Well, welcome to Friday! I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful week. We’ve had a fairly productive week thus far, especially when it comes to getting our apartment cleaned up, which is a good thing because it needed it pretty badly. Anyway, I have a plot challenge for you, and it’s something a little bit different. In this challenge I want you to work on plotting out a particular chapter or set of scenes. I’ve given you some exercises concerning metanarrative, but now I want you to focus in on the micronarratives of the story. So, I’m going to give you a couple of characters, a setting, and a grand plot, and I want you to plot out one chapter of a metanarrative involving them.
Metanarrative: The work as a whole is a work of science fiction. The story follows a traveler/explorer/merchant/soldier named Simon, a kind of jack of all trades who wanders through the solar system of the near future doing whatever he needs to in order to get by. Simon served on the winning side of the Jupiter Colony Wars, but in the fight to secure the independence of the moons of Jupiter from the Terran federation he did things that haunt him to this day. Because of this Simon has a strong, but warped, sense of morality and the story as a whole is about his quest to find his way back to a moral center. Simon realizes that the war is still with him in many ways, and he realizes that he is far to willing to do some things that should clearly revolt and disturb him, especially when it comes to citizens or defenders of the federation. By the middle of the story Simon has met Lorelai, a terran who has spent her life counseling terran soldiers who were left broken by the way, and who has developed an interest in helping Simon come to terms with his actions during the war, and in his quest to become a better person. By the end of the story Simon has developed a strong sense of virtue and justice, and has begun to shape himself into the defender of the innocent that he wanted to be when he first joined the Jupiter Colony militia.
This chapter: This chapter falls near the end of Simon’s story. He has been traveling with Lorelai for several months and has begun to develop what will become his strong sense of virtue and justice. However, in this chapter that burgeoning understanding of moral limits is sorely tested when his new employer (a recent contract that he picked up from a contact on Ganymede) turns out to be a former special forces officer in the Colony militia who hasn’t left the war behind. Simon’s job is simply to deliver a batch of medicine to the his employer on Phoebos–the moon of Mars. Phoebos was initially part of the Jupiter uprising, but was quickly conquered by Terran forces and has since been devastated by high taxes and draconian import restrictions. Phoebians has become a byword for the poor, oppressed, and distraught, and the moon is desperately in need of medical supplies. However, many of the needed supplies are banned by the Terran government, including the drugs and surgical equipment that Simon is to deliver. However, in the last chapter Simon discovered that his employer doesn’t intend this equipment for any humanitarian purpose, but instead that the drugs and surgical equipment are necessary operating components for the implantation of various cybernetic and biological weapons into willing (or unwilling) recipients in order to create a force of insurgent soldiers capable of destroying the Terran forces on Phoebos and possibly starting the war anew. In this chapter Simon will determine that such a move is morally wrong, not because the Terran forces are undeserving, but because it risks reigniting a devastating war that can only cause further damage to the people of Phoebos.
The Setting: Your settings are Simon’s ship, the Cantilever, and the moon of Phoebos itself. The Cantilever is a relatively small transport vessel with significant stealth and speed capabilities along with some hidden defensive, and very illegal, weaponry. Phoebos is a rathole of a colony that offers little in the way of comfort or luxury outside of the Terran garrison. The moon produces significant amounts of minerals, but the miners operate on a quota system and the Terran government seizes the vast majority of what they produce. What little they are allowed to sell on the open market, and what little they can hide in order to sell on the black market, must serve to provide for all of their needs. Soren’s lab is hidden under a burnt out hospital complex that used to serve the majority of the colony before the war, and it is a ramshackle facility with a mishmash of new and old equipment, some scavenged equipment, and some piecemeal equipment that has been cobbled together by Soren and his techs.
Characters: I’m going to give you several characters. You don’t need to use all of them in your chapter. In fact, you only could use all of them if you were bouncing back and forth between several points of view. So, if you want to plot out the chapter entirely from Wilem’s point of view, that’s fine, just ignore the characters that don’t fit.
Simon: The hero of the story and a man at a moral impasse. You should have what you need from the above.
Lorelai: Simon’s companion, friend, counselor, confidant, and sometimes conscience. She is soft-spoken and easy to get along with, but cursed with a very plain appearance. Lorelai is kind and has a strong moral center, though she sometimes comes across as idealistic and naive, she is actually very intelligent, experienced, and cunning.
Soren: A former officer in the Jupiter Colony militia’s insurgent and recon forces, he specialized in bio-terrorism, counter-insurgency tactics, infiltration, battlefield technology, and medical operations. Soren could be a skilled chemist or physician, but instead he turns his skills towards ‘destroying the Terran menace once and for all.’
Pask: Soren’s second in command and chief technical officer, Pask combines a significant skill in electrical, chemical, and computer engineering with a broad expertise in weaponry and hand-to-hand combat.
Lesley: a high-ranking Terran officer in the locak garrison, he is slightly overweight and has expensive and often sordid tastes.
Henry: one of Lesley’s subordinates, he is a man of honor and dignity who is disgusted by the excesses of his superiors. He has requested to be transferred off of Phoebos several times, but thus far all such requests have been denied.
Meagan: A Phoebian woman who is searching for her child, a 13 year old girl who has been missing for three days, and fears the worst.
Kazik: a Phoebian merchant who deals on the black market, selling ore for Phoebian citizens and bringing in a marginal profit for himself. Some believe that he is a good-hearted man simply trying to help and survive at the same time, others believe that he is a brigand who takes advantage of his neighbors.
Your job today is to use what I’ve given you here and your imagination to plot out the chapter step by step. Figure out the major events that need to happen, in what order, and how to make them interesting and fun.