They are all going to be so surprised when it hits Midnight. I hope one of them says "But it's not April!?!?"
I know. I wrote it, and I feel much the same way. :(
To be quite honest, it reminds me far too much of Wash's death in Serenity. It's out of nowhere- there's no foreshadowing that I can recall, no sign that the heroes are actually actually in danger. Until very, very recently, it was only minor characters that died, and even then, the main cast has been pretty much untouched (that is, on the protagonist side).
And so, to an extent, it almost feels unnecessary, at least at the present moment. It hasn't really brought up a sense of danger, but rather a subversion to what has already been established. The latest page sort of helps in regards to grounding it and setting a new tone, but still…
Then again, I've always been sour to all but the most necessary and perfectly executed main character deaths, so take my words with a grain of salt. I just don't like seeing characters dying. T-T
That is fair, and I do appreciate the input. Allow me to pull back the curtain and give my reasons, especially because this is something I was wrestling over for some time before doing it.
Plot-wise, Nadia's death has three major reasons behind it.
1) It is something of a moral event horizon for Ecchs, who has been portrayed as mostly sort of comical even when he's been effective. Rex Mundi has one goal, and nothing stops him from achieving it. This is the most minor reason, though, and I wouldn't have done it just for that.
2) More importantly, it's a moral event horizon for the setting. When I originally decided to have Narrative be an active force in Patchwork Champions, and to have characters be aware of it, I was pretty much setting the stage for exactly this sort of event. In a sense, Doctor Ecchs is setting off a second Iron Age (for those who read comics) by deliberately killing an iconic character. Your sense that there was no real sign that the characters were in danger is entirely accurate - there wasn't supposed to be, because up until now important characters were essentially shielded from long-term harm of any sort. Mayfly's death is entirely out of nowhere, because that's the level of shock it takes to do what Ecchs is trying to do. He is, in essence, trying to inflict Cerberus Syndrome on the universe (not a perfect use of the trope, obviously, since there has been serious drama in Champions from the beginning, but I think it fits).
In order to do what Ecchs wants to do, he has to be much, much better than the Oligarchs were. Just beating the Champions isn't enough. He has to completely hit the way they think the world works, enough to shatter them (if only temporarily). Nadia's death was the most meaningful representation of that.
3) I could not justify to myself, given everything that I know, why Ecchs would not sabotage Nadia's suit. He knew where it was, he knew he was fighting the Champions, he knew (well, he believed) that Mayfly was the only person in a fifty-mile radius who could shut down his most powerful weapon (Psiborg). Not taking her suit out would be a staggeringly dumb move, and taking her suit out in a non-lethal way would only work if I wanted him to stay harmless.
I can understand the mechanical reasoning, and I'd thought of much of what you said here before you actually came out and said it. For the purposes of the story you're trying to tell, I do kind of agree with the reasoning behind the scene.
It's still very jarring and shocking though.
And here I was hoping she faking or Timebender was lying, or something.
Still, Hells Yeah Firenado!
It just occurred to me. What happened to Lucy? And Lord Mayhem?
Lucy is on the platform with Ecchs and Ada, transferring her powers into Ecchs' machine. Her motives and what happens to her next will be explored. :)
Lord Mayhem is currently on Sayleen - Ecchs mentioned that in passing when Shivarex asked for help, but exactly what he's doing there has not been explained yet.
On the one hand, basing your entire control of reality on a large, easily broken, non-portable machine would seem to not bode well for your prospects in the long run.
On the other…. Well, it's a machine that rewrites reality, innit? Presumably he has it set to protect itself from tampering, breakage and other such things and it's thus much, much more secure than you might expect.
It's also worth noting that I don't necessarily consider Dr. Ecchs evil, per se, so much as someone who's way to clever for his own good and way too smug about his own cleverness, such that, when he sees a way to do something, he has to actually see if he can pull that off.
Well, he does have a seriously good teleportation device. The machine is as portable as he needs it to be. As far as protection… well, time will tell.
As far as the evil… speaking as the author, I have to disagree with you. Doctor Ecchs is not psycopathic, or even psychotic. However, even before this storyline, he has been a man who:
- Fires his interns out of cannons if they annoy him
- Repeatedly commits largescale fraud for money
- Attempted to destroy a sentient being because he couldn't control it easily.
- Screwed with some of his most loyal employees (and his fiancee) out of an obsession with secrecy
- Installed deadly weaponry, in secret, on a public facility.
- Generally hurts people for no other reason than to see if he can follow through.
And that is, of course, not counting the various minor atrocities he's committed as Rex Mundi, such as the time he transformed the quick takeover of Sayleen into a global war harming the lives of hundreds of millions for the sole purpose of forcing a few thousand superhumans to get involved. Or how after the war got going, he took over from the Oligarchs in arming the losing side, in order to keep it going as long as possible.
I suppose it sort of depends on how you define someone as evil. But I would have to say that, as a rule, Ecchs acts to benefit himself with no concern for the wellbeing of anyone that he doesn't already know and like.