Creating a Character

I don’t consider myself an “authority” on writing but I do like to give out advice if people need it. I’ve talked at length about my favorite disaster lesbian OC Mint quite a bit, and have seen some friends on Mastodon and elsewhere talk about wanting to make an OC, but not being able to because “they’re not creative enough” or “don’t know what they’d create.”

I’m here to tell you, dear reader, that this is simply untrue. Inside all of us, right next to those two wolves everyone keeps talking about, is a great original character that is probably cool and/or cute and more than likely extremely gay. Let’s find them!

Oh and this info is useful for any stories you might want to make too. It’s the same thought process I used to make the protagonists for my current novel-in-progress, and I think they’re pretty cool, so hopefully, this advice helps!

Why Would I Make an OC?

A counter-question: why not? It’s 2019, everyone is tired, and we’re trying to find happiness wherever we can. OCs can be that. If you want a more pragmatic answer: creating characters is a good creative exercise. And it’s fun! The point is: you don’t really need a reason. You could make your character and never look at them. Or you could make them, then base your entire online persona around them (hehe, that’s me). Both methods are valid!

Without further ado:

Step 1: Wants, Needs, Feelings

The thing that separates a character with depth from one that’s flat and kind of uninteresting is how you describe who they are. I see a lot of character creation sheets on tumblr and twitter that ask a million questions about their physical characteristics and their likes and dislikes – these are, in my humble opinion, not very helpful at the beginning of creation. I think it’s better when first establishing a character to dig a little deeper. Personality extends beyond an OC’s favorite ice-cream, or even how they blush when they’re embarrassed.

Instead, ask yourself questions like the following:

  1. What does the character want? What do they need? Love? Power? Wealth?
  2. Why do they want the things listed above?
  3. How do they get the things listed above, if they do get them?

You want to start with these sorts of questions because they’re the center that your character revolves around. Everything they do or say should generally be in service of these wants and needs, and informs all the stuff we’ll be talking about below.

This can extend to likes and dislikes as well! Consider:

Bad: Mint hates going to the doctor.

Good: Mint can’t get a shot without Queen there to hold her hand.

See the difference? The former is fine – it’s a statement that adds to Mint’s character. But the latter adds another layer: it shows Mint’s dislike for doctors’ offices, as well as one of the ways she relies on her girlfriend for support. It’s an easy way to add more depth to the character you want to make.

Then there’s feelings. Describe how your character feels about other people. How they feel about the place they’re in in life, and their physical location. Are they content with who they are? Are they anxious to leave the spot they’re in now? These sorts of questions give your characters even more depth, and help you understand who they are better, as well as how they might react to certain situations.

Step 2: Fashionista, How do you Look

You might think it counterintuitive that a visual design comes as the second step, but it really isn’t. When you establish your character’s wants and needs, you can have an easier time describing how they look and act. For Coretta, the protagonist of my novel, I first described her wants, needs, and feelings:

  • To succeed in school so she can support her mom
  • To leave the town she’s in
  • Dismissive of the students around her
  • Demanding of morality and justice

The above informs a lot about Coretta: how she dresses, her posture, how much she takes care of/cares about her physical appearance. Combine this with inherent traits (race, age, how gay they are, etc.) and you’re well on your way to an interesting character!

Coretta is Black, 5’9”, and has curly hair. She tends to wear loose-fitting clothes like sweatshirts, sweatpants, and hoodies, as they let her move freely and keep her anxiety in check by letting her relax. She has green eyes, a large nose, and is broad chested in her build. She tends to slouch, unless she’s angry, in which case she uses her full height to tower over her peers.

If you’re just looking to make a cool looking character or in general need a visual design, you can also use a visual creator! There are a lot of dress-up-esque apps on your phone and online that can help with this. My favorite is Charat, which is where Mint was created! You could also commission an artist to draw the character for you if you don’t have any artistic ability – I have never done this before in my entire life.

Mint’s Original Design

Step 3: Top or Bottom?

It’s important.

What Next?

To be honest, the stuff above is most important in the process of creating a character, so you’re pretty much done! After that it becomes a question of what you’re going to do with them, which is what stops a lot of people from creating characters. There are a couple of things you could do next:

Make another one! Why stop there? Make a second character! Are they related to the first one you made? Do they like each other? What sort of shenanigans do they get up to? Expand your little OC world.

Pair them with a friend! This can be super fun! I have Mint, while my friend has Queen. We spend a lot of time back and forth describing what sort of stuff the two get up to, and sometimes my friend even makes art of the two! (she can draw, I…cannot, lmao) Having another person to get creative with can be rewarding, plus it offsets some of the creative burden from you!

Make a story! It can be short or long, drawn or written…hell, you could even make it a micro-blog or something like that! I’ve written fics of Mint and Queen after fleshing out her backstory, and it’s been a lot of a fun, and a good break between my other projects.

Nothing! This is just as valid a response as the above. I mean, if you’ve gotten this far in the creation process, I’d assume you’re invested enough to do one of the above things, but you don’t have to be. It’s a hobby like anything else!

Anyways that’s it from me! Hopefully this helps if you’ve been wanting to get into character-creation, whether you’re trying to make an original character for a creative project, or a Mint-type OC, who exists only to be cute.

Okay, bye!

When We First Met

Bubblegum’s place smelled like incense and perfume when I walked in. This usually meant that Aprajita was cooking something up and masking the smell to keep everything fresh. It smelled amazing, strong but also delicate, and not so intense that I felt my sinuses burning.

“Yo, I’m here!” I called out.

“One minute!” came Bubblegum’s reply.

The apartment was decorated with all sorts of pictures of Bubblegum and her partner. I picked one of the frames up, gazing at it absentmindedly as I waited. Bubblegum and Aprajita were sitting together on a boat off the coast of Malaysia, according to the inscription on the back. The former was decked out in all pink, per her usual style, with a grin so wide it almost took up the whole picture. Next to her was Aprajita — or as their girlfriend like to call them sometimes, “Api” — wearing a blue blazer that looked way too thick for the weather they must have been in. They had a tiny smile on their face — a momentous occasion, all things considered. The two expressions you most often get from Aprajita were usually “neutral” and “slight frown.”

Bubblegum came bustling through the door, an orange box in her hands.

“Alright, here it is!” she said, passing the box off to me. I nearly buckled under the weight of the thing, surprised by how heavy it was when it reached my hands. Bubblegum clasped her hands together, smiling.

“They’re not that far from here, so it should be quick!”

I gave an exasperated sigh.

“Bubbles, I know we’re band-mates, but that doesn’t mean I’m also your delivery girl!” I said, putting the package down next to me and placing my hands on my hips.

“Of course Mint, of course! Buuuut shipping is expensive, and if it’s a local delivery, me and the customer get a discount when you do it!”

“Yeah, and all I get is a sore back,” I muttered. “What’s in this thing anyway?” I asked, tapping the box with my boot. Bubblegum crossed her arms.

“I can’t tell you that, obviously. It’s against the law.”

