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This article, Gears of War:Reconnoiter/Q&A, follows the Reconnoiter fan-canon originally created by User:Screennameless.


WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ RECONNOITER, THERE MAY BE SPOILERS ON THIS PAGE FOR ALREADY POSTED CHAPTERS. IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS, PLEASE READ THE STORY FIRST.

This is the brand-new Reconnoiter Q&A! Send Screennameless your questions by posting them on her homepage, by reviewing or PMing her on FF.net, or by leaving a message on either the story's talk page or Screennameless's talk page. The guidelines are as follows:

These questions can pertain to anything Reconnoiter-related, including the Gears universe. If you ask Screennameless about:

  • Gears of War in general - Chances are you're one of her real-life friends who's reading the story simply because she wrote it. Even if you're not, she'll happily provide a concise explanation, a link to the appropriate page on That Other Wiki, or both.
  • The plot of Reconnoiter - Naturally, she won't give you spoilers for any unposted chapters (though she may give you hints). However, if there's anything you didn't understand, she'll be happy to clarify.
  • Any of her original material - She loves rambling about her stuff, so ask her anything about her characters, locations, whatever. She'll probably tell you more than you want to know (though she'll leave out spoilers).
  • Herself - She will not give out her surname or her location, but basically anything else will be answered.

You can even direct silly questions at her characters, and they will be more than happy to answer them for you! So let's get started!

Gears QuestionsEdit

How did Dom meet Marcus, and when did they become friends to the point where they could be on a first-name basis?
Screennameless would like to direct you to Gears of War:Aspho Fields.

Plot QuestionsEdit

I thought it was Dom who knocked Baird out, not Cole?
Dom distracted Baird so Cole could knock him out. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty impressive feat since Cole has all the subtlety of an angry rhinoceros.
Why does Cole seem smarter than usual?
He does? I thought he was about the same. Maybe it's because I give him very little dialogue, so when he does talk he seems smarter?
How does Aidan use a Scorcher if he only has one arm? I mean, yes, it's modified, but isn't it heavy?
Just because Aidan's got one arm doesn't mean he doesn't work out! His exercise regimen consists of lots of one-armed push-ups and pull-ups. He values his upper body strength.
Why was Nell flirting with Baird in chapter ten? Was she drunk?
She's their "designated driver", so no, not drunk. But she was "flirting" (if you could call "freaking him out" "flirting") to distract him from his angst about Cole. Because she felt bad for dragging it out of him. Awwwwww... Also because who can resist an opening like the one Baird gave her? I would've been throwing "your mom" jokes all over the place if someone said that to me.
Why doesn't Cole get angry in chapter eleven?
The situation is completely beyond his comprehension. Letting Baird leave is something he can't understand; it's not within his capacity to be angry.
Why do all the Marauders seem to have grievous physical scars?
When I was trying to de-Sue-ify them, I decided to give most of them enormous injuries that gravely affected their lives and personalities. It's common for bad authors to have characters with "good-looking" minor scars, then make those characters angst over these scars despite them actually looking quite attractive (example: Squall Leonhart of FFVIII, though I'm not trying to bash him). So many of the Marauders are horribly disfigured and plagued by legitimate fears and problems as a result.
