"Roots of Contention": The Inside Track....

Let's start with the "baubles" in the Range Patrol #3 story that allude back to Shrike Team #2....

No need to look for baubles in this last story, though -- the two sets of stories are going to slowly come together into one narrative, and from now on, connections will be quite unambiguous -- at least, in terms of seeing them. Their significance, though, is another matter....you'll still have to think about that (grin).

There are a lot of named characters in Shrike Team #3 for a reason -- this was part of a promise fulfillment I set up on a forum I frequent; I was nominated for a monthly race, and one of my "campaign promises" was that those who voted for me would get their forum names in a comic. There were a lot of votes, so this will continue at least through Range Patrol #4.

This was the first original Brom Shriker story in 20+ years. Only the elements of Felicity's possession by Gen'a'too and Brom's work as an intelligence agent remain from the older incarnation. The whole setup with the trees is entirely new and rooted in the unique environment of the Canopy. Couldn't do this story in Nullabor!

I made a huge change in the plot about halfway through. Originally the story called for Gen'a'too to get Brom's attention by felling trees all over the city, thus drawing him out. The city would be evacuated except for a few law enforcement sorts, etc. but I figured this to be too cumbersome and merely reduced it to the present scenario. The only price paid was that I have now established the geography of Monitaw definitively such that one gets from the maglev terminal, past Brom's old house and to the police station. But somehow I don't think that'll come back to haunt me!

Leiara (p. 2 and on) will be making another appearance in Range Patrol #4, which will be mostly "flashback" for Beamer and Bimf's "origin story". I also have a role for Leiara in the future Claw of Vengeance series.

Brom's first meeting with Eidolon (p. 7) will be the subject of a flashback scene in Shrike Team #4, the next story.

A reader has wondered: While Gen'a'too is correct in that he does not have the strength to meet Brom in a pitched battle (p. 12), couldn't he launch a "hypersonic ambush" and drill right through Brom? Answer: Probably not. The properties of Brom's strength, which will be explained more fully through the next few stories, make that unlikely. It would be more likely to destroy Felicity's body instead, and Gen'a'too needs a susceptible and suitable host to carry out his mission (that is, someone who is under the selalighi's power, and has powers of their own, but is NOT occupied by the Sacramental Fire; see Shrike Team #2).

Even so, it is fair to say that the K'rek'skran (like Gen'a'too) have gotten lazy and stupid, as arrogant sorts often do. M'l'strom is going to give Gen'a'too some instructions for battle that we'll see worked out in ST #4.

The mini-debate between Tyra and Brom (p. 13) no doubt represents the poles of debate on the subject of interracial relationships as far as the people of Hearthstone are concerned. It's fun to try to imagine how that debate would evolve; the Hearthstonians' low fertility rates are no doubt used by both sides as a prop.

Behold...the wonder of crisp Tilkrig efficiency (p. 16 and on). Tech teamwork like this is the reason why the Tilkrig are put in charge of so many technical duties on Hearthstone. It's also a model for how working spouses ideally work together.

For those who forgot the tech stuff or didn't read it, remember that Hearthstone has serious "atmospheric issues" with waveform transmission operation (p. 45). Wes is anticipating a day when the maglev route will have call boxes strategically placed along the route, using cables as transmission motives.

I was also asked, Why doesn't Detective Tyra notice that Felicity's eyes are glowing red? (p. 27) She probably does -- and probably doesn't care. Tyra is my portrait of a materialist who often misses the clear evidence in front of them in their drive to pursue a goal. Hence she also doesn't care how Brom or Felicity got their powers (compare Shrike Team #2); all she cares about is results and the bottom line.

That said...keep your eye on her. She's bad news.

The Recommended Next Read is Range Patrol #4.