So what actually is the status of the Lucian Alliance in the Stargate ‘verse? Are they considered a legal government by the Tau’ri or are they considered a criminal syndicate?

Because the attempted Lucian invasion of Destiny on Stargate Universe makes me wonder – when they failed, are they soldiers captured and now prisoners of war, or are they captured pirates, legally? Marooning the majority of them makes a lot of sense if they are legally pirates, who don’t have the same protections of as prisoners of war.
neotoma: Neotoma albigula, the white-throated woodrat! [default icon] (Default)
( Aug. 17th, 2015 05:18 pm)
I spent Saturday with fabrisse, watching SGU commentaries and extras, and making notecards for two different plotbunnies (seriously, writing plot beats and clever bits of dialogue on index cards because my process is completely bats at the moment). The "Dr. Daniel Jackson Explains X" extras were particularly hilarious, in how dead-perfect they are to awkward, low-budget corporate training videos. I also wanted her perspective because she's from a military family, and would be able to help me figure out some things that I wasn't getting about the SGU military characters -- like what exactly James' rank and actual branch-of-service is (we're really dubious that she's AF, not Marines, for a number of reasons. She is a 2nd lieutenant though, because we finally got a good look at her rank insignia).

She reacted really strongly to kino recording where Greer and Scott talk about Scott leaving Greer behind on the planet of the spider maze. Basically, her problem was that if the writers can get Greer (as experienced master sergeant) giving such good advice and counsel to Scott (inexperienced 1st lieutenant), then why is Col. Young written as such a terrible commander? Since the writers got that right, Young must be deliberately written the way he is... and often he's not making good decision, and certainly not great or clearly ethical ones.

I really struggle with that, because I do think Young is a mess and a half, but I don't want to make him the villain (because the show isn't about villainy, it's about people in an inescapable, dysfunctional scenario trying to survive) in any plotbunny I write, and I want to give him as much credit for his good characteristics as possible. And of course, since his main foil in the show is Dr. Rush, who I think usually does have the good of ship and the success of the mission in mind, but who behaves in ways that make me facepalm on a regular basis, I don't want to unbalance the dynamic or woobify anyone (Rush would fucking bite if you tried to woobify him).

And I've been thinking about the Nakai, and what they might have wanted. Because seriously, they take Chloe, have her for about 6 hours, and have the time to implant advanced mathematics in her brain and some sort of progressive mutagen in her body, but they have Rush for at least a week and don't do anything to him other than put a tracking beacon in his chest and extract English from his brain? I am extremely dubious of that, and my doubt is germinating into a plotbunny of some description.
So, I picked up both seasons of Stargate Universe recently because together the DVDs are about $18 on Amazon, and I just finished watching the first season yesterday.

I rather like it. The premise states that they have limited supplies and wardrobe, and they keep to it. No convenient replacement clothes or gear available, so the characters worry about starvation, complain about rations, go foraging when necessary. wear the same clothes all the time, and occasionally lose things for good (Rush's watch and wedding ring, Chloe's clothes, when they're both taken by the Nakai). It a not-so-cozy post-apocalypse scenario, and I actually love those.

Omg, though, Rush has the worst social intelligence of a functioning, presumably neurotypical adult I've ever seen depicted on tv. He seems to have no insight into why falsifying an Icarus planet in the database is a bad idea even when he's being berated for doing it -- yes, it would give the crew hope, until they figured out it was faked and lynched him; he's got weird reactions to violence too -- fists to his own head he shrugs off, torture gets him lying and playing for time, but threatening or harming other people in front of can cow him (sometimes). He's also dysfunctionally unable to trust people, either to know their limits or do what he doesn't have time to accomplish -- which is probably why he compulsively overworks himself. Unfortunately, he's also blindingly intelligent with an encompassing knowledge of how Ancient technology works, to the point that the Destiny crew can't do without him, no matter how crazy he gets (and with the AI messing with his head, often with his willing participation, he gets fairly loopy). He was incredibly sweet with Amanda Perry, and how much did I love that they were friends first and that they made the adult choice to back away from romance because the situation was just too weird? I loved it a lot (I hope S2 allows me to keep liking their interactions).

