Frontier Update: Final.

Finding the time to take a few more editing sweeps at this story and turn it into something that I wouldn’t lose sleep over was more than difficult, but it’s done. Just in time for Rise of Iron, it seems!

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO DOWNLOAD YOUR EPUB COPY OF FRONTIER FROM MEGA or C&P the torrent magnet below!

magnet:?xt=urn:btih:AF460CB98AA7993C0042DABD7F65719EA1C97E08&dn=Frontier%2c%20A%20Destiny%20Story%20-%20Giancarlo%20Paniccia.epub&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.openbittorrent.com%3a80%2fannounce&tr=udp%3a%2f%2ftracker.opentrackr.org%3a1337%2fannounce

That’s it, folks! Officially the end of this project. On to the next.

I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible, including friends, family, my editor Vasily and every single one of the thousands of readers that gave me the encouragement to press on. Please feel free to converse and leave feedback either in the comments below or on Reddit.

 

See you starside, guardians.

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Frontier Update #18: Get LOUD, Guardians!

I’ll make this brief.

If you’re reading this and you’ve enjoyed Frontier,  you need to let Bungie know. Your mission is to make enough noise that they finally take notice of Frontier.  Tell them exactly what you’ve been telling me on the forums and comments and Reddit.

Your tweet-targets are:

DeeJ

Cozmo

Bungie (official)

If Twitter isn’t your weapon, take to the livestreams, or let other Destiny lore enthusiasts on Youtube like Byf know about my work.

You have your orders, guardian. The City, Angela, fireteam Warden and I are counting on you. Traveler’s light be with you.

Frontier Update #17: Sights, Sounds and Delays

First, an update. Life is… complicated. Work is really ramping up for Vasily and I so the work is taking far longer than we thought. Still, we’re working on it. At this point we’ve got about a third of the story re-edited. I’d rather get this done slow and right than fast and crappy. You deserve better. I deserve better. I really appreciate the patience.

Now, on to another thought.

There was a time, when final planning for the last few story elements were coming together, that I considered visual art pieces accompanying each act. I contacted a few of the artists that I liked via the Bungie forums and asked them to read my work. If they enjoyed it and were passionate about creating some pieces, they should get back to me. No real responses ever came.

Well, now that Frontier is in the wild and being enjoyed by tens of thousands of fellow guardians, I’m putting the word out again. As much as I’d like to pay (art should be paid for), I’m not currently in a position to. Still, I’m hoping someone will be interested.

Another interesting and much more far-flung offshoot of an idea that came up a few times while I was responding to social media and forum posts was turning Frontier into an audiobook. Back in the day, I ran a nerd-culture podcast. I’m also a big fan of audio dramas. The issues of actually making it happen are far more technical. I would need some skilled sound production, actors and the equipment to make it all happen. Not easy at all when I can’t promise money beyond the occasional lunch or fame beyond a wordpress blog. In fact, I can’t imagine the production costing less than $10,000 even if the actors and crew were all volunteers (and I’d have to eliminate all the scenes with established characters since their actors would never work for free).

Still, it might be fun to just imagine it. For instance, if I had all the money in the world, who would I have voice my original characters?

Solas: Manu Bennett. I’ve never been able to escape the idea that Solas needed a cool accent that isn’t British. Additionally, as Solas is a somber, philosophical and technobabbly type, the voice would need to be able to carry that sort of tone and sell it. There’s also Fred Tatasciore which could easily pull from his time as Zeratul from Starcraft and bring Solas to life.

Telemica: Claudia Black. Her commanding and growling voice is easily suited for the battle-thirsty titan. I’ve never heard Claudia do a battle roar (or at least one doesn’t come to mind), but I think it would be amazing. A close second would be Susan Eisenberg but I think her voice is a little high for Telemica.

Vatyr: Troy Baker. This one was so easy for me to choose, there isn’t even a backup choice. He’d be perfect for the fly by the seat of your pants but also thoughtful kind of hunter that Vatyr is. Also, Troy plays an acoustic guitar, so we could get some real music!

Wisp: Ali Hillis. For some reason that I could never quite understand, Wisp’s voice was always that of Liara from Mass Effect. Thoughtful, precise, powerful yet subtle. Melanie Minichino would be a good alternate after her work in Halo 5 as 031 Exuberant Witness.

