Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Disappointing, son!

Hmm...I have noticed something really strange about the past few weeks. Somehow, they've been one heck of a roller coaster ride in terms of good points and bad points, and it's been full of disappointments now and then. There have been, of course, lot's of happy times as well, but as humans, we generally tend to remember the times when we've been betrayed, hurt or embarrassed more vividly than the other joyful, carefree times.

So, as I was thinking about the disappointments in the past few weeks, I suddenly realised something, and perhaps this is a very pertinent question.

Which is worst, being disappointed by a friend, or being disappointed by yourself?

This is probably quite a strange question, but if you think about it, it's pretty true - the feeling that you get when you are betrayed (okay, maybe that's too strong a word...let down, perhaps?) by your friends and that when you are disappointed by yourself is very different. Of course, people who have awesome friends or emo-people who blame themselves all the time won't know this, but I guess most of us should!

And well, in my opinion, I think that getting disappointed by myself is a lot worse than getting disappointed by your friends. The feeling that you get when you know you could have and should have done better in something is terrible, and you feel really bad for a few moments.

And I guess this is where people begin to think differently. Either you can go on thinking that you're really dumb and keep harping about the fact that you did terribly, or you can pick yourself up and keep on fighting! That's the great thing about being disappointed by yourself, because while you can't change other people, you can definitely change yourself whenever you want to!

And as for being disappointed by my friends...well, I guess I'm one of those people with awesome friends who never disappoint!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Academic Awards and Other Stuff

Not for the first time this year, I realise that I am surrounded by some incredibly smart people. Generally, I am reminded about this fact every time I see a particular person from a particular class. *ahem ahem* I think you know who this guy is.

But this time, my observation has been driven by the fact that many of the recent Academic Award winners are either from my class, my previous class or just people I know as friends. It is really quite's a list of subjects (rather than names).

My "last time" class
1st in Level
3rd in Level
Physics (HL)
Mathematics (HL)
Biology (HL)
Geography (HL)
Biology (SL)
Geography (SL)

My "this year's" class
History (HL)
Language Arts (HL)
Economics (HL)
Visual Arts (HL)
Computer Science (there's only HL for this random)
Theatre Arts (SL...again quite random)

Good Friends
Mathematical Studies (there's only SL for this stuff)
French B (same for this as well...this one is also damn random)
Economics (SL)

And these are only the people that I know personally! As in, that means I hang around them for quite some periods of time! Quite amazing, I must say. Quite scary as well...I didn't know there were so many smart people around me. It's really frightening. I guess I'm just lucky that I know these guys.

Of course, academic awards aren't the only important things in times like this - companionship is pretty important as well, and I feel that I've gotten to know a lot of people better over the course of this year. Okay, so that's being a little dumb, 'cos the year's lasted the whole of two months. But what the heck, I've learnt a lot about various friends, both new and old. Which is a very good thing. I think it's important to understand your friends well, to know their aims and aspirations and outlooks in life!

Keep looking forward! We'll all (hopefully/definitely/probably) get a prize someday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Well, it's been a long time since I've blogged, and it's not a great wonder if you've known what I've been through the past week. Nevertheless, hthings have been looking up, and so I'm pretty much back to normal!

Another reason why I've not blogged is because of the relatively unsavory comments left by Mrs Cherilyn, which, although true, are still kinda "AHH WHAT THE HECK MIGHT AS WELL NOT BLOG" inducing. But heck, I'll just try and blog something today - after all, no one's perfect.

Speaking of perfection, I think I'll talk about perfection in this blog post. Mostly because I'm bored, but also because it was the first thing that came to my mind, yup. Anyway, we need to talk about perfection in relation to something, right? Hmm...let's see, let's see...what day is it today? Oh yes! It's Valentine's Day! Perfect!

Well, well, well. This topic is pretty close to my heart, because I sappily think that love is the most important thing in this world, and because I believe in a very idealized version of love. But this isn't always a good thing, because it generally tends to get you hurt a lot - I'd be the first to admit that it does. But heck, in the end, it's quite worth it. At least, I hope so.

