"Shadow of Infiltration -- East": The Inside Track....

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Shadow of Infiltration -- East underwent a significant overhaul in process, one that made it somewhat shorter than originally planned and also made it, I think, more intriguing. The story had three major hinge points, and of those, only one -- the rescue of Brom by Molinist, and his call for trust -- remained the same.

The other two hinge points, however, changed. The first was Molinist's transformation into Lady Molina. Originally, Molinist's transformation was intended to have been into a male Prycene warrior, similar to Felicity's new beau. But I had put Molinist on the table, and it would have been a pain to get him off of it, so I changed his alter ego into a Tilkrig -- and a girl, at that, just to suit my egalitarianism.

I then realized that the change would be beneficial in other ways. It would easily explain (to "outsiders" like Cameron Derrick) Molinist's intimate knowledge of the Cartel, and also give Derrick a reason to become close to Molinist. The change solved problems I hadn't even thought of yet. And it solved another one that would crop up later.

As I approached the battle scene, my original plan had actually been for two separate fights. The first would have re-introduced Melinda -- the Tilkrig girl from the first Shrike Team story whom Brom had given a second chance in life. The plan had been that some call would be issued for someone to fight Tyra, and Melinda would answer the call, fight bravely, but then have to withdraw. Tyra would then boldly ask if anyone else wanted to challenge her, and it would be at that point that Leiara would return and we'd have a second round, in which Tyra would get her butt kicked. Sounded good.

Except as I got closer to the scene, the mechanics proved a problem. I needed a set of rules that would enable Tyra to accept both Melinda AND Leiara as even matches. But no matter how hard I tried...I couldn't think how that'd work with Leiara.

All at once, though, I realized Molinist's new alter ego was the obvious solution. The persona of Lady Molina could both appear as an equal opponent to Tyra, AND defeat her...and then also stir up Gen'a'too's worries, which was an added bonus to a scene that we'll see in ST #10, and will also stir the pot some when we get to the Cartel invasion itself.

The price though....poor Melinda never got to make her return. Leiara never got to fight...but that's OK. I was still able to use her, and she'll still have a role to play chasing down that tabloid writer, trying to get Brom's letter back.

Other notes...the drug loftuscite appears again, as does a new narcotic, starkicillin. Both are named after ideological opponents of mine. More on that...you'll have to check my "other" website.

We'll get the details on Pepper's covenant proposal later...much later. AFTER the Cartel invasion's over, actually...

We can be quite sure that Cameron and Brom have met a few times as leading citizens, but we won't need to explore that in detail.