Squire: J. Michael Tatum. Simply put, I needed the best submissive brit voice I could find, and the guy who did Sir Hammerlock from Borderlands 2 is exactly that. Squire isn’t anywhere near that cartoony, but he would work. This role was the hardest for me to fill, as a lot of other actors didn’t really feel right.

Glitch: Laura Bailey. With Vatyr absolutely being the type to have a woman be his guiding force, Glitch had to have the right female voice. Laura has a pretty amazing range that she’s displayed well in her career. I think an interesting alternate would be Tara Strong because she could possibly bring something special to the role that I might not be seeing. Ashly Burch would also be a very interesting alternate.

Angela: Cherami Leigh. There’s a special kind of voice that finds power within an ocean of innocence. That’s what I need for Angela and that’s what Cherami can bring to the table. A great alternate would be Ashley Johnson, who has really impressed me recently with her portrayal of Gortys in Tales From The Borderlands.

Arrenn Gee: Tim Phillipps. Arrenn has two phases. The first is an oddly quiet human warlock could know much more than he lets on, and the second is a raving acolyte.

Verulion: Peter Jessop. His performance as Sovereign in Mass Effect was exactly the kind of otherworldly bass that Verulion would need for his single speaking chapter.

I’d love to know what you think about these choices! Do they fit with the voices you hear when you read Frontier? Do you have other actors that you think could do a better job in capturing those voices that you hear? Let me know in the comments below!

One last thing. This is my 100th post on this blog. Yay! Thank you all again for taking this journey with me.

Extra Life!

My fiance and I have joined Extra Life, and Toronto has its own Guild as of last night, representing Sick Kids hospital.

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I won’t point out who I am, but I will point out someone far more important. See that kid up front holding all those beads? He’s a patient at Sick Kids, like I was when I was even younger than him. He’s fighting leukemia, and winning. Each bead represents a test or treatment he’s had to endure. We’re going to accomplish great things for kids like him.

Frontier Update #16: Taking Time

While responding to readers on social media and forums, I would often have to admit that I am a horrible editor of my own work. Even after Vasily came aboard to edit, I still managed to screw things up.

Now that we’re working on offline versions of Frontier, I’d rather not rush the edits and put out something that I’m not happy with. I’m sure you can understand that. You’ve given me license to have so much pride in this, and I owe it to you to make that pride count.

I know I promised pdf and epub versions this weekend, but it doesn’t look like we’ll make that deadline. I chose a horrible time to be a perfectionist, but that’s how things have turned out.

I’m still working hard on this. I thank for for your continued support and patience.

Frontier Update #15: Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning…

It’s Saturday. I’m sitting here in my office watching my cat sleep soundly amid a beam of sunlight on the carpet floor. The desk is littered with paperwork from the two business that I run. I’m downing a protein shake. It’s unseasonably warm in the suburb north of Toronto, Canada where I live with my mother and little brother and I have the window cracked open. The latest season of House of Cards is streaming on my iPad next to me while my mom catches up on Daredevil in the living room.

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.” the WordPress app on my iPhone tells me. I don’t believe it’s ever told me that before.

Because it was the last chapter that I’d just posted, I created a thread/advertisement on the Bungie forum, as well as a few subreddits. I’d done it a few times before but found no traction. This time, for some reason, was different.

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.”

For the first time in 15 months and through the weekend I am awestruck and humbled by the responses. Some are dumbfounded as to why I’d spend so much time writing a fanfic. A few ask me for writing advice. 99% of the responses are either bumps or praise. One person only agrees to read it because of my K/d ratio. They’re devouring the story fast! I respond to as many of them as I can because if I don’t release some of the pressure, my heart is going to explode.

Praise. For me. For my work. I’m literally shaking my head as I write that. It’s hard to fathom at moments. My fiance asks me if I’m tracking the numbers. Six minutes pass during that convo, and in that time I got 19 views. I often go six days without 19 views! Is flabbergasted a real word? I’m flabbergasted. Sunday is bigger. Monday was bigger still with over 20,000 views and over 6,100 original visitors! PlanetDestiny.com just picked Frontier up a few hours ago. I can barely handle this…

“Your stats are booming! From The Frontier is getting lots of traffic.”