To be honest, my idealized view of life comes from my upbringing. My parents and siblings were always very kind and nice to me, and so I never really had any troubles at home, which I know is very different from some of my friends. In addition, my first introduction to books was David Eddings, and in his stories, everyone either:

1. Gets Married
2. Falls in Love
3. Is Killed
4. All of the above, or any combination of the three

Yup, that's right. Most of the characters in Eddings have really good endings, and most of those good endings involve falling in love and getting married off to other characters. Many of the characters are handsome, beautiful, angels (in terms of personality) and generally all-round Mary Sues. Which, in my opinion, is not a bad thing!

In the end, that's how I grew up. I've always thought that love was a really sacred thing that shouldn't be taken lightly, and that deserved a lot of respect. This was the reason for my outburst a week out (involving that idiot and divorce), as well as my general contempt for anyone who divorces, has an abortion, etc, etc. Being a romantic, I would never, ever do things like that, and I probably never will.

Being a romantic is generally very recognisable. I don't know about real romantics (I'd have to go to France for that), but I know that I am absolutely terrible amongst girls. I learnt that as early as Pri 4, but it still haunts me to this very day. Even now, I don't think that I could ever say "No" when asked by a girl to do something (of course, I'd probably not say "No" when any of my other friends asked me something either), and I still can't talk to girls as freely as I can talk to guys. I have no idea how to treat girls properly (as evidenced by my absolute failure during my class's angel-mortal game), and I'll probably have no idea what to do with a girl when/if I get a girlfriend.

Of course, there are a lot of bad points to being a romantic. Number One is that I'm very likely to be the one to initiate relationships, and probably be the one who'll be dumped at the end of it all. This will mean a lot of pain, and hurt, and a hell lot of crying (which I am very wont to do). Getting out of a relationship and getting over a girl I like will probably be a lot harder for me than it will be for anyone else, and I've already been through quite a lot of that, I think!

Another bad thing about being a romantic is that there's always the fear that he/she will never be loved or married. If you asked me, my greatest fear would probably that of not getting married to someone else. Sure, that's a very stupid fear, because everyone's getting married nowadays. That's true, of course, but how many of those couples stay married? It's one thing to fall in love, and a completely different thing to stay together for the rest of your life. You can't just give everything to someone you know will not love you forever and ever. At least, romantics can't.

That's why being a romantic is a very difficult job. You are essentially searching for a perfect scenario, an event that probably only exists in stories and movies. In real life, searching for the perfect person, or a soul mate, is really very difficult, and although I believe that there is someone out there for me, finding her is a completely different matter. For all I know, I've already missed my chance!

That's also a reason why a lot of people criticise romanticists. Throwing your heart to the wind and hoping that destiny or fate will blow it somewhere nice is not just impractical, it's also really freaking dumb. I too, admit that doing this isn't exactly the most rational thing to do. There is always the chance that I'll end up being alone and lonely.

But I say hell to all of that! I guess that the Do-or-Die Gamble is all part of the fun of being a romanticist. Seeing whether or not all this romanticist stuff pays off in the end is what I really look forward to. No matter what the result, I've always enjoyed being a romanticist. To quote a very good friend of mine, "It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you don't regret what you did."

And I must say, I don't think I'll ever regret this!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Out of Love, Out of Pocket

This was a shitty weekend, made even shittier by the appearance of an article in the newspaper, the title of which has already been mentioned previously.

So I did my normal reading pattern. Which is to look at the title (as above) and then the caption, which read: Work hard on your marriage; a failed union can cost you dearly.

My first reaction was:


My second reaction was:


I don't think I need to tell you what my third reaction was.

I have serious problems with this article. Firstly, you're having a divorce, and only thing you have on your mind is how much money you're going to lose?! Goddammit, what the hell is wrong with you?!

I know that marriage really isn't the "in-thing" at the moment, but I really do believe that marriage has got to have at least some vestiges of meaning attached to it. Marriage isn't something you enter just so that you can get freaking laid. If you want to do shit like that, go to a goddamned brothel or something.

