Sunday, August 25, 2013

Original Character for Marvel Science Movie

Ok, so there's a reason I tend not to write fan fiction for stuff that was well written in the first place.  I'm not good with other people's characters.  Non-evil Rayford or Buck, non-abusive Edward, and so on need to be built from the ground up.  They end up being my characters and I can write them.

But what Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Jane Foster, Darcy Lewis, or Betty Ross would say... it's not the same.  They're characters that exist in their own right and since they're well done already there's no building from scratch needed or wanted.  If I'm going to write what Tony Stark says I want it to be what Tony Stark would say not what some alternate version of him I created would say.  Trouble is, I've got no fracking clue what Tony Stark would say.

Which means that you're not likely to see me writing fan fiction of well crafted works very often.

But remember how I was saying that there should be a science movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

So, the most likely thing would be a result of the portals that have been used.  The Rainbow Bridge was broken in Thor.  The portal Loki used in the Avengers ripped apart the fabric of space-time.  The way Thor got there was not standard and required a substantial amount of reality warping energy.  The portal the army came through was stable, but a distinctly not Rainbow Bridge style portal.  The way Thor and Loki returned likewise was one that required a tremendous power source and was non-standard.

The point here is a lot of portals, stable and otherwise, being punched through to and from earth.  Easy enough to imagine that this has some destabilizing effects.  And that's before we consider whatever the hell is going to happen in Thor II.

So Maria Hill goes around recruiting the top scientists around the Marvel Universe with experience with this kind of thing.  Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (explaining that she needs Mr. Stark and Dr. Banner because this is something that Iron Man and the Hulk could not solve), Betty Ross, and Jane Foster with her sidekick Darcy Lewis (given that last time he was brainwashed, I think Erik can sit this one out.)

Now we've got the set up for a movie.  We've got a five person team, a hovering air craft carrier, the fabric of reality randomly collapsing all around.  (I figure two kinds of portals for this one, one is like a mini version of what Loki came through in the Avengers: no view of the other side, fair amount of property damage.  The other is like a mini version of what the army came through: you can see the other side, but tends to come with minor property damage (lightningish bolt when it collapses.))

There are two things that need addressing.  One is why the gods are not popping over to help out.  A simple explanation can handle this: opening a portal to earth now, in addition to the randomly firing portals, will completely destabilize everything and destroy the planet.  All that is needed is a way to deliver that information to the viewer that doesn't feel like: "Meanwhile, back at Asgard, exposition."

The second is what, exactly, each scientist is doing.  Banner and Stark will probably rebuild their extremely low level gamma radiation tracking program that went up with the computers in the Avengers.  (If the tesseract liked extremely low level nigh undetectable gamma radiation then it makes sense that portals would too.)  After that Foster, Banner, Ross, and Stark are all geniuses and Lewis is the regular person to keep them grounded and point out the obvious things they might miss because they're making things too complicated but there's a breakdown beyond that.

Foster, plus sidekick Lewis, is in the portal business.  She'd be out taking readings in the field then preforming experiments and crunching numbers in the lab.

Stark is an inventor.  He'd be building what they need.

But for Ross and Banner, gamma radiation is only half of what they know and what they do, the other half is biology.  The way biology interacts with unexpected forces to do seemingly inexplicable things.  (See the Incredible Hulk, the individual not the movie.)  For them to work at their peak ideally they'd have a human subject who was somehow connected to the portals.  That's an original character, and that I can work with, it can also solve the question of how to establish why the gods are not coming to earth to help.

The story would go like this:

Early in the movie a human, call the character Alexander for now, would travel through a portal to Asgard.  (Most portals link from some place on earth's surface to another place on earth's surface, but some go further and thus farther.)

Naturally Alex would have some trouble believing he was in Asgard, say:

Alex: That's impossible, Asgard is where the gods live.
Sif: It is.
Alex: So you're a god?
Sif: I am.
Alex: (incredulous) Can you preform miracles?
Sif: Some.
Alex: Can you *leans in and whispers into Sif's ear*
*Sif smiles*
Sif: Perhaps, but it would take some preparation.
Alex: If you can then please do and I'll be forever grateful.  If you can't, please don't tell anyone I asked.