THANK YOU. So many thank yous to so many of you amazing guardians that I wish that there was a better word for what I’m feeling for you. I’m a writer, so shouldn’t I have better words?

People have compared my work to Bungie’s. I have nothing but respect for their creative team. Do I think my work could be translated to the game? Maybe. As is, I don’t expect Bungie to throw any attention my way. Know what? That’s OK. I’ve reached so many readers at this point that I don’t really need Bungie’s bump to feel acknowledged. Sure, I can dream of a Community Focus article, but I won’t lose sleep over it.

Someone compared me to Ian Banks and Frank Herbert, which just writing now makes me want to break down into happy tears. How anyone could put me into the same camp as those gods is beyond me.

How much do I like Frank Herbert? This is my back.

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Yeah. 6 1/2 hours. A symphony of pain. Worth it.

Now the question is, what happens next?

Firstly, Frontier is complete. It took me a long time to figure out how to wrap it up and I didn’t like the idea of having it open-ended. Frontier wasn’t the type of story and Warden were not the type of heroes that get to ride into the sunset. I needed to tie it up, without being bleak and outright killing fireteam Warden off. Going back now and reviving them wouldn’t sit well with me. I learned what a good death was after watching masterpieces like Cowboy Bebop and playing games like Mass Effect. Death has merit. Besides, I think they’ve earned some rest, don’t you?

Thanks to some great feedback I got on the Bungie forums, I’m going to format Frontier for ebooks. PDF, ePub and Mobi. It’ll make the story easier to read for a lot of people, not to mention having it available offline. I love my Kindle and I love the idea of having my story on it. I’m going to try and have them done as soon as possible. Please follow me on Twitter or subscribe to this blog so you’ll know when those formats are ready to be downloaded.

Two people asked for an audiobook, and while that sounds like so much fun to make for a former podcaster like myself, I simply don’t have the resources. That said, if there’s a group out there that makes audiobooks for fun, I’d be happy to talk to them.

Before I can do any of that, I need to go back and do some editing. The vast majority of you didn’t notice anything or didn’t say anything when you did, but the first 17 chapters are lousy with errors. I’m a horrible editor of my own work and Vasily coming on to edit after chapter 18 was such an enormous boon, but I never asked him to go backwards. Now it needs to be done. When I put out offline versions, they need to be as perfect as I can make them.

Also, I’ve asked Vasily to compile some of his own thoughts on the project, so expect that post in the near future.

If I’m going to write more at this point, I should be focusing on original work. I feel that while writing a fanfic is a great way to cut one’s teeth, in the end I’m just playing with Bungie’s ball. I can do better. Not that I hadn’t considered other fanfic projects. Overwatch has my head spinning at times. I came up with a dark, alternate universe Street Fighter story concept that I sometimes think might have an audience. I could always crank out a Dungeons & Dragons tale. But in the end those are still fanfics and still based on other people’s work. Frontier set up a lot of challenges for me and I met every single one. I can create something that is entirely original and build off what I learned from Frontier. I want to do it, but it’ll take some time.

My next writing project will be my wedding vows. Beyond that, I wouldn’t mind just taking in some other people’s work for a while. I’m eager for Patrick Rothfuss’ next book in the Kingkiller saga, and there are some story-driven games that I have yet to play because it would have taken me away from writing. I think I’ve earned a bit of a vacation, just like Warden has.

In the meanwhile, fire off any questions you might have for me in the comments section! Topics like Frontier, my thoughts on the world of Destiny, gaming, writing… I’ll be happy to answer you either in the comments, or as standalone blog posts!

Again, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you!

Frontier – Act11 Chapter51 – Forward

Chapter 51: Forward

Earth
The Last City
Years later…

“It has taken years for us to rebuild this City. Our home. Years to heal from our wounds, mourn the dead and reforge our bonds. Hard time full of blood, sweat and tears. First, the Vex came to take away The Traveler, but we denied them their prize. Then the Fallen House of Kings came to our walls to strike at us while we were wounded, but they too were turned away.”

Angela stood at the podium atop the rebuilt and improved observatory in the centre of the tower lookout and took a breath to collect her thoughts before continuing. Her voice and image projected across the domain and beyond. She had expected her heart to be beating out of her chest. Perhaps in a time not so long ago, that would have been the case. She had found her mettle since then.

