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See you later, instigator
03 December 2015 @ 09:08 pm

Hello and welcome to my previously defunct and now resurrected LJ. My new fics (2014 - 2016) are available on my AO3, with links under the cut. Otherwise, this LJ is now friends-only and updated on a strict schedule of "every now and then".

And only if you can tolerate my inside jokes.

The public portion of this LJ consists mostly of fic with the occasional meta/general post thrown in. Feel free to browse the index below if you find yourself interested in something I've written! The list is maintained in time with new stories. (Last updated on October 8, 2016.)

Fic Masterlist: Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid, Three Kingdoms adaptations, Samurai Warriors, Harry Potter, Resident Evil, miscellaneousCollapse )

A Note on Ratings & ListingsCollapse )

Blanket disclaimersCollapse )

Current layout by fruitstyle.

See you later, instigator
Or rather, a better question is what do I want to read.

My relationship with mainstream publishing is strained, to say the least. I have about a million problems with the line people want to forcibly draw between "fan" and "original" fiction on the basis of little more than copyright law, and purchasing traditionally published books always feels subtly like buying into it. Also, there is a certain style in a lot of these published works that comes across as a little...pretentious? Uniform? Now, I'm not summarily calling a diverse bunch of writers bad. I'm saying that there's a certain style and a certain topic range that has a higher chance of being traditionally published, and most of the time that doesn't do it for me (anymore). I'm looking to be proven wrong.

Now in fandom, reading has always felt more genuine. I don't think I need to justify in an LJ post of all places why I think the traditional(ist) view of fandom sells it short, so I'll just focus on what the issues are, right now, for me. You see it used to be much easier to find things I at least moderately enjoyed, and on occasion enjoyed a whole lot, in fandom. It's gotten much harder recently. And again, I'm not making a statement to the effect that there's suddenly a lot of bad writers - there's not. In fact, the reason is me.

Ever since I had the amazing epiphany that in most canons, the characters didn't have to be cis any more than they had to be straight, I've changed how I approach reading and interacting with fandom media. (I also think everyone should have this epiphany to question their own assumption of cis being the default, but I digress.) There's some small acknowledgment of trans (I include nonbinary under that label) interpretation in fandom now, but it's all wrapped in condescending, double-standard rhetoric - particularly the term "headcanon", as if a legitimate reading of a character as trans or any other marginalized group were somehow more "in your head" than the mindless assumption that they all have to be cis, all the time. So that's already something that alienates me, because even when I do find an author or artist who portrays character XYZ as trans, 99% of the time they will preface it with something to the effect of "behold my headcanon. Sorry not sorry."

Maybe you should be sorry for treating trans readings as lesser or somehow intrinsically outlandish. But people prefer to apologize for doing it at all.

That's not even getting into the second, more obvious problem: trans fanworks are rare. Shockingly, disturbingly rare, and the few we get tend to come wrapped in a thick sheet of self-deprecation (often) and deprecation from the outside (almost always).

So nowadays, if I even want to go out looking for fics of my favourite characters, I have to resign myself to the fact that most of them will fail to align with my interpretation of them at the first hurdle. And sure, you "shouldn't" care so much about whether someone is trans or cis. And indeed if the numbers were even, I wouldn't. I'd just read anything indiscriminately, the way I used to back in the old ignorant days of not even realizing existing characters could be trans. But as it stands, with the numbers so overwhelmingly in favour of cis readings - so much that they're not even considered readings, they're considered fact - I can't.

But I'd like to read indiscriminately. I'd love to have that epistemic privilege.

In my primary fandom, if I find any trans fics, they're written by me, my lovely partner, and/or a few mutual friends of ours (as in, think single digits). For art, the number is even lower because unlike the rest of the aforementioned people, I can't draw. But even if I could, the point is that you shouldn't necessarily have to make it to have it. The thing should just be available.

Like most everyone, I get attached to my preferred readings. And when people just sweep through that first layer of interpretation, when they get to that "of course" moment when their interpretation of a character as invariably cis becomes the material of their fic or pic, after a while that kind of hurts. Stupidly, because it's not like they owe me anything. Or even produce their fanworks with a specific intent of distressing someone out there they don't even know. Obviously. Sadly that doesn't change my reading experience.

If I knew someone thought trans interpretation of a character was valid and just chose to write that character as cis on that particular occasion, that would be different. With strangers, though, it's much more realistic to assume that they've either never even considered it or would outright reject it. ("Assume" is probably the wrong word. We've been in enough fights to know people do reject it.)

There's also the fact that you won't have much of an audience if you go against the grain in this regard. I wrote my share of cis-assumed fics. In my main fandom, I eventually left a note at the end of those saying thanks for reading, I'm still happy with the characterization but could you check out my newer work with my current take on their genders? Can you guess which fics are still getting kudos after years and which sit there with a count that doesn't seem to budge?

