When I looked over The Heels of the Unknown after completing the first four stories, I realized that there hadn't been many battles, and I wanted to focus one story at least around a lot of action in the classic spirit of DBZ. This story was the one I chose to do that with (although a lot of fighting ended up happening in the succeeding two stories as well - but more on that later!). I had settled on a Bojack story by January 11, 2016 - much later than the stories for Spring and Winter - and it was shortly after its conceptualization that I settled on having my story about Bojack be action-focused more so than character-based.
Starfall is a story that I originally wanted to write in Dragon Ball: Legacies. You can see the original title of the story still on that page, under season 3, called "He's a Pirate". That was going to be a backstory story about Bojack; even though I had it listed for only one episode, I was prepared to expand it into two or three episodes if need be. As it so happened, Legacies was abandoned long before I could think much about my Bojack story. But it's important to note that from close to the time I joined this wiki, I had a desire to write a story about Bojack.
Bojack is a beast. He's really cool, and his movie is among the best in DBZ history. I believe it has the fewest/least significant canon problems of any DBZ movie. I had ideas to write about Bojack in The Brady Patrick Collection, but never got around to it. He was also a finalist for a spot on Things Were Better Then, but, alas, every other position was filled more readily by other characters (Piccolo ultimately came in 11th place for TWBT, and Launch came in 12th - Bojack was my 13th choice, but of course, there were only ten slots). More recently (I believe in late 2015), I discussed writing a Bojack story with TUNboy, but nothing ever came of that. It would've been a multi-chapter story, probably five or so chapters, and would have been a more expansive origin story for the character than Starfall is. There were a lot of opportunities for me to write Bojack stories, but I just kept putting it off year after year until 2016.
My original list of 8 stories for this collection was first "finalized" on August 15, 2015. Bojack's story was not amongst them. In the fifth slot was instead a story about a True Majin - one not mentioned in From Magic to Monsters, but one who would have survived into modern times. That story would've been primarily a tool for me to explore a villainous demonic character who kills a lot of people without regret. It was also going to be tied into my universe by settling a few unanswered questions in some of my already-completed stories. The original description for story #5 was: "5. True Majin - Story about True Majins and why they almost went extinct. Perhaps this one will deal with a True Majin who survived to present times to meet the Priests of Amoon and Majin Nikto."
By December 22, 2015, I had become unhappy with this story idea and thought about replacing it with a story about Sertung. On December 28, 2015, I did just that. This was in part due to a page on this wiki that was nominated for a 2015 award, Kaioshin Orion. I thought that page was unique, and it roused a literary interest in me that got me thinking about writing about Sertung. It was a good idea, I think (even now), because Sertung's journey in my universe, especially after Verlate is imprisoned, is shrouded in mystery. So my desire to expand on that was well-intentioned, I think. The story description for the Sertung story was: "5. Sertung - Sertung drifts through life, dying a slow death as the universe is thriving around him, watching the Daman empire crumble and the Kais rise; he is alone with Verlate's mind prison and eventually runs into Vados and Champa, and he gives them Verlate's mind prison before succumbing to his disease. During his meeting with Vados, a Supreme Kai appears and attacks Vados with a spirit bomb but is killed."
As can be seen by the description, incorporating elements of Dragon Ball Super in this story would have been a major point, and it was something I was excited to attempt, even though, at the time, I had very little knowledge of Vados' and Champa's actual personalities. It really wasn't long after I started exploring this story idea that I grew bored of it. On January 11, less than a week after doing extensive research in preparation for the Sertung story, I changed the story in this slot from a Sertung one to a Bojack one. For once, Bojack was not being ignored. I knew that since The Heels of the Unknown could be my last one-shot collection, I should go out with a bang and write all the stories I had been meaning to write. Bojack's story was one I had been meaning to write for a long time.
Now, as I began preparing for this story, I realized that I was completely uninterested in showing a full origin story for Bojack. To do that properly, it would take a lot of time, a lot of words, and maybe a one-shot is not the best vehicle to attempt such a thing. I knew that. Before I started writing even A Shadow on the Wind, I had listed my two biggest worries as being Cool Cat and Starfall (although I considered Cool Cat to be a much more imposing story to write at the time). While I could've done an origin story for Bojack, I just wasn't interested enough for that. I wanted to get a momentary burst of him, a concentrated focus on what makes Bojack so cool, and why I like him so much. This was a story of calculated restraint in that regard, something that I would not have done in years past. General weariness with writing long, seemingly-unending stories and so much Dragon Ball Fanon experience led me to this conclusion. To this day, I consider this the right decision for this collection and for me personally.
By January 18, 2016, I had come up with the name for this story. It was amongst the easiest for me to name out of all of the stories in The Heels of the Unknown. In fact, I believe it was the first one I actually named. Aside from that though, I didn't do much pre-planning. I researched timeline stuff, personality stuff, and all stuff related to Bojack in canon, but I didn't really think too much about the actual plot of the story. I spent most of my time in preparation for this story making sure that I was 100% clear on what is canon in regards to Bojack so I could then work with that. My original "blurb" for this story was: "5. Bojack - A story about Bojack as he genocides through space just before being confronted by the four lesser Kais, who of course imprison him in a star, but that occurs off-screen."
The ending to the above summary is very important. I never wanted to show him being imprisoned by the Kais. I had this idea from the beginning of my conceptualization of Starfall that I could end the story ominously with the Kais stepping forward and confronting him. I had an image of their eyes burning in the dark, staring him down in horrible judgement. This idea was mostly possible because King Kai has stated in canon what happened to Bojack - his story is known. There's no suspense. We all know the Kais imprison him for being a serial genocider. I often like to do stuff like this - combining canon and fanon elements to try to tell a cohesive tale and/or character arc. In this story, the canon elements are the endpoint. I had a creative opportunity to get to that point. So my goal with this story was mostly to show Bojack's last moments of freedom before being imprisoned. It's not an origin story, it's a story of butchery and excess and Dragon Ball style emotions that gives context to where, how, and why Bojack was imprisoned by the four Kais.
So I finally got around to writing this story first on June 4, 2016 in the very early morning. I was at a friend's house, and my friend had gone to sleep. I then watched the Bojack movie again to set my mind right tonally. It was good to get a fresh sense of his character, his mannerisms, his way of speaking, as well as how his crew acts, looks, and performs in fights. All of this was highly useful for writing Starfall accurately. I wrote from 3:07 am to 4:05 am. I remember vividly that the writing this night was slow and deliberate. I wrote and re-wrote sentences, was very careful to maintain a certain tone, and I used specific words and phrases to color the section exactly how I wanted to. I remember being very proud of this section after I completed it (I went to bed right after), and to this day, I consider it one of my most inspired bits of writing. I polished up the first section of Starfall to an obsessive degree, and I think that was for the better, or I wouldn't have done it.
I got up later that day, and found some time to edit in the evening. I edited the first section on June 4 from 6:29 pm to 7:57 pm. I was heavily distracted by my friend and his family while doing this, so the editing went slowly. It would've probably taken me 1/3 of that time had I been in seclusion while editing. Either way, by 7:27 pm on June 4, 2016, the first section of Starfall had been finalized, polished to my satisfaction.
I started the second section later that night at 9:28 pm. I wrote all of the first sentence before being distracted. Then, I continued writing at 10:49 pm to 11:17 pm off and on, finishing only two sentences of the second section in that time. When my friend fell asleep, I put my full effort back into completing this story. I wrote from 1:05 am on June 5 to 2:45 am. At that point, I had gotten up to the lines: "Jaku’s face was covered in uncertainty for a fraction of a second, and then he decided to heed his captain’s words and break away from the Nyarin warrior. The Nyarin stuck his pike in the sand and leaned up against it, breah". However, my friend's wifi was acting up at that point, and the lag was killing my momentum (good internet is very crucial for writing in google docs), so I switched over to writing in a Microsoft Word document, because I was motivated to finish the first draft of the story that night. It had been a while since I'd written in Microsoft Word; that was the program I used to write all of my stories up until I wrote Brave, so it was a trip down memory lane in a way to write this story in that word processor. No other The Heels of the Unknown story was written in Word.
It took me another hour to finish the story after I switched over to Word. I pasted the completed first draft into my google doc for Starfall on 3:46 am on June 5. I did a bit of minor editing for a few minutes thereafter (until 3:48 am) and then went to bed. When I woke up the next day, I did some stuff with my friend (gardening, mostly), and then edited from 4:30 pm to 5:51 pm (which, astute readers will note is a few minutes after I actually posted this story on this site - yes, I got a bit impatient, and posted it before I had fully completed it).
