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A few random Crimson Squad thoughts...

I've been pecking at an intense scene with the Crimson Squad members and need to jot down some thoughts before I forget.

-- He seemed young, Yevon-naive like Wakka, and yet there seems to be a very shrewd political side to him. He allied himself with Seymour as soon as he figured out the game the maesters were playing. Did he realize Seymour was as corrupt as Kinoc? That suggests a cynical politician's lack of ethics at odds with his apparent earnest, youthful idealism. A lot more shrewd than Wakka, more flexible than Lulu, to adapt so fast.
-- He seems content to look up to Nooj as captain, hero, best friend, yet I could see him being jealous -- maybe? -- that he's the competent, unnoticed one. All the others had charisma, could lead or assert if they chose. He seems apologetic and quiet, not a leader even when he's acting as one. In LHAD, I've cast him into a similar role, playing second fiddle to Grand Maester Isaaru while he works like a dog as the city's administrator.
-- I've also made him very cold and wary, paranoid and mistrustful of betrayal, more than in X-2 where the wound of betrayal was fresher. It seems to have calcified. Yet to my surprise, there seems to be one hidden passion that unlocks the dreamer, navigator, the poet I see in him...and that love is his despair. Weird how the theme keeps popping up.
-- A relationship with Paine was a mistake. Luckily they are still friends.

-- My Nooj is so danged glad to be rid of Shuyin that he really isn't bothered by anything that happens; he's quietly giddy.
-- I keep forgetting he's got that strong streak of self-doubt. I have him self-deprecating... a certain humility... but that's not quite the same thing. He's not expecting much of himself, just trying to set to rights the mess.
-- Thinks Yevon is a pile of crock and really doesn't care about anything but loyalty to friends. Sounds like Auron.
-- Still looking for a good opportunity to throw himself off a cliff, but it seems almost like habit more than desire.

-- Happy-go-lucky. A bit shallow in development, but he's the stable one.
-- Connects best with Baralai, best friend. Except their jobs have kept them busy and separate. They just cross paths every few months (years) and pick up where they let off.
-- Three working airships in the world, but Gippal's spent most of the last 13 (!) years selling stuff to Yevon, travelling in non-Al-Bhed areas, servicing Rin's Agencies... or taking long lazy vacations until he gets stir crazy. String of girlfriends.
-- Looked in on Nooj once every 6 months or so, but has been wary of renewing friendship since Nooj joined the Al Bhed. -- Didn't tell him about Paine for the same reason Nooj dared not ask: a sense that she might be in danger if Nooj went looking for her. OR that she might kill him!

-- Very badly hurt by Nooj's betrayal, but that was a long time ago, and she's healed better than Baralai.
-- Still misses Nooj like crazy. Hence the name.
-- Guards Baralai, worries about Baralai, loves Baralai, and occasionally wants to knock his block off.
-- Tore him apart over Vegnagun and left Bevelle for a few years, but the break-up made things easier. When she came back, she got the promotion she should've had long before, only Baralai (city administrator) felt he couldn't promote the woman he was sleeping with.
-- Which is one of ten jillion reasons she and Elma get along like oil and vinegar, since everyone pretends not to notice Elma's relationship with her superior, or else assumes that they are both mature enough to keep personal and professional life separate. Why didn't everyone (or maybe just Baralai, concerned about appearances) assume that about Paine?
-- Has come to blows with Elma re: Crusaders, not warrior monks, as escorts for Maester Lucil. Unfortunately, warrior monks are praetorian guard -- jurisdiction only in the temples and St. Bevelle -- whereas the Crusaders are Spira's standing army. Thus the head of the warrior monks is a captain who reports to the administrator of St Bevelle, whereas the head of all the Crusaders chapters is a commander. A bit like police vs. army.
-- Believed Nooj from almost the moment he reappeared, but doesn't trust her own judgment. Sensitive to Baralai's fear of betrayal, she's sticking with him even when she thinks he's probably being TOO paranoid.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 19th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
Interesting summation. Your analysis all works for me, as does where all the characters have ended up -- despite my well-known, ah, strong shipping preferences, I find that Baralai and Paine can work together, although I can only buy it in a story if Nooj is somehow out of the picture. Which, in this case, he was. I think your point that Baralai desires leadership but doesn't have much natural charisma is a good one, and in a way Nooj is the flip side of that: he's a natural leader who doesn't really want the role, although he will play it as circumstances require. (You can get this sense by talking to folks around Youth League headquarters, especially during Chapters 1 and 2.)
Aug. 19th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)

And I probably should just "show, not tell" the Paine-Baralai thing (I can't make myself put a slash there). But yeah, it was a number of years ago, when Paine was still hurting a lot, much younger, settling for the one she was with, not the one she missed.

Anyway, it's a very lucky thing she and Baralai managed to patch up the mess.

I keep poking Gippal/Baralai because your view of the Crimson Squad is practically canon for me, but they seem to have been off in different orbits too much in this alternate timeline. So they just seem to be comfortable when they're around each other. Except Baralai's being a paranoid, prickly stick in the mud right now because of Nooj and Shuyin's attack on Bevelle.

Edited at 2009-08-19 04:12 pm (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm not so much a Gippal/Baralai shipper. I like the ship, and have written it, but it's not in my canon the way that Paine/Nooj is. I can see them as friends, as lovers, as friends who hooked up a few times...

If you can easily work in that background information for Baralai and Paine, that would probably be good since I didn't pick up on it from the story, but maybe it doesn't need to be spelled out, either. I guess it depends on how key you think it is.
Aug. 19th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
It wasn't really full-formed... the thought had occurred to me, but it hadn't really shown up in the writing until now. It's not very key, except I think it's adding to the unexpected Baralai/Vegnagun dynamic, which only just popped out at me when I took your encouragement, rewrote the "Vegnagun" section of this chapter, and tried playing with the psychedelic pipe organ :).

Edited at 2009-08-19 06:29 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
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