The Daughter of Qin planning

Fleshing out some notes.

To be written in novel form. A story of (partial, at least) redemption, of overcoming nurture, of choosing your friends not your family.

Largely the story of Alycia Chin from the Menagerie, with some differences for simplicity and for ethics:

  • Most of the names changed (to protect the innocent and the IP), with serious scrubbing of anything Hanna-Barbera beyond the basics of science adventure, as well as anything Halcyon/Vyortovian (i.e., anything belonging to the Masks IP), or most of the stuff that was directly contributed by people playing in the game (because I respect you folk).
  • A setting that is more Weird Science / Supernatural than Super-Heroic. World is one of hidden forces, all under wraps, all idiosyncratic (quantum theory – unreproducible outliers)


Alycia Qin - [Alycia Chin]

Achilles Qin - Her father, the late (?) leader of a global terror organization.

Quentin St. John (“call me J”), son of Byron St. John, kid science adventurer, once and future boyfriend of Alycia. [Jason]

Evelyn Temple , agent of the Bureau of Special Services (BSS. Yes, really. All that remains of the OSS) (Ace of Spades insignia). The story starts with Alycia turning herself in to Evelyn at her home in the suburbs.

Hector Callado (and all that jazz), the Lost Ducklings

Daphne Palin, a possible friend.

Charlotte Palmer - Hey, Community Intellectual Property. I want this Charlotte to meld both the Charlotte and Summer aspects. When I say Achilles Qin ran a terror organization, that means something a bit different in a world where the supernatural exists. Swap “robots” for “ghosts,” and Alycia having to work with a BSS squad that includes Charlotte will bring special challenges to understand what it means to be human vs being a monster.


Denver, both for ease of writing and as the one-time backup federal capitol. There are still secrets surrounding that latter aspect. Maybe pull in some Rocky Flats and RMA lore, too.

Plot / Action

  1. Background action is the ongoing fight against the remains of Achilles’ criminal / terror organization – both those who want to use that organization for their own enrichment, those who are ideological successors, and those who have even darker plans.

    (Definitely want to keep the radical economic/social justice aspects of Achilles’ Great Mission – this is not just mustache-twirling villainy. But adding a strong supernatural element leads to all sorts of other implications, as well as questions as to what death means to such an individual.)

  2. Foreground is Alycia overcoming her past, learning to be trusted and to trust (both others and herself).

  3. Alycia says she wants to come in from the cold, prove she is not her father. She really wants protection from Hector Callado, by getting the BSS to kill him. So a third plot is overcoming her fear and fulfilling her destiny (in a surprising fashion).

This is not likely to be written any time soon – it was going to be my NaNoWriMo 2018, but I decided that with starting a new job on top of all the other stress in my life, that wasn’t going to happen. Will it hold fire until November 2019? We shall see.

Have been doing some parallel thinking about this for NaNoWriMo 2019.

Current thought involves two significant changes:

  1. Shift the setting to early 1950s [ironically, I realized, just a decade before the JQ cartoon]. This lets me piggyback on some research I’ve done elsewhere, play a bit more unabashed with Science Adventure and culture that are already dated (rather than writing something that becomes dated).

    It also lets me play with WW2 and the Cold War as a backdrop.

  2. Shift the Chins to Central European, perhaps Russian. This plays well with fighting Nazis and Stalinists, and gets away from the Orientalism / Fiendish Yellow Menace vibe of Dr. Chin.

Still toying with ideas here, but thought I would get it on “paper.”

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So, for what it’s worth, I am going to do this thing. Sort of.

I decided to move it back to a contemporary setting, as the previous novel(s) I’ve been working on were (as hinted tangentially) set in the early 1950s and I’d like to go just avoid repeating that. I am keeping the Russian/Central Asian change, though.

When November ends, I will probably open up what I’ve done for the folk here, just to garner some early feedback before I run it through my writing group.

While my initial thoughts were to focus on just Alycia, part of me wants to back and forth the PoV between her and Jason. Haven’t decided if I am going to do that, yet.

I had also been thinking in terms of Weird Science / Espionage, and had forgotten the Supernatural thoughts above. Pondering that still.

Main reason I’m mentioning it is part of what I’m doing for prep is going back and reading old Cutscenes and RP from the game, and how much I’ve been enjoying it.

Things kick off late tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

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Since I said I would, here is the link to my nascent NaNoWriMo novel (Legacies), based squishily on the Jalycia story. It’s very First Draft (I’ve done one full read-through to sand off the worst of the spurs and splinters), so be warned. I’ve made a number of changes from the game canon, and tried to include only elements that I thought up at the time.

I will be working this through my reading group in 2020 (and hopefully finishing the first book in November, as this is only about half a novel, and ends, you’ll find, pretty abruptly at 50Kwords). But I certainly welcome your input or, even failing that, I hope you glean some enjoyment from it.

The sharing link does allow for comments, if you are so inclined.


