"Invasion Praxis": The Inside Track....

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First of all, if you didn't find them (or think you did and want to check), here are the two "baubles" from Shrike Team #1 that allude back to Range Patrol #1:

  1. Where both Brom and Annabelle are commenting on never having seen that fruit before
  2. In the audience behind the contestants in Shrike Team #1, there's someone out of place.

There are two more baubles in Range Patrol #2 that allude back to Shrike Team #1. Have fun digging 'em out, and we'll give the answers in the Shrike Team #2 insider. Now for comments on Range Patrol #2....

The VR simulator (page 1) is yet another example of how Hearthstone's technology exceeds ours in some ways -- even as it is behind the times in other ways. It is indeed amazing what you come up with when you aren't occupied by looking for fossil fuels...consider "Strategeria" (p. 3) to be Hearthstone's version of Stratego.

Don't forget Eidolon's rather stricken look (p. 4). It's not because he doesn't like taking pictures, but because of something Sheila's dad says....and he also has a reason to ask about new 'rangs. A few more clues forthcoming in ST #5/RP #6, the first "crossover" story between the two narrative lines.

The mystery of what causes the event on page 9 will be occupying Beamer for quite a few stories after this. Special kudos go to a reader with the online name "Darth Executor," who came up with the idea based on his (excellent) understanding of Hearthstone's technology. His idea helped me formulate future Hearthstone storylines and earns him a special reward: He's got a Tilkrig bad guy (evil genius) named after him, who will first be noted to exist in Range Patrol #3. The big problem was thinking of something within Hearthstone's technological capabilities (and the restrictions of having no fossil fuels) that could pose a threat to another continent, and could also reasonably be "discovered" at that stage in the world's history. Darth saved me a lot of trouble with that idea. Thanks, Darth!

The storyline involving the three original RP members began with the simple idea of the destruction of the Range Patrol HQ building and the scene on page 9 of Bimf protectively shielding Sheila from the blast. I liked being able to use this storyline to show the depth of the relationship between the three original Range Patrol members: Beamer's hidden affection for Sheila (that will also play some role in the next three stories) and Bimf's more fatherly relationship.

It's possible to make out what the Sk'lan says (p. 11 and forward) if you can read chicken scratch and read what he says phonetically....accounting as well for some letters being backwards.

The storyline involving the Ketterlings was centered around a scene that won't be revealed until Range Patrol #3, and I'll talk about that in the insider for that story. The biggest problem for this thread, though, was how to keep the Ketterlings in the city when everyone else was off to the military camp. The reconsitiution ceremony was originally intended to serve this purpose, by making it so that they sealed themselves off from the outside world and would not be aware of what was going on once it was morning. It occurred to me later than as "visitors" they would not be on the Elapine's relay system, and that that would suffice, but I kept the ceremony scene anyway to add some depth to the depiction of their relationship.

Characters like Miles Angwin are never seen for a reason. Originally it was because he (and the President of Nullabor, who I once saw as a sort of Clintonesque happy-face panderer of prosperity) were meant to represent the faceless bureaucrats who often stand in the way of necessary progress to pursue their own ideals for political purposes. But after further thought I've decided to make their "facelessness" a little more ominous...and how that is so will be hinted at in Range Patrol #5 and fully developed once we get to the Claw of Vengeance part of the cycle.

Raglen (page 15), the Elapine soldier, is named after Richard Allen Glenn, a young man I had some dealings with on my "other" site. Ideologically we were foes and had a number of online battles, but he fell prey to a debilitating disease and passed away at the too-young age of 20. Our final correspondence was amenable; he expressed an appreciation for my artwork, and he was particularly fond of rabbits, so as a tribute Raglen was named after him. He'd probably like the idea that he'd end up responsible for helping save a nation of anthropomorphic rabbits.

The storyline involving the invasion itself, and the general Elapine response to it, underwent significant changes even while I was drawing the first 30 or so pages. There was originally no cliffhanger here -- I had pages in which the Elapines engaged the Cartel soldier-thugs and won a very difficult victory; Raglen's role was merely to enter the city and rescue Jess Sandrunner, who would escape alone with the news of his heroic, sacrificial death on her behalf, and would also let Charlock know that the Ketterlings were trapped in the city. In the end I decided I wanted to make the tribute to Allen Glenn a little less gloomy (!) and though it meant HE would be the one rescued by Jess instead, it actually worked out for the better and allowed for the third cliffhanger.

And last...the horror that the Cartel perpetrates on female prisoners...and why...WILL be revealed in Range Patrol #3... but the recommended Next Read is Shrike Team #2. Patience will be rewarded (grin).