Monday, August 17, 2015

Building Character (Honor At Stake}

I find the word "sociopath" to be dreadfully overused.

No, seriously, think about it. If a soldier kills people who are trying to kill him and has no problem with that, would you really fault him?  However, if he enjoys such a thing, he's labeled a sociopath. If he has no problem with it at all, he's a sociopath. And if he even discusses killing in a way that's not sufficiently remorseful or stressed out, he's probably labeled a sociopath.

Though Churchill and George Washington both have quotes on how much fun it can be to be shot at.

Seriously, at the end of the day, does it matter?

Now, granted, if you've got someone who actively goes hunting, that's a bit of a problem. Being an addict for being shot at and killing? That's a serial killer.

That's why I can plainly state of Marco Catalano and Amanda Colt that one is a homicidal bloodthirsty monster, and the other is a vampire. Heh. This is the fun part of Honor At Stake.

With Marco and Amanda, I wanted two people who were nothing alike.  One comes off as being warm and friendly and personable, the other is colder and clinical and happens to own a street gang.

So, yeah, fun times.

But, honestly, I liked working with these two. Marco is very much a gentleman, and believes in chivalry, and has enough martial arts training to defend anyone around him. He's also got a mind like a trap (before you ask, it's more like a claymore mine -- totally focused and highly destructive). She's got a spy's memory, and she has no problem letting him show off (it's adorable how he thinks some of his Krav Maga is new).

Marco doesn't really understand people. Amanda understands them very, very well.

They're both smart, intelligent folks who have had a long history of relationship issues. So that's fun.

Also, there is a large chunk of this that is very much reflective of my own personal life. Each of them have been alienated by "society" at large ... though that's because large chunks of said society is stupid.  I mean, really, what is so terrible with breaking someone's fingers if they try to harm someone you care about?  And power tools are an option when dealing with rapists, right?

.... Yeah, if I had to pick a Deadly Sin, it would have to be Wrath.

But they're both very, very gun shy about relationships, and with good reason.  She looks like an angel, and he moves with the grace of a martial artist. Chemistry? Enough to blow up a building. Willingness to pull the trigger? Zero.

Anyway, as far as the dietary issues inherent in being a vampire, well, did you know that donated blood has an expiration date?

And, yes, expired blood tastes ... expired. But that's what booze is for. Something to kill the taste.

Another large part of the character involves how vampirism works. There will be medicine in this, believe it or not.

Pope quiz: Is a virus alive?  Keep in mind, we're using "alive" as defined by Aristotle, which includes giving of itself to create new life. A virus duplicates by reprogramming live that is foreign to it -- other cells.  So, is a virus alive?  Yes and no.

However, does that sound familiar? Rewrite the last paragraph with the word "vampire" instead of "virus." Which means ...

Yes, a virus is undead. Which explains a lot about how other vampires are created.

Just wait until you get to the mitochondrial DNA. Heh heh heh.

How does this involve character?  Glad you ask.

Well, biting someone transfers saliva, which has the same sort of blood-borne elements as any other body fluids. Which means that being bitten will give the victim a few days of better senses, and strength, and ...

Gee, that means there will be a whole lot of biting.  Just to help the poor defenseless human hold his / her own when danger is coming.  Honest. So Marco and Amanda will have to spend more than a few times locked in an embrace with lips locked onto someone's neck.

But no, nothing relationship wise is going on here. If they tell each other that enough, they might even believe it. Heh heh heh.

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