I have finished the prologue and the first chapter. I’m interested in seeing where this is going and not just because I’m interested in seeing how this deviates from the game canon (though that’s definitely a part of it). Though I am going to have to get used to the name Geoffrey Quill (or whatever it winds up being, based on the dialogue in the prologue).

Also, I don’t know why but I really want this version of Parker to be voiced by Kate Mulgrew. Doesn’t fit the description given, but that’s just the voice I heard when I read her dialogue.

So far, interest level: optimistic and looking forward to more (probably tomorrow if I have some downtime).


Thanks! Critical words are welcome, but positive feedback is even welcomer. :slight_smile:

The Geoffrey thing was to further scrub the serial numbers off the “JQ” thing, at least up front. I kept Jason as the middle name, fwiw, and that might crop up later.

Please feel free to use whatever voice in your head works. I can imagine Mulgrew as well, even if she’s an Brit of Indian descent. I tried a couple of things with Parker, and realized she was an opportunity for some additional diversity. She’s much the same person as in the original, with a bit more spotlight.

Hope you continue to enjoy.

I estimated an hour’s reading time. This soundtrack is what I’ve got going for it:

Alright! Aside from some unplanned interruptions, I did get through it in one sitting! Some comments, if you are interested:

  • Overall: as a piece of writing, it felt like the early spec script for a technothriller with supervillain elements, a sort of “Captain America: Winter Soldier” thing - or a TV series.
    • It didn’t feel as much like a traditional novel to me, where chapters have a clear propulsive force. It was more like “here’s some stuff that’s going on, we’re going to slowly build up to this other stuff and pay it off near the end”.
    • This is not a bad thing. If you told me “You’re going to watch a series that mixes The Man From UNCLE, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Fringe”, I’d look forward to that.
    • If there’s an action item here, it’s just “figure out if writing like a TV series is what I want, and either keep going or adjust”. Then again, this might just be my perception.
  • As a Menagerie player, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t see Jason Geoffrey and Alycia meet and interact earlier, but if we’re halfway in, good enough.
  • There’s a lot of flashback and discussion about “she’s so smart, how do we know we can anticipate/trust her”. Attaching low-intensity quantum superpowers to hypergenius is a good way to heighten muggle uncertainty, and the occasional actual demonstrations of the risks (zombies, the spiderbot) help to sell the danger.
    • There’s two action items here: keep creating these awesome (and sometimes tragic) scenes of just why unrestrained inventive genius is so dangerous and scary, and let those scenes sell your audience on this idea more than the dialogue does.
  • “The present (3 months later)” and similar time-labeling shenanigans feel a little hinky. Maybe assign specific years/dates to the timeline as an alternative? Or is there a reason not to do that?
  • Parker’s voice? How about Chrisjen Avasarala (“The Expanse”)?

Hopefully this was useful feedback. I enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Many thanks! Some notes:

  1. “A technothriller with supervillain elements” is not what I specifically targeted as spoken, but I like it.

  2. There is – in part because of the source material I had to borrow from – a lot of back and forth timewise, which does interrupt the narrative flow (but hopefully informs it). There’s definitely some fine tuning to be had there, but I’m also okay with it not being completely straightforward.

  3. “You’re going to watch a series that mixes The Man From UNCLE, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Fringe”, I’d look forward to that. Geez, me too! If that’s the vibe I’m generating here, I am more than happy.

  4. The tweaking of the timeline and setting have made fitting together how Present Q & A (oh, ugh, I didn’t think of that) a lot more complex in some ways. That may change, or there may be some more recent-history encounters that get put in after the fact.

  5. Obviously that first meeting doesn’t go smoothly. My brain always wants to make things easier than they should be, so I tried to make it fairly disastrous. Now I have to figure out how to recover from that. I really don’t want to have that encounter be straightforward.

  6. "just why unrestrained inventive genius is so dangerous and scary" One thing I hope to do is create at least some sympathy for / uncertainty about some of the non-hypergenius forces at work here. The ERG has its own problems as well, but there’s something to be said for their side of the argument with Emma Quill. How the government (any government) works with hypergniuses, in a larger scale, will be something that will be bubbling to the surface soon enough.

  7. The time-labeling … yeah, I’m not altogether happy with it, but given the timeshifting, I didn’t want to rely on in-text descriptions. I’m avoiding actual dates just because, well, that instantly dates it. All such “contemporary” fiction gets dated quickly, to be sure, but encouraging that by giving actual datestamps rubs the wrong way. I will continue to ponder. (The biggest issue is with showing time going by in the present.)

  8. Thanks for the Chrisjen video. Not quite what I had in mind (though in a future when Parker is the director of the ERG, I can imagine her swearing like that, but certainly not until then, at least not aloud or in front of others), but fun nonetheless. But now, of course, you have me wanting to find it and pin it down, so there’s that.

Again, I am glad you enjoyed it and are looking forward to more. That will probably take a while (I plan to workshop this so far with my writing group, so the second half may not pop up until next November), but your comments tell me I’m on a good path, albeit with (always!) room for improvement.

Appreciate it.

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