WHY DID YOU RESTART?! I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!!
I'm very sorry. Part of the problem was writer's block. I realized I hadn't set up the next few chapters well and couldn't think of good ways to get them going. There were also mild continuity errors I had finally noticed (did you notice the papers Baird had in the prologue and Chapter 1 disappearing by Chapter 3? Because it took me a damn long while). I also realized that Howie's death hadn't really had the impact I wanted, and it's been stated that my prose is significantly weaker than my dialogue, which had begun to bother me. These things combined initiated a desire for a reboot.
I have to admit that the release of Jacinto's Remnant also made me seriously reconsider continuing Reconnoiter at all. It's disheartening to have your story shot down when it's just getting to the good stuff. Fortunately, there's Broad Strokes and Discontinuity, so I can pretend Jacinto's Remnant never happened (in my personal canon - feel free to join the club :P ).
As it is, it's a decent place for a reboot, because it was basically the end of Act I, and I hadn't really begun the next arc of the story yet. I'd rather do it now than later, when most of the twists haven't happened yet. The goals of the reboot boil down to "make it more novel-y, less fanfic-y" (aka longer and better). I hope you still continue to enjoy Reconnoiter, regardless of your impatience!
You make Marcus tell too many jokes. He's a serious character! Get it right!
"I remember that you owe me 20 bucks."
"Well, we're not here to sell cookies, so they know something's up."
"What do I look like, a fucking botanist?"
"Next lake, you're swimmin'!"
"Ugh, I think I got some on me; now I got cooties."
"That smells nasty. What are these guys made of, shit?"
"I could smell you guys from a mile away."
"Fine, we'll go to plan B! ...You got a plan B?"
"Look ma, no face."
Did any of these lines make you smile, chuckle, or even laugh outright? Really? That's funny, because they're all uttered by the ever so lovable Marcus Fenix. I'm tired of people telling me Marcus never tells jokes. I know he's very serious, and I know he doesn't smile. But his laconic humor is unmatched, so when I make him crack a joke about Baird and group showers, you'd better damn well laugh as hard as you did when he proclaimed his lack of botanical skills.
Why do you refer to Cole as "the black gear"? I mean, he is, but it's a little weird and awkward sounding.
Blame American writing education. I've been trained since middle school that repetition is (generally) bad - it's mostly redundant and irritating to the reader. For example, if you had to read,
Cole burst into another round of laughter. Between hoots, Cole chortled and gasped. Cole said to Marcus, etc. etc.,
it would start to get a little jarring and choppy. My teachers instructed me to instead replace names with defining roles. Hence, Marcus becomes "the sergeant" and Dom becomes "the corporal" (and on at least one occasion, "the Latino"). But Cole and Baird are both privates, so calling one of them "the private" would be confusing (unless, of course, they are not in the scene together, as in the prologue). So Baird becomes "the blonde gear" (and I think "the mechanic" at one point), and Cole becomes "the black gear" and "the ex-Thrashball player". However, "the ex-Thrashball player" is really long and awkward, so "the black gear" got used more.

