I like endings.
It’s a thing I’ve come to realize. Endings of things is a thing I want to attain.
Endings of video games. Endings of books. Endings of stories that I write.
Next Era never actually had an ending. That’s because it was never a continuous, chronological story.
Maybe that’s a thing that bothered me with it. Maybe that’s why I started getting ideas for endings of things – for instance, deaths of characters. And I had started on a story that would be if not the ending of all of the Next Era storyline, at least an ending that would change things a lot. Well, it was actually a series of stories around the same event, under the collective header of Fortress. Anyway.
There’s a new story up. It’s a story that was mostly written quite a while ago, started shortly after Archives was completed, and is in fact the companion piece to it. Archives should be read first, as the point of this one is to provide a bit of backstory to it.
This story is special for many reasons. First, it is highly likely to be the last Next Era story ever published. At the same time, it’s chronologically the earliest. In fact, it doesn’t even feature any of our own characters. It could be a standalone Mega Man fanfic, if not for the connection to Archives.
It’s not an ending, but I’ve done a kind of ending. (The actual final line of the story is there only for that reason, really, and isn’t a line I would have used if this wasn’t the final story to be published.) It’s a book ending. There’s a line in this story that directly references – and fuck knows why I even remembered it – a very old piece of Mega Man fanart drawn by Silver that existed even before Next Era was a thing, so it has now retroactively become a piece of Next Era fanart.
That’s the kind of endings I like. And that, plus the last line of the story, is why the title of this blog post is what it is.
I had plans for Next Era, sure. I had a lot of story ideas brewing in my head. Or character ideas. And if this is the last part, I’m just going to type out a bunch of those plans, character for character.
Obviously, starting with my main guy. You know, I started having a few issues with 666 as time went on. It’s not a coincidence that I started shifting focus to Shiva a bit towards the end, because she was a much more interesting character to write for. Apart from his part in Fortress, I had two stories cooking – Wolf and Cigarettes – that were supposed to essentially conclude 666’s character arc. Cigarettes has some disjoined parts written out, Wolf has about two lines. Cigarettes picked up from something called Student, the idea of which was 666 becoming Morgan Lock’s teacher in close combat. Cigarettes would also be the story where 666 finally got rid of that fucking forehead protector. I liked it originally, but later on it just became stupid. For future stories, the idea was going to live on in the form of a plain white headband.
Wolf is perhaps the more interesting one, really, because it would be the story that finally told the tale of 666’s creation. The biggest reveal it would come with? 666’s real name. A name that he himself never actually knew. He was supposed to have the name of the body that was the basis of his design from the chimaera project, even if there were parts from a bunch of others used as well. So, here it is, once and for all: 666 was supposed to be Moro, the wolf. Moro was also originally meant to be a female chimaera. Not that it would have done a lot of difference in anything but the voice. So did 666/Moro kill his/her creators? Well – yes. That was never much of a secret, really. But he (I’ll just stick to that) wasn’t actually completed at that time. What actually happened, we’ll never know.
He was going to have a fight with Renilo. That was an old idea but I liked it.
And then there’s the matter of how I planned for 666 to die. For die he was going to do. In Fortress. The last or second-to-last story in the Fortress “anthology”, a chapter titled Promise. 666 fights Sigma, a battle he hadn’t been designated to. It was supposed to be Signas’s battle, but 666 intercepted it, thinking that it was more important for Signas to survive than him – and if he failed, he would at least weaken Sigma for Signas to finish it. Signas never actually got to do anything, as 666 literally took Sigma with him in death.
Shiva & Pallette
I pretty much can’t write on one of these without including the other since almost everything I had planned for them involved them as a couple. Though I didn’t actually have anything immediate planned for either of them, there were plans. Most of them picking up post-Fortress, though. Shiva’s Fortress chapter was to be shared with Silver, named Bonds and they were going to face Split Mushroom, who in Next Era was to be one of the few still active mavericks directly affiliated with Sigma and far, far more dangerous than he was in Mega Man X4. With a pretty satisfying final blow.
