“Heinz, Win the Universe” – Windermere and Space Opera

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After an episode of Macross Delta focused on developing the interactions between the main cast under pressure, and establishing exactly how much of a back foot Chaos has been put on, the viewer is given an episode showing the true effects of the battle for Ragna on Windermere. They may have “won” but it was a much harder victory than initially expected, and the next – and most interesting question – is what will they do now they have won?

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Zero-G Love (Macross Delta Episode 14)

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One of the defining features of SDF Macross was not just that humanity was on the back foot militarily, but that it was playing with technology it did not understand and was as a result barely able to survive in space, let alone with constant enemy pursuit. This has been a theme that has received steadily less focus as the franchise progresses, and with good narrative reason; Macross as a long-form entity has been about humanity’s evolution from dabbler in space to colonising power, and about how lessons learned in one adventure are rarely applicable to subsequent encounters. It would not make sense, as human technology has gone from a retrofitted alien artefact to a slickly-manufactured fleet of super-technology ships, for there to be the same lack of understanding of how a Macross ship functions.

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Horizon Wars Battle Report: The Ambush at Celakli

The Ambush At Celakli

One of the earliest battles of the Third Meravian War was fought over the remote town of Celakli; Albay Bourak bin-Asard had been sent to occupy the town until the remainder of the invasion force caught up with the rapidly-moving front, and ended up fighting a fierce defence against an impetuous counterattack from an armoured force led by Oberst Hugo Albarea. Albarea had been en route to rendezvous with Isla Clausell’s Novis Eger Rifles, freshly returned from a period of rest and resupply at the fortress Novis Racik, when he had received news of the fall of Celakli. Presuming this would present an opportunity to cut off the Meravian advance, Albarea brought his tanks around to attack the town.

Military historians describe Celakli, with the benefit of hindsight, as a double trap. Asard was able to effectively draw in enemy vehicles into a battle on his terms, with the estates outside Celakli providing an effective firebase for his artillery – but it is widely believed that his entire presence there was part of a wider trap to draw out Prenzeran forces and set up Asard’s actions, against his knowledge, as a casus belli between the two nations.

The battle itself was inconclusive, despite heavy Prenzeran losses of materiel. Asard returned home at its conclusion with almost a full complement of vehicles, but almost all were heavily damaged and it is believed the logistical disruption the return of a vast number of wounded men and damaged vehicles caused on Meravian supply lines disrupted their advance far more than had Albarea wiped the enemy out. This was, however, small comfort for Albarea himself, who saw the heavy losses sustained in Asard’s trap as a personal failing.

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Horizon Wars Army Project – The Relic Beasts of the B-38 Nebula

I have recently got very into playing Horizon Wars, not only enjoying the rules but enjoying the freedom a highly customisable wargame gives to create interesting an unusual armies. When the Biowar expansion came out I felt there was only one thing to do – combine my love of super robots with my love of wargaming and make stats for a whole army of deadly monsters-of-the-week…

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A Lot Happens in Macross Delta Episode 13

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There was little to say about episode 12 of Macross Delta that had not already been said about previous episodes; it simply reinforced the ideas of Windermere’s perverse ideology and Hayate’s development as a pilot in the wake of Messer’s death. It was ultimately a preparation episode for episode 13, the series’ midway climax – yet unlike the previous such example, the two-parter on Voldor which went some distance to explaining at least part of Windermere’s plan, it offered little to progress the plot. Indeed, even after episode 13’s closure of the mini-arcs created in 12, there are still mostly the same mysteries remaining; Mikumo’s role in the plot (and her apparent centrality to Walkure’s Var-curing power), Windermere’s endgame beyond apparently being able to control the minds of everyone in a space sector (which is a fairly strong position to be in) and the nature of the Sigur Valens and the Protoculture ruins all remain questions to be answered in the series’ upcoming episodes.

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Short Story – The After-Dinner Speech Given at the Fourteenth Annual Superior’s Club Banquet

Recently I have got very into the wargame Horizon Wars, and as part of this focused on devising background for my army. I tied it into my recent Trails of Cold Steel inspired fiction, about the science-fiction / fantasy Habsburg Empire analogue, the Double Nations of Prenzer.

Now I am beginning to populate Prenzer with named characters, who will take roles in wargames played in the setting – first was Andrew Jackson, the Lawrence of Arabia-esque tanker who featured in a few of my short stories, and now there is Prince Matthias Valon – a fighter-ace, the son of the Archduke of Prenzer and an all-around rogue and playboy.

This story owes much to the excellent novel Winged Victory for giving me a tone to aspire to in writing about the pioneers of air combat, but equally much to the Trails games for their character Olivert…

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Remember 16 (Macross Delta Episode 11)

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As with almost all Macross Delta episodes the war plot and the character journey plot proceed with little interaction; they intersect when the war affects the characters, when the Aerial Knights do their thing and Walkure and Chaos Ragna have to fight them. There is not so much the sense of constant harassment and open war that one gets in, say, SDF Macross; Windermere has the upper hand, and remains on its fortified homeworld sending out raids to strengthen its position and challenge its enemies. This is, I think, something that makes the series good. It gives the series time to breathe, to allow for personal moments with an implied pressure but without the feeling that any diversion from the main conflict is frivolous or an impossibility.

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Horizon Wars Battle Report / Thoughts

The Battle of Armir, Imperial Calendar 1927

After years of peace between the twin nations of Prenzer-zur-Arol and Prenzer-zur-Mittelsee and the rapidly-industrialising Meravian Empire, war broke out once again when the vicious Prince Ali Ceyric ordered Musir Said Nedim, commander of one of Meravia’s fledgling tank divisions, to test his men’s resolve against the border fortress of Novis Eger. Nedim rapidly captured ground, advancing across the deserts of Prenzer-zur-Arol’s northern territories, aiming to encircle and beseige Novis Eger. However, General Jackson, commander of the border forces, was able to respond ably; while Nedim’s tanks drove an initial counterattack back, his fighting retreat through the town of Armir was a textbook affair. Thus began the Third Meravian War…

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Short Story – A Novel Approach to Negotiation

Watching a lot of Macross has made me really reconsider how I would tell a first contact story. I think it is now quite possible to write a very optimistic story on the subject that is not about conquest or subjugation (or even assimilation), but which offers the promise of peace and understanding.

As a result, I wrote this – about the meeting of two starship captains who don’t know exactly how one is supposed to discuss terms with an empire of unknown size and strength, but don’t want to be the one to fire the first shot.

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“How Far to Paradise” (Macross Delta Episode 10)

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I mentioned in a previous article how the development of Messer’s character in Macross Delta was interesting and troubling in equal measure, how he was depicted as a poor mentor and yet also an interesting self-destructive figure. That episode 10 continued his story was to its credit; the ideas hinted at in episode 9 were the sort of plot points that could not be handwaved away or pushed to the back. However, the episode also introduced another plot development that – as so many of Delta‘s developments do – left me with an interesting mixture of concern and intrigue.

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