“From what I’ve heard, the law isn’t a thing that’s stopped you before.”

“I will neither confirm nor deny the truth of those statements,” Bubblegum replied. It came out so quickly and rehearsed that I was almost worried about the sort of crap she got into before we met. But she’d never tell me, so it was never worth dwelling on.

“Ask them yourself!” she continued.

“That…would be weird,” I said, scrunching up my face.

“From what I’ve heard, being weird isn’t a thing that’s stopped you before.”

Touché,” I said. I lifted the package up and slung it over my shoulder.

“If nothing else, this courier gig is going to get me jacked,” I said as I made to exit Bubblegum’s place. “Tell Api to save some food for me, please!”

“Will do! If they’re feeling extra generous, they might even throw some curry in on the house.”

God, please.”

“But…only if you get that package there quick. Ciao!” The pink-haired woman shut the door behind me before I could protest.

“Well, curry’s a suitable enough bribe,” I said to myself. “May as well get to it now.”

My skateboard was waiting for me on the porch. I kicked it off of the wall and hopped on, kuh-kunking down the two stairs that led to Bubblegum’s home before getting onto the sidewalk. My friend wasn’t lying about her customer being close — they were only a block or two away. And the weather was perfect for a ride on my board. A breeze was running through the summer sun, preventing it from scalding the neighborhood with its heat. Clouds assisted in the endeavor, only letting the yellow orb peek through them now and again as they passed above me.

I lazily pushed myself left and right on my skateboard, mind elsewhere as I let muscle-memory kick in while I rode. I had been across these paths so many times before when coming to Bubblegum’s house for band practice, I could probably ride through them with my eyes closed. It was incredible to think that our little garage, grass-roots effort had gotten so popular so quickly. People were even starting to recognize me while I was out skating! I had no idea how I was going to deal with it if we really blew up…

Before I could ponder the effects of potential fame any further, I found myself standing in front of the client’s place. They were on the third floor of a narrow apartment complex, nestled between houses on either side. It looked to be a little cramped. I shrugged, hopping off my board and making my way through the lobby and onto the elevator. It spit me out where I needed to be, with the client’s apartment being only a few paces away.

I gave the door a swift knock, and waited.

Nothing.

I gave another quick rap with my knuckles, louder this time.

Still nothing.

“Hello?” I called out. It was then that I realized I could hear a faint sound on the other side of the door. I put the box down and leaned close to the door, ear pressed against the cool, black-painted wood.

It was music!

And not playing from speakers, either. A guitar was shredding somewhere inside, completely drowning out any sound of my knocking. While I admired the thing’s aggressive style, I had places to be. This just wouldn’t do.

“Hey!” I shouted, now finally pounding on the door. “I have a package for you, fam!”

The sound cut off. I let my hands fall to my sides, tapping them impatiently while I waited. I was just about ready to leave the package in front of the door and bounce when it finally swung open.

A taller girl stood in front of me. She had striking pink hair that swept forward, nearly obscuring her eyes. and shaved on one side. And she was dressed in a casual grey jumper that looked like something a mechanic might wear. The sleeves were rolled up to reveal chain-patterned tattoos on either of her arms. My eyes widened, a thought exploding through my head unannounced.

Holy shit she’s cute!

“C-can I help you?”

I gaped at the girl.

“Hello?”

“O-oh! Hi! Um, I…” I was sputtering. I was already screwing it up! Aprajita would roast me if she found out. I could already hear her words echoing in the back of my head. “Some top you are.” Noooo!

I tried to stick the landing as best I could. I gave a small wave. “Hi, I’m Haruko! My friends call me Mint.”

“Um…cool,” the girl replied. “I’m Queen. My friends call me Queen.”

“Oh, cool, cool…” So much for sticking the landing. I shot up straight.

“Oh right! I have a package for you. From Bubblegum? The Etsy lady?”

The girl — Queen — lit up at the realization. “Awesome! I’ve been super excited for this stuff.”

I passed the box to her, putting my hands behind my back afterwards. Queen gestured towards her apartment.

“You wanna come inside? It’s hot out, I can give you a glass of water or something.”

My heart shot up into my throat.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to intrude…”

“You aren’t. I’m here alone, so if anything, you’ll be brightening the place up. Come on in.”

I stepped into the apartment and past Queen, trying not to look too eager all the while. I caught the smell of metal coming off of her fingers from playing her guitar. When I walked through the hallway into the apartment, I let out a small gasp.

“Woah…”

The apartment was filled end-to-end with all kinds of fancy technology. A lot of it I couldn’t even describe to you. Stacks of computers were lined up like battle-stations, and multiple desks were strewn about with monitors on them displaying all kinds of information that I definitely did not understand one bit. Cables snaked their way pretty much everywhere — past monitors, coiled around desk legs, under tables and scattered on the ground. Queen stepped through the jungle of tech with ease, not bumping into a single thing as she walked from one end of the living room to the next.

“Sorry about the mess,” she said as she headed into the kitchen. “I don’t usually have guests over, so I’ve never had to clean up. It’s a bad habit of mine.”

“You’re good,” I said. “Do you work with all this stuff?”

“Yeah.” The kitchen was separated by the living room with a counter, so the tall girl was able to continue talking to me while she accessed her fridge. “Most of it is just diagnostic stuff, but the rest is for one kind of project or another, even if I’m never actually working on them as much as I’d like.”

I sighed in understanding. “I feel that. I have like three or four songs on my mind at any given time. Nine times out of ten I don’t work on any of them and veg out on the couch instead.”

“Oh, you play?” Queen asked, stepping over to me with a glass of water and gesturing towards a couch that I hadn’t noticed amidst the sea of electronics. I nodded.

“My friends and I started a band a couple of months ago, actually. Minty Fresh. I didn’t pick the name, by the way!” I quickly added as I sat down, waving a hand. It was Bubblegum’s idea. I promise I’m not that conceited…”

Queen seemed to have stopped listening to me. Suddenly she put her hands on her head, gasping.

“You’re the singer of Minty Fresh? What the hell?”

“Um…yes?” I replied, acting as a question more than an affirmation. Queen shot her hands out towards me, palms upward, as if I just broke one of her computers.

“That’s amazing! I was at one of your shows, like, two weeks ago, at Future First! You opened for Kanon!”

I gave a sheepish grin. “Yep, that’s me…”

“No wonder you looked so familiar! This is so cool! I always wanted to start a band, but the guitar has always been kind of a hobby for me. But you’re like, out here! Doing it!”

I laughed. “Don’t sell yourself short! You were shredding pretty hard just now from what I heard.” I was trying to turn the subject away from me, still unused to the fact that people were starting to recognize who I was. We were in a small enough town, but still…it was weird.

Luckily, Queen seemed fine with moving on. “Thanks. It’s a nice break between projects. Ah, speaking of!”

I sipped at the water Queen provided me while she jumped to the parcel I had delivered, pulling out a pocket knife that she used to swiftly cut the thing open. I sat up on my chair to look over her shoulder while she pulled everything out. It was more advanced-looking technology, as well as some sort of shiny block.

