ANALYSIS: BOOK TWELVE

Analysis: The study of a game or a position, in order to evaluate the quality of the moves and various other aspects of the game or position

Analysistwelfth in the Metatron’s Army Series can be summed up in one word, evaluate.  This chapter of Cirhce’s journey opens with members of Metatron’s Army trying to find their way forward.

Collectively and individually.

Take a Breath.  Certain objectives have been attained but there is more work to do.  

And adversity has taken its toll.

Change Happens.  There is a renewed if unique focus on the main characters.

But that hadn’t solved things either.  It didn’t matter he’d loved her for years or that she’d begun to return that love within the last year.  It didn’t matter they had Corus’ blessing.  The truth was they were not used to interacting on such an intimate level.  Powerful soldiers who spent years fighting side by side, they were at a loss as to how to behave. 

The war has taken its toll.

 Emotionally and psychologically exhausted, she finally suggested they spend time apart, not only for breathing room but to give the crew a break from the tension that was an invisible entity in the room, right next to time.

Though there is deepened trust among the players, challenges remain.

“Look, can we file this under the Light Beings don’t understand humans category and move on to the reason you are in my apartment?”

Though drama still defines the themes in the series I took time to have fun with relationships between key players.  Especially, Cirhce and her biological father.

She curled her lip.  “That is so gross.”

Ryal sent her a look of irritation, turned the monitor away from her.  “Gross,” he grumbled.  “That’s beautiful is what that is.  My work is not gross!”

And between her father and the man she loves.

Ryal blinked then glared.  “I knew it!  I knew it was only a matter of time before you interrupted something important!  You think you have problems?!”  He pointed at his own chest.  “I am not going to get laid!”

Verix stared coolly before angling his head toward the bed.  “You managed once.”

As with all my writing characters are my focus.  Drawing attention to how key players interact helps flesh them out.

Christine sucked in a breath as a new sensation went through her.  She stared at the Energy Tracker in wonder.  “You feel good.”

Strykus shifted uncomfortably.  If the Princess was developing feelings for him, the Protector would kill him.  As would Dacan.  And Alexander.  And Omart, when it came down to it.  Worse, he did not return those feelings. 

Highlighting challenges in relationships adds depth to the characters and the story.

The longer she stood speculating, the more time she wasted, risked widening the gulf between them; a gulf formed by an inability to know how to move forward, how to be in love which was a whole different thing than loving someone.  

The nature of the relationships adds color.

“I like Jaliss.  I’m glad she came here to be with you.”

“She has a job in the morning, so this is convenient for her.”

“She’s going to go kill somebody when she wakes up?” she asked, referring to the fact the Balen was a mercenary.  

Dialogue can serve to highlight the differences that define the relationships.

“I hurt you?”

“No but you need to learn finesse.”

She laughed.  She couldn’t help it.  The way he was talking about energy work, she’d think it was as good as sex.  And her own lover, who was pretty damned good at it all things considered, talked about sex as if he was reviewing a lesson in basic jet mechanics.

Life is interesting when your teammates are leaders in their own right.

He curled his lip at the Princess.  “Just because we work together doesn’t give you the right to order my men around.”

Life is interesting when your teammate is your lover.

She prepared her modified weapon to fire when there was a flash of light to her left.  Goddamnit!

“I believe it’s Godzilla.”

Or a former lover.

“Where,” a familiar voice said from beside her, “did you learn to fight like that?”

She gave the man she was to have married a cool stare.  “What do you think I did while you were gone all that time?  It wasn’t as if I was having sex.”

As always, life is interesting between teammates who aren’t afraid of expressing their opinions.

“May I ask why you have been observing her in the conference room for the previous two hours?”

Chestin shot Verix a dark look.  “You’re kidding, right?”  

Deer in the headlights moments are fun.

“It will go easier if you lie still.  Try to relax.”

“She’s got her hand up my shirt.  There will be no relaxing, Shifter.”

As the plot thickens adversaries need to work closer.

“He’s going to need help,” Omart spoke up.  “Will he be willing to train someone at the Piya Cascata, do you think?”

“I’ll speak to him about it,” Verix responded, only slightly irritated by the prospect of yet another discussion about sexual intercourse with the man who hated the fact he was having it with his daughter.

A reminder that alliances are self-serving.

His decision to humor the Princess was far from altruistic.  Azlach despised Estan.  If Ryn’s friendship with the Princess did nothing else, it would serve to irritate the hell out of the Ivaran monarch while endearing him to his own.  As for his personal motivation.  He wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to spy on the enemy.

And some relationships are to be tolerated.

“He’s one of Harman’s people.”

“I thought they liked you.”

“I wouldn’t go that far but I’d be surprised if they’ve got a contract out.”  

Though a bit domestic in flavor, I took the opportunity to provide a bit of information about Eol outside the area where the Academy is located.

There were two other islands nearby.  One appeared covered in forest while the other, like the one they were visiting, had population, though there was a significant difference in the buildings.

 I used this opportunity to step away from the filter of Metatron’s Army.

She turned wide eyes on the man watching her.  “Clothes?”

“I thought you might like to have something other than Dynamic issued clothing to wear.”

Which shows characters do not easily step out of character.

