So I gave you two antagonists; Hawke and Adder. I felt you didn't need a third one, so Jess got relegated to the background. Basically, you're well aware that this is a mock Homeric epic, so anyone that didn't fit into that was demoted to comic relief, where they stayed. Just to confuse you, Sensei fills the role that Nestor did in the Iliad!"
"What about Sami?"
"Ah, now there's a question. I left that up in the air deliberately. This fic doesn't concern itself with romance. I might resolve all that later"
"I thought that I would end up with Sami early on" said Eagle sulkily.
"Indeed. The two scenes with you and Sami in the T-copter are certainly amongst my favourites, and I think that they are the most moving incidents in the fic. For those that have forgotten, I wrote a scene from Sami's perspective in chapter 4 and then again from Eagle's in chapter 7. I think that it is such a sad scene"
"There were certainly elements of romance in the story. What couples did you envision?"
"Well, I didn't think about it much. My first thought was that this was a war. People aren't thinking about romance. But then I realised that Advance Wars sets itself up perfectly for war romances. When it's so character driven and the chapters depend entirely on the COs being the focus, and not the armies, then romance is big part of that. The armies are commanded by a single CO with unlimited power over his troops, so of course personal relationships are going to matter!"
"Were any of those relationships in this story?"
"Aside from you and Sami, just the one couple"
"Flak and Adder"
"Not like that"
"Relationships don't have to be physical. Flak and Adder aren't in love, but they are a couple in as far as they care for each other dearly. They depend on each other, and care for each other more than for any other character. Certainly, I can't see either of them being in any other relationship"
"What about Sonja and Andy?"
"Oh don't you bloody start! I'm sorry, I love Competing with Perfection so much, it's such a great fic, but I dislike the pairing. It's not canon"
"So, who is the main character of this story?" said Eagle smugly, expecting his own name to be returned.
"Actually, it's Hawke"
"True, not much of the story is from Hawke's point of view, but it's all about him. Every scene provides a new glimpse at him. I put a lot of thought into the scene in chapter 19, where he suffers. Like everyone else, he suffers. Hawke isn't the villain. Sturm is. I expand that in Soaring, although even there I try to give a deeper interpretation of Sturm. No, Hawke is the ultimate tragic victim of the story. The end irony being that Hawke's ultimate vengeance is in fact against Maelstrom, and so against Sturm"
"You don't really like bad guys, do you?"
"I don't like one dimensional bad guys who are evil for the sake of it. Therefore, all the Black Hole COs are allowed an excuse, if you like. Flak is being led astray, Lash is innocent as she was made that way, Adder cannot help himself but must obey Hawke, and Hawke has an undying obligation to Sturm. In this fic, Sturm is pretty evil, but Soaring makes him a victim in a way as well! Maelstrom was created as I needed an evil character who the hero had to kill, and who nobody could possibly feel any sympathy for. None of the Black Hole COs are that evil, and Hawke's cool"
"Who are your favourite characters?"
"You yourself, Eagle, of course. You were the hero of this piece. A flawed hero, but still a hero. Apart from that, I enjoyed writing Hawke's part. Flak was a fantastic character as well. In fact, I think the Black Hole COs are my favourites. They are all deep characters with a great potential for expanding their thoughts"
"I am not flawed. And your least favourites?"
"Andy. Andy, Andy and Andy. Also Max. The character is one-dimensional. Nell as well. I couldn't think of anything to do with her. But that will be corrected in the next fic, as both have big parts! Also, I'm unsure about Sonja. When she opened her mouth, you knew that there was a fairly dull plot device information dump coming up. Then again, I loved the bits early on when she has to confront the true cost of war, and the collar"
"So what were your favourite scenes?"
"Aside from Sonja looking at the dead soldier and Sami and your own conversation, as I've mentioned, there was the room with Mr Zebra nailed to the wall. Also, the fight scene between Kanbei and Hawke. And chapter ten, with the first meeting of Adder and the alliance. In fact, any Adder scene"
"Any scenes that you weren't happy with?"