“Yes! This’ll do nicely.”

I kicked my legs idly on the couch as the girl examined all of her new toys. “What’re you gonna do with all that stuff?”

It seemed like Queen had to struggle to tear herself away from her present to focus her attention on me. “I’m trying to make a helmet. I want it to have a HUD, and maybe even interface with a couple of my other things.”

“Oh, I see, I see. A HUD, huh? Pretty cool.” I had no idea what a HUD was.

“Where does Bubblegum even get this stuff?” I asked. Queen laughed.

“It sounds like we shouldn’t ask. She was selling it for pennies, too, she may as well have been giving it away for free.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of her MO. I assume it’s a middle finger to…something.”

“Capitalism?”

I shrugged. “Oh hey, what’s that at the bottom of the box?”

Queen turned beet red. “This is, uh, just an extra thing that I got.”

“Can I see?” I was curious, but I didn’t want the girl to explode, which seemed very close to happening if you got a good look at her face.

“S…sure.”

She passed the thing to me. I could tell just by feeling it that it was made out of crocheted yarn of all sorts of colors. I ran it through my fingers and turned it around.

“Oh my God.”

It was a sweater. Emblazoned on the front was a cat hanging on a branch with text above it that said “Hang in There!”

Queen couldn’t meet my eyes as I looked up from the sweater and at her.

She’s…too cute!

“Did Bubblegum make this for you?” I asked as nonchalantly as possible. The girl nodded. “I knew I recognized the handiwork. This makes more sense to put in an Etsy shop, anyways.”

“This is so embarrassing…” Queen muttered. “But I guess I won’t see you again, so…”

I gave her the most innocent smile I could. “Oh, you won’t?” I asked.

Queen looked like she was about to faint. I almost felt bad for teasing her so much, but enjoyment beat out whatever little conscience I had.

“I mean…if you want to…oh, actually, I remembered something. At your concert, I saw you were struggling getting some of your equipment working.”

This time it was my turn to blush.

“Was it that obvious?” I asked, tapping my cheek.

“Oh, no no, it’s not your fault!” Queen was up and about again, moving to grab a sketchbook off of her desk. It was clear that she was always in her element talking about tech, which was, like everything else about her, extremely cute. She flopped onto the couch next to me, flipping the book open to a page with what looked like a pair of headphones, striped red near the top.

“That stuff is always really difficult to work with, especially in the moment. But see, I had this idea for a headset that sort of unifies everything it connects to, and lets you control it with minimal effort.”

“That’s…awesome.” I wasn’t even trying to flatter her at this point. It’d actually be really helpful for concerts too.

“Right!? So I was wondering if you’d wanna try it at your next show?”

I beamed. “Sure!”

“Awesome.” She was up again, pacing back and forth. “So I’ll need to get a look at all your instruments and amps and stuff, and definitely anything wireless you have on stage. Hmm…and I’ll need your measurements too.”

I crossed my arms, giving a sly smile.

“Measurements, huh?” I asked, coupled with an exaggerated eyebrow raise.

Queen stuttered yet again. “O-of your head, I mean. I don’t need, like, other measurements.”

I crossed one leg over the other. “Sure, but do you want them?”

She pretended not to hear the question. “Alright, so I definitely don’t have enough space to do this here…is it okay if I come to you?”

“Yep!” I replied, hopping from my seat. “It’s a date!”

“It is? I mean, it is. Right.”

I grabbed a marker off one of Queen’s desks and gently took her hand to scribble on it.

“Here’s my number. Call me whenever you wanna swing by, Q.”

“O-oh. I could have just put it in my phone.”

“I know,” I replied, grinning. “Well I won’t be taking any more of your time, and I have to get ready for practice.” I made for the exit, Queen following behind me. I turned to the girl as I kicked my board, letting it slide under my arm as I grabbed it from the air. I was absolutely trying to flex, and was very happy the thing didn’t slap my face, like it did pretty much every other time I tried to pull that move off.

“Feel free to order from Bubblegum again. I certainly wouldn’t mind,” I said as I waved my goodbye. As I left the apartment, Queen called out to me.

“Hey Mint!”

I turned. “What’s up?”

The girl had a hand in her pocket. “Oh, nothing, I just…I like your hair, that’s all. It suits you.”

“Oh! Thank you!”

“Yeah. Alright, see you later.”

The girl closed the door. I was able to contain myself all the way to the elevator, where I couldn’t stop myself from hugging my skateboard and squealing in excitement.

Character Intro: Coretta Jones

Been a while since I’ve done one of these.

Last time I wrote about Kat, deuteragonist and Coretta’s childhood friend (and later in the novel, #1 smooch pal). Today I wanna talk about the protagonist of this novel. Coretta.

Who’s Coretta? She’s quiet but brash, sarcastic and quick to react to pretty much any situation. She finds herself taking on the role of leader/protector/caretaker in situations because she feels responsible for everyone. This stems from the way in which she helps her single mother, Anne, who raised Coretta alone for most of her life – subsequently, this is how she ends up becoming the leader of her group of psychic pals.

Coretta’s goal in life is to become successful enough in the future to take care of her family’s needs. Because of this, she pushes herself academically, even though she tends to distance herself from school. She understands where her race places her on the social totem pole, especially at her school, and is quick to remind others of their bad behavior, ill-intentioned or otherwise.

Coretta is very demanding of others’ morality and sense of justice. She doesn’t let anyone get away with anything and believes that adhering to your set of beliefs consistently is what leads to a person worth respecting. People that are hypocritical will feel no end of scorn from Coretta. She respects hard work and dedication, though this sometimes leads to her not practicing enough self-care. Coretta herself can be weak in her resolve when it comes to things like dating, and “fun for fun’s sake” — things she believes she isn’t interested in. She hates this contradiction in herself, and tries to stamp it out. Coretta’s largest flaw forms itself in her stubbornness, as well as her unwillingness to let herself have fun, based on the pressure for her to perform well.

A lot of Coretta’s characteristics are based on my sister, but more exaggerated (although…not by much. Don’t tell her I said that!). I wanted her to be a black girl because they don’t get a spot as main characters in YA novels as often as I’d like. Plus, girls are more fun to write anyhow. There are a lot of unique angles and dynamics that can only be written from a black girl’s perspective, from the focus on the importance of family to the issues that only they have to deal with, and I try to showcase some of that in my writing. Needless to say, it’s hard to be a suburban superhero when every cop in town remembers your name…

I’m very fond of Coretta and am excited to show how she develops in her journey through The Freelancers. I hope you’ll like her too.

Peppermint

Wow it’s been a while, hasn’t it? To be honest, after having a nice freakout about The Freelancers, I’ve mostly been focusing on writing it again, and have really been at it in earnest, catching up on chapters and solidifying where I want the plot to go. Any time that hasn’t been going to writing has been spent on consuming other media, or working, which means the blog has been left by the wayside a bit.