Brody, Volker, and Park, who make up the rest of the science team, are actually really nicely realized for what are secondary characters. Brody is level-headed and sensible, but enough of a rule-bender that he builds and operates a still; I think he'd be best head of the science team actually, since he is a lot more even-keeled than Rush, and much, much better at people. Poor Volker is actually a good astrophysicist; he's just asked to work alongside people like Rush and Eli, and it's hard to shine when you're a torch next to two bonfires. And I love Park, who deals with the stress of being on Destiny by having sex with fit young airmen, and isn't going to be sorry or ashamed of that -- though I do wonder about contraception on board; I also liked that she's willing to tell people not to yell at her when she's trying to get work done in a crisis and push back (verbally) against unreasonable demands.

For the civilians, Camile Wray is interesting in that she's a career bureaucrat still trying to do her job in a crazy situation, and her relationship with her wife is pretty awesome. Chloe is growing on me, as she tries to figure out what she can contribute -- a Harvard poli-sci degree not terribly applicable to the problems of an near-derelict, minimally controlled spaceship traveling through the galaxies on an unknown mission. The fact that she actually called Eli out on being disappointed she thinks of him as a friend, and that Eli actually listened to her... well, it's very rare that male-female friendships are both reinforced as platonic *and* as not second best to a romance. Eli himself is fun because he's effortlessly brilliant, distractable, a bit flaky, believably nerdy (I love his continuing efforts as a documentarian), and torn between the science team and the military and really unhappy that he can't make the two sides cooperate.

Of the military characters, I definitely like Young and Greer, Scott seems level-headed if bland to me personally, and TJ and Vanessa James need more love. Young gives me the impression that he's coping with this as best he can, but that he's deeply, emotionally tired, and sometime gets stuck in depressive ruts. Also, he's trying his best to work the science team and the rest of the civilians, but the science team are terrible about explaining anything to him (and he can't be dumb, I'm pretty sure the US Air Force requires degrees from its officers, preferably applied or military sciences). He's accidentally captaining a crew that would rather not be there, and its not like he can let them off the boat without losing vital skills that they will need later.

Sergeant Greer is a wonderful professional with just enough snap to him that he acts independently when he has to, and can tolerate the antics of the science team, who are headless chickens half the time, and a pack of velociraptors running down prey the other half, with no warning when they're going to switch from ridiculous, unfocused bickering to focused effort that by the way terrorizes surrounding innocents. TJ is another professional, who has to be frustrated at being the only qualified medic on board. I really love how sensible she is, and how little she is willing to argue about her personal decisions; she's made them, she's going to follow through. Vanessa James is professional but also very lonely; I suspect it's extremely hard for her to date on Destiny, as a female officer who has to maintain the respect of her subordinates and maintain good relations with the civilian half of the crew, any relationship she even contemplates has to be evaluated for how it will reflect on her. Also, I can't get a bead on Telford (hello, Lou Diamond Phillips, I'm probably going to wind up watching Longmire now that I remember how pretty I find you), which makes sense given that he was brainwashed for all of the first season and thus might not actually be as much of an asshole as he appears; he might actually be more moral than Young, when he's not being mind-controlled into treachery.

I also like the minor military characters -- Airman Becker, who runs the mess and even back on Icarus was trying to make sure Rush ate (had a dinner already boxed up for him, like it was a regular occurrence) and must be extremely frustrated at the limited and disgusting rations he has available to serve people; Airman Dunning, who seems to get a lot of the 'we need a military body here' long camera shots and whom I can reasonably assumed fought Go'auld, based on his freak-out about 'snakes under my skin' in the episode "Pain"; and Sergeant Riley, who is the nice competent technical officer who does all the stuff that needs to be done in the background and runs the stargate, like Sergeant Harriman from SG-1 or Chuck the Technician from SGA.

Basically, I'm saying that I'm having more fun watching this than I expected; there hasn't been anything super-crazy like SG1 or SGA got up to, though I hear that eventually one characters starts turning into alien.


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