At some point it is noticed that portals seem to form around Alex and Sif takes the human to Heimdall in hopes of more information.  (Portals of the "you can see through it" type are preceded by a roughly spherical blue crackling energy swirly thing.  Why?   Because I said so.  If Alex touches it, it immediately opens into a portal, Alex can then collapse it by sticking an arm through for a few seconds and then retracting it.  The collapse is preceded by two crackles just because I like the idea of Alex describing portal collapse as, "Crackle, crackle, pop.")

Heimdall explains that Alex has brought part of Earth's instability along and this is a good thing because it means that Alex, and only Alex, can slip back through that instability and carry a message to earth.  Thor sends his love to Foster, Heimdall sends something more useful.  Alex transcribes important information about portals that should speed along the work of the human scientists.  The gods don't know how to fix things on earth but do know a lot more about portals than the scientists do and so can given the human scientists a leg up.

Heimdall speaks this in mythic terms because that's what an Asgardian would do.  Alex transcribes it as pure math with occasional scrawled notation.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the carrier is no longer flying because the portal detection device Stark and Foster have built has the unfortunate side effect of attracting portals.  It's the only thing other than large quantities of power or large groups of people (thus explaining why recognizable touristy things get destroyed/damaged by the random portals) that has that effect.  The good news for the carrier is that it attracts the semi stable window like portals, the bad news is that they still do damage and being in the air is too much of a risk.

Alex is a person with low self esteem issues and unless research shows that Norse gods specifically do not believe in destiny Frigga is going to try to help him first by asking how many know the language he writes (mathematics) and then when he shoots that down by guessing billions saying that the universe has a way of putting the right people in the right place but it's still up to those people to do the right thing.  The fact Alex is there means he's special.  [Added] Frigga would know that everyone is special. [/Added]  Then, and this is the reason for Frigga being there in the first place, she announces that she, Sif, and some others are ready to grant Alex's prayer.

Some short ceremony involving a Norse-significant number of goddesses and Alex becomes biologically female.  Call her Alicia now.  She is happy.

Soon after, Heimdall announces that time is running short and Alicia must deliver the information to Earth's champions.  With Heimdall's help a forming portal is directed to the carrier and Alicia crosses back to earth with the notebook full of portal math.

Random person wandering the corridors is of course worthy of note and Maria Hill takes that seriously so she personally meets Alicia who indicates the math in the notebook and asks if Hill understands it.  Hill says she doesn't and Alicia says that that means Hill wasn't the one Alicia was sent to give the notebook to.  When the response to Hill asking sent by whom is, "The gods of Asgard," Alicia, still under armed guard, is rushed off to where the scientists are and the information does indeed help them jump well ahead in their work.  (Armed guard is allowed to leave now.)

This is also where Alicia meets Darcy Lewis.

(both sitting off to the side)
Alicia: This place must have a cafeteria, do you want to get lunch?
Darcy: Actually I just ate.
Alicia: I'm not good with these things.  Does that mean you don't want lunch with me right now, or you don't want to get a bite to eat with me ever?
*Darcy looks Alicia over*
Darcy: Are you asking me on a date?
Alicia: Would it work?
Darcy: Ask.
Alicia: Would you go on a date with me?
Darcy: Yes.

*hours pass, they're still in the same room watching the four geniuses talk*
Alicia: How can saving the world be so boring?
*A pre-portal swirly thing appears, Alicia hits it in frustration, a portal opens up to, say, space*
Alicia:(tired tone) Not earth.
*Alicia puts her arm through it for a moment then retracts it*
Alicia: Crackle, crackle, pop.
*Bruce Banner and Betty Ross look on with interest.  The portal crackles twice and then collapses.*

Ross and Banner rush Alicia off to a medical lab so they can run tests.  Alicia is unconvinced there's anything special about her.  Her first comment to them saying they've never seen anyone do that is, "Maybe you just haven't seen anyone hit one before."