That said, I had a fun idea recently, regarding Mint. I think making her a vocaloid, a spur of the moment decision at first, has helped in the long term with making her an interesting character. For one, it allows her to exist has a multimedia entity. A recent example of this is that Mint is officially an UTAU, voicebank at all. You can download her voice and use it to make any kind of music you want.

Beyond that, I’ve been thinking of the ways having an OC essentially be data could affect their story. One way I considered is how redesigns/alternate designs could work. Which is my way of introducing Peppermint!

Peppermint is a Mint offshoot. Essentially, she’s a homebrew of Mint’s original software, that’s been modified and redistributed enough to become popular among vocaloid fans. Her design is an inverse of Mint’s, with red hair and eyes instead of her usual green. Her personality is also different – where Mint is a firecracker (or a trash goblin, if you asked her girlfriend), Peppermint is more subdued, which you can tell based on her facial expressions and body language. They’re even different in terms of musical interests – Mint having a focus on future funk, and Peppermint with rock and otherwise more dramatic/intense genres.

Peppermint is quieter, but a bit more intimidating. She is also, admittedly, a bit of a trash goblin like Mint, but she does a better job of hiding it. She likes marathoning shitty movies, dancing, and tinkering with her motorcycle on days off.

This was originally going to be an April 1st joke, but I missed the deadline and I liked Peppermint enough for her to be a real thing, so…poof, here she is. I hope you like her as much as I do!

Art by @mishakeet!

Making Things Makes Me Sad

Lately I’ve been finding the indie artists I see in my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist on Twitter and sending them DMs about how I enjoyed their songs. My trend towards empathy has been scaling upwards as I’ve gotten “””older””” and part of that has reflected itself in my thoughts on the process of creation. I can’t imagine what it’s like to make a song and posting it on Spotify, but I feel like it’s an extremely brave thing to do on such a saturated platform. I think the enthusiastic thanks I get in return for my DMs is a pretty good indicator that this is true.

I have mentioned now and again that I’m writing a novel about a bunch of gay kids with psychic powers. I said it’d come out in 2019, which is probably a mistake. I haven’t written for it in while. For once it’s not because I’m not sure what to write next — one of the perks of being on a second draft instead of a first, I guess. It’s actually because I’ve been pretty paralyzed at the idea of releasing the thing, just, you know, in general.

Anyone who tells you that you should just write for yourself is either a liar or already extremely famous. To act like your creations are not made with the intent of sharing them makes no sense to me. Obviously one should write for themselves in the sense that they create what they want to create…but creativity is a form of communication and expression. To that end, the idea of putting my all into this work only to have two or three people read it is enough to have me lie in bed and never get out of it.

I think my general lack of self-esteem does a good job of exacerbating this issue. You’re kind of expected to believe that everything you make is “good.” No one wants to hear about what you don’t like about your work — unless of course, you mention it after said work has become popular, in which case it’s seen as humbling. Hell, even writing this makes me feel like I’m being…hmm. Ungrateful? Which is a weird description, but pretty accurate, I think. It feels like I’m expected to just be happy with what I get when I finish this novel. But not addressing the fact that I want as many people as possible to read this stupid thing feels disingenuous.

I don’t know if The Freelancers will be great as I work on it. I don’t even know if it will be good. I don’t know if people will want to read it, or tell other people that they should read it. If creativity is a form of communication, lack of interest is a pretty good litmus test for quality, shallow as it sounds. I think this writing block has just been sitting here because I have to come to terms with the fact that the immense effort I put into making this book will not be met with much in return. I think that’s supposed to feel freeing, but for me it’s just depressing. Oops.

This is probably — well no, it is — the reason I’ve been writing so much fanfiction recently. The instant feedback you get from it is kind of addictive, I’m not going to lie. People know what Kingdom Hearts and Nier Automata are. The barrier of getting people to care about your characters and the world they inhabit is non-existent when it comes to fanfic, and all that’s left is for people to read what you wrote. That’s freeing, but it’s also not what I want, creatively.

A lot of this plays into how social media works, and vying for the attention and time of people with less and less of it. Most people don’t even read the most popular and critically acclaimed books that are coming out now. Why would they read this random thing that I’m writing? I don’t have a publisher. I don’t have much in the way of marketing skills. I am nobody, and I don’t see why I should continue to try.

Alright, PHEW, that all comes across as very depressing, which I don’t mean for it to be. It’s just been something I’ve been thinking about a lot. Hell I’m far from the only person who’s struggled with these thoughts. But I am struggling with them, so…regardless, I don’t plan on quitting any time soon, mostly out of stubbornness than anything else. I’ve come this far, all that’s left is finishing it, putting it behind me, and getting prepped for the next project. Because I think, regardless of how I feel about myself or my creations, I won’t be able to stop making things. It’s in my nature, as cheesy as that sounds. If you’ve stuck around this far, and you do plan on reading The Freelancers when it comes out, know that I’m extremely grateful. If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of dying for validation here. Whoops!

Alliance Alive

Oh Alliance Alive. I’m very sad that nobody played this game because Legend of Legacy was a doozy that probably warded people away. This is because it was bad, I mean that it was bad. It was hampered by obfuscated systems and the complete lack of a plot, and was a huge grind to get through. Did you know that some characters had secret affinities with certain weapons? Now you do!

Alliance Alive arrived to fix Legend of Legacy’s, well, Legacy. And wow does it do a fantastic job with that! There are so many aspects that got fixed that it’s less of a spiritual sequel and more of a spiritual redo.

So why do I love Alliance Alive so much? Let me count the ways:

A combat system that finally makes sense. Where Legend of Legacy had too many systems that didn’t make sense, Alliance Alive has a bunch of systems that are all laid bare in their entirety, while also easing up on the complexity. Everything is defined by formations and roles, no more secret systems to speak of. It harkens back to a nice little blend of Romance Saga and Final Fantasy II, speaking to the pedigree of the game considering its developers. It’s extremely addictive to set up a bunch of different formations to change your strategy up on the fly. Also the bump to five active party members instead of 3 is a huge improvement. Speaking of Party Members…

An Alliance with Soul. Your 9 party members, like, talk to each other! It’s wild! They have lines and a personality and everything! And they’re all really charming! I can’t remember their original names because you can name them whatever you want from the Status menu, but I’m particularly fond of the Daemon Fox lady and the young scientist girl. Their interactions are a lot of fun. There’s also a plot to speak of (written by the same person that wrote Suikoden II) and it’s actually pretty engaging, concerning a human uprising against the daemons that have them under their thumb. It’s not mind-blowing by any means, but there are enough mysteries to keep you enthralled.

The Alliance System. People have been saying that Ni No Kuni II is like Suikoden II, but when it comes to closeness, I’d say Alliance Alive hits that mark a lot closer. About 9 hours into the game you unlock the Alliance System, wherein you set up 5 Guilds on your giant Ark ship. You then recruit members for your Alliance in different areas and assign them to the different guilds, which increase their power and help you out. The way you recruit these people is part of the fun — one human with an obsession with wanting to become a daemon joined when I switched my active character exploring the map to one of my daemon characters and talked to him. Another joined after we kicked their butt in a fight. There’s an addictive “collect ’em all” quality to grabbing all these characters, and I’ve essentially put the main quest on hold to find them at the moment.