Screennameless QuestionsEdit

How often do you update?
I try to update with SOMETHING (at the very least a meme or a preview) every three to four days. If I miss my update for any reason, I will leave a note with a definite date on which the update will be posted, and the update will be a double update to make up for the inconvenience.
How do you make your chapters so long without having too much or too little information in them?
Well, I start off with a very basic framework for the chapter, which follows this format:
  • What are my goals for this chapter?
  • What do I want/need to establish with this chapter?
  • What should the cliffhanger be?
After that, I start writing in journals and typing. I type up the final draft of the story in Microsoft Word and gauge the chapter's length by the number of pages, which usually ends up being five or six. I also centralize my writing on the dialogue and keep my physical descriptions brief, which keeps the chapter flowing at a natural, conversational pace.
So that's the easiest way for you to write?
Oh, HELLS no. I actually left this out - dunno why - but the majority of my stories/chapters/etc. are written completely on the fly with improv when I talk about them with friends. Basically, I ramble about what's going on in the story until it starts to make sense. Anyone who's had an IM conversation with me can testify to this. I have entire conversations with friends where we do nothing but come up with dialogue. Being extemporaneous ($20 word, look it up!) is very easy for me. Apparently, though, that's not normal, so don't try it at home I guess?
Would you be my beta person PWEEAASE?
Yes, I will happily beta any Gears fanfiction!
Your boobs are named Jessie and Marly. Why are your boobs named Jessie and Marly?!
Long story short: Joshie and I have really weird conversations on Skype. Also, I don't really care what people know about me as long as I think it's funny. I laugh at you if apologize if you feel TMI-ed.
Is it safe to ask Baird (X Question)?
If you feel the need to ask, then chances are: no.
Have you read Aspho Fields/Jacinto's Remnant?
Not at all! I only know what happens thanks to a detailed plot synopses on That Other Wiki. I'm kind of scared to read the former, because it's what proposed 'breeding farms'. And quite frankly, I think the 'breeding farms' are the worst points of the Gears series. It's just... wow. There are a million other potential explanations for where the women went that make a million times more sense in a wartime context, and Karen Traviss went with 'breeding farms'. No. Just no.
And of course the latter makes Karen Traviss my natural enemy in all things Gears of War.
Do you really have blue hair?
No, actually, I don't. I can't get my parents' permission to dye it, so I haven't done it yet. Dying my hair blue is probably going to be my eighteenth birthday present to myself because then they legally can't stop me.
Is Nell you?
Yes and no. When I first drafted this story, Nell was a blatant Mary Sue of myself. But (fortunately) I recognized this and pulled her back, stripping away a lot of her excess characteristics and reducing her role in the story. She's developed out of being my Mary Sue and into being a character in her own right - which is natural, seeing we have a significant age difference and live in completely different situations. So though we share many basic traits (height, humor, political views, desired hair color, etc.), she is unique to herself.
Why do you focus on dialogue so much?
Eugh. You caught me, EightyOne. Well, I focus on dialogue because for some reason it's very easy for me to write. Unfortunately, this often becomes a horrible crutch. I am not very good at writing heavy action scenes because usually they tend to boil down to something like "He shot him" over and over. And there's only so many times I can use the word "shot" before I want to shoot myself. So usually I fill them with dialogue because it's my strongest writing skill.
Who is your favorite OC?
Believe it or not, it's not Nell. Gabe is my favorite. He's got a lot going on under the surface. Unfortunately, he's the straight man to everyone's zaniness and so gets a bit lost behind Aidan's spaztacular one-liner-a-paloozas.
Why is Baird your favorite canon character?
Baird is an army man. His goal in life is to lead a squad of his own, and he believes in the COG's cause. At the same time, he is incredibly frustrated with the army. He feels like his commanding officers make stupid decisions, and he hates that they limit him based on his attitude. This is canonically stated, and yet the natural conflict of the desire to rise in the army versus the hatred of its bureaucracy is never explored. So I like trying to take Baird apart and see what makes him tick.
Also, we have very near identical senses of humor.
So, to you, what makes Baird tick?
Read and find out!
Can I contact you, and if so how?
You can email me at tshld92@yahoo.com or add me on Skype (screennameless is my alias there). My Xbox Live is Silken Scythe, but I'm rarely on. My Steam profile is screennameless, so feel free to join me if you catch me playing Left 4 Dead. I quit WoW, so that's not an option anymore. You can also visit my homepage, Anarchy & the Dumpster.
Why'd you quit WoW? I thought you were one of those addicts.
Cataclysm. The announcement that Cataclysm was not a joke pissed me off. I quit immediately. If you want me to get into the specific items from Cataclysm that made me quit:
1. Removing passives from the Hunter's Survival talent tree. This was the clincher for me, since I had built my character off the Survival passive bonuses.
2. Flooding half the map, including my favorite zone, Thousand Needles. (Yes, I had a favorite zone. Shut up.)
3. Blowing up Orgrimmar and Booty Bay, my two favorite cities. (Yes, I had favorite cities. Again, shut up.)
4. Making the Worgen a playable race. Are you fucking serious? There are more than a few races from Warcraft III that would've made about 5 times more sense than the Worgen.
5. Killing Cairne but letting the obviously evil Magatha Grimtotem live. Hell. No.
Have you played Fallout 3? Because there's a town in Fallout 3 called Big Town, and you compared Deacon to Moriarty...
I have played Fallout 3, and I did know about Big Town when I created this story. I think the name was a subconscious inspiration for Reconnoiter's Big Town, but not an intentional reference. In other words, when I went to name my little town, I forgot about Fallout 3's Big Town, but the phrase was still floating around in the back of my head.
Now, if you want a direct reference to Fallout 3, you should probably check out Mayor MacCready. Because he's the one who actually inspired Deacon, or rather, the idea of a rogue mayor. It was only later that Deacon started gaining similarities to Moriarty.

Character QuestionsEdit

Note that these are answered by the characters they are directed at.