And yet, and yet. It's not about the numbers or popularity. I don't think it's even particularly about me, in the wider context anyway. But it has resulted in this bizarre practice where I'm actually more likely to read fic for characters I don't care as much about as my primary faves, simply because it won't bother me as much when people immediately jump to the cis assumptions with them. Or I read in fandoms where I wasn't expecting it anyway, or was happier with the cis assumptions there (I generally have no problem reading about cis women because there's already so little representation for them as well, especially in fandom. Although that doesn't mean trans women shouldn't be represented). A nice way to broaden one's horizons perhaps, but no one should feel that alienated from their main fandom interests. No one should feel the need to actively avoid them outside of a specific circle of trustworthy people. And yet, here we are.

The final problem is one of content, and I freely admit I used to be like this myself. Too many trans fics are "about" being trans. Of course that gets boring fast. That's the same format over and over, and usually padded with the worst stereotypes too (alongside a heaping dose of misery). Of course many people wouldn't be interested in writing that. The thing is, neither am I - I want characters who are casually trans. Who do all the same things we've seen them do, only without the assumption that a cis person, usually a cis dude, did it. Who are known to be trans and aren't questioned. Who take a positive stance on it. Oh, and I want porn. I want the full range of moods and genres and plots and situations that have always been available to cis characters.

That's what I'd like to write (more of), and that's what I'd like more people to write. While it's infinitely more valuable to have such a fic written by someone as a labour of love, it would also be nice to live in a world where trans stories can come completely out of left field. And I just don't see the latter happening.

I want to write more. What do I read?
See you later, instigator
15 December 2015 @ 02:38 am
So, that fic masterlist up top is extremely outdated. I've written quite a lot in new fandoms that's not been posted here, so let's just go and make a new reference!

My fics on AO3
My Tumblr (less active than it used to be but I still go there occasionally)
Aaand ask me for my gmail/hangouts and skype details if you want. I shared my old AIM with some people here, but haven't used that in over a year because it got hacked (through no fault of my own; in fact I'd changed the password on it like the week before because of the heartbleed bug, but oh well).

Any other sites I should give a go? Where have y'all been?
See you later, instigator
13 December 2015 @ 11:34 pm
Yeah, what is this? A new post! Here! What the heck?!

Well, hi and hi. Yes, I'm using LJ again, as part of a conscious move away from Tumblr with a few others who also feel it's a crappy and stressful platform without essential features that would make using it enjoyable. I know I've made some posts in the past that I was coming back and then didn't, but well, I have been busy and somehow Tumblr always prevailed despite the ridiculous issues. But now I'm about ready to go back to this maybe unpopular, but at least usable platform and my 200+ icons I bought way back when.

So anyway! If you're reading this and still using this site, please do say hi and let's catch up! I have no idea who's still here or not right now, sorry. Remember back in the day when I made a sticky post and dated it forward, thinking it was so far in the future it couldn't possibly be a concern? Well, that date was 3rd December 2015. Joke's on me, but at least now we apparently have a sticky feature. Nice.

Another reason I procrastinated returning here is the fact that there's a lot of old bullshit from the 00s that doesn't sit right with me anymore, but I suppose we can leave that behind and turn over a new leaf. Reassuringly, what I found out in the past several years are pretty nice things. For one, it is possible to move countries. It is possible to find new relationships that completely redefine what seemed good in 2009. It is possible to be trans without either dysphoria or any surgery. These are pretty general statements so who cares if they're public - basically, ignore every terrible emo statement I inflicted on my poor audience here in the past. There's more to life than that and sometimes it helps to get a little "old" and see it.

That said, I do feel old typing this post, like what does this website even look like. But oh well!

Most posts will be friendslocked in the future, with the exception of fics/meta/general public interest stuff. I'm happy to keep existing people and add new if asked. I'm also on hangouts pretty much all the time, so let me know if you want in on that.
See you later, instigator
It's been on AO3 for a while, but I figured I might as well add it to my personal archive here too. On the off-chance anyone happens to be in this fandom, feel free to point me towards comms if any exist. XD (You should be in this fandom. It's epic. I have two other WIPs for it but I guess they're temporarily on hold now that my feels have been hit by Metal Gear to the extreme again. Anyway, here goes.)

Title: Killing Indecision

Fandom: Hawaii Five-0 (2010)

Characters: Kono Kalakaua/Adam Noshimuri

Rating: SFW, no warnings

Summary: A cramped hospital room is no place to make big revelations.

Notes: Set right after Kono’s last conversation with Adam in 3x23. It was a little speculation fic while waiting for the season finale, and I'm pleased the finale didn't throw it straight into "that makes no sense now" territory. (Granted, I copped out of that risk mostly by not giving it a definite ending one way or the other, BUT OH WELL.)