"It had not occurred to him how much a failed marriage would set him back financially." - Seriously. WHAT THE F#$%. I bet the moron didn't realise how much a failed marriage would set him back morally as well.

This is the sad thing about the world today. No one around here believes in love. What happened to the romantic era? The message of "Love overcomes everything" has been changed to "Love overcomes everything except long working hours, a busy travelling schedule and financial damages from a failed marriage".

The hell man. Why the hell did you marry your significant other if your love for him/her can't even overcome the obstacle of not being able to see each other except for a few hours? There is a thin line between lust and love, and it is INCREDIBLY important to distinguish between the two. If you're into marriage just so that you can spend one night with that person, then just find a dark alleyway and do your stuff. It's cheaper, anyway.

Furthermore, what kind of excuse is not being able to see your spouses awake for more than 4 hours everyday? Think back to the time you first met him or her. Can you remember saying to yourself that you'd give anything just to spend 4 minutes with that person alone? If you can't remember it, it's probably either because you were too stunned at seeing the said person, or because you just saw a shiny quarter on the street just as he/she came by.

"In reality, there will be days when you don't see eye to eye with your spouse and actions fall short of expectations." - This is true, but that's the whole point of love, isn't it? The fact is that love isn't just about the money. Heck, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the money. I'd happily marry a poor girl on the street if I loved her and she loved me. If your love is as strong as your money, then just marry yourself off to that old lady down the road. No income tax.

In the end, it's not about the money. It's about the love that you have for each other that really keeps you going. Just watch/read CLANNAD to know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Storyflash: Avatar 3

Alright, before you read this post, make sure you read the previous post about resolving issues. Keep it in mind while reading this!

Part 3: Scarlet Sunset

This part of the story starts off with Captain Oliver Corr, a member of the New York Police Force. Together with several other police officers, Lewis Carr, Jack McDonnell and Francis Bates, Captain Oliver and his teammates are making their way towards an old apartment building, after a tip from an unknown person about the presence of a drug smuggling ring around that area.

When they do reach the apartment building, there seem to be no signs of life. No noise comes from the interior of the building, and it looks like no one has been there for ages. Nevertheless, Oliver orders his teammates to enter the apartment anyway, just in case something is amiss. As the four policemen enter the apartment, Oliver is struck by a strange feeling of uneasiness. Something was dreadfully wrong, but he has no idea what it is.

Moving towards the stairs, Oliver orders his teammates to split up and search the apartments. Oliver doesn't want to spend too much time in this place, and luckily, the apartment building is a small one, with only a few different apartments on the two floors.

But as Oliver reaches the first apartment, he sees the telltale trickle of blood, and the smell of decomposing flesh. Entering the room, he finds a pile of corpses, and it looks like they haven't been dead for long. Oliver quickly rushes from the room, ready to call the CSIs to the scene, but before he can do so, he hears a bloodcurdling shriek, and he sees the upper torso of Lewis crashing onto the floor before him. The rest of his body is lying at the foot of a giant, humanoid looking creature.

Pause for description: The creature is wearing a black metal mask, has twelve inch long claws, and is hunched over, as if trying to avoid the ceiling. It has no facial features except for a huge mouth, and it seems to hover above the ground.

The shriek has brought Officers McDonnell and Bates to the scene, and as they see the giant creature, they start firing upon it. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to inflict much damage, and with a lightning fast movement, the creature is upon the two Officers, shredding them to a pulp. Oliver quickly calls for reinforcements, all the while trying to shoot the creature - let's call the creature a Shade.

The Shade once again uses it's lightning fast movement to run at Oliver, but the police captain immediately throws himself out the balcony. Having only two storeys to fall, Oliver manages to make it out with nothing but a fractured rib, and he quickly returns to the police station, where he informs his superiors about the situation.

After a few days, Oliver - and the rest of the world, for that matter - is beginning to realise that this isn't an isolated event. In addition to the deaths of the three police officers, there were five more gruesome deaths in the immediate area. Not only that, but more bodies started to appear in three other locations around the city - in fact, bodies started appearing in many of the major cities in America - Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco...