"The rescue of Olaf and Grit by Colin. It was an attempt at a feel good morality tale in which the timid boy comes through for his friends, but it came off as unrealistic and out of character. The only positive was the comedy that arose from the interaction between Colin and Kanbei. Also, I think that the final battle could have been more dramatic. I left it largely ambiguous, because it didn't matter. The two key situations were Adder at the silos and Hawke taking on Maelstrom. The latter was the real final battle. I pondered for a long time how to end that fight. I think it worked well in the end. Maybe the ending was a little corny, but what can you do? It was a happy ending"
"What do you hope to have achieved through this fic?"
"I'd like to think that despite the typecast characters, I brought up some serious issues to think about. The existence of a purpose in life. The ethics of cloning. The idea of obsession and revenge. The superficial nature of alliances and nationality"
"Anything else to add?"
"Thank you for reading. And please go read Soaring! You'll like it!"
"Thank you, Jon"
With that, Jon stood up and returned to his room to continue typing on the laptop of creation…
And now, how about the outtakes?
scene 24, top of Maelstrom's HQ
With Maelstrom off balance for a moment, Hawke pulled back his left fist, but Maelstrom was too fast, and struck him with a powerful left hook before he even saw it coming, knocking Hawke backwards across the roof. He came to a halt and struggled to rise. Maelstrom remained where he had been, looking at Hawke's fallen body. He spoke again,
"All who oppose me will be… um, what's my line?"
"Idiot!" yelled Hawke, black wave crackling around his body.
scene 7, Orange Star HQ, Eagle has woken from his recurring nightmare
Eagle knew that he couldn't go on like this. The attack on the north may have been scheduled for the next day, but he was in no state to command, everyone had noticed that, and he couldn't continue until he knew the truth. He had to find out everything for certain.
With no more delay, he leapt out of bed. He burst through the door into the corridor outside and, still wearing green long-sleeved pyjamas alone, suddenly heard sniggering coming from backstage. The prince of the skies darted back into his room, yelling furiously,
"This is not funny! Could you just get Jess and Sami out of here!"
scene 8, Orange Star northern coast, Lash's Hydra is under attack
"That's impossible Sami. My men didn't spot any other fleet out there before and no new one could have arrived that fast"
"Eagle, I can see it with my own eyes! Someone is using Black Hole's own vessels against them!"
"That makes no sense. Anyway, no fleet is physically able to move so fast that it could sneak up without my units spotting it long ago… unless… Drake! Or, alternatively, it could easily be Adder! Also, since we don't have any units at sea, it could easily be anybody"
"Stick to the bloody script!" yelled Foulds
scene 18, Green Earth countryside, Max has taunted Flak into moving
And now Max, looking out over the battlefield, proud of what he had achieved, was suddenly filled with dread. Like a man who, confident in his strength, strolls assertively through the country, but steps on a snake, hidden by briars, and then recoils in terror as he sees what he has done, his face suddenly drained of blood, his self-belief replaced by horror, as he looks on the hissing serpent, eager for revenge. In this way did Max feel dread in his innermost heart, looking out at the inhuman Flak, roused by fury about Max's impulsive deed, charging at him, ready to kill.
Max turned and fled, signalling at the tanks to fire outwards at the approaching Black Hole assault, but he didn't have the speed to escape the swift footed Flak, aided by the unearthly powers given to him by Sturm. Flak charged up to Max and struck out haphazardly in his back, the slight tap knocking him to the ground, a heavy impact that Max struggled to rise from, as Flak triumphed over him, taunting him,
"Ha! Take that Ape-man! Oh…" said Flak in a distinctly British accent, "Sorry old chum, are you alright?"
"Don't worry, just twisted my ankle a little, it's fine" replied Max.
"Oh, I'll be more careful. Also, what's my motivation for this scene? And you stole that last simile straight from Homer!"
"Just stay in character will you" replied Foulds, as Sami and Jess both grudgingly fanned him.
scene 20, White Sun firing chamber, Eagle and Hawke stand alone, as Eagle struggles to get up from a blast of Black Wave
"It is useless to resist! Don't make me destroy you!" taunted Hawke.
Eagle rolled backwards to avoid another blow as Hawke continued,
"Eagle, you do now yet realise your importance. You could destroy Maelstrom; he has foreseen this. Sensei never told what happened to your father"
"He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
"No Eagle, I am your father!"