The young Speaker was flanked by the Vanguard leadership and other dignitaries, all in formal dress. She’d been preparing this speech for some time. She needed the people behind her for what was to come. She needed their hearts and minds. She could feel they were with her so far, and now she had to turn it up.

“Our valiant guardians protected us, laying down their restored lives for us time and again when things seemed most bleak. They stood, fought and were victorious!”

The crowd cheered.

“The factions found new common ground. The Dead Orbit became the foundation from which we built the Vanguard Navy. The Future War Cult opened their mysteries to us, allowing our research and development to jump ahead decades. New Monarchy enshrined me, your Speaker, as their Queen. New allies came to hear our call. The Queen of The Reef, The House of Judgement, the warmind Rasputin and more!”

The crowd cheered louder.

“Today, we commemorate the fateful day when three brave guardians accomplished the impossible. Through The Traveler’s blessing gifts, they destroyed the invader’s leader with a glorious blow. A single punch with such fury and power that it carved a deep valley into this mountain range that stretches into the horizon. Today, in honour of their service, bravery and sacrifice, we name this battle scar in the face of the world The Valley of The Warden.”

The crowd cheered even louder.

“The Darkness has officially been put on notice!”

The crowd roared. A chant of her name rolled through the masses. The entire City came alive. She let them and herself have it for a minute, then raised her hand to calm them.

“My people, we have walked through the forge of dark days and been remade stronger than ever before, but darker days still await us. Forces that will stop at nothing to grind us back into the dust. Will we let them?”

The crowd cried out defiantly.

“Our unity will make us stronger than anything they could ever break. Our light will burn The Darkness and its minions away. We will take back our worlds, and pioneer the golden path beyond. Today is a day of remembrance and celebration. Tomorrow, and for all the tomorrows after, we will move forever forward!”

The crowd erupted. Nothing could stop them now, Angela thought. She took a wave and vacated the podium. The festivities below were now in full swing, and the time for pretty words was over. For the people of the Last City on Earth, it was a time for joy. For Angela, it was always time for work. She had Vanguard reports to review and expansion plans to oversee. Tomorrow she’d be on a transport to The Reef to formalize trade negotiations and other partnerships.

Angela entered her private office in the observatory. An elegant space full of old books mixed with new tech. She keyed the biometric scanner hidden in the mechanisms of a sextant sitting on her wide Brazilian walnut desk. Hidden scanners in the office identified her and activated the portal.

Solas’ old lab had held up fairly well after the Vex incursion. The invaders never found a way into it, so as soon as Angela had gotten the chance after the battle, she had run down to the main entry and keyed the door. The power core was nearly drained, the unique ammo stores were all but depleted, and the main processing core was totally burned out. Ikora helped her close the few experiments that the frames were still running and relocate the main entry portal to Angela’s new office. The lab had once been where Solas prepared for Warden’s ordeal. Now, it’ll serve a new purpose.

At the centre of the lab, where Solas’ pod once was, stood something new. Within a complex assortment of cables, scanners and interfaces, three clear teardrop-shaped crystalline bulbs hung from a miniaturized version of the lab’s old power core. Each bulb containing a ghost.

After the battle, Angela had ordered Warden’s ghosts found. They were assumed dead but Angela had just become the new Speaker and she didn’t hesitate to put that influence to work. Using the wealth of tools in Solas’ lab, she discovered that Wisp, Glitch and Squire were in fact still alive, perhaps through some residual effect of The Traveler’s boon. It should not have been possible, but impossible was becoming more and more common these days. Fireteam Warden had survived by the thinnest of margins.

The three ghosts now floated comfortably in a liquid light solution pioneered recently by Omolon foundries. Slowly, they were absorbing light and gaining strength. There was no way for her to know when they’d wake up. It could be tomorrow, or it could be a hundred years from now. Every evening, Angela would come down to this lab, make sure the frames were tending to them properly as well as Angela’s other experiments, check the readouts and findings, look at the three ghosts, and promise her friends that the world they saved would flourish in their absence. Finally, before retiring to her bed, she’d always ask her friends for a small favour.

“Come back soon.”