Disclaimer: I’m selling nothing; no copyright infringement intended.

'Don't leave, okay?'Collapse )

See you later, instigator
People. PEOPLE. I've become so bad at this LJ thing that at this point all I expect is for you to kick me, but in case anyone still wants to have anything to do with my sorry ass, please do not hesitate to check here! (And if you follow, let me know who's you unless you have the same username.)

Now. I had a bad case of guilt trip about LJ these past months, irrational as that sounds. Basically...my former method of LJing no longer feels productive to me, blogging the way I used to. I used to mainly need textual introspection (and, accordingly, this blog became more and more private) - but I got progressively more busy with my current uni and freelancing and activism and whatnot, and writing about all those things in that much detail after dealing with them from day to day just started to feel like a chore. So I went over to Tumblr, which operates more along the lines of "post whatever comes to your goddamn mind, silly or deep, short of long, add your commentary or don't, create the post from scratch or add onto something else, no specific format required." This has felt massively beneficial to my random schedule, but also my current state of mind. I still do introspection, but I seldom feel the need to write it coherently out like I usually did here. To be honest, I'm kinda done introspecting about things I could as well say in public and make a difference by saying them outside of a private circle. Tumblr lets you do that, if that's your goal. Tags are easy to track.

The thing is, LJ has been part of my life for a long time, and I started feeling guilty about not posting here. Which, of course, I resolved by avoiding this place, because that's what you do when you have anxiety related to your own blog/writing. And this is where the unintentional asshole part comes in, because even if my writing habits have changed, I've been basically ignoring everyone who hasn't moved to Tumblr. Not to mention every comm here, if they're still even active.

So, if there are still people watching this space, I'm really sorry about disappearing and I still care if you're here. I also seem to have worked out the underlying issue I've had with LJ in the past couple...months, so chances are that I'll start BEING HERE again, even if mostly to comment and sometimes cross-archive things. Definitely not deleting.

yes tl;dr HI FOR REAL?
See you later, instigator
11 November 2012 @ 01:40 am

Yet again, I've been running between school and queer workshops/events/lectures to the point that I've only been home to sleep most days. The tiredness and constant lack of time no thanks to the added transportation conditions are beginning to get most annoying, but I've been enjoying it all a lot otherwise. Not going to get into more detail in a public post, but it's good!

Also, spending so much time watching powerful films is reawakening my creativity in that lovely for-its-own-sake way. So here's something I started ages ago, then procrastinated on, then reread and procrastinated again, and finally felt capable of pulling off now. Enjoy!

Title: Flow Unbroken
Theme Set: Epsilon at 1sentence
Characters: Takeda Shingen/Uesugi Kenshin; mentions of Naoe Kanetsugu
Summary: Being but fifty passing moments of one rivalry without hostility.
Rating: Slightly NSFW for amazingly vague references to war, drinking, and sexual-ish subtext?
Notes: Shingen and Kenshin, the best historical alliance that never was. I'm drawing upon an alternate-history take on the two of them as told in their respective stories in Samurai Warriors 2, where they eventually join forces. ("Nemesis" is Kenshin's customary address for Shingen in the English release of the game.) The sentences themselves are all loosely connected but not arranged in any set chronological order. Any feedback is loved and put on a pedestal.
Thanks to cherrytruck and shinigami_yumi for testing out whether this whole thing even worked outside my own head.
Disclaimer: Samurai Warriors belongs to Koei.

'An end to our feuding is long overdue...'Collapse )

See you later, instigator
07 November 2012 @ 07:50 pm


Honestly, I'm not saying Obama's perfect in every way ever, but he is immeasurably better than everything and anything R-money represented. So relieved this turned out well. So gleeful all the butthurt bigot rallying we've seen in the past months meant shit-nothing to the actual outcome of this election after all.

Also, more US states legalizing marriage equality! Spain reaffirming it! Weed being legal in more US states now too! I would look for news sources to link here but unfortunately I have assignments to do! You can party it up on ontd_political if you want, though. JUST A GOOD DAY ALL AROUND.

Now excuse me, watching that glorious trollface some more. XD

ETA: OKAY ALSO ALSO you need to all watch this. And rejoice that a brilliant parody is where it ends!

...ETA II: And this. adfghjkl; HAHAHA
See you later, instigator

For cherrytruck, LORD OF THE BIRDS. /bricked

I'm sorry, my dear, that this was supposed to be done by your birthday and now it's kind of nearer the actual Sekigahara anniversary. Well, sometimes DAHT'S LIEF, HAAAUGH? I hope it's worth the wait I put you through.