Starfall turned out a bit different than I had expected. It was longer than I had thought it would be, for one thing. The connections between it and the rest of my universe were also rather subtle in comparison to the past few stories in THOTU. This was the most professional story in the collection at its creation, and I was very proud of it, I remember. It has a great image at the top of the page. I remember being very happy with how I weaved the extended fight scenes, thematic build up, and characterization together. I remember thinking this story turned out better than I had hoped when I originally released it, which isn't something that happens often with me. I usually am not so optimistic about one of my stories immediately after releasing it. Starfall didn't end up as I had expected it to - and it's not how I would have imagined "my Bojack story" to look when I think about my past. If the me who existed way back when Legacies was still going to be written could have seen this story... well, I'm sure I would have been quite surprised that I managed to write something like this.
I specifically made the tea ceremony aesthetic of "敬" (translated to mean "respect") the one for Starfall, as well as the one for Crushing Blue, because neither Bojack nor Super Handel respect anyone. They are savage, ruthless alpha males. Both of them are humbled in their stories. It was fun for me to work in this idea of respect into these two stories to a greater degree than in the others (though 敬 is a major part of other THOTU one-shots too) because of the inherent irony of it, as well as the cheekiness and boldness of such actions. The Kais imprisoning Bojack and Mercenary Tao seemingly killing Super Handel were two ways I dealt with this theme, and I think in both stories, the theme of respect is something that the protagonists are trying to rebel against - they are trying to be individuals, rebels, warriors with total agency and autonomy to do whatever they want. The consequences of such a philosophy is seen with how "evil" the two are, how they have become corrupted by their own lusts and desires. They are slaves to their hedonistic/self-above-all-else perspectives, and I think lacking any sort of respect for other beings is a part of why they are like that. That is certainly something I explored in both Autumn stories in this collection.
The theme song for Starfall was originally Hrafntinna by Sigur Rós. Indeed, I did not expect to change this theme song, because that song is awesome. However, as I got closer and closer to writing and completing this story, I became more enamored with Kveikur, which is also by Sigur Rós. I think that's just what happens when a theme song is set for months. I had "Hrafntinna" set as Starfall's theme song for like 6 months before I wrote it. Because of that, I listened to "Hrafntinna" extensively, and the song grew a bit stale to my ears. "Kveikur" is a more raw song, and it excited me, and I thought that since I had that emotional response to it in relation to this story, it would end up working better. I also think that the sound of "Kveikur" conjures up images of a sandstorm and pandemonium, which is better, tonally, for this story than the sound of "Hrafntinna" (even though that's a great song too).
However, "Kveikur" doesn't have as good a live version as "Hrafntinna" does. As a consequence of me choosing to have 4 live songs and 4 studio songs for the 8 one-shots in this collection, I was sort of forced to give Starfall a live theme song. I would have preferred to give it the studio version of "Kveikur" - and I almost did, just to spite the rules I had set up - but in the end, I decided to just go with the best live version I could find, since even the worst live version of "Kveikur" is still great. Indeed, finding live songs was a struggle overall. The theme song for Crushing Blue has rarely been performed live (and every time, it was either a lip-sync version or an awful version), and the theme song for The Great Sushi-Eating Contest has not ever been performed live, to my knowledge. This is also true for the theme song of A Shadow on the Wind. And the only live version of the theme song of Cool Cat was just not of acceptable quality for me to use it over the studio version. As can be seen, that gave me the four studio version theme songs right there. As a result, I was force to make every other theme song live, and it worked out for the most part, but I do think that the effects of being forced to do that were most apparently seen with the theme song for this story.
Anyways, this has been a surprisingly long commentary, much like Starfall itself, so I think it's time to move onto the endnotes!
“Not now, Jaku!” Bojack’s voice came soaked in rage. “Get out!”
Amber artificial light peered through the half-open metal door, blocked only by the hulking figure of Bojack’s first mate. Jaku’s skin seemed almost black in the light contrast. The captain’s blood was running hot. A drop of sweat rolled down his cheek and dribbled onto the steel floor.
“My apologies master, but they’ve begun the assault.”
“Don’t think I already know? Get out!”
The first mate stared down his captain before walking out, slamming the heavy door behind him. Another blast rocked the ship, causing the hanging chains in the closet to rattle. Squealing, a space rat scurried between Bojack’s legs.
“Cunt,” Bojack whispered, pulling himself out of Zangya. “I’ve lost it,” he complained. “It’s no use.” His cheeks burned, and he still felt the fire in his belly, but it was waning, and soon it would be snuffed out. Try as he might to hold on, his passion was slipping through his fingers like sand.
“They’ve started the attack,” whispered Zangya. She was his third mate, but there was only one thing about her he valued. “Should we go, captain?”
“Aye,” breathed Bojack. “Aye, and I’ll make them pay for this. You know I like to get off before a battle. I always do. It’s bad luck not to.”
The woman giggled, wiping herself off and pulling up her pants. “You and your luck. One of these days, master, you’ll realize the only luck in this life is the kind you make for yourself.”
Bojack didn’t have time to listen to that bitch. He walked out, slamming the door behind him, feeling the ship rocking and vibrating each time another attack hit. There wasn’t much time to do what he wanted to do. Returning to the bridge of his starship, Sanity’s Eclipse, Bojack found Jaku sitting in his captain’s chair.
“Up! What’s going to be done about our little problem?” the captain grumbled, taking his seat. He noted the warmness of it; Jaku had been sitting there for several minutes. “You couldn’t help yourself but to interrupt me. Why haven’t you shown that same initiative with our enemies?”
“Apologies captain,” Jaku said, going to a knee and placing a fist over his heart. “But the only way to deal with these alien bastards is to take the fight to the planet’s surface.”
Bojack gripped the armrests of his chair, thinking. “Do it,” he murmured. “Lead the Galaxy Warriors into war. Cover this world in the blood of our enemies.”
Jaku fell to a knee again and tore off his shirt, revealing his sinewy physique. He stood a foot taller than Bojack, confidence reigning supreme on that shifting face of his. One moment, he seemed to be as loyal as anyone on the Sanity’s Eclipse, but at other times… either Jaku was stupid or he was trying to bring Bojack down. Bojack didn’t know which one it was.
“Master Bojack… I will not fail you.”
“You better not. The universe is filled with the bones of those who dared to stand against me. All of them failed. I expect these beasts to end up no differently. Their fates are already sealed. They have no chance. Wipe them out by the end of the day.”
“Yes, captain,” Jaku replied, bowing stiffly.
Bojack peered out the window to the planet below. It was a desert world with what appeared to be a few sparse jungles and mountain ranges dotting the surface. On either pole, a glacial mass lay white as bone. A single sprawling ocean separated the planet into several sizable islands. Even now, Bojack could see the planet’s orbital defensive turrets pelting his fleet with rust-colored energy bolts. Further off, the blueish light of the system’s star burned like an angry eye, covering Bojack in its warm, knowing gaze. Looking away, the captain found Jaku again.
“Nyare. It has a reputation around the galaxy for being home to considerable wealth. Find me the treasures of this world, and I will give you your own fleet, Jaku. Fail to do so, and I’ll kill you myself.”
“I will do as you command, Master Bojack.”
“You will not fail me,” Bojack spoke, the threatening tone of his voice echoing throughout the bridge. “The Galaxy Warriors are the last of our species. Remember that, and don’t be reckless.”
The first mate left him like that, his scarlet cape billowing behind him. The rest of the crew followed Jaku out, sans a few Galaxies Warriors who would need to keep the Sanity’s Eclipse operational. Another blast rocked the vessel, causing the lights to flicker. The metal walls danced with light, seeming to bend and mock Bojack. He bit his tongue so hard he could taste blood. It ran hot and thick down his throat.
Bojack stood. The armrests on his captain’s chair had been smashed. He paced up and down the room, thinking over what he had done. The chains hanging from the ceiling jiggled and swayed. “No… it’s not fair. They get to have all the fun. I want to get in on the action.” He cracked his knuckles and stamped his foot on the steel-grate floor. “I want to feel their blood flow between my fingers as I suffocate the life out of them. I am the strongest being in the universe! They should fear me… not my first mate. He won’t get all the glory. Not this time.”
Bojack looked out the window again, down towards the planet and the sea of incoming energy bolts. He knew then what he had to do, and for the first time since he had been inside Zangya, his blood was flowing hot again.
