Author's Notes

I spent a lot of time debating about the big fight with Psychotic. The important part of the chapter is the aftermath, the conversation with Zoe and the deathtrap. On the one hand I hate writing fight scenes. It's hard to make them something more than "bam, bam, bam, bam", especially with someone like Zoe who's going to be clever and have traps and so on. And yet the idea of NOT having an epic fight with her nemesis seemed ridiculous.

After spending weeks agonizing over this I finally realized something important: she won't remember it. From her point of view she' s on the plane and then she's in the hospital. By taking out that scene the reader experiences her disorientation. Yay, I get out of writing a chapter I didn't want to and it even makes it a better story.

I wanted to have a scene of her frantically trying to burn through Zoe's arm and then remembering that scene from the first Mad Max movie where Mel Gibson says, "You can hack through the cuffs in ten minutes. You can hack through your ankle in five." However it didn't work in the fragmented out-of-order memories I was doing here. But she thought about it before deciding to burn through Zoe's flesh to free herself.

Did you know the smallest nuke ever deployed by the U.S. was a projectile for the Davy Crockett tactical nuclear recoilless gun? The round was 31 inches long and 11 inches in diameter with a yield of 10 to 20 tons; as a frame of reference the Oklahoma City bomb had about 5 tons of force. So arguably you could create a very small nuclear bomb that just might fit in a human torso, especially in a big girl like Zoe.

I also considered the radiation but the way I look at it is this: if you don't die right away then, other than the increased risk of future cancer, you don't necessarily have any long-term effects. I'm aware of it in her overall condition but it's not like the first thing someone would say to her is, "Oh by the way all your hair fell out a couple months ago".

She gained three levels since the last chapter

  • Level 31 - Immolation 2, The Rush Of Battle 2
  • Level 32 - Fire Shield, The Rush Of Battle 3
  • Level 33 - Immolation 3, Initiative 1

Cataclysm Wakes Up Elsewhere and sees an Unfamiliar Ceiling (window). Pyro tells her she's been in a Convenient Coma. Cataclysm has Trauma Induced Amnesia so doesn't remember the details.

Later Witchcraft tells her about her accident and that No One Could Survive That. Cataclysm is Genre Savvy so lampshades and averts I Love Nuclear Power. Although they Never Found The Body I tried to make it clear Psychotic is not coming back.

Cataclysm's Easy Amnesia conveniently doles out memories as required. Zoe herself is also Genre Savvy (lampshaded). Memories include a Race Against the Clock as well as a total Ass Pull that The Chessmaster was behind the whole thing.