Originally, I thought I'd write something about Mitsuhide and Nobunaga for this occasion, but 1) the idea I had with them was depressing and somewhat creepy so not the best birthday gift (but I'll still write it another time), and 2) Che then joined me on the Mitsunari/Sakon bandwagon, so that's what this fic is. And it's going to be ridiculously upbeat, because what's the point of creating historical time paradoxes when you can't even give your favourites a happy ending? :P

Title: Beyond the Fog
Characters: Ishida Mitsunari/Shima Sakon; other cameos
Rating: Slightly NSFW, no specific warnings
Word Count: ~2,600
Summary: Mitsunari and Sakon make themselves at home in Ieyasu's fallen stronghold.
Context Notes: Based almost exclusively on SW2 canon, which, as anyone who has played the game as Mitsunari or Sakon can attest, means alternate history. The change: Mitsunari's Western Army wins the battle of Sekigahara, then proceeds to run the Tokugawa out of Edo castle (which is where this fic is set when it's all over). Also, Sakon's gun injury is treated, so they both survive. I have nothing against poor Ieyasu but I just like Mitsunari and his unbelievable horde of ~romantic friendships~ despite his apparent unpopularity among most others better. And I just feel so bad that the main reason he lost was because half his allies in that battle were either flakes or holding grudges. My favourite part of SW2 is messing with that part of history and making these guys win instead. XD
Stages serving as the background to this fic: Yukimura's Dream (because it includes both the victory at Sekigahara and Sakon's gun accident), Mitsunari's Dream (contains the siege of Edo and his unique fan). Well, I had to add Sakon to the latter level here. I never let him die at Sekigahara in the game (once it happened and I got so furious I replayed the level immediately TO MAKE IT GO RIGHT), and I assume he survives in such a case and Koei was just being careful about putting him in a later level in case the player doesn't salvage him. The environment and weather conditions in the fic are lifted from SW2 as well.
Other Notes: My first completed fic after months mostly taken up by academic writing. If it shows, blame that blasted degree I had to prevail over.
Disclaimer: The Samurai Warriors series belongs to Koei.

'So, what do you plan to do now you've won it all?'Collapse )
See you later, instigator
08 August 2012 @ 11:39 pm

Well, I've been obsessed with the Sengoku/Warring States era lately. My obsessions usually involve consuming and comparing lots of media. I'd like to review my favourites properly sometime because I usually don't bother enumerating why I like something if I like it, but first, I think I'll launch into some criticism. There's this popular game/anime series, Sengoku Basara. I wanted to find out what exactly makes it so popular, so I plunged right in some time ago.

Basara is...oh dear. I went into it fully prepared to accept an alternate interpretation, but nothing could have prepared me for what it actually was like. It may seem weird it's me saying that, when I'm usually the person who is all about reinterpretation (it'd be hypocritical to pretend my favourite series of the moment, Samurai Warriors, doesn't involve reinterpretation on some pretty major levels). Why the problem with Basara?

Because they've reinterpreted everything so much there's nothing left. And it is not done in the kind of brilliant way that would make that sort of thing not only workable, but awesome. I was going to write a huge paragraph of examples, but actually...let me just elaborate on the biggest ones and then assure you that there's a lot more where these came from. This is all from the first season of the anime. I'll rephrase that: this is all from twelve episodes, which is probably how I managed to plough through them all. Well, me and the unwitting victim of my suggestion to watch this, Che. I would like to publicly apologize for making her go through all this with me and for being such an annoying bastard about it. (I'd also like to direct you to her own totally awesome review.)


I could've dealt with some of these drawbacks if the story had been genuinely compelling. But as things went, I was just sitting there going "it has to get good now...now...NOW?" and it never did. There are a few bright moments, but that's it. I've even checked out some footage of the game, in case the anime was seriously misinterpreting it and I was looking in the wrong place, but then I saw Mitsunari also yelling and being a murder machine and...yeah. I should stop expecting so much.   

So, I watched Basara to find out why it seems to be more popular than SW. The result of this experiment is...I still don't understand. Most of the characters are more on the side of caricature, but they're too similar to one another for it to be much fun. There are a few moments that stand out to me, e.g. I LOL'd endlessly at that scene where Mitsuhide gets sake poured over his head from a skull. He licks it up gladly; they didn't even play up his abstaining habits. Because that would be characterization. (SW devotes several separate convos to him being a teetotaler and how it makes him interact with characters who drink/ask him to drink, but such petty details are beneath Basara.) I'm sort of glad I watched it for the trainwreck and the lulz, but I don't think I'm even going to follow the second season unless I'm feeling super masochistic. Even then, though, I might as well cover myself in bees if I want to feel pain that bad.