Fire snaked around windows of Bojack’s landing craft. Clutching the bleeding heart, he ripped it from the hanging chains and bit into it, tasting the iron and muscle. This was the heart of his last foe; a tradition he had taken part in since his second battle was eating the heart of his last vanquished foe just before the start of the next battle. That wasn’t always possible – sometimes he vaporized his victims, and sometimes their bodies were not able to be recovered – but he tried to do this as often as possible. It made Bojack feel unafraid, feel like he was ingesting the powers of those he had slain. The tradition was as old as his species itself and had been taught to him by his father. Bojack tried to remember when he had eaten his father’s heart, but his memory of that day was hazy as a ravaged sky, split open in his mind like a festering wound seeping out pus.
This heart was eight days old, freshly unfrozen. It was one of the better-tasting ones he’d had in his years.
When the landing craft came below the clouds and Bojack could see the light of day outside and the distant yellowish desert sands below, he knew it was time. Kicking open the thin metal door, he jumped out, letting his ship sail onwards through the peach-colored sky (he’d go back for it later). The planet was sultry and star-scorched, ten times worse than Bojack’s homeworld had been. In his pirate garb – his thick blue cloak, puffy white pants, his heavy boots, and his black bandanna – he was already feeling the heat. Sweat clung to his teal flesh like space mosquitoes. Below, sand danced and swirled as desolate winds blew.
Surveying the area, Bojack sensed many cities scattered around the world. There were millions if not billions of natives on this planet. Sensing that Jaku and the others had spread out across most of Nyare’s islands, Bojack could tell they were engaging the planet’s military defenses. And he could tell that his Galaxy Warriors were slowly overcoming their foes. Instead of helping them, Bojack decided to turn his attention to the nearest city, where he knew many civilians remained. Unprotected and weak were they – his favorite kind of prey.
Soundless as a breath of wind, Bojack came to the city and found that it was built of metal and stone and wood, with tall, tree-like skyscrapers dotting the landscape and many smaller buildings clustered around them. The streets were lined with spotted trees cloaked in leaves of blood and fire, many of them just starting to fall off and leave their hosts bare as skeletons. He noticed lanky feline-like aliens walking about below him: their fur was aqua with black stripes; they had thin, long tails and huge, wide ears, large heads and eyes, and puny power signatures. Bojack knew they would be easy pickings.
He conjured two super-heated balls of emerald energy in his hands, aiming them down at the unsuspecting aliens. Grinning devilishly, Bojack released his attacks and conjured up another pair of energy balls. He threw those too, at the people, the buildings, into the streets, at the skyscrapers, coating the entire town in his hate. The captain drank in their screams, reveled in the fires that sprung up and burned through the metropolis, and felt delight spread through his mind upon seeing the foolish natives burn with their homes. Bojack bared his teeth and laughed inexorably. They were so weak, these maggots who had dared shoot at his ship. They would soon be wiped out and forgotten, buried in the sand and left to rot… that much Bojack swore.
Bursting through buildings, chasing down fleeing aliens from above, energy blasts in his hands, Bojack had a wonderful time. Debris and fur flew through the air, riding the wind. Everything became so dirty, so bloody, so horrible; it was just how Bojack liked it. His blood was racing, his heart pumping. The heat was making him feel alive. He killed thousands that day, painting the streets with blood and blown-off limbs and chunks of flesh.
By evening, an army of soldiers appeared, ready to face down Bojack. There were thousands of them, perhaps a million, all locked in regimented lines, holding energy blasters or other such projectile weapons. All of them pointed their killing machines at the genocidal space pirate. Bojack knew they had been coming for him long before they arrived; he had sensed it. He welcomed them. If they wanted to die, he would not stop them. When the army found Bojack, he was just putting the finishing touches on his destruction of the city. Ash rained down from the sky like hellfire.
“Hapless fools. They don’t know they’re marching to slaughter. In that case, I think it’s time they meet the butcher!”
Bojack drew his ki about him and air dashed right into the middle of the Nyarin army. They shot at him in a panic, countless energy bolts hissing and buzzing through the air. But these beings were weak; their weapons were pitiful. None of them could hurt him. He was invincible. He would take everything from them.
He tore Nyarins limb from limb, snapped necks, incinerated them by the hundreds with ki waves. Sand whirled around him; he could taste the bitter dirt in his mouth, could feel it in his eyes and nose and ears, but that wasn’t enough to stop Bojack. When he was covered in their blood, Bojack began to howl with amusement. Try as they might, the furry beasts could not touch him. He jumped into the air and slammed his fist down into the dried-mud ground, cracking it and making a huge crater. Sand spewed upwards like a fountain. The ripples of his attack traveled through the air, sending waves of energy through the bodies of the soldiers; those who had survived to that point suddenly burst into meaty, furry balls of gore, splattering on the ground in a collective groan. When the dust settled, the army was defeated.
Around Bojack, the yellow sands began to stain purple, and silence returned to the world. In the distance, Nyare’s star was falling towards the horizon; with fading light, the world looked browner and older and more ready to die than it had at high noon.
Yet, as Bojack was catching his breath, he sensed something was amiss. There were no longer as many Galaxy Warriors as there had been before. He could sense the growing void in the universe with each passing, the echoes of their deaths singing of cruel tragedies and lost futures. Anger surged through Bojack’s veins; he had told Jaku what would happen should the man let too many of the Galaxy Warriors perish.
Bojack gathered himself, trying to clear his mind so he could find where Jaku was. But the thoughts of killing his first mate, of bringing justice to that smug little man, gnawed at his brain like a parasite. He realized then that he desperately wanted Jaku to go, to relieve himself of a man who might have been plotting to overthrow him. Even if it wasn’t true, all Bojack needed was himself. He didn’t need the others. He didn’t need Jaku, that smug bastard. They were all replaceable… all of them except Zangya. Bojack knew once she produced a son for him, she too would lose much of her worth.
In a flash, Bojack felt Jaku’s power. It was unmistakable – large, fluctuating, and cocky. The captain could tell a great deal about a warrior just from reading their power signature. And yet, Bojack could sense something else with Jaku – another power, almost his equal. Foreign it was, and old; noble and brittle and melancholic it seemed to Bojack, and he wondered who this fighter was. There were other fading power signatures around the two – both Galaxy Warriors and foreigners. A great battle was unfolding. Bojack moaned, bringing himself to full power, and flew after them, faster than the winds.
They were fighting in a sandstorm when he found them. Dead Galaxy Warriors and Nyarins were lying in the sands, many face-down, others crawling and bleeding and pleading for mercy. Bojack hovered in the air, his arms crossed, not willing to lower himself into the fray quite yet.
When he saw a tall Nyarin clothed neck-to-toe in jet-black armor jumping from Galaxy Warrior to Galaxy Warrior, killing each one with a single swing of his energy pike or a punch to the gut, Bojack considered charging in. Yet when he realized his warriors were weak, that they were allowing themselves to be slaughtered by a native alien, he stayed himself. These were not warriors worthy of being his companions. Bojack was the strongest person in the universe. If his soldiers were so weak, it would reflect poorly on him. Better they died now and spared him that shame.
It was only when Bojack saw that Jaku had transformed into his Full Power form that he began to reconsider. Jaku ran forward, green-skinned and red-haired, through the screaming sandstorm, and attacked the Nyarin warrior. Briefly, they engaged in a blow exchange where both of them faced each other down without backing off. It was stunning; Bojack had never seen anyone match Jaku’s Full Power form before. Hell, in Full Power, Jaku was nearly as strong as Bojack.
His heart was beating loudly in his ear. He could taste sand. Lightning cracked across the sky in green streaks. The light of the blue star was fading; Bojack didn’t have much time. He rushed forward.
“Jaku!” he roared when he reached the two. “What have you done?!”
“Ma… ster B-bojack!” Jaku panted, wiping his brow “What are you doing here?”
“Saving you from humiliation. Come here.”
Jaku’s face was covered in uncertainty for a fraction of a second, and then he decided to heed his captain’s words and break away from the Nyarin warrior. The Nyarin stuck his pike in the sand and leaned up against it, breathing hard. Bojack could see the man was old – too old. He needed to die. He’d lived long enough.
“That guy’s tough,” Jaku said, trying to catch his breath. “Never seen anyone like him!”
“Do you remember what I told you before you left?” Bojack asked, his arms crossed. He was frowning, squinting, feeling sand nip at his cheeks.
“Master…” Jaku replied, his eyes widening in understanding. “P-please, let me finish–”
“Shut your cunt mouth!” Bojack lunged forward and punched the green-skinned Hera through the throat until his fist connected with Jaku’s spinal cord. He grabbed onto those bones, ripped what he could out of the hole, and kicked his first mate’s corpse away, blood dripping from his hand.