Ross raises an "Odd," and after Alicia refuses to let it go Ross says she was looking at Alicia's DNA.  Alicia says she just had some remodeling done and so the blueprints don't match the reality anymore.  Ross is confused, Alicia says, "If you found yourself surrounded by gods wouldn't you ask for a favor?" in defensive tones.

A pre-portal swirly thing forms right above her.  She initially moves to touch it but is told not to until the medical diagnostics are ready.  When she does touch it Ross and Banner make excited "We're starting to understand," sounds; Alicia makes some comment about being a freak in a lab that causes knowing looks between Banner and Ross because Hulk.  The portal is to a town in Europe, Alicia asks if they've noticed that the portals are almost never to forests or sea or other unpopulated areas.  (Even the odd far ranging ones to space are near alien space bases.)

They have noticed and say the readings they're getting from Alicia are helping them to finally understand why.  When that comes up against Alicia having previously told she's different the response is something like she's "like everyone else but moreso."  Alicia collapses the portal.  Data collected, she's set free.

The scientists continue to science.

Alicia meets with Maria Hill:
Alicia: So you're a super spy, right?
Hill: What?
Alicia: Your organization makes false identities that are as solid as the real thing is what I'm asking.
Hill: What we do is secret, I'm not just going to tell it all to you.
Alicia: I'm sorry, I opened wrong.
*Alicia hands Hill an ID identifying her as Alexander*
Alicia: Before this started that was accurate.  I'm worried that when this is over I won't be able to use my own identity and I was wondering --please-- if you could help me.
Alicia: Don't get me wrong, the reason it's not accurate anymore is wonderful, but (sliding into desperation) you can't live in this world without an identity and ... and--
Hill: I'll see what I can do.

The scientists continue to science.  (Which is most of the movie, really, but I'm just doing this one secondary character's arc here.)

Darcy and Alicia are walking together as a storm of portals hits the ship (starts mid convo)

Darcy: I just don't like mountains.
Alicia: Then you'd hate Katahdin, but I'm telling you it's beauti-
*A portal forms in front of them*
Alicia: That didn't start on this side.
Darcy: How do you-
Alicia: I do, but that's not important: It's growing.
Darcy: So?  There've been ones way bigger, they didn't do any damage.
Alicia: It's going to be bigger than this hallway soon.  *points* see that pipe?  When the portal passes it then it's going to be connected to nothing, open air in wherever the portal comes out.  Then the ceiling will do the same thing and-
Darcy: It'll all collapse.
Darcy: What do we do?
*Alicia looks back and forth trying to decide whether to run away or try to deal with the portal.  Then she charges up to it and sticks an arm through.*
Alicia: We fight it.  Help.
*Darcy follows suit*
Darcy: It's not working.
Alicia: No, it is but too slow.
Alicia: Find things to put in it.  They don't like when things sit on the threshold.
*this is tried but it still isn't working fast enough, shots from around the ship show portals wreaking havoc*
*a pre-portal swirly thing appears on the opposite side of Alicia as the portal*
*Alicia spins and claps her hands around the pre-portal thing which ends up collapsing it before it even becomes a portal and shooting a bolt of energy through her into the portal.*
*Alicia collapses to the ground.*
*Darcy catches her before her head hits and Alicia is in Darcy's arms as a result*
*The portal is still open.*
Alicia: (weakly) Well that totally failed to work.
*the portal crackles*
Alicia: (still weakly) Or not.
Alicia: Crackle pop.


Have I taken the time to say here how I get pissed off at Google Chrome for doing things when there's no call for it to do them and thus losing information that should have been safe?  Like trying to reload a page when there's no reason to reload it and then, as a result, crashing the page, and destroying all information on it.