I wanted to include more Sengoku-related reviews here, some of them being of things I actually like, but Che bullied me into posting this one separately, so enjoy this giant grudgepost. On the other hand, we saw this in June or something, so it may be for the best I finally wrote it down. M'BAD. I'll still do the others as well; it might just take some time. [For the curious with preliminary ratings]They're Samurai Warriors 2 (A+), Mirage of Blaze (5/10), Musashi manga (6/10), Sekigahara documentary (7/10), Fuurin Kazan series with GACKT AS KENSHIN (8/10), Shogun: Warlord Edition if I manage to play it without losing all the time, and Tenchijin if I manage to watch more than two episodes soon enough. THEY WON'T ALL BE AS LONG AS THIS POST, I promise.

...I might have forgotten something.

See you later, instigator

Che! I know this isn't what you asked for, and you are going to get your longer Mitsuhide/Oda fic when I can actually get it done, but for now, here's something. Just a tiny little thing. As in, a legit drabble. Exactly 100 words. (Spot the words I asked you to pick first for no apparent reason!)

The Rule of ThreeCollapse )


See you later, instigator

So, about that fic drought. It lasted for a while. I do have a few things started, but not finished yet - let's hope they move over to the "finished" pile eventually. But I wasn't in the greatest fic-writing spot for the majority of this year plus last winter, as a glance at this LJ could probably show.

Then this happened.

In MGS4, the character of Drebin was among my favourites. I'd never really written about him, though, because his sort of detached-from-everyone quality made giving him a context to explore beyond the whole Patriot thing difficult (and Kojima had already done the one other thing I would have, i.e. gave him some interesting conversations with a twist, particularly in the epilogue).

One recent morning I was like, "Well, to hell with that. I have an image of Snake and Drebin in my head and am gonna put it on monitorpaper." Thus was formed the first - very short, very random, but nevertheless - the first fic I'm posting here this year. I hope it's at least, uh, readable.

(By the way! ACTA has finally bombed itself due to its own universe-splitting awfulness, so I can do away with that protest banner in my index post and go right back to full-on nerding. w00t!)

Title: Man from Nowhere
Characters: Old Snake, Drebin
Rating: SFW
Word Count: ~300
Summary: WAR HAS CHANGED This is a war zone. You don't just stand there contemplating a gun dealer for no reason.
Notes: Takes place during that scene where they first meet, but it's not necessarily chronological as far as the individual components of that meeting go. This whole thing is impressionistic because...because. Enjoy, if you can!

He knows he shouldn't stare.Collapse )

Current Music: 'Carry On' - Galneryus
See you later, instigator
17 July 2012 @ 11:42 pm

When I'm browsing through youtube videos of a favourite character or another, and inevitably there will be arguments of "were they gay/were they not gay" in the comments. Inevitably, these will be polarizing arguments. Inevitably, also, the detractors are just utterly convinced that there would have been officially-kept records of, say, two guys sleeping together - and if there are no such records to find, it automatically rules the whole option out forever and ever amen.

I'm very much of the "if we don't know, we don't know" school of thought. Sometimes you can't make claims either way. Actually, often you can't make claims either way - about anyone, unless they tell you. And people tell about personal things a lot less often than your average Eraser of Anything Queer Ever would think. You know who most certainly won't tell you anymore? Historical figures.

Look, I don't want much. I just wish this sort of minimal acknowledgment of complexity and/or uncertainty weren't totally lost on most people.


See you later, instigator
23 June 2012 @ 10:39 pm

Wow. When I decided to treat the public part of my journal as just a fic-and-occasional-essay/meta repository, I didn't imagine that there might be a time I simply won't have the chance to get any of that written for extended periods. But now seems to be such a time, and my last public post was in January (and a signal boost, at that - I hadn't written it myself). I know why I adopted the policy of "post only what's super representative in the public entries" when I did, but at the same time I don't want my LJ to go totally silent just because it may be a while before I can get any fandom writing done again.

So, I think I'll be posting a "random" thing without the friendslock every now and then. Why not. Better than sitting around posting nothing as LJ's traffic keeps dwindling.

Today's post isn't going all that random, anyway. I wanted to pay respects to the fact that it's been 100 years since the birth of Alan Turing. I've celebrated by googling him - I think he'd approve - and came up with some surprisingly okay articles published in assorted places today, so I'll share some of the links. (Did you have a go at the brilliant little Google "minigame" commemorating the anniversary? I did and even solved it twice, no doubt just out of my sheer admiration for the man.)

Eat some apples today - I've had two - and be glad if they're healthy and not laced with bigot venom.

Speaking of anniversaries and fiercitude, today really must be a day with high concentrations of badass in the air, as it's also the 478th birthday of Oda Nobunaga. While he's not an entirely unobjectionable figure, what with the whole Demon King thing and all, I've been moderately obsessed with the Sengoku era and Samurai Warriors lately and have a soft spot for the big baddie. HOW MEDDLESOME.