“You’re a mad one, aren’t you?” scoffed the Nyarin warrior. He stood up, picking up his energy pike and twirling it around. “Killing your own man? That’s pathetic.”
“You’re old,” Bojack grunted. “You should know better than to mock someone stronger than you.”
The Nyarin laughed. “My name is Arbados, Commander of the Nyarin Praetorian Guard. I am the strongest being on this planet, not you. I’ll kill you before you kill me.”
Bojack laughed recklessly. “That’s funny. Just for that, I’m going to end your life slowly, old man. I want to see how many of your bones I can break before you leave this life!”
Around them, Bojack could see his Galaxy Warriors fighting Arbados’ Praetorian Guards. Most of them were winning – he saw Bujin, Zangya, and even Kogu blasting away the best Nyarins on the planet with ease. Others were not so lucky, and thus they perished and were forgotten. Only the strong survive, Bojack knew; only the strong were worth remembering.
“Leave this place,” Arbados spoke solemnly, “or I will be forced to cut you down, alien.”
“You may try.”
“Woe to the man who tempts my wrath.”
Bojack raised his fists and the Nyarin fell into a fighting stance as well. “It’s time you’re acquainted with the strongest warrior in the universe, old man. I’ll be your last foe, and I’ll eat your heart before I leave this place.”
Sand spun around them, cutting at their exposed flesh. Screams echoed through the desert as Galaxy Warriors and Praetorian Guards breathed their last breaths. Bojack and Arbados kept their eyes focused on one another, neither moving. The heat in the captain’s cheeks was becoming overwhelming. It was no longer so hot out, on account of it being evening, but Bojack still felt restless. His heart was going like a madman. He needed to kill this stupid old man.
With a hoarse bellow, Bojack charged Arbados. The Nyarin jumped back, parrying Bojack’s savage, heavy blows. Bojack’s style was slow and improvisational. He didn’t think about what he was doing, just went on instinct. The man studied him shrewdly and blocked with deliberate poise. And then, as Bojack took another step forward and his foot sunk into the sand, the commander found his opening. His punches were quicker, more elegant and precise, an art form as well as a mode of combat. He dismantled Bojack’s parries with ease, and the captain could begin to understand why Jaku had failed against this man.
“You’re a clever one!” Bojack sneered. “But I see what you’re trying to do. It won’t work against someone of my power!”
“Arrogance!” Arbados spat. “I’m not even at half my power! Leave this place, before I kill you!”
“If you’re only at half power, you’re in trouble, old man!”
Bojack flipped over the Nyarin and air dashed forward, slamming his shoulder into the furry alien’s back. Arbados dropped his energy pike and fell into the sand. Bojack was on him at once, grabbing the man by the back and trying to squeeze him slowly to death. Arbados screamed and fought and a second later, he head-butted Bojack, breaking the space pirate’s nose. Bojack howled with pain as his blood flew from his face. Before he could even wipe his leaking wound out of his eyes and mouth, Bojack found the commander was on him again. They exchanged punches, curses, and energy blasts. At close range, throwing energy balls was a dangerous game for both of them, though they were each able to dodge the first couple of surprise attacks.
Arbados teleported to Bojack’s side and hit him with a flying kick, knocking the space pirate to one knee. Then, he shot a point-blank rapid energy attack at Bojack, covering the larger alien in a swarm of purple ki blasts. When the smoke cleared, Bojack was nowhere to be seen. Confused, Arbados looked around and was met with a boot to the jaw, sending him flying away into the swirling sands. Thunder bellowed from the coral sky.
Though there was low visibility in the heart of the sandstorm, Bojack held the advantage; he could sense power signatures. He doubted this old man could. Teleporting around Arbados, Bojack was like a ghost, probing and sending exact punches and kicks just where Arbados wasn’t expecting them. On the third attempt, the Nyarin caught Bojack’s foot and threw him to the ground. Then they were upon one another again, hungry for each other’s blood. Bojack rolled away and stood up, punching and kicking wildly. And there was the leader of the Praetorian Guards blocking him.
Both were breathing hard by now, though Bojack was the only one sweating. His punches came sloppy and desperate, overreaching severely. He wanted to end this, to kill the man who dared stand against him. Bojack hated Arbados, hated that anyone could make him feel pain. When his punches didn’t do much, he switched to ki blasts, and yet Arbados batted those aside. They dueled over dead and dying bodies, over fresh corpses and soon-to-be corpses; all the while, Arbados maintained his focus on Bojack while Bojack felt his heartbeat grow with intensity, felt the blood in his veins radiating pure ire.
Bojack jumped back, his cape flapping around him. Wiping his brow, he said, “You were stupid to mock me. And you were even stupider to not have killed me already. Now I’ll make you pay!” Bojack screamed, his aura shining around him, covering him in its warmth. And when it settled down, when the light flickered and went out, there stood Bojack, green-skinned and red-haired, his shirt gone, his muscles larger. He was now in his Full Power form, bringing a massive increase to his power signature. He could feel how much stronger he was than Arbados and guffawed. “You fool! Don’t you understand that it’s over now? There’s no way you can stand against me now!”
Arbados sighed and fell into his fighting form again. Bojack once again charged him. He couldn’t just sit back like the Nyarin. He had to fight; he had to attack his foe. He was too impatient. When their fists locked, Bojack shot an energy attack from his, burning the commander’s knuckles. Arbados let out a cry and teleported behind Bojack, kicking him in the back of the head. Bojack barely felt the attack.
Taking to the air, Bojack called forth his ki reserves into his hands, fat beams in either palm. The wind howled around him like a dying animal. He aimed the attacks at Arbados and bombarded the man with all of his fury. Arbados came to the air too, to dodge. He stared at Bojack like the space pirate was a sick space puppy, and then disappeared into the sands.
“Come back! There’s no running from me! I’ll hunt you down!” Bojack goaded. He fired his energy beams off into the darkness, hoping to hit the man he still sensed nearby.
When none of the blasts made contact, he charged into the storm himself, sensing for his quarry. That was when the captain felt Arbados’ power level grow suddenly and massively – so massive it became close enough to his own power that Bojack didn’t know who was stronger anymore. For the first time since the battle had started, Bojack paused. A tendril of fear snaked around the space pirate’s heart, caressing it gently. For the first time, doubt was in his mind, and Bojack didn’t know what to do.
Out from the eye of the sandstorm came Arbados, with all of his power. He led with a kick, hitting Bojack in the face and sending the space pirate flying like a ragdoll back to the ground. Dazed, the captain stood up and saw Arbados walking towards him. Purple energy sparkled and shimmered around his form, and his eyes had become two pale flames. In his hand was a burning indigo energy beam that Bojack knew would be strong enough to kill him, even as he was.
He shook his head, feeling pain pulse through his skull. He had a headache, felt sick to his stomach. His heart was beating too fast. It was getting sore. His bloodlust was beginning to fade. But Bojack wasn’t done yet. All of his wrath came to him when he remembered that this petty alien was trying to kill him. He would defend himself and his title of the most powerful being in the universe, and no one would doubt him. No one.
“This’ll finish you off!” Bojack screamed, conjuring a light blue ball between his hands. Then, he split the ball in two and aimed each hand at Arbados.
Arbados was standing calmly, his indigo beam covered in lightning and burning like it was on fire. He held his attack in one hand, as arrogant a display as the space pirate had ever beheld. And then, in instinct, they both threw their attacks at one another. Bojack felt the heat of his opponent’s beam even from several feet away; their energy clashed in an explosion of plasma and sparks and electricity. The winds grew, spewing sand everywhere. Bojack felt the impulse to close his eyes, but he couldn’t. He had to see Arbados die. He used all of his strength to push his energy beam forward. Arbados did the same, and they were locked in a stalemate. Try as they might, neither of them held the edge; neither could overcome the other. Bojack didn’t understand. His rage grew even larger. Why was this alien able to stand up to him? Why was he struggling as he’d never struggled before? It didn’t make sense. This was a planet of weaklings.
“You will not kill me!” Bojack screamed, seeing with horror that, at last, the beam struggle was beginning to move in his direction. He was using two beams, slightly spreading his power across two sources of energy. That gave Bojack a slight disadvantage, especially noticeable in a beam struggle lasting this long. “Bastard! I’ll make you into food for the worms!”
Arbados did not reply, making Bojack even angrier. He screamed again and tried to push back against the Nyarin’s beam; with all of his strength, he grit his teeth and pushed forward, only to find that he was up against a wall. There was nothing he could do. For a moment, Bojack knew he was going to die, and he felt a sense of peace wash over him. He felt acceptance. But then, the warrior in him returned, and Bojack swore to himself that he would never give up. There was still a way for him to win.