After doing some research, Oliver realises that the bodies are appearing in areas near buildings owned by the Nightmare Corporation, an enigmatic company that deals in psychological and neurological research. As Oliver tries to search further, he uncovers the fact that the Nightmare Corporation has been harvesting energy in a matrix-like fashion - using the neurological nerve pulses and whatnot, the Nightmare Corporation has been harvesting energy from the minds of people who have been placed into a deep sleep and made to dream about an alternate reality.

Please note that Oliver is VERY likely to encounter difficulties during this period. You can include events such as dealing with suspicious people, quitting/getting fired from the police force, etc. It doesn't really matter.

Prying further, it seems that people who are in a deep sleep have been placed into - literally - a nightmare. This is because research from the Nightmare Corporation has revealed that fear, despair and similar emotions create the most energy for harvesting, and so they have placed the subjects into a scenario where there is nothing but death, destruction and the hunt to survive. The name of this project: Project Proxima.

Then, one day, Oliver is contacted by an employee from the Nightmare Corporation, a man named Marko Chekov. Chekov tells Oliver what he has been suspecting for a very long time - something is going seriously wrong with Project Proxima.

It all started when a particular scientist by the name of Dr. Manx developed an instrument known as the Transpirer, a device that allows the user to bring anything they imagine come to life. Dr. Manx was very secretive about the Transpirer project, because he knew that leaking it to the public was a terrible idea, and would likely result in worldwide destruction. Unfortunately, the Nightmare Corporation discovered the Transpirer project, but Dr. Manx managed to escape with most of the information about the Transpirer, destroying most of the other information. Nevertheless, the Nightmare Corporation was able to use the remnants of the information to create a prototype Transpirer, and proceeded to mass-produce it.

What happened next was a seemingly freak accident. While working with the Transpirer, one of the scientists happened to attach it to the main feed unit linking the system's mainframe to the machine responsible for harvesting Project Proxima. What happened next was a Group Transpirer on a huge scale - nearly a hundred thousand people around America were dreaming about a world where death and destruction abounded, and it was about to become reality.

By this time, there was nothing that Chekov nor any of the other scientists could do to prevent what was about to come. To give them credit, the Nightmare Corporation did everything they did to contain the incident, but eventually several incidents leaked out to the public. The incidents have not yet been traced back to the Nightmare Corporation, but Chekov believes that it is only a matter of time before it does. And it is also a matter of time before the world of Proxima and its inhabitants become a reality.

Luckily, Chekov has already informed his contacts in Russia, Europe, Japan, and other parts of the world for the disaster about to come. Unfortunately, he believes that they will not act unless there is a real threat to global civilisation. As a result, Chekov believes that something must be done to hold off the Cluster while the remaining world nations attempt to rearm themselves and react to the situation.

The solution put forth by Chekov has its heart in the Transpirer project. What better to fight against an army of imaginary demons than an army of soldiers with imaginary powers at their disposal? Dr. Manx had already begun a experiment in the Hawaiian atolls concerning the eventual users of the Transpirer, and who would lead the charge against the Cluster. And now, Chekov is inviting Oliver to join the project in an attempt to stop the coming Apocalypse.

Despite the unbelievable story, Oliver can still clearly remember that night in the apartment building, and so he quickly joins up, and begins to organise a programme to ensure only the strongest are there to fight against the Cluster. The solution is something adapted from Battle Royale, a Japanese cult hit involving a fight for survival, where only the strongest survive. During the course of this programme, several strong individuals emerged, including the Raider clan, a group made up of the three strongest Transpirers in the entire programme. However, Oliver, Chekov and Manx only manage to carry out a month's worth of training before the Cluster struck.

In a single push, the Cluster managed to break out of the Nightmare Corporation's defenses and barriers, and proceeded to lay waste to many of America's major cities. Due to the slow reaction of the American military and the sheer number of forces the Cluster had at its disposal, the Cluster steamrolled through most of America, and managed to take nearly 85% of the country in a single week. It was only through the timely intervention of several nations and the Transpirers that managed to stop the Cluster incursion, but even then, it was a hard fight just to keep the Cluster at bay. Even the most advanced weapons that the world had at its disposal were only just enough to keep the mainstay troops from claiming more territories.