...and apparently Alfred Kinsey was born on June 23, too. You know, the one who trolled cultural memes about ~compulsory~ heterosexuality by presenting figures of how same-gender sexy encounters were a lot more common than previously thought. And brought at least the concept of a scale for human sexuality instead of some mandatory binary opposition into the public mind.

Well, well. If this isn't a fabulous day, actually.

See you later, instigator
29 October 2011 @ 08:56 pm

So, here's my too-complex-for-three-hours contribution to NaNoMaChines 2011, main event. Despite the length, which I don't know how happened, this is actually pretty condensed since the idea stretches over a longer period of time before and during Peace Walker, not to mention all the partial issues I didn't have time to delve into if I wanted this to retain any coherence. Cross-posted from mgs_slash.

Title: By Chance and by Design
Characters/Pairings: Kaz, Zero, Sigint, Para-Medic (Dr Clark), Big Boss; BB/Kaz, background BB/Zero
Rating: Slightly NSFW (passing references to violence and sex, not at the same time)
Word Count: ~3,700
Summary: Kaz's quest for a real fight takes him to Colombia, but he finds himself at the core of a conflict that spans the world instead.
Notes: This is based almost exclusively on PW since I don't have a whole translation of the accompanying drama CD (but if you know what's there, you might find a few nods to it). The exact sequence of events from when Kaz first meets BB in battle to his collaboration with Zero and the establishment of the MSF I took liberties with, as PW itself doesn't seem to give a fixed order. In this fic, Kaz is transgender (a man who was assigned female at birth). I tried not to twist canon to accommodate this, since part of the point of the story is that there's no reason to always assume every character we come across in the media will be cis. (I swear briefings like this or this only encourage the "alternative" interpretation.)
Keep in mind that this is a Metal Gear fic, so there are fucked-up elements that have nothing to do with Kaz's AU status in itself. (One thing that shouldn't have to be said: it's just his story, not a blueprint for every trans* experience.) Kaz's physical transition, when it happens, is Metal Gear Science that's about as faithful to IRL canon as the fact that the Patriots had human cloning in 1972. (I didn't dwell on it in detail anyway, since there already are tons of stories with trans* characters that will tell you everything about their genital configuration on the expense of everything else. Also, no time to write it in.)
Warnings: PW spoilers, including direct quotes in some scenes. Power dynamics galore.
Disclaimer: MGS belongs to Hideo Kojima & Konami.

'You're Kaz Miller, right?'Collapse )

See you later, instigator

But first off, thanks to the anonymous benefactor who sent that spider gift to my profile! :D

I've decided to round up my posts from the warm-up round for NaNoMaChines so as not to lose track of them sooner or later. They were fun to write. We did a bunch of prompts, where one prompt = 20 minutes to fill. The whole round was epic and spawned quite many worthy contributions, which I encourage you to check out! We went with the "very short fic" definition of "drabble" rather than "100 words exactly" for this event, so I'll be tagging them as drabbles here. Down with terminology wars! I mean.

Peace Walker; BB & Kaz

PreliminariesCollapse )

MGS3; BB/Zero

[Your own joke about Ground Control goes here]Collapse )

Peace Walker; BB/Zero, shameless Shakespeare exploitation

'Wherefore art thou Cipher?'Collapse )

MGS4; BB/Ocelot, Solid Snake

Define 'crazy'Collapse )

MG2 & MGS1; Gray Fox/Solid Snake, warning for character death and violence

He can't tidy up this mess.Collapse )

Peace Walker; Zero & Zadornov, BB/Zero

Diplomacy over tea and coffeeCollapse )

Peace Walker; BB/Zero and Zero/brooding

What are the old times?Collapse )

See you later, instigator
21 October 2011 @ 07:05 pm

Not a pun, of course. Or is it? Or...is it. Anyway, in celebration of that great MGS3 video collection that had been nuked from Youtube some time ago being restored, let's have some Zero meta because there's only so long I can keep all this in my head only. One cannot but conclude that everything about this character points to something else and that seems well beyond purposeful, Kojima. Continued from this post; some Peace Walker and general series spoilers.