Bojack teleported behind Arbados, foregoing the beam struggle any further. His Galaxy Buster collapsed against Arbados’ blast, but that was no matter, for Bojack had just used the element of surprise to get behind his foe. He created a green energy ball in one hand and threw it at Arbados, hitting the Nyarin in the back of the shin.
Arbados screamed and fell over, blood and skin and muscle flying into the air from where Bojack’s attack had taken a chunk out of his leg. He rolled over, but Bojack punched him in the jaw and made him collapse against the sand.
“I don’t get it…” Arbados was crying, tears running into his aqua fur. “They said I would be strong enough… that I’d have the power to defeat you…”
“What are you blabbering about, old man?”
Arbados’ eyes widened and his lip quivered. Lightning exploded in the sky, illuminating his old face. “You will not win, Bojack the Destroyer!”
A chill spread across Bojack’s body. “How do you know my–”
Arbados lunged forward, punching Bojack deep in the gut. The space pirate stumbled back, kicking Arbados across the face. But the Nyarin didn’t go down. He twisted to the side and hit Bojack twice in the shoulder, nearly causing Bojack to collapse. Then, Bojack swung wildly, trying to hit the man, but he missed. Arbados flew over him, landed behind Bojack, and kicked his legs out from under him. The captain fell to the sand, spinning through it, the taste of dirt and blood on his tongue. When he went to stand back up, Arbados stood over him, his energy pike in his hand. He blasted Bojack away, causing the space pirate to be blown into a pile of dead Nyarins and Heras. Standing up, Bojack could only see the energy pike of his foe; everything else was swallowed up by the sandstorm. Lightning cracked and spread across the sky. The sun’s last rays of light were on their way. The ball of fire had already sunk behind the horizon. It was only a matter of time before the light was gone.
Roaring, Bojack formed another energy ball in his hand and charged at Arbados. For a split second, the two saw one another, each lit up by the light of the other’s attack, and then Bojack threw his ball of energy into the sand, not at Arbados; he realized only too late what the Nyarin was planning. Sand flew everywhere. When a mass of it went into the commander’s eyes, he dropped his own energy attack and let it sink into the sand. Bojack teleported behind the commander and prepared to snap his neck when Arbados spun around and swung his energy pike in graceful arcs.
Bojack felt the heat, but there was no pain. His skin split open, blood gushing out from the two cuts the Nyarin had left on his face. He screamed in surprise and horror and put his hand together, creating a quick green energy beam. Then, he let loose the beam into Arbados’ chest, and the old warrior, who was still in the midst of swinging his pike, had not the time to dodge or block the attack. He was hit full on in the chest. Bojack beheld the Praetorian commander scream, his armor melting, his fur melting, his skin melting. And then, the momentum of the attack thrust Arbados away, deep into the sandstorm, to die.
That was good, Bojack knew. He wasn’t dead yet; Arbados would die a slow, painful death, and Bojack would be there to watch, to relish in that fool’s last breaths. He went to run after the Nyarin when he found he couldn’t move. Perplexed, Bojack tried again to move, and found that he was stuck in place, only able to look around with his head and neck. He shouted, screamed, cursed, tried to make energy blasts, tried to teleport… but nothing worked. He was stuck. Then, the invisible power that held him forced him to his knees.
The sandstorm lessened, and Bojack saw that the sky had turned a deep crimson. Looking around, he saw his Galaxy Warriors still engaged with the Praetorian Guards; but there were few of them left. He saw Zangya, her face covered in cuts and bruises, looking wild-eyed and scared. Next to her was Bujin, his second mate, fighting off a dozen Praetorian Guards at once. He watched Kogu using his demon’s blade to cut through his foes and Bido using explosive ki blasts to push back the Nyarins trying to rush him. There were four of them left. That was it, aside from the small group still on Sanity’s Eclipse. All of his Galaxy Warriors – all of the surviving Hera in the universe – had been reduced to less than a dozen warriors. It sickened Bojack to see, but he couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything about it.
Together, with impressive uniformity, the surviving Nyarin Praetorians jumped back from the Galaxy Warriors and teleported away, leaving only dust in their wake. Where they teleported to, Bojack never learned, but he quickly noticed that they had left the desert – it was now only Bojack, his surviving warriors, and the corpses of the fallen to keep them company. No one else was there. A keen wind blew, long and uninterrupted. All else was silent.
“Master Bojack!” Zangya yelled, running over to him. The others soon followed. “What happened?” He almost felt something for her, almost loved her. But she had given him a daughter, not a son.
Bojack went to speak when the last rays of the day faded out and night came upon them. And then he saw them. There were four sets of eyes, shining with timeworn nobility, surrounding him all on all sides – north, south, east, and west. The others saw the eyes too, but when they tried to attack, they found they couldn’t move, just like Bojack.
A bright light suddenly covered the group, but Bojack couldn’t feel a thing. The sounds of the world left Bojack, and all he could hear was his own heartbeat, erratic and deep and lonesome. He didn’t know if this was Arbados and his Praetorian Guards or something else, but Bojack knew he and his Galaxy Warriors had lost. Whatever had them had them good. They were going to die.
The white light washed over Bojack, and he expected to feel the heat of deadly energy melting away at his body. It was a shock, then, when Bojack felt nothing at all. Those four pairs of eyes pierced through the blinding light, to stare at Bojack with contempt and pity, and try as he might, he could not look away.
“Who are you to judge me?!” he wanted to scream, but he couldn’t open his mouth. He was the strongest being in the universe; it was he who decided who lived and who died. Not these bastards. Not anyone else. He wanted so badly to snap their bastard necks.
The last thing Bojack remembered was the look in those bright eyes of the cloaked watchers staring down upon him, like he was a naughty child in need of punishment, not the strongest being in the universe.
- I really like the name of this story. It came to me very early in the name-planning for The Heels of the Unknown. It conjures up galactic imagery for me, as well that of the fall of a giant, which Bojack definitely is (he was one of the strongest beings in the universe during this story). This title is dark, evocative, and ushers in a major tonal shift from the first half of The Heels of the Unknown to the second half.
- So Starfall begins the second half of The Heels of the Unknown. THOTU's first half was comprised of Spring and Summer, which are warmer, more hopeful seasons than Autumn and Winter. Autumn is a time of waning, but also a time of intense beauty, and that was a tonal thing I attempted to convey in this story, as well as in Crushing Blue. The waning of Bojack, the crumbling of his species and empire, is contrasted heavily with the colorful, complicated fight scenes and the descriptions of his ship and the planet. I think the thing to remember is that in the second half of THOTU, themes of transience (think mono no aware) and general failure are more common. In all eight stories, the protagonists struggle with issues, some dealing with them internally or externally, others failing to deal with them at all (as is the case with Bojack, Super Handel, and Cyleria, to name a few).
- So, the first half of THOTU is different from the second half of the one-shot collection in another major way: the first half has 3 canon character protagonists, while the second half has only 1. This gives the first half a much more standard feel to it, similar to my other one-shot collections, in terms of characters and their stories. Now, in the second half, I am trying to experiment a bit more and shine a focus on fanon characters, something I had not done in a one-shot since Were It So Easy, which is what I consider to be my worst story on this wiki. The splits for this story are still two canon character dramas, two fanon character dramas, two canon character comedies, and two fanon character comedies. It's just the way I broke it up made the first half of The Heels of the Unknown canon-character-heavy, and the second half fanon-character-heavy. So what exactly does this mean for Starfall? Well, importantly, Starfall is the last story with a canon character protagonist in this collection. In a way, Starfall is me trying to go out with a bang for the canon characters. I really tried hard with this story to make it an epic, memorable conclusion for the canon characters of this collection. I wanted Starfall to be a last word, so to speak, even though it's only the fifth story in this collection. I wanted this story to be my peak. While I'm not sure if that actually happened, I do think this one has a decent chance to end up being my highest-rated THOTU story once I've anthologized them all.
- The first scene has a lot of wordplay and tonal stuff that is reflected in the way I structured the prose, and which words I chose to describe the stuff going on. I probably won't get too specific into that, because it'd be revealing too much, but do note that the first section took an extensive amount of time for me to write, and it's not just fluff. Every word matters, as does the order and progression of the words written.