A World Map. For real! And rather than just running around, you get a cool little glider that you can use to strategically fly from place to place to access secret out of the way areas, like new spots to build Guild Towers and guild members to recruit. It’s very cool (although the game can lag a bit if you’re moving too fast).

QOL Stuff. You can save anywhere! If you need to backtrack, 9 times out of 10 the game will fast-travel you there if you want! All the stats are explained this time (I’m serious, Legend of Legacy was bad)! You can change character’s names! The enemies are all visible on the map! You can chain battles to expedite grinding, if you want to grind at all!

JRPG Nostalgia. I guess this all culminates to one single feeling I have about Alliance Alive: it actually pulls off that nostalgia for the SNES/PS1 era of JRPGs. Something about raiding a hot spring to save a bunch of talking frogs felt like peak Final Fantasy IX to me, and that’s very much a good thing. It even has secret party members! There’s no obnoxious fanservice, no tedious sidequests that feel like padding, and every system in the game makes sense to include, letting you put as much or as little time into it that you want (seriously, you can completely ignore that Alliance system if you want to). And it does all that without hewing so closely to those SNES/PS1 JRPGs that it doesn’t actually do anything interesting or new. It’s just a really good game that feels like it was made with love, in my humble opinion.

Now that Alliance Alive is getting ported to the Switch, give it a shot! It’s definitely the most slept on game of 2018, and I highly recommend it!


Hyper Light Drifter

I wanna preface the below with the understanding that I don’t think Hyper Light Drifter is a bad game. It is demonstrably not. Honestly, my standards are so low at this point that as long it’s not filled with gross loli shit or racist under/overtones, then your game is probably fine in my book. BUT HLD (or Hyper Lightmension Driftunia if ya nasty) has a lot of design decisions that I think are very interesting but that I found myself not agreeing with, enough that I’m making a whole blog-post about it.

For the unitiated HLD is a succesfully kickstarted top-down action-exploration game that is pretty hard to define in terms of its inspirations. It feels like it takes bits of everything from traditonal SNES JRPGs to Zelda to — and I’m sorry to say it — Dark Souls. It has no plot to speak of, really. Sure, you can speculate, but unlike Dark Souls, which has a plot you can piece together with some digging and a Vaati video or two, that’s pretty much impossible with HLD, because there’s not a single line of dialogue in the game outside of tutorials. We’re going to get back to this.

Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful. It’s one of the best looking 2D games I’ve ever played. Every pixel is lovingly crafted and purposeful. The fluidity of the animation as the Drifter cuts through enemies never stopped being engaging as I played through the game. Every setting is distinct in its aesthetic and carried a different variation of the overall melancholic tone that the game provides. The music is also fantastic, with brooding synths that sound like they came straight out of a Blade Runner film but without all the Asian fetishization.

Those are my highlights. But that said, moment-to-moment I found myself frustrated with Hyper Light Drifter.


What’s the Point?

Let’s get back to that part about HLD having next to zero plot. This can be fine as a design decision. Shadow of the Colossus has so little dialogue, it probably all fits on a double-sided 8.5 by 11 sheet. The problem is that even SotC has an easy to understand goal. Obfuscation doesn’t equal a compelling world to explore in. Dark Souls’ environmental design and even its inventory descriptions give you some idea of what’s going on and your place in its world.

HLD doesn’t have this in any way. Why are you going around killing these enemies? What is the village hub you go back to for upgrades? What are these skeletal titanic remains doing in the world? A little bit of mystique is great in getting the imagination going, but you can’t just stop there. There has to be some thread that players can go down to answer at least some of these questions, even if they’ll never be solved fully. It hearkens back to the unforgiving, hostile environments of a game like the NES Legend of Zelda, where everything is out to kill and you don’t really know why, but doggone you spent money on this cartridge and you’re going to finish it. It’s just not something I’m into personally. By the time I fought the last boss, I assumed I was supposed to feel something about the events that followed. But with no understanding of the stakes towards the conflict I had just been through, I just sort of…blanked out.

You Zig, I Zag

“But Mint,” you say with an exasperated sigh. “The plot is just window-dressing for the main focus, which is clearly the combat, you cheeky tart!”

Alright, fair, fair. And I will say that when all the pieces come together, HLD flows in a way that feels great.

Dancing through bullets, dodging past enemies before cutting them down with your sword can be exhilarating…in the right circumstances. But it takes a long time to get there. Combat is stilted and slow unless you upgrade yourself with a particular set of skills from the main hub of the game. It’s totally possible to miss these upgrades. The only reason I knew of them was that I spent a bit of time researching where best to put the upgrade points I had collected after finishing the first dungeon of the game.

The Chain Dash is a move so fundamental to the core of Driftunia’s design that I was baffled that it wasn’t immediately available in the Drifter’s tool-set — it was like having to level up for the block and dodge roll in the original Kingdom Hearts. The same can be said of the Dash Shield, which lets you move through energy shots with the right timing, and the Sword Deflection, which does exactly what it sounds like against enemy projectiles. The game became infinitely more fun after I built this toolkit, but I don’t feel it should have been “built” in the first place. Getting upgrade parts to improve your character is a staple of the action-exploration genre, I won’t argue that. But as I mentioned, with a myriad of upgrade choices to choose from, you might completely miss these skills. Couple this with a lack of i-frames, busy screen-effects, and some bosses that were more a chore than a challenge to fight through, and you have a game that is definitely mechanically sound, but not built with the sort of tempo I’m interested in when it comes to action games.

Image result for not my tempo
forgive me for this one, I recently rewatched Whiplash, heh…

Nooks and Crannies (and more Nooks)

And so we find ourselves in the third pillar of Hyper Light Drifter’s design: exploration. Again, I want to make it clear that I don’t think that any of what I’ve talked about up to this point is particularly bad. It’s just not for me. And this applies with HLD’s exploration as well. A lot of the game’s hidden areas are based on the old-school design philosophy of “bumping into all of the walls until you find a wall that’s not actually a wall.” As you get into the game proper, you’ll find yourself wondering if the forest of trees to your left is actually a game border or a spot that takes you to a new screen just out of reach, with goodies to peruse. I’ll admit that I sometimes felt pretty good about finding these spots, especially as they led to new beautiful areas and bits of currency that brought me one step closer to a new item. But by the end of the game, I was getting a bit tired of it all, bumping into one object after another and destroying every item in every room to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Some of the secrets are pretty obvious. Others are so obtuse to reach that you’ll find them either out of sheer luck, or by checking a guide.

This isn’t as big a cardinal design sin as the inability to keep track of everything. You’ll find lots of areas that you’ll need to backtrack to after gaining a certain number of keys, and you have no real way of remembering them unless you make a note outside the game, or, again, keep a guide handy. I unlocked two monoliths. How many are there in total? No idea. I didn’t feel any incentive to explore much outside of the critical path because I knew I’d forget where everything was and had no idea how much progress I was making for the extra stuff.


