"Invasion Resolution": The Inside Track....
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Okay, to start...here are the three "baubles" from Shrike Team #2 that allude back to Range Patrol #2:

  1. Same calendar on the wall in Beamer's room and Felicity's lab
  2. Sheila's photo album is in the window of the bookstore Felicity shops in
  3. Raglen is eating in the commissary at the Monitaw police station. The Elapine army must serve up some nasty grub for him to eat THAT far out, eh?

If you're thinking "axlotl tank" (page 1) you have a point, but I've never read the Dune series. Which is not to say I'm surprised it's been thought of before. Based on reader descriptions, though, there are some differences: Herbert's tanks were apparently zombies good for one use, while the Sk'lan I see using their prisoners over and over as many times as they can. We'll get back to more details on this in what will Shrike Team #6, where Felicity and Brom will meet Precog -- of the future Claw of Vengeance team -- out in the wilds of the Northwest.

The resolution of the military thread (pages 1-3) wasn't too hard to work up once the nature of the soldier-thugs was established. The only decision needed was how to hide the male half of the army. Three options were considered: 1) Put the battle near a marshy area where they could hide under water with straws to breathe; 2) Get the thugs to chase the female half of the army through the camp, where the male half was hiding in the tents; 3) have 'em hide underground in trenches. I didn't pick which to use literally until I inked the two pages where the resolution was reached. 1) didn't square well with Nullabor's perceived geography and 2) seemed like it would get too clumsy and comic. 3) at least reflected a known military strategy of digging trenches.

The Ketterling thread was built upon the inspiration of the scene in which they combined their powers with explosive force to wipe out a division of thugs (p. 6 and following). It had to be worked out how to get them into the middle of such a pack, hence the scenario in RP #2 with the prisoners. I had briefly considered setting the scenario on a beach, but in the end a city scenario was the most practical, and that choice actually determined many of the other plot elements in the story.

You can tell I'm not fond of typical helpless-female-needing-rescue scenarios. Take a look at Sheila's face (page 8). She's MAD. If she could she'd bust that Sk'lan in the chops. same page, lower -- still the composed leader directing and trying to win. No, "Oh, help me, male hero" in these comics, no sir. (And yeah, that goes for Felicity too, in Shrike Team #2 -- it's Gen'a'too causing her fear there, not on her own.) In fact this story reeks of my egalitarian tendencies, between Betsy and Campion Charlock as equals in rank to Annabelle bravely standing her ground to save Brett (page 13). It's possible to go too far with this sort of thing, of course -- I also don't approve of making male characters wimps looking to a buff female heroine for help. The males and females work as teams here...not with one dominating the other.

The thread with the original RP crew wasn't complex; just a matter of finding a way to make the fight interesting and a bit comic (hence the "Wile E. Coyote Solution" -- page 10). Eventually Beamer will find the chronic device that allowed the robot to "pop" into existence at the end of RP #2, but he'll have no idea what it is (not his specialty). Why the Sk'lan think Beamer is dead will be seen in RP #4.

A glimpse of the politics of Hearthstone only here (page 20). There's actually a more sinister reason why the Egalitarian Confederacy is hesitant to join the Prycenes, and we'll learn about that in the Claw of Vengeance mini-series.

There'll be some insight in RP #4 in terms of how well he knew Darthex (page 23) back in Cartel days (not well at all, actually, which is one of the reasons he's a little scared). Darthex I envision as a true "anti-Beamer" to the point that where Beamer is more of a nuts and bolts guy who looks to get the job done now, Darthex is into the deeply theoretical, and the grandiose, long-term scheme. If they were in the same room they'd circle each other like predators from different species. The significance of this will become clear as the Cartel cycle wraps up over the next several stories.

Rememeber the Rangslinger family mark (page 24). Trust me.

There are baubles in Range Patrol #3 that allude back to Shrike Team #2. The recommended Next Read is Shrike Team #3.