- I opened this story in a specific place to allow the readers to use their imaginations to color the surroundings. I could've very well spent paragraphs describing Bojack and Zangya in the closet together before Jaku interrupts their proceedings. Indeed, I don't even show Jaku barging in. This story - this tale - begins when Bojack screams those first words in frustration. That was done for multiple reasons. The most obvious is of course that this is a major moment at which Bojack begins to suspect that Jaku may be a traitor (he later kills Jaku because of this moment and a few others). So where exactly and how I open the story is significant.
- Jaku's name follows the same pun pattern as the rest of Bojack's crew. All of their names are based on words in Japanese that mean various negative things. For example, Bojack's own name comes from the Japanese word "bōjakubujin", which translates to "arrogance" or "audacity". Jaku's name comes from the word "jaaku" (邪悪), meaning "wicked" or "evil". I basically looked up a bunch of negative words in Japanese and picked the one that looked the coolest to me.
- A lot of the descriptions in the first scene are visceral and aesthetically tuned towards Bojack's savagery.
- Bojack being in a closet with Zangya reminds me of the closets mentioned in I'm a Candy Man. The closet is a place of sexual privacy in both stories, though it is not used comically in this one.
- Bojack's blatant misogyny was something I put in because of how carelessly he killed her in his canon movie. I wanted to show that he valued her only for sex and for producing an heir for him. He doesn't actually have feelings for her, or so we are led to believe. He has feelings for the actual act of sex. This was a crucial piece of characterization for him.
- I had everyone call Bojack "master" because that's what they called him in the canon Bojack movie.
- “Aye, and I’ll make them pay for this. You know I like to get off before a battle. I always do. It’s bad luck not to.” - this is somewhat based on the Victarian Greyjoy sample chapter from the forthcoming Winds of Winter book in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, though Bojack's feelings are specifically the opposite of Victarian's (Vic hates getting off before a battle). The bit about Jaku causing Bojack's bad luck here is also perhaps a bit of foreshadowing.
- “You and your luck. One of these days, master, you’ll realize the only luck in this life is the kind you make for yourself.” - I really like this line. This line has broad application for all of the stories in The Heels of the Unknown.
- "Bojack didn’t have time to listen to that bitch." - so this line is rather savage, but it's important. This was a means for me to characterize Bojack through the prose. This story is written from his perspective, so I had to be careful and precise with the language I used. I deemed this to be the way he would react to Zangya's last quote from the above endnote. His ignorance and arrogance shines in this line, allowing it to work on multiple levels.
- Notice that Bojack slams the door just as Jaku had done before him.
- One thing I tried to do was have lots of energy and tension in this story from the beginning. I wanted it to be a wild ride from start to end. That's why they are under attack as the story opens. The Jaku/Bojack conflict of the first section aided this tone-setting greatly.
- I came up with the name for Bojack's flagship in a moment of inspiration. I believe I was watching the Bojack movie when I came up with it. Either way, the name of it is pretty cool, in my opinion. I wanted something badass, to match the name of this story's title, and Sanity's Eclipse is just really cool.
- Jaku sitting in Bojack's captain chair is something pretty standard - if the captain is gone, the first mate would assume that chair to lead the ship until the captain returns. But of course, knowing that Bojack is suspicious of Jaku and paranoid and vain, that little detail doesn't help out Jaku much in this moment. He's both unlucky and not very intelligent about how to not make Bojack mad.
- "Jaku said, going to a knee and placing a fist over his heart." - this is something that Bojack's lackeys do in the Bojack movie as well. It seems like a bit of their species' culture, so I put it in to keep this story as accurate as possible.
- It's interesting that Jaku is taller than Bojack. Both are specimens of physical prowess, after all, so why should Jaku be taller?
- Notice how Bojack describes Jaku's face as shifting. He can't get a good sense of his first mate. He's not entirely certain that Jaku is trying to usurp him, but I don't think that even matters. All Bojack needs is a hint of suspicion, and then he'll act. He's an alpha male, a powerful warrior. He will not ever risk his position or life. He's too brutal to care about Jaku as a person. If he suspects Jaku, that means he wants to kill Jaku, so it's interesting that he tells Jaku to lead all of Bojack's forces down to the planet - something that Bojack himself would probably do most of the time. Jaku himself is taken aback by this, hence his show of respect and strength.
- Nyare is the homeworld of a species of Lombax-inspired creatures who appear in His Majesty's Pet. The two Nyarins who appear in HMP are significant characters, and it was fun to explore their species' backstory a bit here. It's also cool that I was able to develop them as a species that would've been wiped out long ago had not the Kais intervened. I believe there was another time I did something similar to this in From Magic to Monsters, where a species was saved from extinction because of the intervention of someone else. Of course, in terms of Nyare, galactic history is changed considerably by the fact that they are not rendered extinct by Bojack. His Majesty's Pet would be a lot different if the two Nyarins in it were not in it.
- Bojack is not like me at all. I could never get so mad that I bit my tongue enough to cause it to bleed. I only bite my tongue on accident. I'm not a psychopath. The fact that he drinks his own life's blood like that is quite telling, I think.
- "The armrests on his captain’s chair had been smashed." - I wrote this sentence to specifically show that Bojack has distanced himself from his rage. He just smashed his armrests while thinking about Jaku and the first mate's potential treachery, but he doesn't describe it like that. He stands up and sees the armrests destroyed. There's numbness in his emotional responses that I think speaks to his real state-of-mind.
- Sexual urges and battle-lust are very similar, emotion-wise, to Bojack. I think that's pretty cool. I feel like that's true for a lot of badass warriors in literature.
- Bojack realizes at the end of the first section that he's giving Jaku too much power. The Galaxy Warriors are the last of their species, and Jaku now has control over most of them. He's going to either die or find glory out there. Bojack correctly understands that it's not likely that Jaku himself will die out there, so if he wants to get rid of the first mate, or at least humble him, Bojack will have to do something himself. He's thinking about slaughtering Nyarins when his blood runs hot again, and he's also thinking about the potential of killing or maiming Jaku in the chaos of battle.
- I think it's also interesting to note that Bojack has seemingly inconsistent thoughts about preserving his species. On the one hand, we see how much he cares about his species in the Bojack movie, when he personally kills Zangya (the supposed last female of his kind!) to gain a minor advantage over Gohan. And now he's putting the last of his kind, all of his Galaxy Warriors, in great peril by sending them down to the planet. Bojack could easily take out the planet by himself. He's also giving Jaku command over them, giving them the possibility to collectively turn on him. And yet... at the same time, he's striving to produce an heir with Zangya. Yes, part of the opening sex scene is just him trying to calm his mind before a battle, to continue following a ritual he's observed for a long time, but he also wants to produce an heir... a male heir. So, to an extent, Bojack is thinking ahead. He's aware of his own mortality and his own eventual fate, it seems, and he wants to make sure to, at the very least, continue his bloodline. At this stage in the game, we don't know much about that, but if you've already read the story and then re-read the first section, it becomes clear that every action, everything Bojack does, is for specific purposes. These are not throw-away scenes or "fan service". These are moments that are crucial to Bojack's development as a character.
- The second section of Starfall is longer than all of A Shadow on the Wind and I'm a Candy Man.
- The bleeding heart thing was mostly me expanding on the culture of Bojack, reinforcing his savage ways. It was a really cool image I got in my mind on the second day, after I had already written the first section. It's interesting that Bojack on the one hand seems so disinterested in actually preserving the few members of his species who are still alive, but yet clings to ancient traditions that his father taught him. And then, of course, we learn that Bojack killed his father in some unspecified conflict, so that just makes things even more complicated.
- "Bojack tried to remember when he had eaten his father’s heart, but his memory of that day was hazy as a ravaged sky, split open in his mind like a festering wound seeping out pus." - I love the beauty in this sentence, as well as the implications in what it's saying.
- There is remnant leftover heat on this world, even though this is an Autumn story. At least where I'm from, Autumn takes a while to truly become cold and bleed into Winter. There's a lot of remnant hot days for months to come. So I was referencing that a bit, although this heat has a graver feel to it, a sense that it is past its prime and past its peak.
- The trees in the Nyare city symbolize the coming of Autumn and the waning of Summer.
- I believe most if not all of Bojack's ki attacks are canon moves.