Here's a new one on me: I got disconnected from the internet.  No problem there.  I can type and type and type in this space with no connection without any ill effect and then when I get reconnected all is well, and if I don't get reconnected I can copy it and save it to a word processor.  There's certainly no reason for me to stop typing when I'm on a roll, right?

Apparently wrong.  Chrome "Aw snap"ed me into oblivion.  I have no idea why the fuck it would do that.

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled programming.


*The portal crackles and collapses*

Meanwhile, back at the lab, Foster notices that a portal collapsed before it should have and by looking at the data she and Stark come up with a way to modify the portal detector to send out a pulse to stop the storm of portals.  Foster does the necessary calculations, Stark, being a builder, makes the modifications.  It works.

It isn't a global solution because the power necessary to do it on a global scale is simply untenable but it is a step closer to one.

The state of the ship is that it's damaged, and sections of it are slowly flooding.  The ship as a whole won't sink but anyone trapped in those sections will drown if they don't get out before the section floods.

While giving her a status update, Foster has a standoff with Hill.  She wants Darcy found now, Hill has an entire ship to think about and can't spare resources to search for one person who may well be fine when she knows for sure that there are people trapped in places where they'll die if they don't escape.

As it turns out Darcy and Alicia are trapped in a slowly flooding section and Darcy has dragged Alicia to the highest ground available.

Scientists do science.

Darcy returns to the wounded Alicia having found no way out.  Collapses and the like have cut them off and the water is rising.  Alicia is talking though there's no one there.

Alicia: Come on.  You've been bugging me with them for something like weeks now.  I think.  I honestly don't know for sure what month it is.  The point is: you owe me.  Just give me one.
*the sound of a pre-portal swirly thing can be heard on the other side of the collapsed bulkhead above Alicia*
Alicia: Wrong side.  Give me one I can use, damn it.
Darcy: Who are you talking to?
Alicia: The universe.

Scientists do science.

Darcy and Alicia are huddled together on the last bit of dry ground now that the water has risen significantly.

*A pre-portal swirly thing appears*
Alicia: Yes!
*Alicia hits it and a portal opens*
Alicia: Help me through?
Darcy: Where does it go?
Alicia: Does it matter?
*Darcy looks at the water and starts dragging the injured Alicia through the portal*
*The portal collapses behind them*
Darcy: Where are we?
Alicia: I don't know.  Shanghai maybe?
*Alicia passes out*

Meanwhile, back at the lab:
Ross: Foster can you track the portal that was just in [section of ship]
Foster: Yes.  Why?
Ross: I think Alicia just went through it.  It has her signature.

Scientists do epic science which saves the world in epicly epic ways.  I mean Dactylic Hexameter levels of epic here.

*Alicia begins the process of waking up*
Darcy: It was Hong Kong.
Alicia: (sleepily, in a hospital bed) What?
Darcy: It wasn't Shanghai, it was Hong Kong.
Alicia: Oh.  Sorry.
Darcy: Hill said to give you this.
*Darcy hands over an envelope, it contains all relevant ID reading Alicia instead of Alexander and Female instead of male*
*Alicia looks it all over*
Darcy: I wasn't expecting our first meal together to be in a hospital.
Alicia: We'll have to do better for our second date.
Alicia: There is going to be a second date... (uncertain) right?
Darcy: Definitely
*fade out*


Somewhere in the previous I was going to have Alicia explain that she hadn't been home (I'm making her a Mainer [terminal r not pronounced]) in years because she went to college in Virginia, and is now in grad school in Kansas.  Her parents are religious fanatics who won't speak to her, her grandparents are equally religious but very nice (fanatics for love!), but they've moved to Florida.  The fact that she's homesick for Maine sort of needs to be known for this last bit to make sense.


*after credits*
Alicia wakes up in her dorm room.  There are two clocks on the wall.  One labeled, "here," one labeled, "home," why they are lowercase is something you'd have to ask her.

