It was unavoidable that my first post in White Cell was ridiculously long.
Because the post had to deal with Guardia, and its reaction to the Eblanese Succession, and it had to cover a lot of ground in terms of where Guardia (and Gate) are post-Civil War, my job in this post resulted in there being a lot, a LOT of words.
A couple of specific notes on some of the elements we see:
-The original GATO was the reincarnation of Tyurin Cage’s Confederation, and like the Confederation it was a treaty organization designed to project Gatian power through forming a big alliance with the various nations within Gate’s colonial sphere of influence. Sort of like the IJF, only important and useful.
-In addition to Guardia and Medina (the heavies), Chorras, Porre and El Nido round out GATO membership. Chorras is easily a third-tier power on its own, and it has some fairly powerful tech leftover from the Civil War, including a fleet of Atreus-made starships (in the un-posted megapost arc “Unravelling,” Chorras is shown to be a hodge-podge of libertarian humans, über-religious reptites and vengeful break-away elements of old Atreus come together to give Guardia some come-uppance). Porre is sneaky, autocratic and just a little bit fascist, though Itica is shown to be a genuinely good guy. So, they’re like, benevolent fascists? Which is actually something we’ve seen before in Kupopolis, so there’s precedent. Their government is dominated by a secret society called the Black Wind Organization, whose membership is made up almost exclusively of ex-GDF officers with strong Porrean nationalist sympathies. They’re willing to do things that most Guardians would not be: they’ve experimented with cybernetic enhancements, body-altering combat drugs and genetic modification. They’re small – Porre is pretty much mostly just a city-state – but you probably don’t really want to fuck with them, both because of the rogue GDF elements they command and because they’re into some super shady shit.
-Michael Itica isn’t my character; he’s M3May’s, and a good deal of the Porre set-up I did based on some of M3’s notes, his Iron Writer post (featuring Itica), and what I read of his Neo story arc (which is STILL on my to-do list: finishing Neo). In writing Unravelling (and then mapping out post-Unravelling Gate), Itica was a natural choice to become Porre’s leader (especially since Itica’s descendent is prominent in M3’s Gate arc in Neo).
-Figuring out the path ahead for Medina was hard, if only because I’d rather if Nick had written it himself. Valphia and a couple other characters show up in Unravelling; and in designing the new GATO I decided to advance Valphia to the status of a world leader. Rather than have Medina go through yet ANOTHER revolution, I decided to keep what Nick wrought when he was in Medina last: as a testament to the strength of the republican democracy that Rhodes Palmerston helped forge, the Prime Ministry was transferred peacefully from Gorgon Welles to Valphia. Other Medinan institutions (MASS, the Verteidan, the Strato Wings, Rogue Squadron) are still there and remain uniquely Medinan fixtures, very likely to show up in future GATO posts in the White Cell arc.
-El Nido is pretty much just there because at one point I really wanted to include stuff from Chrono Cross. It featured pretty prominently in the Rajaat arc, and has gotten a lot of love from Jay (because writing about quasi-caribbean necromancers is just cool), but has enjoyed long periods of silence and inactivity outside of Defiler invasions and Malcovian maneuverings. The biggest thing that they bring to GATO is incredible mineral wealth: an unexplored plot arc from Proper had El Nido in the middle of a bidding war between Guardia and Kuat over rights to mine huge untapped reserves of Nidoan magilyte. Presumably, the Nidoans have tapped into these reserves themselves, and it’s this wealth that they bring to the table as a member of GATO.
-One thing that was really important for me to showcase here is that Derik really really still wants to be the leader of a Great Power, but the five member nations just don’t all agree on almost anything. They resent each other, little cliques are forming; Medina is constantly trying to buck Guardia’s control, and Porre is creepily being nice to everyone, Chorras is earnest but indepenent, El Nido is self-conscious about being smaller and weaker than everyone else, and Guardia just wants everyone to get along so they can all go and fight Scande.
-Oh. And also? Thames is a dick. He’s always been a dick. It’s one of the defining parts of his character. He’s also not wrong in his self-assessment: he is the very best at what he does, and when he puts himself on a pedestal, it’s because he deserves to be there. The rivalry between himself and Gage is going to be a big part of what comes out in other posts: Gage hates Thames because he feels Thames doesn’t give him the respect that a Great War veteran is automatically owed, and Thames hates Gage because he resents that Gage thinks he’s Thames’ equal.
-Also worth noting: I wrote Thames’ most dick-worthy speech on the assumption that TO Halberg is canonically dead (or, still believed to be dead). If that isn’t the case, Halberg definitely becomes part of this speech, and it goes more like “there are only four living military commanders…”. The sentiment Thames is conveying is loosely inspired by a speech that Cao Cao makes in Romance of the Three Kingdoms; his “there are only two true heroes in the realm, you and I” speech. Only when Thames says something like this, he ends up sounding like a self-absorbed dick. Which he is. But he has a maneuver named after him like all great military commanders, so his arrogance is probably well-justified.
-You may have noticed that Derik isn’t so "Firebrand"y anymore. That’s what happens when you lose the love of your life in Aryth, have your wife and father killed by a crazy magical robot monster, get addicted to Pyra, get killed and resurrected by a voodoo priestess, have to fight the crazy magical robot monster AGAIN after it turns out he’s part of the whole evil pyra conspiracy, and then have to find sufficient inner strength to do what’s right for everyone to end a war and bring peace to the entire kingdom. That’s enough to make anyone calm the fuck down.
-Wow, something I just realized… City of Moogles fucking called it when Dustin turned Derik into a stoner.