- "Grinning devilishly, Bojack released his attacks and conjured up another pair of energy balls. He threw those too, at the people, the buildings, into the streets, at the skyscrapers, coating the entire town in his hate. The captain drank in their screams, reveled in the fires that sprung up and burned through the metropolis, and felt delight spread through his mind upon seeing the foolish natives burn with their homes. Bojack bared his teeth and laughed inexorably. They were so weak, these maggots who had dared shoot at his ship. They would soon be wiped out and forgotten, buried in the sand and left to rot… that much Bojack swore." - this section is a good example of showing just what kind of person Bojack is. This is the focus on his genociding and his worst personality traits. Functionally, he goes to that city to showcase just how much of a psychopathic murderer he is so that it will make sense to the readers as to why the Kais later show up to imprison him. This short battle symbolizes years of similar work, work that I didn't have time to show in too much detail beyond this one scene. If I had written a Bojack story that was 5 chapters or so, there would have been more scenes like this. In a one-shot, a single bit of genociding gets the point across, I think.
- Notice the focus on the wind. As Bojack is slaughtering the Nyarins, their fur is carried away on the wind. The wind as a symbol in this story extends beyond this scene and deals with a variety of topics, but I won't get into that.
- I like how Bojack considers his destruction an art form. The prose certainly aids his point-of-view to that end.
- "“Hapless fools. They don’t know they’re marching to slaughter. In that case, I think it’s time they meet the butcher!”" - this line was added in after I wrote most of the rest of the story. I put it in because it sounds like some cheesy boast that Bojack would say (he has a lot of those in his movie). I realized as I was looking back over this section of the story that there was something missing, and this line was my way of making Bojack more like he is in his movie.
- "He would take everything from them." - interesting line, that.
- The sandstorms that occur during the battles in this story is one of the defining aesthetic features of Starfall, and something I had come up with before writing it. I liked the idea of Bojack fighting in sandstorms, because the sand obscures and cuts and can represent many things as well as just being a logical, natural occurrence.
- "When he was covered in their blood, Bojack began to howl with amusement." - doesn't get more barbarically primal than that.
- "He jumped into the air and slammed his fist down into the dried-mud ground, cracking it and making a huge crater. Sand spewed upwards like a fountain. The ripples of his attack traveled through the air, sending waves of energy through the bodies of the soldiers; those who had survived to that point suddenly burst into meaty, furry balls of gore, splattering on the ground in a collective groan. When the dust settled, the army was defeated." - this unique attack was inspired slightly by the Halo 5 Ground Pound, although my version is much more lethal and cool, I think.
- "Around Bojack, the yellow sands began to stain purple, and silence returned to the world. In the distance, Nyare’s star was falling towards the horizon; with fading light, the world looked browner and older and more ready to die than it had at high noon." - this is an excellent paragraph that deals with the theme of Summer transitioning into Autumn. Of additional note is that I made Nyarin blood purple. Their fur is black and aqua too. So they are rather colorful beings, and we'll be seeing more of them in His Majesty's Pet.
- "He could sense the growing void in the universe with each passing, the echoes of their deaths singing of cruel tragedies and lost futures." - I think this may be an unconscious reference to Star Wars Episode III when Order 66 is enacted.
- "They were all replaceable… all of them except Zangya. Bojack knew once she produced a son for him, she too would lose much of her worth." - this is a pretty big bombshell moment that contextualizes the opening of the story. I always liked Zangya and Bojack together as a couple, perhaps more for necessity than love. So that's what I wrote into this story.
- "In a flash, Bojack felt Jaku’s power. It was unmistakable – large, fluctuating, and cocky. The captain could tell a great deal about a warrior just from reading their power signature." - I really like this concept. It's one that's not explored too deeply in DBZ, and I wish it had been.
- "Yet when he realized his warriors were weak, that they were allowing themselves to be slaughtered by a native alien, he stayed himself. These were not warriors worthy of being his companions. Bojack was the strongest person in the universe. If his soldiers were so weak, it would reflect poorly on him. Better they died now and spared him that shame." - an interesting moment of characterization. We see earlier hints that Bojack wants his Galaxy Warriors to survive. He only went looking for them when he sensed they were dying - and that angered him greatly. That's a normal, empathetic response, I think. But he soon buries the good inside him, because he realizes that showing his soft side will hurt his image in the galaxy, and nothing matters more to Bojack than being seen as a peerless warrior whom all should fear.
- "Hell, in Full Power, Jaku was nearly as strong as Bojack." - Bojack is being clever here. He means his own normal form, not his own Full Power Form. Still, that's rather shocking that there's a Nyarin basically capable of equaling Bojack's normal form. Jaku is serving a nice plot purpose here, revealing key information to Bojack as he battles this mysterious warrior who's clad in badass black armor and wielding an energy pike like a master.
- "His heart was beating loudly in his ear. He could taste sand. Lightning cracked across the sky in green streaks. The light of the blue star was fading; Bojack didn’t have much time. He rushed forward." - I could say a lot about this paragraph. Each sentence could, perhaps, get its own endnote. But I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say, it's stuff like this that took me a long time to write. It's usually stuff like this that is added in during the editing phase to keep a consistent tone, to continue developing themes, and to make sure I stay focused on what matters.
- "Jaku’s face was covered in uncertainty for a fraction of a second, and then he decided to heed his captain’s words and break away from the Nyarin warrior." - though he is a doomed character, Jaku almost realizes what is about to happen to him. I think that makes his death a tad sadder, although I don't think he's a particularly sympathetic character given all the innocent people he's murdered.
- Jaku's death is gruesome and I was a bit restrained in describing the details, I think. I could have gotten a lot more graphic in terms of what Bojack did to the poor first mate's corpse, but I didn't. There are reasons for that, I suppose - both literary and aesthetic.
- "“You’re a mad one, aren’t you?” scoffed the Nyarin warrior. He stood up, picking up his energy pike and twirling it around. “Killing your own man? That’s pathetic.”" - I knew I didn't have much time to develop Arbados as a character, so I used his dialogue as efficiently as possible. Here, a lot can be gleaned about Arbados in a few short lines. He's the first true check on Bojack's madness, which is seen not only in the plot progression, but in the way the prose has been written.
- Arbados is a nod to Alister Azimuth from the Ratchet & Clank series. His energy pike is similar to Alister's Praetorian OmniWrench, although functionally, Arbados' weapon is a lot more dangerous.
- "Around them, Bojack could see his Galaxy Warriors fighting Arbados’ Praetorian Guards. Most of them were winning – he saw Bujin, Zangya, and even Kogu blasting away the best Nyarins on the planet with ease." - nice shout-out to (most of) Bojack's Galaxy Warriors from his movie. I needed a way to explain how so many of them ended up dying though, so I introduced the Nyarin Praetorian Guard, based on the Lombax Praetorina Guard from the Ratchet & Clank universe. Those Nyarins are much stronger than the soldiers Bojack fought earlier, and it shows. Still, the strongest of his Galaxy Warriors - namely Zangya and Kogu - should not have much of a problem with the Praetorian Guards.
- "Only the strong survive, Bojack knew; only the strong were worth remembering." - this single sentence essentially illustrates why Bojack is how he is, why he does what he does, and why he'll never stop until he is forced to.
- "“Woe to the man who tempts my wrath.”" - Arbados may be old, but he's a badass, not one to back down against Bojack. He's the perfect enemy. He's not like Jaku or Zangya. He's not afraid of Bojack, and that pisses the space pirate off.
- Even though the heat wanes as time goes on, Bojack's heart beat does not slow; his passion does not quench like the day.
- I find it interesting that the planet betrayed Bojack - in his opening assault against Arbados, his boot sinks into the sand, giving the Nyarin warrior an opening to counter him.
- This probably should go without saying, but I'll just put this here: Bojack's and Arbados' contrasting styles of fighting say a great deal about what kind of men they are.
- Blood recurs a lot in this story - more than even I remembered. Its significance should not be discounted. There's a reason why Bojack's nose is broken, why his own blood coats his face like the blood of his enemies had earlier.
- Man Bojack's fight with Arbados is so intense. Every time I think it's going to let up, it just keeps going. It's great; I love this scene.
- It seems a bit odd, doesn't it, that Arbados is so strong? He forced Bojack to transform, something Teen Gohan, who defeated Cell, made Bojack do in canon. Why is he so strong? That is a question I hoped most readers would ask. It doesn't seem like his soldiers even come close to him. He's way out of the league of every other Nyarin. Something is off. Is this just me trying to make an opponent for Bojack, ignoring logic? I should hope that the readers don't assume so.
- "A tendril of fear snaked around the space pirate’s heart, caressing it gently." - a line that seems so insignificant has been built up to for the entire story.
- Arbados' sudden power increase doesn't seem believable. He flees to the heart of the storm and suddenly becomes as powerful as Full Power Bojack? It's quite bizarre. Although, I think this is one of the cooler surprises in The Heels of the Unknown. There is obviously a reason for why he has this power increase, but we don't know why that is quite yet.