I guess the general thesis I’m making after writing all this is that HLD really wants you to care — about its characters, its world, and its mechanical systems — but doesn’t do enough for it to earn that care. It’s simultaneously aloof and open, wanting you to dive into everything it has to offer but not really giving you a reason — or even, depending on your prior preparation or luck, the tools to do so. I didn’t hate my time with Hyper Light Drifter. But I didn’t love it either. I didn’t feel much of anything, and I think that’s a shame, because it’s a game that, with a bit more time, is definitely something I could see myself loving.

Crowe’s Nest

“Psst…Velvet, wake up.”

“M…what?”

“Wake up.”

“Five…mo…”

“WAKE UP!”

Velvet shot up, slamming her head against the bunk-bed above her. She dived out of covers, drawing her sword and aiming it  out of the Van Eltia’s cabin door.

“What is it? Are we under attack?” she shouted. Magilou stood behind her, arms behind her back.

“Nooooo,” she replied.

“Then what’s wrong!?”

“Oh, I just wanted to see if you were asleep.”

In one swift motion, Velvet went from aiming her sword towards the door to jamming her forearm against Magilou, her sword running its length across her throat. The witch raised her hands, flapping them back and forth.

“Take it easy, I’m just joking. I needed to ask you something.”

“Couldn’t it have waited until morning?” Velvet growled, teeth bared.

“I mean, probably, but where’s the fun in that? Come on, the night’s young! Let’s go to the Crow’s Nest. You like the Crow’s Nest, right? Cause it’s like, your…forget it, it’s no fun if you explain the punch-line.”

Velvet sighed, sheathing her sword and letting Magilou off from the wall.

“Fine.”

Magilou blinked.

“R-really?”

Velvet was already making her way out onto the deck. She didn’t look at the witch as she spoke.

“Yes. I am already awake, and I could use the air. Maybe it’ll prevent me from killing you.”

Magilou shrugged, skipping along to make her way behind Velvet.

The Van Eltia was quiet, the only sounds coming from the creaking within the ship’s wood, and the waves crashing against it. A few lamps were lit throughout the deck, most likely the crew’s sentries posting watch. Velvet pulled herself along the ladder that led to the Crow’s Nest, Magilou following close behind. As they climbed, she could hear a faint sigh below her. Velvet stopped to look at the girl.

“Are you alright?”

Magilou was staring back up at her, a hand on her chin as she rested her elbow against one of the ladder’s rungs.

“Better than you know,” she said, winking. Velvet rolled her eyes, focusing back onto the climb. “I’m just saying, the view is great up here!” Magilou continued.

“We’ll take this shift,” Velvet told the sailor on duty once the two girls made their way to the top of the nest. He saluted, happy to be relieved of the work so he could get some sleep, and made his way down to the deck. Magilou flopped out on the floor, looking up at the stars.

“If you close your eyes, it feels like you’re going to fall off the boat!” she said with strange amount of glee. Velvet eyed from the other side of the nest.

“If you’d like, I can push you off.”

“I feel like we never go more than three sentences without you mentioning the way you want to kill me. Or how much you want to kill me. Or –“

“It’s because I want to kill you. Was this a mystery to you?”

Magilou rolled onto her side, holding her head up with her hand.

“Well, why haven’t you then?”

Velvet flinched, turning away. The witch grinned.

“Well you seem to be stumped by what I feel is a pretty easy question, so I’ll try another one — the one that I wanted to ask you in the first place.”

“Which is?”

“What do you think of the moon?”

Velvet closed her eyes. She stayed like that for a few moments.

“You fall back asleep?” Magilou asked, scratching her back.Velvet exchanged a question for a question.

“This is what you woke me up for?”

“Yes! It’s very important! The moon says a lot about people. I’m a witch, don’t you remember? I commune with it all the time.” Magilou wiggled her arm and spoke the last sentence as if she were telling a spooky campfire tale. Velvet snorted.

“Really? What does the moon say about me?”

Magilou sat up, putting a finger on her chin as she thought. “Well, for one, that you’re a Taurus. You sleep with one leg out of the blanket…hmm, what else…” A smirk crossed Magilou’s face.

“Maybe…that you’re not a fan of red?”

Memories of Aball flashed through Velvet’s mind. She gripped the wooden guardrail that she leaned against so tightly it began to splinter. Magilou snapped her fingers.

“Yep, I thought so.”

Velvet took a calming breath. “You’ve said nothing of note, witch. No one is fond of the Scarlet Night.” Magilou leaned her head on the palms of her hands, looking too relaxed for the conversation that was currently taking place.

“I’d argue you might be less fond of them then most,” she said, her smirk never disappearing. Velvet took a step forward.

“Is there a point to all this?”

“Yes, actually! The point is that you need to be a little more open and trusting.”

Velvet laughed, despite herself. “That’s…quite ironic, coming from you,” she said. Magilou pouted.

“I’m being serious! Everyone needs someone to rely on. Even I have Bienfu, even if the most I rely on him for is as my punching bag.”

Velvet sat on the floor of then nest, meeting Magilou at eye-level.

“I don’t need to rely on anyone. I just need to get my revenge. I don’t really care what happens after that.”

“I see! Well then why are you on this ship then? Why do you take our help? Or are we being used? I mean, I don’t mind being used now and again, but I’m really more of a to–“

“Stop,” Velvet said, holding her hand out before Magilou could continue her verbal tirade. “Our goals aligned. That’s it. Your powers are worth keeping around.”

Magilou was suddenly sitting right next to Velvet. She hadn’t even seen the girl move. She leaned up against Velvet’s shoulder.

“Right. Well, let’s go back to our previous question then: why haven’t you gotten rid of me yet?”

Velvet grimaced, turning her head away. “I think you said it yourself. You’re being used.”

Magilou ran a finger up Velvet’s thigh. A cold sweat ran down her back. A breathy whisper made its way to her ear.

“Do you want to use me right now?” it asked.

Velvet was…conflicted, to put it mildly. All this time she had refused to let herself feel anything, worried that she would be distracted from her goal. But as much as she damned herself for it, she was smitten with this absolute, literal jester of a human being, whose words and actions constantly kept her guessing. Why should she deny it?

“Yes,” Velvet finally said.

Magilou swung a leg over, straddling Velvet as she kissed her with an intensity that caught Velvet off-guard. She accepted it, wrapping her arms around the witch’s waist.

—-

The first crack of the dawn’s rays shown on Magilou and Velvet when they finally woke up. The latter was blushing from head to toe. Magilou yawned, stretching out until she noticed Velvet next to her. A lazy smile lingered on her face.

“Were you that red last night?” she asked, attempting to conceal a snicker. Velvet threw the girl’s clothes directly at her face.

“Dress yourself! And stop stretching out like a deer in morning light, someone down below will see you!”

“Relax you big baby, it’s still dark and the shift doesn’t change for a while.”

“Dress.”

“Alright, alright, I’m going…you know you’re surprisingly pushy for someone who collapses at a literal finger touch.”