All CharactersEdit

Do you think it is possible to be tickled to death with a feather?
Everyone: ...
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? What toppings do you like?
Marcus: I don't like ice cream.
Dom: Uhh, rocky road, I guess?
Baird: What the fuck kind of question is that? Ice cream. Who gives a shit? (He likes mint chocolate chip. :P)
Cole: THE COLE TRAIN LIKES MOOSE TRACKS, BABY! WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND HOT FUDGE AND NUTS AND CHERRIES AND CHOCOLATE SPRINKLES AND (babbles for like an hour)
Gabe: Just plain chocolate is good. Sometimes with whipped cream, if I'm in the right mood.
Nell: Coffee ice cream. No toppings, though. Toppings just distract from the coffee-ice-creamy goodness.
Lottie: Strawberry is tasty. OOH! OOH! With JIMMIES! HAH! I just like saying jimmies.
Aidan: Oh, come on, no one's saying cookie dough? Seriously? Come on. I can't be the only one who likes cookie dough.
Bill: I'm with the naked bastard (Baird). This is a stupid question. (He likes pistachio. :P)
Liam: What kind of ice cream don't I like?! And toppings. Aaaall kinds of toppings. Cherries are the best.
What is your favorite kind of chocolate--white, milk, or dark?
Marcus: Dark.
Dom: Milk.
Baird: Again - why do I care? (gets elbowed by Cole) Dark.
Cole: ALL OF EM!
Gabe: Milk.
Nell: Milk.
Lottie: White! Like Aidan. XD
Aidan: HEY! I'm not that white... Milk.
Bill: (sighs) Dark.
Liam: ALL OF EM! (high-fives Cole)
If you could get one thing back from your life before the war, what would it be?
Marcus: ...
Dom: My family.
Baird: How about some fucking peace and quiet? Ooh, or some goddamn respect - wait, I didn't even have that before the war! (scowls)
Cole: My momma.
Gabe: To be frank, my life before the war wasn't all that great. I'm almost happier now. I guess restful nights would be nice, though.
Nell: Normalcy.
Lottie: My goddamned right side of my body.
Aidan: You know, I thought about saying my arm, but I'm so used to not having it that it would be weird to get it back. ...But I can't think of anything else, so... my arm.
Bill: Liam's family.
Liam: Umm... I... don't know? (He was born four years into the war.)
Do you like musicals?
They don't have access to musicals, but if they did...
Marcus: No.
Dom: ...What?
Baird: WHAT THE HELL IS WITH YOU PEOPLE AND THESE QUESTIONS?!
Cole: HELL NO! THE COLE TRAIN LIKES MANLY ENTERTAINMENT! ...I liked the Little Mermaid on Broadway.
Gabe: Yeah, I like musicals. They're fun to watch, fun to perform in... what's not to like, really?
Nell: I like musicals, especially if Gabe's in them. He's a decent actor, did you know?
Lottie: I liked Beauty and the Beast, but that's about it.
Aidan: Nah, they're kind of boring. I like watching the musicians more than watching the show.
Bill: Musicals are for pussies.
Liam: Some musicals are fun, but some are really girly and lame. Nell always drags me to those.
What kind of clothing are you least likely to be seen wearing?
Marcus: (rolls eyes) I don't fucking know. At this point, anything that isn't armor.
Dom: (shrugs)
Baird: A pretty pink tutu. Are we done yet?
Cole: Uhh... I don't know.
Gabe: Sleeveless shirts. I don't like them.
Nell: Anything pink.
Lottie: A dress. (shudders)
Aidan: Formalwear. (shudders)
Bill: Shorts. Ugliest piece of clothing known to man.
Liam: I hate when Nell decides to match my socks! I have them sorted by comfyness and she always goes and sorts them by color! It's dumb!
If you had an opportunity to play any video game in the whole world, what would it be?
Everyone: GEARS OF WAR 3!
Bill: LEFT 4 DEAD 2! I WANT TO KNOW IF I LIVE, DAMMIT!
Screennameless: Left 4 Dead 2 doesn't include you, Bill.
Bill: ...Get me a shotgun. I need to go kill those dipshits over at Valve.

MarcusEdit

Would it be possible for someone to say something funny enough to give you a *giggle fit*? If so, who?
Do I look like someone who fucking giggles to you?
Has your view of Colonel Hoffman changed since Dom got you out of jail?
I've never really thought of Hoffman any differently. I mean, yeah, he pisses me off. But all he's ever done is his job. You have to respect that.
What was going on in the prison?
The Locust were getting in. My cell was still locked, so they had a harder time getting to me.

DomEdit

Where did you learn to make eggs?
My dad was a really good cook.
How do you manage to stay positive (but not obnoxiously positive like Cole) all/most of the time?
The way I see it, you just have to keep moving forward. As long as you can keep moving, even if you're not positive, you'll at least get closer to... wherever you're going.