- "Out from the eye of the sandstorm came Arbados, with all of his power. He led with a kick, hitting Bojack in the face and sending the space pirate flying like a ragdoll back to the ground. Dazed, the captain stood up and saw Arbados walking towards him. Purple energy sparkled and shimmered around his form, and his eyes had become two pale flames. In his hand was a burning indigo energy beam that Bojack knew would be strong enough to kill him, even as he was." - I think this is some of my best prose ever. Arbados is so cool.
- "Arbados was standing calmly, his indigo beam covered in lightning and burning like it was on fire." - imaginging this Nyarin, in his jet black armor, a sandstorm raging around him, lightning flashing emerald in the sky... it doesn't get much better than that. This is an aesthetic crescendo.
- A beam struggle is a classic end to a legendary DBZ fight, but I didn't want that to be the end here. The thing about Bojack's two beams making his attack slightly weaker against the single, focused beam of Arbados is speculative, but I think it's correct.
- It was cool to explore fear in Bojack. He's so savage all the time that there are few opportunities for stuff like this. You need someone insanely powerful to fight him, and this was the singular opportunity in the story for that. For a moment, he gives up, but then he remembers who he is and fights on. This is reminiscent of that scene where the horses are charging Jon Snow in Season 6 Episode 9 of Game of Thrones, and for a brief moment, he seems to give up, to be resigned to death... and then he raises his sword and stares them down and prepares to fight to the end. That scene came out like 3 weeks after I wrote this story, but I think the parallel is there. Really neat moment.
- The puzzle is revealed slowly. First, I used foreshadowing with the purple energy - indicative of Kai influence - and then Arbados says Bojack's name. He shouldn't know Bojack's name. His dialogue only makes sense in the context of one realizing that this planet is a trap world - that Arbados was being used by the Kais to stall Bojack so that they could imprison him. And when that becomes apparent, the readers should know where this is headed - Bojack's fate, after all, is no mystery.
- "Standing up, Bojack could only see the energy pike of his foe; everything else was swallowed up by the sandstorm. Lightning cracked and spread across the sky. The sun’s last rays of light were on their way. The ball of fire had already sunk behind the horizon. It was only a matter of time before the light was gone." - this is like the stuff out of my dreams. I can see this so clearly in my mind's eye even now, that it seems familiar to me, but I don't know why.
- Ah yes, it was Arbados' energy pike that gave Bojack those scars on his face. That was something I came up with as I was writing the second section. I did not originally plan on explaining those scars... but, I saw an opportunity and took it. This is a really cool moment. It's like a relic of Arbados continues on into Bojack's canon story. It's really cool because the scars are not explained. This is just like how Yamcha's scars aren't explained either, and I also took an opportunity to explain where those came from in chapter 7 of Spindlerun: The Tale of Yajirobe. There is a sense of finality to Arbados' pike swings though. His pike isn't just for show, and he finally - truly - hurts Bojack. That's all I could do in a story like this. He can't kill Bojack, obviously, but he can wound him, and he can scar him for life.
- Arbados' fate is left unclear. Does he die? Does he live? Are his wounds mortal? Can the Kais save him? Dunno. Use your imagination to come to your own conclusions.
- Originally, Bojack wasn't going to be able to even look around, but I found that when he was frozen completely, it limited what I could write too severely. So I allowed him to look around, because there were things he needed yet to see.
- "Then, the invisible power that held him forced him to his knees." - this move is completely unnecessary. The Kais choose to humble him like this.
- It was also cool to explain why there are only four surviving Galaxy Warriors - they were the strongest, simply put. The Nyarin Praetorian Guard killed everyone else. So echoes of the consequences of this story can be seen in the canon movie. I'm sure Bojack is quite relieved that Zangya is alive amongst them, though he may be worried that she was the only female to survive, because if she goes, he will not be getting an heir... at least not a full-blooded Hera heir.
- "No one else was there. A keen wind blew, long and uninterrupted. All else was silent." - I will say that this sentence implies one of two things, in regards to Arbados: either he's already dead, or he was transported away too, either by his guards or by the Kais.
- "He almost felt something for her, almost loved her. But she had given him a daughter, not a son." - tucked neatly away in the back end of this story is perhaps the most significant line in all of Starfall. Yes, Bojack has a daughter in my universe. We learn nothing else about her in this story, though. Suffice to say, when I wrote this originally, I did this to keep my options open, in case I wanted to ever use her. I had no plans for her specifically. And indeed, for months after writing this story, I had no plans for Bojack's daughter, had no desire to bring her up ever again. And then, a few weeks ago, I got an idea, and it's an idea that made me very excited. I'll be using her in upcoming stories - yes, that is plural - and she'll be a major force in all of them. I don't have a name for her yet, don't know much about her yet, but I have found a role for her, and I'm looking forward to getting more involved with her character at a later date. I also want to mention two more things about this quote: 1, Bojack almost loving Zangya is sad to me. I feel like he does love her, but he doesn't want to admit it. It would be very un-warrior-like (at least in his warrior culture) to admit such a thing, to admit such passion, to admit such weakness. But as we all know, Bojack is quite passionate, at least in his mind. But he doesn't let others see too much of his emotional side. And 2, the male decides the gender of the baby. Of course, this is not something that is deliberate, but the sperm is what makes a gestating fetus either male or female, so it's Bojack's "fault" (really, its neither his nor Zangya's fault) that his only offspring is female, not a male. He wanted her to be a male because he sees males as the superior gender, the superior warriors. Well, his daughter will be a warrior too, and I think she'll make quite a name for herself in my universe.
- "Bojack went to speak when the last rays of the day faded out and night came upon them. And then he saw them. There were four sets of eyes, shining with timeworn nobility, surrounding him all on all sides – north, south, east, and west. The others saw the eyes too, but when they tried to attack, they found they couldn’t move, just like Bojack." - really cool image, and as I mentioned in the opening monologue, this was an image I had in my brain from the start of this story. It's also cool to see that the stuff about fading starlight that has been a presence throughout this story has resolved to something of consequence.
- "The sounds of the world left Bojack, and all he could hear was his own heartbeat, erratic and deep and lonesome." - the last word in particular signals a key development of Bojack's character.
- "Those four pairs of eyes pierced through the blinding light, to stare at Bojack with contempt and pity, and try as he might, he could not look away." - I love this. Bojack is being humbled. The self-proclaimed strongest warrior in the universe is being judged. He is not in control. Those who watch him pity him as much as they hate him. He sees this and knows. The Kais are not seen in more detail - only their eyes betray their emotions, their characterizations for this story.
- "The last thing Bojack remembered was the look in those bright eyes of the cloaked watchers staring down upon him, like he was a naughty child in need of punishment, not the strongest being in the universe." - at first I wasn't sure about this line, but I think it works very well because it reduces Bojack to an immature being. He's a child deserving of punishment. This sentence is not literal, of course. The Kais do see him like a child, but they will punish him. Bojack's observations are not followed with much judgement on his part, but I think implicit in this statement is the realization by Bojack that he may be an evil man who has gone completely overboard with his life's goals and all the horrible stuff he's done. I think he fully comprehends that right at the moment that this story ends. This story ends right when his imprisonment begins. It's a precise moment of ending, just as the opening was precise. As well, knowing that Bojack eventually does escape and doesn't repent is interesting too. That further colors his personality, because we know that he knows just how bad he's gotten, and he - seemingly - doesn't care. He's been imprisoned. He's angry about his loss of agency, but he's not remorseful. He's Bojack - that he's no sorry for what he did should come as no surprise to those who know his character well.
I am quite fond of Starfall. I think its story is nice and subtle; its prose is masterful; its characters are memorable. Jaku and Arbados, the two fanon characters, are some of my best in this collection, especially Arbados. The final fight scene was excellent. I very much enjoyed the re-read. The fast pace, the high tension, the unique fighting moves were all things I believe I executed well. There's a lot of stuff going on subtly with this story - the expansion of Hera and Nyarin culture, the revelation about Bojack's daughter, the way it was all tied to the canon story of the Kais imprisoning him. My two favorite aspects of Starfall are the fight scene between Arbados and Bojack, which I consider to be one of my finest written fight scenes on this wiki, and the general prose. Lots of fierce, evocative imagery in the prose, and the word flow is about as good as I ever got in this collection. There's a certain swagger in the prose that I appreciate. I think this is a strong exit for the canon characters in The Heels of the Unknown and offers up a different kind of story from the four that preceded it. And, at the same time, I don't think it's worse than any other THOTU story thus-far anthologized. Overall, I'd give Starfall an S.
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Part 63 ---->