“You know, once we get married, I’m not going to step back from Metatron’s Army or the Dynamic government.  I’m still the Commander.  I’m still that mouthy cadet you took on years ago, though I’d like to think I’ve matured to the extent I -.”  She stopped.  Recent activities more than illustrated she hadn’t changed.  “Do you know who you’re marrying?” she asked quietly, “because I’m not going to transform into some domestic -.”  She stopped speaking because he’d stood and was coming her way.

While books 9 – 12 make up the bulk of the original story, a great deal of work went into writing characters and subplots that support the series.  Analysis is about half and half.

The scenes regarding the time gate are all original and were developed while I was using a treadmill in my basement in Michigan decades ago.

Christine felt a momentary pang of guilt for not enlightening her friend as to her real objective.  She would explain herself later, if it became necessary.  For now, she had to hope he was as well-trained as she believed and would act accordingly.  If it became necessary.

She was about to activate the scanner when necessary put in an appearance.

Some of the relationship ideas were original even though the characters themselves were not yet part of the story.

He has no idea what she was up to.  I think he’s going to need help.  Your help.”

“Why me?”

“I think it’s going to take more than the word of a Light Being to convince Azlach Christine was not going to war against the Azlaan people.

In addition to humor I use outside characters to break up tension.  One of my favorites is the former RAF pilot.

“Damn, I’m sorry.  I’ll get something to clean that up.”

“You won’t and don’t you clean yourself either.  Go exactly as you are.”

“Are you out of your mind?  Azlach will -.”

He held up the bloodied hand.  “A picture’s worth a thousand words, mate.”

Another is a former Special Forces soldier.

She gave him the once over.  “I heard you held an emitter on Verix.  That’s gutsy.”

He shrugged.  “Like I said before, I don’t want to have to do that again.”

As always I keep it real.

Christine watched the two males play whose is bigger.  It appeared her life was to be overflowing with overprotective Neanderthals.  She studied her nails.  “Let me know when you guys have worked it out.”

While keeping it off balance.

“Is it medical?”

“Sort of.”

“The reason I ask is because we do have a trust clause.”

“Doctor patient confidentiality?” she replied, one side of her mouth going up.

“Father daughter privilege,” he answered.

There are plenty of reveals.

“Are you telling me you – you purposely -?”

“Corus, I had to know.”

“Why?”

She put a hand to his cheek.  “In doing so I confirmed that this war?  It’s about me.  It always has been.”  And Verix and Corus were casualties, targeted because she loved them.

Closing the distance ups the tension.

“I trust you, Christine.”

“Oh, you do, do you?  Shall we examine that trust?  Where shall we start?  The bond?  Its origin?  Or how about what you’ve been doing on Crysalis?  And just to round it all out, let’s talk about the fact you won’t tell me the truth about why I’m here?  We both know damned well you were more than capable of defeating the bastard.  Especially given half the Council suspected his identity before I was born.”

And in the midst of tension, humor.

“I’m sure that went over real well, given how you detest Kalach.”

“I do not detest him.”

“Okay, let’s not lie.”

Keeping it real.

She smirked.  “Thank you for not killing my father.”

“He is too important to the welfare of the Light Beings.”

Cirhce’s confidence as a leader has definitely evolved.

Her first officer looked well, if tired and a bit – pissed?

“Report to Cloy then find Samira and get some rest.”  When he looked as if he wanted to say something, she narrowed her eyes.  It was so not the time.  “Dismissed.”

“Do you welcome all your crew members back with such warmth?”

She pushes back.

She crossed her arms.  “Why is this my responsibility, Your Majesty, given it’s off your port bow, as it were?”

And takes responsibility.

“Christine -.”

She angled her head.

“Is it worth giving your life for?”

“That’s what it was always about,” she said at last.

And makes sure everyone knows it.

“What are you going to do?” he asked at last.

“What Xavier asked me to.  End the war.”

She shows grace under pressure.

“I told him to kick Estan’s ass to Sunday if he tried doing an end run around Ivar’s role in this through Catana.”

Doesn’t hesitate to remind her team who’s in charge.

“Well, well, well.  Seems like we have a bit of a discipline issue because I know damned well Verix, Ryn, and Chestin didn’t order this ridiculous formation.”  What’d they do, she thought sourly, put the guys least likely to follow orders near the gate?

And when all is said and done?

She wasn’t so naïve as to think she’d accomplished the impossible and put conflict out of business. 

Excerpt.

“Christine, you’re playing with fire, you know that?”

“This ship is a research ship.  Of course, we have to arm ourselves.”

“With enough fire power to take out a planet?”

“I would never -.”

“Yesss,” he said, leaning close, “you would.  You love that man as much as you love Verix and you would destroy the Azlaans if you thought they were harming him.”

“I trust Ryn.”

“As a business partner?  Yeah, okay.  With Corus’ life?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because, Christine, someone should tell you the truth.”

“Yeah, and that’s you, huh?”

“I seem to be the only one not keeping secrets, so yeah, I think I’m the best qualified in this situation.”

“Okay, I’ll bite.  What truth?”

“If you don’t watch what you’re doing, Commander, you’re going to have that war you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.”

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