Velvet wanted to throw Magilou over the guardrail — for real this time. But someone would see the body. She focused instead on dressing in a blur.”

When the pair made their way down from the Crow’s Nest, Velvet took a few breathes, trying to act as calmly as possible, even if she was anything but. She turned to Magilou.

“You will speak of this to no one. No one.”

Magilou shrugged.

“Sure sure, we’ll keep it on the down-low. I can keep a secret.”

Magilou began to walk away, before Velvet grabbed her by the wrist. She was staring directly at the floor.

“…Thank you,” she finally managed to get out. Magilou was, for once, taken off guard.

“Yeah. No problem.”

She made her way below-deck.

“Remember: no one!” Velvet shouted behind her.

“Yeah, yeah!”


“We totally smashed,” Magilou told Eizen and Rokurou a few minutes later.

art by @double_moonbow

2B to Tea

Another flash fic request! It was hard to find a reason for these two to meet up and smooch at first, but it came together in the end. This isn’t 100% canon-compliant, but that’s okay.

Also I love 6O. She’s so cute!! This was a good request to get. 🙂


The clack of 2B’s heels echoed through the halls of the Bunker. It was relatively empty — most of the other androids were likely at Command, or on a mission on the surface. She couldn’t feel the cold that crept through each section of the base as she passed through, matched with the dark expanse of space that sat outside. 2B didn’t know why the Bunker had windows. Anything that needed to be seen could be through the numerous high-tech sensors that adorned the Bunker’s exterior. But she didn’t see the need in asking why, either. It seemed to have always been this way. And sometimes 2B would look out at the stars glittering out in front of her when she looked out the window. She would never admit it to anyone if they asked, but she enjoyed the view.

2B had a day off. It was a rarity in her line of work, but even androids needed to rest. As her Pod would constantly point out, work with no sign of stopping was detrimental to her performance, which in turn was detrimental to the mission as a whole. She would rather have been back out on the field, but the last thing 2B needed was a reprimand from the Commander. Plus, she had already been tied up with plans at this point.

2B made some cross between a grimace and a smirk when she remembered it. She and 9S were in the City Ruins on reconnaissance when 2B received a call.

“Operator 6O to Combat Unit 2B!” came the sing-song voice on the other end of the line. 2B accepted the communication.

“2B here. What do you need, 6O?”

“Command wanted to notify you that you have a mandatory day off tomorrow!”

2B flinched. “Is it…really mandatory?”

“Yes, 2B! Gosh, a bit of rest wouldn’t kill you you know!”

2B sighed at her operator’s admonishment. “I suppose so. Fine. I’ll report in for my rest day tomorrow.”

There was silence on the other end of the line. 2B frowned.

“You should still be on the line. Signal’s clear,” 9S said, checking his systems.

“6O? Can you hear me?” 2B asked.

“So then 2B…that means you don’t have any plans tomorrow, do you?” 6O said in whisper of a voice.

“What? Of course not. You just told me I have time off.”

“Great! So that means we can go on a date tomorrow, right?”

If 2B were human, she would have broken out into a cold sweat. It wasn’t that she wasn’t interested in 6O — she actually was, though she’d die before admitting it to anyone that asked. She just wasn’t prepared to go on a date so soon. And yet, she had no excuse to dodge the meeting. 2B was caught in 6O’s trap.

“I suppose…I don’t have a choice do —”

Before 2B could finish her sentence, 6O’s high-pitched squeal shot through on the other end of the line, nearly causing 2B to short-circuit. It was more powerful than some of the EMP blasts she had been subjected to in battle.

Yes! Okay, I’ll give you the details later, but we’ll meet tomorrow at 1600 hours! Don’t be late! Operator 6O out!”

The connection closed. 2B was left to look out at the horizon as a breeze ruffled her skirt, too shocked to move or speak.

Thusly did 2B make her way to 6O’s appointed coordinates. She was in a part of the Bunker she never found herself visiting. A pleasant smell was wafting through the door in front of her. This was probably the place.

2B opened the door to let herself in, and found herself face-to-face with…

“What is this?” 2B asked aloud.

It was unlike anything she had ever seen before. Rather than the usual silver and black walls, 2B had found herself in a small room with wooden panels on all sides. Pictures adorned the walls, and light blue and green streamers hung in the rafters above her. A handful of other androids were sitting at different tables, and they had drinks in their hands. This was some sort of…coffee shop?

Before 2B could ruminate further, she saw an overly energetic hand waving towards her from the corner of the room.

“Over here!” 6O called out. She had replaced her usual uniform with an elegant black and yellow dress. She looked more adorable than ever.

Subsequently, 2B felt very under-dressed.

The android cleared her throat, before making her way to 6O’s table.

“6O,” she said, giving a bow. Was it too polite? Oh damn, she was already messing up. 2B tried to bulldoze her way past her paralyzation and sat down.

“Has this place always been here?” she asked. 6O chuckled.

“Yes, silly! The Bunker Cafe has been here forever. It’s a spot where androids can relax when they’re not on the job. You’ve just never seen it because you never take a day off, and when you do you spend all your time sleeping in your room!”

“It seemed like the most optimal use of my time in regards to the mission…” 2B replied. 6O passed the woman a menu that she began to peruse.

“It’s built to mimic the same structures that humans would spend their time relaxing in,” 6O said as 2B examined the menu.

“They sure were strange creatures.” Still, she was intrigued by the whole concept. It seemed that Nines’ curious nature was beginning to rub off on her.

“What are you ordering?” 2B asked. She almost never ate human food, even though she had the capability, because it was unecessary. She figured it best to defer to 6O, who was fascinated by human meals.

“Lunar tea!” the girl replied, grinning. “It’s the best thing you can drink here!”

“I’ll get the same then,” 2B replied. “And a plate of biscuits as well.” She wasn’t interested in them, but she noticed 6O eyeing the ones on a table next to them a few times. 2B could tell she made the right decision when 6O’s eyes lit up.

“Make sure to share!” she said. 2B smiled.

“Of course.”

The Cafe wasn’t exactly busy, so the pair’s tea and snacks came to them quickly. 2B picked up one of the biscuits. It was circular, and had a face baked into it with two large round eyes and a wide grin spread across it.

“Creepy,” 2B said, before taking a bite.

“How’s field work going?” 6O asked. 2B crossed one leg over the other and took a sip from her drink, which was surprisingly tasty.

“Fine,” she replied. “There hasn’t been much in the way of unusual activity. We just perform our usual recon missions before returning to base.”

6O sighed. “I would kill to go to the surface,” she said, pouting. “It looks so beautiful. I wanna see it all in person!”

“Operators have no reason to go to the surface,” 2B said matter-of-factly. 6O stuck her tongue out at the woman, causing her to blink in surprise.

“Haven’t you ever wanted to do something just because you wanted to, 2B? Like yeah, missions are important, but isn’t there anything you want yourself?”

This was the part of 6O that 2B was always thrown off by. She seemed to not have a filter on anything she said, even for an Operator unit. 2B put her hand under her chin in thought.