She makes a motion with her right hand (have I mentioned she's left handed?  No?  Probably not important) flicking all of her fingers across her thumb.  She does this again and again.  Nothing happens.

Fade to her doing the same thing but with the clocks significantly advanced, it's almost dawn at "home"

Finally a pre-portal swirly thing appears above her hand in response to one of the motions.  She hits it and a portal opens up to a mountain top with a large rock pile and a sign saying it's the end of the Appalachian trail.  She steps through, the portal closes behind her, and she watches as the first rays of the sun appear over the horizon.  She screams, "I love Maine!"  (Because, "I love teleportation!" would make too much sense.)


This would still be a very white movie.  (Maine is the whitest state, or possibly second whitest depending on how you count, so Alicia is probably white, though not definitely.  Especially if she came from one of our few urban centers she stands a, still small, chance of bringing color.  All the established characters save Heimdall are white.  The extras and background characters at least could be more demographically mixed.)

Sexually it would have Darcy be bisexual (pretty sure she's expressed attraction to men before), Alicia a lesbian, and (of course) Alicia trans*.  So that's some minor improvement for Marvel in terms of representation.


  1. I love pretty much all the things. I will go into more detail later, probably.

    This is exactly the sort of thing I absolutely love in fanfic, and I am not the only one, so I think you would fit in in lots of communities... but of course it's great for original stuff too, and you are very good at worldbuilding and characterization, so you should probably mostly stick with the whole Professional Writer Career Trajectory thing.

  2. Communication from the gods, either up front or though a random portal, can be handy if some background information is needed, and more interestingly could show up the worldview differences. They, Asgardians, know this stuff; it's the way the world is, and they've never thought about it. We,humans, take those background assumptions, put them together, and work out implications from them that the people who live with them never thought of.

  3. I mean Dactylic Hexameter levels of epic here.

    This is every kind of awesome.

    I skimmed through it again and it isn't clear to me: where is Thor during all this?

    The only people besides you and my cousins I know who live in Maine are refugees from...Congo, I think. So if I were writing this Alicia would be of African heritage, but probably here since she was a baby, with a proper Maine accent and various immigrant generational issues. How that would inform and complicate her trans identity, I don't know. Or her relationship with Nordic gods, for that matter. Maybe something like this:

    Frigga: Some of my best friends are African. Perhaps you know (names of deities/spirits associated with ethnic groups from Congo)?
    Alicia (nonplussed): Uh, no. I was raised Seventh Day Adventist. It's not like all white people know who you are.

    1. I skimmed through it again and it isn't clear to me: where is Thor during all this?

      Stuck in Asgard like all the other gods, but since he's not a portal expert, nor a making human being female expert, he's not in it all that much. Unless you can think of a good thing for him to be doing.

    2. Well, flirting with Jane, if they have communication going. Alternately, writing her love letters (made of science!) or making her a gift or something, to send back with Alicia.

      Also I keep thinking of Loki pouting over everyone making a big deal over Alicia, along the lines of "Some puny human changes sex and it's big news? Well, I turned into a female horse and saved Asgard and gave birth to a majestic steed and all I got was a lousy "Thanks for saving our butts...again." Or something. But IDK if any of that happens in comics canon, and then MCU canon is yet another thing. (It's weird to have characters that have the same names as gods but aren't supposed to be them, but kind of, a little...)

      But I guess the point is we don't care what Thor and Loki are doing, because original and minor characters FTW?

    3. Loki: You know I turned into a female horse, saved Asgard and gave birth to a majestic steed once. I don't see anyone making a big deal out of that.

      Sif: First off, it's easier to change oneself than to change others. Second, you have since that time attempted at least one genocide and made war on one of our oldest allies. So I think people have your attack on Midgard more in mind than what you did back when you were still on our side.


      And, communication is just what Alicia brings back with her: a one time thing. Thor could send letters, possibly small artifacts. (Don't have technobable but assume nothing larger than can fit in standard pockets.)

  4. Every time I get redirected to this I love it all over again!