So, the well-known-to-MGS-fans stuff first. During the Virtuous Mission, he famously uses "Major Tom" as his alias (because "Zero" isn't codename-y enough, you see). It would be an obvious nod to Bowie and the theme of space exploration (which Kojima corroborated according to this article), except the game takes place in 1964 whereas the song came out in 1969. Since MGS is half-story-half-meta to begin with, this doesn't completely discount the Bowie reference, but there does need to be a different explanation for it in-story: which is then found in the movie The Great Escape. Being the WWII nerd veteran he is, Zero just liked the idea of digging tunnels to escape from the Nazis so much he chose one of the tunnel names for a remixed codename of his. And it was the lucky tunnel, too - such an auspicious move; what could go wrong? Well, the fact that he remembered it wrong and the mission he used it on likewise ended with Snake (BB) irradiated and almost killed, not to mention heartbroken over his mentor. But the name choice is interesting, because instead of going with something "finished" like Major Tom of the Bowie song (because time paradox), it is Major (from Major Zero) + Tom (movie reference). SPLIT UP. Gee, no wonder he didn't stick with it.

Another interesting point is that, unlike the majority of MGS characters, Zero actually has a full date of birth. He doesn't have much background info in canon (beyond the teasing tidbits that'll have me writing fic for him on and off for the next century) but for some reason, his "driving licence" sort of info-blurb is more complete than that of most of the cast. All you get for Big Boss by contrast is a year of birth, and that only after Peace Walker when it can be calculated back. (Also notice how they both have ages that are in reference to something: Zero's to the SIS and BB's to Che Guevara, though he wasn't born in the same year.) There should be some significance to giving Zero that much info, right?

I've already spoiled that there is. Zero's year of birth, 1909, coincides with the establishment of the British Intelligence as an organization. Considering that his entire career was in special ops and spying, that's already significant, but more chilling is that whole aspect of intelligence collecting/information collection --> The System as an ongoing theme of MGS, leading towards centralized control. In that way, his character comes to be read as the power of information personified (and the moment one controls all information then there's the obvious issue of corruption/how that information can be manipulated and used for one's gain and to the oppression of others. Something Zero would have learned, and would then become. Irony). Anyway, it was after I discovered this too-good-to-be-coincidental explanation for 1909 that I came across this conversation from MGS3 where Zero basically confirms the same thing. Except instead of analysis, it's foreshadowing.

He also explains "Zero" in the most obvious way: it used to be O, as the first letter of his surname was what he'd have been using to communicate with his subordinates. (Notice that his surname is assumed to just have been "Oh": I want to know whether that's seriously it or just a longer transcription of the initial, or both.) I honestly don't know whether we're supposed to think he was ever the head of British Intelligence from that conversation, though there's enough blank space in the canon for it to fit in. It would just be odd why, if he had risen that high, he'd go and exchange it for a stint in the US special forces where he would again have to answer to a ton of higher-ups (although establishing a new unit and/or keeping in touch with The Boss would have been compelling reasons). Either way, he references this system in relation to Cumming as the originator of that practice (with only C for a signature). There's a Bond reference to make here as well, but more on that later.

Because Zero likes puns, he took it the system a step further (oh snap) and turned O into Zero. The boundaries between how you're supposed to read something written as 0 or Ø are muddled, anyway. By itself, you can say zero or null (note: Null). In phone numbers, it tends to be pronounced as "oh" again. But here's the kicker: how do you pronounce it in computing? Binary codes? Does it even matter how it would be read there? Again with this "information" theme.

Zero himself has this to add in the video: "In another sense, though, it signifies a ghost - one whose true identity must remain a mystery. The primogenitor of the solo sneaking operation." Apart from the subtle bragging (which, fair enough: I'd brag too if I had a grand total of a few approved individuals I could mention something to at all), what he says right here is much less focused on the power- and information-related meanings, and much more on "OPERATE IN SECRET BECAUSE SO DID I". Interestingly, Snake (BB) only responds with "is that so".

[Re: Null; there are *cough* others who have spent more time figuring him out than I have, but it's fascinating that while he basically has the same codename, it's the exact opposite of what Zero means. Zero can, in how he's set it up, mean a great range of things. Part of the fun of the code is that it does indeed change meanings depending on the circumstances and context, but it never just stands for "nothing". "Null", on the other hand, is precisely nothing: no senses (or sensations; that he does have reflexes is the point), no feelings, no memory. It's only when Null escapes from the artificially imposed cycle of being wiped to a tabula rasa on a daily basis that he can remember his former name - as Null, he didn't need it. Zero also doesn't need his original name when he's Zero, but the difference is that he chose that on purpose. As far as the multiplicity of possible meanings goes, Zero is actually closer to Gene than to Null, if we're going by Portable Ops context in this paragraph. But in the long run he loses his humanity to his own System, whoops.]

At any rate, did I say Zero likes puns? By Peace Walker, we get from Zero to Cipher. Isn't that so frustrating: first it's a name that's set up to mean anything, and now it's something that says instead of a name that it's a bloody cipher. Except it is more revealing than that; again meaning hidden in plain sight.