BairdEdit

Does it bother you that you COULD be a higher rank, but you aren't?
In short: Yes.
If you had to pick between being sent out on a two-person mission with anyone of Delta Squad, who would you pick?
Seriously? You have to ask. Well, I'd pick Cole. I'm used to tolerating his idiocy, he gets on my ass less than Marcus, and he doesn't call me gay like Dom does.
Is there anyone you look up to/respect?
Well, you have to respect Hoffman. He may have his head up his ass sometimes, but he knows what's what. And I respect the other guys, I guess. Sort of. Most of the time.
Were you tortured or mocked as a child?
(rolls eyes) Not beyond any normal levels, I don't think.
What will you do after the war (hopefully) ends? And do you ever think about having a family?
I don't even know if I'm gonna live that long.
When did you first discover you had a talent for mechanics?
When my dad taught me how to hot-wire the family car. After that, machines became way more interesting than schoolwork.
Have you read the Halo books?
...What?
Do you feel personally attacked or affronted by my questions?
I'm not even going to answer that. Just... no.
What does it take to make you REALLY laugh? And you can’t say ‘something funny.’
Cole getting injured after he does something stupid. You think I'm not serious? Try me.
Is there anyone you restrain your cynicism and sarcasm around? Someone you feel deserves this restraint?
I try to be nice to Anya. She's always been respectful to me. Plus, she is fucking hot.


ColeEdit

Does your voice ever get hoarse? Or do you have bags of cough-drops with you all the time?
The Cole Train don't need no cough drops, baby! And his voice ain't never hoarse! He breathes from the diaphragm! Woo!
What made you decide to go from being an awesome and famous Thrashball player to a gear?
Shit, I don't want no Grubs bustin' in on my games! Plus, my grandad was a military man. Would've made my momma proud to know I served.
Where did you learn to fly a Reaver?
Same place Baird learned to fly a Reaver, baby! In the air!

GabeEdit

How is it working with the gears (Marcus, Dom, Cole, and Baird)?
Interesting, I guess? Like I'm living in a flashback. It's a little stressful, though, because Delta is four more people I have to look out for. Plus, they don't really know how we fight, so it's sort of hard to mesh our styles. I'm grateful Fenix gave me that latitude to control his men on the home front, so I didn't mind returning him the favor at Fort Jameson. Although the suspicion pissed me off. And Baird. Baird pisses me off a lot.
Which Gear would you prefer going on a mission with?
Definitely Dom. He's the most reliable.

NellEdit

Did you originally not want to take Liam in?
I was definitely worried about being able to take care of him. It had been a long time since I'd been around kids, so I was pretty eager to let Bill and Lottie try first, especially since they knew Liam better than I did. Between you and me? I'm glad it didn't work out for them. I had a lot of younger cousins that I used to take care of, and it's nice to have that feeling back.
What is your honest opinion of the gears' way of handling situations?
Well, the constant suspicion's a little annoying. And so is the racism... is Stranded a race? Hmm... Oh, but anyway, the gears' way of handling things is fine; it's the COG's way of handling things that bothers me. I mean... they left millions of Stranded to die. To me, there's something very wrong with that. But the gears are just following orders, really - the Marauders are ex-gears and operate mostly the same way, just with a different set of... morals, I guess.
What exactly happened with the Liam-grenade incident?
Well, the first Liam-grenade incident was back before his mom died, when Aidan tried to teach Liam proper grenade use and almost blew us all up in the process. Since then Liam's been fascinated with grenades. So when the Locust attacked I knew what he'd go for. When I got to the sniper room, I saw him pull the pin on the grenade. I grabbed it, chucked it into the far corner of the room, and shielded Liam with my back.
To repeat Baird's question, how long were you by yourself?
I'd prefer not to say.
Is 'Nell' short for something?
Nope.
How old are you?
I'm twenty-nine.
Why do you have the hots for Baird, eh?
I don't "have the hots" for anyone.
Liar.
Lalala ignoring you...

LottieEdit

What was your first impression of Aidan?
When we first met, we weren't at the same stages of dealing with our disfigurations. He had accepted it and moved on completely, whereas I was just beginning to comprehend it. So when he greeted me with, "Hey! It's good to see another freak!" needless to say, I thought he was a dick.
What would you say if someone told you that you couldn't pick up/fire a Gnasher ever again?
Shoot them in the face with a Gnasher. Or, if you mean to say that it would be physically impossible for me to use a Gnasher, I would kick them in the jugular. Why? Because jugular is a funny word, dammit.
What if you couldn't kick them in the jugular?
Are you trying to get me to kick you in the jugular?
What was your first impression of the gears?
(shrugs) Gears are gears. My brothers were gears. My dad was a gear. Four new gears didn't really mean anything to me. They're just four more people.

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