“I suppose…I haven’t,” she said. “Oh!”

6O leaned forward. “Oh?”

“I did want to see you today. That was for myself.” 2B nodded, content with her answer. She noticed that 6O had covered her face with her hands.

“6O?” she asked, puzzled. “Are you alright?”

Blghhhaa, 2B!” she said, her voice muffled by her hands. “You can’t just say stuff like that out of nowhere!”

“I was answering your question,” 2B said. 6O waved her hands in front of her.

“Just forget about it!”

The two women went on with their cafe meals, chatting about missions they had worked on and Bunker gossip that 6O had heard while on the job. She idly spinned the straw in her tea, staring into its depths when she next spoke.

“I’m glad you said yes to this,” she said, quieter than she usually was. “I was afraid you wouldn’t.”

2B’s eyes widened. “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Well…the last girl I asked out turned me down…”

This was something 2B hadn’t heard about.

“Really?”

6O blushed. “Yeah…I kinda liked her, but…I don’t know, I guess I wasn’t good enough. Sorry, this isn’t exactly a date topic, is it?”

2B shook her head. “I’m glad she said no.”

“What?”

“If she had said yes, I wouldn’t have been able to be here with you.”

6O was near to tears. Her cheeks were flushed red.

“Two-beeeee,” she said, finally letting out a sob. 2B pat the girl’s hand, flustered herself.

“Get a hold of yourself, 6O,” she said as gently as she could muster.

The girls left the cafe twenty minutes later. 2B stretched, letting out a cat-like yawn.

“I have to admit. That was nice.”

“Wasn’t it?” 6O replied, bouncing on her toes. 2B nodded

“I’ll walk you back to Command,” she said.

The pair made their way through the Bunker’s hall. 2B had passed through them numerous times with collegues, but walking with 6O, she couldn’t help but perceive a sort of warmth in them, even if she knew it wasn’t there. She stopped herself from smiling before 6O could notice.

They arrived at the front entrance of Command a short while later. 6O turned to 2B, hands clasped together as she looked more at 2B’s feet than at 2B herself.

“Well, this is my stop,” she said, giving a nervous chuckle.

“It is,” 2B replied. “Oh yes, one last thing.”

2B popped open the containment slot built into her thigh, and pulled out a bright white flower. She offered it to 6O, who gasped.

“Is that…?”

“A Lunar Tear, yes. You mentioned wanting to see one before, so I got one on the way back to Base yesterday. It’s yours.”

2B placed the Lunar Tear in 6O’s hair. It blended brillianty with the girl’s blond locks. 2B took a step back, admiring her placement.

“I think it looks good. What about you, 6O?”

In answer, 6O rushed forward, pulling 2B into a hug before looking up to kiss her. 2B was shocked for half a second, before she wrapped her arms around the girl, kissing her in turn. They stayed like that for a while, held in each others arms, before finally letting each other go.

“I hope you get another day off soon, 2B,” 6O said. She turned on her heel and rushed into Command. 2B watched her leave.

“Me too,” she whispered.

Art by @astronauts321

Bubblegum and Aprajita

Mint, Queen, Bubblegum and Aprajita floating in the air. Mint's having a good time. Queen is worried has heck. Bubblegum is pleased as always, and Aprajita is...well who knows what she's thinking.
Art by @acidbeaker on Twitter.

The Saga of Mint™ has steadily ballooned over the past couple of months. This mostly occurs via random Mastodon posts and LINE conversations with my friend, described as “Lore,” much the same way one would place fake dinosaur bones around the house to later discover for themselves.

"Did you know that mint and queen use bubblegum crisis clips as the backdrop for their concerts. well you do now."

"Fucking hell yes they do" in all caps
It’s that easy, kids

Since Mint’s creation a stream of cast-members have entered the scene. First, there was Queen, Mint’s girlfriend. I want to do a post about her at some point, but she’s my friend’s OC so I’d like to collaborate with her in writing it, or have her make a post on this blog herself (if she gets off her lazy ass to do it. Doubtful!!!).

So instead today I wanna talk about Mint and Queen’s roommates: Bubblegum and Aprajita.

Bubblegum

Bubblegum is somewhat of a mystery to everyone that knows her. It is rumored that she ran an illegal software ring at some point in her past. Some have said that she was CEO of a massive plushie-making corporation. Still others believe that she was Hatsune Miku’s previous vocal trainer. No one knows for sure because Bubblegum is a rather private person, but it doesn’t particularly matter, especially to Aprajita. Much like her roommates, Bubblegum is a staunch anti-capitalist, regardless of what her former inclinations might have been. She runs an Etsy shop out of the group’s house, filled with all kinds of accessories and custom-made sweaters. Bubblegum is exceedingly cheerful, and she uses the depths of her knowledge on all matter of subjects – wherever it may have come from – to provide advice to everyone in the house.

In case you couldn’t tell, she loves pink. She plays the drums, and has a pet bird named Floof, also pink. And as another fun fact, she played a part in how Mint and Queen first met. But that’s a story for another day.

Aprajita

Aprajita is Bubblegum’s girlfriend. She’s from Malaysia, and helps her friend Sunny run a coffee shop around the corner from the group’s house. She’s also an Artist, Graphic Designer, and designated cook for the household. That last point stems from the fact that she’s an amazing chef, and finds the work relaxing.

Aprajita is as quiet as she looks, but that’s often misconstrued as docileness. Anyone who attempts to take her to task with that line of thought will find themselves rudely awakened via acute verbal decimation. She is trust-worthy and strong-willed, nor is she one to ask many questions. Aprajita is as much an emotional rock to the household as Bubblegum is – this is probably why they’re dating. However, there will be days where she’d like to be left alone, which her roommates respect. On days like this, Aprajita gets even quieter than usual, spending time in her room working on some project or another. It never lasts for very long, though, and she’ll be back with her friends soon afterwards.

She met Mint while working as a designer for one of her tours, and two quickly became friends. She also plays the Bass guitar, and has a pet fish named Toothy that she would literally die for. Aprajita is Ace, and her name, color, and design are based on the Blue Pea flower. There is a reason for this.


That’s all for now. There’s more I want to do with Mint and Co. but I don’t know if I’ll implement my ideas anytime soon. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m content in imagining these characters and the world they’re in and having it just exist, without plans for a novel or a visual novel or a graphic novel or any other kinds of novels. They let me feel imaginatively fulfilled when I’m feeling down on other projects, or too beaten up by my day job and physical ailments to do much creatively.

All that said. If you want to make a character in Mint’s little world and connect it to mine, please feel free to do so. It’d probably be fun. Or maybe not. I dunno, I’m not your mom. The app I used for Mint, Bubblegum and Aprajita is here, and actually got updated with a bunch of new stuff today, surprise. If you make one, show me where I usually hang out: @eightbitsamurai

And if you want to see something I’m working on that actually has a plotline and is progressing pretty steadily, check out the Post-KH3 Fanfic I’m writing here: The Foretellers Saga.

Hope you’re havin’ a good one.