In the weeks after the Cluster invasion, the rest of the world, especially Russia, kept making amphibious landings on the port cities in America, and while many were killed in pitched battles against the Cluster, the Russians and the Japanese managed to get a foothold in Cluster territory. Meanwhile, Europe kept using bombers and other aircraft to attack the Cluster via the air. Meanwhile, the Transpirers, lead by the three Raiders (you can give them names), lead the main charge against the Cluster.

About six weeks after the Cluster first appeared on the planet, Oliver, Manx and Chekov were contacted by a man named Scott Reed, who represented a guerrilla group known as the Flarerunners, human survivors from the continent of Proxima. Reed told the three everything he knew about the Cluster, especially the special abilities that they used in battle. Using the information from the Flarerunners, the Transpirers and the combined forces of the Russian, European and Japanese armies managed to break through the Cluster forces, and occassionally managing to deal the Cluster crushing defeats.

However, Reed and the Nightmare Corporation scientists know that crushing defeats are just not enough. The Cluster are the creation of a hundred thousand minds, and they have the unlimited resources of the human imagination at their disposal. Even though humans might deal them crushing defeats one after another, the Cluster will never stop coming until the Earth is completely under their control. Even now, the liberation force is beginning to run out of resources, and the strain on the minds of the soldiers is taking its toll.

Alright, now that's the situation of the world right now. The Combined Armies are in an advantageous position in terms of geographical position, information, and brute power. However, they are quickly running out of ammunition and creative flair in a fight against an enemy that is fuelled by an unexplanable urge to destroy with unlimited forces at their disposal. What should be their next step?

Should they move immediately to try and destroy the controlling Transpirers located in the Nightmare Corporation buildings? Should just kill the one hundred thousand people dreaming of the Cluster, ending their misery and the danger of the world being overrun? Also, Scott Reed and the rest of the Flarerunners will also die with the Cluster if this happens - they are also the product of the human imagination. So should the Combined Army attempt to utterly destroy the Cluster through brute force? And what role does the Driver play in the weeks and months to come?

This is, of course, up to whoever wants to end the story. In my mind, this story isn't complete, and there's not much chance of completing it in the near future. It doesn't matter, though. This story is done.

I'm sure Herrick and Jun Yi must be breathing a sigh of relief.

Storyflash: Resolving Issues

Well, I'd better get this over with, shouldn't I? Ahh, what the heck, these are just ideas, so I'm sorry if they're half-baked! You (Mr. Reader) supposed refine them, lolz. Well, firstly, his Highness Jun Yi has pointed out several flaws in the stories, including the seemingly overpoweredness of characters.

Well, I have to say that it is true. Especially for Transpirers, not imposing any boundaries on the powers of the funny invention thing is a recipe for world destruction. Nevertheless, I guess it is important that the reader realise that Transpirers aren't about world destruction - it's about transferring your knowledge, combining it with creativity, and unleashing it in a physical form.

The focal point of Transpirers is the ability of the human imagination, not the powers that you can use. Remember that being in school, we are some of the smarter people on the planet. The characters in the books may not be smart at all - they don't know what a vector is, how to use it, etc, etc. In other words, many of the supposedly "over-powered abilities" may just not come about, because the characters don't know them.

It all depends on your creativity - after all, you are likely going to be pwned by someone who has a more creative mind than you. If you really want to, then you could say that certain things can't be done, and "balance" the whole Transpirer thing, although that really wasn't what I was trying to achieve here - this isn't a game or anything, so there're no restrictions on which guy is too powerful, etc, etc.

Second observation - If so and so is too powerful, then why can't he do blah blah blah and just end it all. This is also very true, but here is where an author's creative juices come into play. There are several ways to solve something like this: Firstly, it's to come up with parameters that reduce the power of characters, to make them conditional, to make when weakened in a particular way, or a manufactured weakness. This is the "safer" way to do it, because then there's really no way for the character to take over the world easily.