Helpfully, it's elaborated on in canon:
Kaz: [Paz] must have put on the act to get close to Gálvez. Wonder how much Coldman knew... But the whole time she was working for some organization called "Cipher".
BB: "Cipher"... Ring any bells, Kaz?
Kaz: Cipher...Cipher...it means "code." Or "zero" in Arabic numerals.
BB: Zero...
Kaz: Does that mean something to you? [dishonest Kaz is dishonest]
BB: Not sure. [haha brutal]
Kaz: Hmm. You know, "cipher" and "zero" were basically the same word. It's a linguistic redundancy. The word stems from the Sanskrit "shunya"... It corresponds to the Buddhist concept of emptiness. In Buddhism, "shunya" means hollow. It supposedly refers to something that's swollen and empty on the inside.
BB: A big, swollen emptiness...just like outer space.

WELL SNAP. Consider that another of the few times Zero is explicitly mentioned in PW (implicit mentions would total to a lot more, like I don't know almost half the game while the "bigger" half is driven by BB and Strangelove's stories) is by The Boss AI, and it's literally a code as well: "the lonely fox chases the one-eyed hound". The context of this is extremely loaded, being the time BB is dismantling the AI; you can just pay attention to how most of what she says grows simpler and more fragmented with how additional memory boards are pulled, but this sentence jumps out as a variation on the "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" saying. (By the way, this scene is amazing and haters of this game can pack up and leave now.) Because I am a sap, I like to think that's either The Boss "warning" BB or a message that was coded in on purpose. But you're definitely meant to notice, because it's ten years after Snake Eater and the fact is that BB isn't with Zero anymore. (Yeah, I know; I couldn't get along with Patriot-era Zero either.) Then it gets into the whole conspiracy with Paz - Zadornov - and Kaz most significantly of all, but I'd rather not open that can of worms in this post since it's getting long enough. Just have a look at that conversation above, and how Zero probably told Kaz to make sure BB got all the implications.

What's in a name, right?

The last straw that made me want to go and type all this up? Well, Thene made the huge mistake of showing me an article on Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond novels) since I need to be properly educated in the matters of Bond. It had some interesting facts for sure. He was born in 1908 and served in WWII. Kind of almost perfectly parallel to Zero, if you look at it. (Amusingly I'm told he was into S&M, in which case no one will ever dissuade me about James Bond not being a pun. Again with those puns. Also you can deconstruct what this means for the power dynamics there and from Zero's POV.) It also says in the article that Fleming died on August 12, 1964. In MGS terms, that means on Zero's birthday in the year of Snake Eater. Actually, it would have been very shortly before the game takes place (Virtuous Mission starts on August 24). Zero's fondness for the Bond movies is legendary so all I ask now, Kojima - why isn't he deep in mourning at the time of the mission? Well, perhaps he is and deals with it in the least counterproductive way, i.e. tl;dring about Bond to his unit. I know there's the possibility of him being just a movie-verse fan but somehow I doubt it, considering he'd probably have met the guy during the war. Poor Zero. He sounds so emotionally involved when he shares all this Bond trivia and suggestions for "Double-Oh-Snake". BB should feel eternally ashamed of himself for telling him off (not that he would have known about any of this, given he's the exact opposite of Zero and Para-Medic when it comes to awareness of pop culture).

Finally, this probably is a coincidence. (Then again, maybe not.)

You know, what is fourth wall? I want fic about Zero being best buddies with Alan Turing back in WWII while Fleming is just massively perplexed by their days and ways. (Alternatively, Kojipro can hire me to write this as a prequel to the series. I WOULD NOT REFUSE. You'd go between playing as The Boss and as Zero depending on where in the storyline you were. It would be called Metal Gear Solid: We Did Start the Fire, Actually.)


See you later, instigator
19 October 2011 @ 11:55 pm

As Thene put it earlier, I appear to have trolled myself by forgetting that I am a troll. Looking at my fic folder, I noticed that I had this one lying around finished since April. I probably wrote it and walked away, planning to get back to it later - and then I forgot all about it. I do not know how. It has Gene and Zero in it as they try to out-scheme each other, though if you're familiar with MPO you already know who "won". I don't know how I forget this stuff.

Anyway, I have polished and proofread it now, so I present to you...

Title: A Gentlemen's Agreement
Characters: Gene, Zero; mentions of BB/Zero, Cunningham
Rating: SFW
Word Count: ~830
Summary: The most skilled player will answer to no one.
Notes: Pre-Portable Ops, playing with the interpretation that Zero's "overthrow" as the head of FOX was negotiated with the very party that was supposed to overthrow him. The thing is, can you outfox an old FOX? (Gene's original codename was indeed Viper, by the way.)
Disclaimer: MGS belongs to Hideo Kojima & Konami.

It should not be so hard, as long as he remembers the dishonesty is mutual.Collapse )

Current Music: 'Old Metal Gear' - MGS3 Soundtrack