Thursday, June 27, 2013

Atari Force Month: Ten Stories I'd Like to See

The thing about Atari Force is that, as a sci-fi title that only got twenty issues, there are innumerable concepts, characters, worlds, etc. introduced that are never revisited/expanded/fully explored. There's also a lot of background for the main characters that is referenced but never seen, and it winds up open-ended as a series. So below is a list of stories that I wish Atari Force had made room for, details or ideas that piqued my curiosity but I'll never get to see in their entirety.

1. Babe maturing. The whole concept of the members of his species become literal mountains in their adulthood fascinates me, and to see what that transformation looks like would probably be awesome. What are the practical applications of growing into a mountain, and what would it mean for Babe specifically, since he isn't on his homeworld? Is there a day when it happens all of a sudden, or is the shift from mobility to mountain more gradual? It's one of the best ideas of the whole series, and it feels like kind of a rip off to introduce it and never go back and see what it really means.

2. Babe going home. Obviously this is connected to point #1, but it's also different in important ways. Babe's sole desire for the full twenty issues is to go back to Egg, to be reunited with his family and his home. And even though Morphea makes occasional promises to try and make this happen, they're all empty in the end, and no legitimate attempt is ever made to bring Babe back where he belongs. So mostly I guess I want to see this because I think he deserves it as a character, as opposed to seeing any particularly compelling narrative hook in this idea.

3. Tempest and Dart as kids together. We get to see some of Dart's childhood in the Atari Force Special, and there's one backup story about Tempest as a child, but their shared history is never really seen. They refer to each other as brother and sister, and there's an obvious affection between them, but based on what we know about how old Dart was when she was sent to mercenary school, the bond between her and Tempest must have been formed very early on. I'm curious as to what that looked like, how they interacted before she was an efficient killer and he was an emotionally stunted man. We know his father was distant and that it was Dart's parents who essentially raised them both, but how exactly did that work? And what was life like for young Tempest after Dart left? It would likely provide a lot of insight into both characters, and I imagine there'd be some solid humor thrown in as well.

4. The history of the war Taz is fighting when we first meet her. Though we see how devastating this conflict is, wiping out most if not all of two separate species, the details of how it began and what each side was after are never divulged. It would help me understand Taz a bit more completely, and either sympathize with her struggle or, perhaps more interestingly, see her as something of a villain. After all, for all we know, her species was an invasive or oppressive force, and the ugly red aliens were freedom fighters or revolutionaries or something. Not likely, but I'll never know, and I wish I could.

5. Pakrat and Rident as kids, and/or meeting the rest of their family. Rident talks about how their family has a rare history amongst the Markian people of being law-abiding police officers instead of thieves. Meeting Rident and seeing what an ass he is made it a lot easier to like Pakrat, and I have to assume that getting to know their parents might even make Rident a more sympathetic character, too. Also, I just want to see what Markian society is like day-to-day. In a culture where thievery is commonplace, there can't be much trust or even friendship. Seems worth exploring for at least an issue, if not an extended arc.

6. Tempest and Melissa's relationship before it went sour. Melissa isn't at all a likable character in any of her scenes, and maybe she never was, but I'd like to know what attracted Tempest to her in the first place. If her father really hated him so much and she was always so vapid and foolish, how did they even get together? Did they ever get along? Was it the hopelessness of their relationship that drew them to each other? Even though she's one of my least favorite characters, and Tempest is probably the least interesting member of the main cast, I remain weirdly curious about how they became a couple.

7. Anything at all that happens after the final issue. This is the big one. I'd kill for an Atari Force #21. Going back to Old Earth with the hodgepodge of different attitudes and species they have would undoubtedly make for some bizarre and interesting challenges, which, in turn, would make for bizarre and interesting fiction.

8. Hunter's history. That dude was an interesting character, an opponent of Atari Force only because it was his job to be. He took the law very seriously, but he was otherwise an intelligent and reasonable man, and ultimately I think he got kind of a raw deal. I'd like to see what made him who he is, why he's so intense and serious about his duty as security officer. He's one of my favorite characters, big or small, and there's almost no background information on him whatsoever, except a few allusions to him being removed from the security team for a time for being over-zealous. What are the details of that incident? And what are the details of the life that led up to it?

9. Any story at all, narrated by Kargg. Dude is something of an enigma from start to finish, and I want to spend some time in his brain. Especially since, for so long, his brain was under the control of the Dark Destroyer, but is now free again. What kind of perspective does that give him? Probably a unique one, well worth a more thorough examination.

10. A Hukka story where Hukka doesn't do anything stupid or reckless.

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