The second method is to come up with a plot device that prevents this from happening - for example, sealing the character in a icy throne so that they couldn't move around and rule the world, or something like that. This is also a "manufactured method", a deliberate attempt to try and "balance" the story. I don't really like deliberate attempts to curb my characters, so this is a no-no method for me.

Finally, there is the "Weave" method - something about the plot itself prevents the character from ruling the world so easily. There could be, for example, a different motivation for the character. The Spiral King in TTGL could have completely destroyed the humans, but did not. Why? Because there was some other event that prevented it, ie Anti-Spiral storyline + morals of the Spiral King, blah blah blah. I am a great fan of this method, but it not only prevents seemingly obvious things from happening, but also adds to the storyline.

Applying this to the story, why can't Transpirers destroy the world? As stated before, they don't know how - I very much doubt a manga artist would know how to destroy the world, and neither would a rabid MMORPG player, etc, etc. Why didn't the Cluster obliterate the humans? There are two reasons for this -> To steal technology from humans to escape to the other world, and because most of their efforts and resources were being channelled in an attempt to invade the other world. There is another reason, but that's revealed in the next chapter.

If there are any other problems, just remember that the stories I've written here are merely ideas. I've never had the intention of writing them, nor am I planning to do so in the future. It's merely a conglomerate of ideas melded together, so obviously there would be a few holes in the plot, incongruity of storyline, etc. Nothing can be perfect, and neither are my story ideas. Far from it, in fact.

In the end, realise that these are just musings. The reader must use their own imagination to come up with their own story, to figure out how things work out, to learn for themselves what the world is like, and maybe to formulate their own story, which is exactly what I'm trying to do. I'm not trying to spoonfeed you something, so you really can't take anything at face value here.

Anyway, I hope that resolved some issues and made my intentions clear. Off to write the third and final part of the story.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Storyflash: Avatar 2

Yo, I am back!

Well, these few days have been really, really busy, with some major disappointments, strange circumstances and other unutterable occurrences which are...well, unutterable. In any case, it was some time before I had time to myself, and it is now that I continue my story of Shearer and his sudden, spoilered death. Damn you Cherilyn.

Part 2: Emerald Sphere (another cool-sounding name that has no bearing on the story whatsoever)

The action shifts from Hawaiian atolls and Transpirers to a continent called Proxima. This continent is geologically unstable, and the surface of the continent is littered with volcanoes, rivers of lava, ash-covered landscapes, and at absence of any forms of life. There are few plants living on the continent, and only ones that do live in boiling hot geyser pools that occasionally spray the surrounding areas with scalding water.

Humans still live in this continent, kept alive only through bio-rehabilitation centres called Sanctuaries. These centres are terribly maintained, and the people living there look a lot like the people from Zion. However, certain sections of the Sanctuary look like something out of a high-class research centre - these are known as the Hanging Gardens, and is, obviously, the place where Humans grow their food.

Now, the problem with Proxima other than the fact that it is literally burning up is the existence of the Cluster. No one is sure how the Cluster evolved, nor are they sure how the Cluster manages to sustain itself. Nevertheless, the Cluster represents a dangerous foe to the Humans, even more so than the harsh environment on Proxima.

The Cluster is a race of...monsters. The term here is used loosely, because most of the Cluster strains can be easily mistaken for a human, even at a talking distance. Nevertheless, the Cluster is of a completely different nature in the sense that the Cluster's primary objective seems to be seek and destroy, rendering them impossible to negotiate with - except with lethal force.

The Cluster is led by an entity known as the Driver, a (supposed) man with the ability to sense everything and anything that his own minions sense. It's kinda like the Zerg Overmind in this sense, although the major difference between the two is that the Zerg Overmind controls his minions. Every single member of the Cluster is an independent being, capable of making their own decisions, creating plans, etc. However, each member of the Cluster is also unfailingly loyal to the Driver, and they will stop at nothing to achieve his desires. This makes the Cluster an exceedingly dangerous enemy, and they have already caused the destruction of several Sanctuaries throughout the continent.