"Look Foulds," shouted Eagle, "This is a load of rubbish"
"Fine" replied Foulds sulkily, "we'll use the original script"
scene 23, Green Earth, Hawke has just charged at the Black Hole lines, and Foulds has gone to get a drink
"You know what's odd?" he asked himself, "That Pepsi Max has no sugar in it. Presumably, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max have the same amount of sugar. It's just weird"
Foulds was distracted by a noise from behind one of the many caravans that scattered the landscapes. As he came closer, he heard voices,
"Oh Andy, you make me so happy. We truly are a perfect couple"
"My beloved Sonja, I can't imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?"
Foulds leapt out with more ferocity than Hawke and Maelstrom combined,
"Oh no you don't! Not in this fic! You're lucky I don't write you both out of the story this instant! For goodness sake, Sonja, you're ten years older than him!"
"I don't care!" screamed Sonja, tears in her eyes, "I love him!"
"No! No you don't! What's causing this disease in so many fics?"
Foulds suddenly noticed something on the ground… a scarf,
"So, this is the work of that evil and misguided Daniel!"
An evil laugh boomed out from nearby,
"We'll see about that Mr Foulds! With every passing day, more fics fall to my diabolical pairing!"
"Show yourself coward!"
There was no reply,
"Oh, he'll pay for this…" said Jon as Andy and Sonja set off to shop for a wedding dress, "He'll pay…"
And now, the deleted scenes! Did you know…
Eagle originally had superhuman powers himself. These were inherited from his father, just as Hawke got some cool powers from him. The original fight scene between them had less talking, but Eagle used white lightning that shot from his hands. This was why he wore gauntlets normally and his CO powers had 'lightning' in them. The scene was heavily influenced by the scene in Star Wars with Luke against the Emperor. Please note, I did not just give away what Eagle's father's powers will be. It won't be white lightning or Black Wave-esque.
Hawke was originally meant to die (for good!) in the White Sun. After I realised that I needed him for the end of the story and for the sequel, I decided to keep him alive. Unfortunately, I'd already written a death scene plan that I was really proud of, and I wanted Eagle to be the hero by killing Hawke, and thus the improbable revival of Hawke was born.
Adder was scheduled to die at three points. In Hawke's base, in the White Sun battle, and while facing Flak at the silos (killed by Lash in the latter). Fortunately, Jen forced me to keep him alive.
Jess was originally assumed to be dead and then brought out by Hawke in the final battle to dissuade Eagle from fighting. He was then supposed to try and rescue her, only to find out that she was already dead and then die himself. The fic became slightly more light hearted and this was dropped. The scene was inspired by Orpheus going to Hades…
… Nonetheless, that didn't stop the second draft of the middle part of the fic having Eagle kill Hawke and then kill himself. After I brought him back to save Sami in the battle against the Hydra, I decided to be nicer to the prince of the skies and give him back Drake, and, at length, Jess.
In the original, Drake really did die, but the outcry against this was so great that I let him return. Originally, the barrage that destroyed the Hydra was from Adder, who Eagle then mistook for Drake because of the speed of the ships. Changing it around allowed Adder to have a far cooler entrance in the airfield. I loved his scene with Kanbei.
Perhaps somebody noticed that Hawke was holding a little red book before Eagle arrived? Well, that was originally important, but got removed from the end version. It was in fact a copy of the Aeneid Book 2. I originally was going to quote from it and have Hawke translate for Eagle, focusing on how Troy's burning led to the emergence of Rome. I left it out as I thought maybe I was getting a little too heavily influenced by classics. The theme however showed up again in Soaring, chapter 4, Sturm's speech.
I was also going to delve into Sturm's full back story, but I decided against it in the end. Who says it won't show up elsewhere though…
Well, I guess that's it. I can't drag this out any longer. Good luck everyone, and do try to write whatever you want. Everyone has a story to tell. Oh, and go and read Soaring. Nobody has any excuse not to. If you liked this story, you'll love Soaring. See y'all later…
"The literary gift is a mere accident - it is as often bestowed on idiots who have nothing to say worth hearing as it is denied to strenuous sages"
Max Beerbohm, 1903