The Cluster is similar to the Zerg in the sense that different strains of Cluster are bred for different purposes. They all, however, exhibit a humanoid appearance (or at least shape, for many Cluster strains come equipped with a mask, presumably to hide disfigurement). However, the only difference between different strains of Cluster is how they work in combat. The Immortals, for example, are...well, immortal. They function kind of like the Cauldron-Born (go look that up). Other Cluster strains are Heartseekers, Furies, Deceivers, Mutants, Juvies and Splicers. Remember that the Cluster are meant to be overpowered, so don't worry about the power levels. =)

In order to combat this threat, the humans have created a organisation known as the Flarerunners. Flarerunners have abilities superior to normal humans, manifesting themselves in either physical abilities or the weapons that they carry. Not many people can be Flarerunners, due to the high stress and willpower needed to overcome the intense training that they have to go through.

That, unfortunately, was only the background. The story starts with a man named Young Pullman, a young boy who was living in a Sanctuary before it was suddenly and swiftly destroyed by an entire brigade of Cluster soldiers. Young Pullman is one of the few who actually survive the attack, but when he returns to observe the wreckage, he is mortally wounded by a lone Cluster and left to die.

Just before he dies, however, Young is approached by a Flarerunner, a man by the name of Scott Reed. Scott Reed asks if Young wants revenge on the Clusters who destroyed his friends and family, and when Young answers 'yes', Scott Reed absorbs Young's soul into his blade. This allows Young to be kept alive in spirit within Reed's blade (named Avenger), and allows Reed to summon him during battle to fight against the Cluster. (It is important to note that Young cannot be killed while in summoned form.)

However, a problem arises with the transference of souls, and although Young's soul is embedded within Avenger, his spirit is free to move outside the sword as well as inside. Due to this strange occurrence, Reed is tempted to kill Young, but the young boy manages to persuade the Flarerunner to spare his life (through what means is up to the author).

It turns out that Scott Reed as well as three other Flareunners: Jack the Hand, Phantom Brigade and Limbre Thorn, have left the main Flarerunner body and have taken it upon themselves to kill the Driver, the Cluster's leader, in the hopes that this will end the relentless Cluster assault on the rest of human civilisation.

Before going any further though, the author might want to explain the Flarerunner's abilities - Jack the Hand can move and strike things at inhuman speeds, making it look as if he is teleporting, even though he is fully tangible during that period. Phantom Brigade can separate himself into many different bodies, of which only one is real - the others are like Naruto's shadow clones, except for the fact that they cannot be killed. Limbre Thorn has the ability to twist and contort his body into unimaginable shapes, rendering him almost impossible to hit.

The three Flarerunners continue through their journey, and throughout the course of their adventure, they encounter many fights with the Cluster, and Young eventually makes friends with Scott Reed. Authors should also develop the characters of all Flarerunners at this point, showing the readers glimpses of how terrible their training is, etc.

Along the way, they meet all sorts of people, including Rats Sam and Cool Braids, members of the Human Resistance - also known as Humans who do not have a Sanctuary to return to. Together, the motley bunch manage to infiltrate the headquarters of the Driver, and despite the deaths of several of their party (Phantom Brigade definitely kicks the bucket), Scott Reed (depending on the author, he might be the only one who survived) manages to make it to the throne room of the Driver.

However, the Driver reveals to him that the Cluster's motive was never to destroy humans - merely to attain the technology that would allow them to travel between worlds. Through raiding the Sanctuaries and Human Research facilities, the Cluster have finally located a world where they can invade without any troubles. Even now, the Driver is planning for a massive push into the New World through a giant portal in the middle of the Volcanic Desert.

At this point, things are up to the author. No matter what method he uses, there really isn't any alternative - the Driver is going to invade the New World whatever Scott Reed does. Nevertheless, Scott Reed must survive the following series of events, whatever they are. This is because his role in the story is not done - he plays a significant role in the Third Part of the story...

Well, I'll end off here, because I'm tired and I wanna sleep. Hopefully, this is still interesting - it's damn interesting to me - and if you wanna know more about the Cluster strains (of which I see only one person doing), feel free to ask. For those of you who hate reading (ie Herrick), just wait for Cherilyn's