Shiva was going to lose an arm in Symphony. She never had it replaced, at least not with an arm. There was going to be something in its place.
Shiva and Pallette were going to get married eventually, not entirely sure if that was going to happen before or after Fortress. A thing that was going to happen after Fortress, though, was them having a daughter through science, essentially impregnating Shiva with sperm cells created from Pallette’s DNA. A daughter with the name of Alia Maria Lucia, “Maria” being the primary name here. No family name – Shiva and Pallette never had one. Shiva technically has one but refuses to use it.
Shiva was also going to die. I’m not sure how, but it was going to be when Maria was only 5-6 years old.
Pallette was going to die as well (I don’t know what it’s with me and killing off characters), but she was going to be a character who got to die of “old age”, as much as that applies to robots. In Pallette’s case, it had to do with a built-in expiry date, something Lifesavor managed to prolong so that she at least didn’t pass until Maria was into her teenage years. I actually started writing the story of this, titled Expiry. It has disjoined parts of a draft.
And for some reason, just a bunch of days ago (okay, so the reason involved reading through some Let’s Plays of the Mega Man Battle Network games), I decided that Pallette’s internet nick is/was π♀. Because she’s a nerd, you see. (and since she also was a net navi enthusiast, a thing that in the time of Next Era is a very, very retro thing – think, in terms of technology, playing video games from the early 80’s – the navi she had programmed for herself was pretty much a recreation of NumberMan.exe)
Okay, now we’re going into characters who aren’t actually mine. I didn’t have as many plans for them. But still plans. Of course, any time I say that I planned how they were going to die, it was only my own ideas, and not necessarily the way it was going to happen in the end.
So, the main character! You could argue that our primary characters were supposed to be of equal importance but let’s face it, if there’s one character who deserves to be called the main character of Next Era, it’s Silver. She’s the focal point for most of our dudes and dudettes. She’s Snex’s wife, she recruited 666 to the hunters, she’s the creation of Raines.
But, really, I didn’t plan on doing much with her. As mentioned, her Fortress chapter was a double billing with Shiva. She was also going to lose an arm (nearly sacrificing herself, really) in Symphony, but had it replaced. She lost Longinus in the process, but eventually made a Longinus v2 out of half of Artemis. Yes, Gary’s sword. I’ll get to that, but it has to do with a fight with Haigos, a fight involving Silver and the Xenox brothers (also more on them later). Gary was thought dead after that battle, half of Artemis had been destroyed and Silver used the other half for the final blow and later modified it. Gary survived, though. You don’t kill a Xenox that easily.
She was going to die, eventually, like everyone else. I think my idea was that she was going to fry her own brain to prevent Melissa from taking over. But that would not occur for quite a while. Snex was at least going to outlive her, and it would be the second to last death of all deaths listed in this post. She was going to stay an Admiral for the rest of her time with the Hunters – which probably was going to be for the rest of her life.
Okay. So. Snex.
Snex is interesting. Just from the fact that Lief didn’t include him (or 666) in Whisper, I made a plot point of that he had vanished from the Hunters at one point. He was to do a short guest appearance in Symphony, revealing that 666 knew what he was up to, because 666 wasn’t part of the hunters and they were never close friends. He was eventually going to return to the Hunters, revealing that he had done… something… that was of great importance. It would be before Fortress, at least, perhaps even related to Fortress. Due to his abscence, he wasn’t a General anymore when he came back, but he had improved in several aspects while gone and managed to make it all the way up to becoming one of the ten Field Marshals, the second highest rank in the Hunters (with only the Grand Marshal, Signas, standing above).
I never figured out any death for him. Post-timeskip, so to speak, Snex became a too awesome character in my head for that. His chapter of Fortress was to be named Servant and he was going to fight Vile in what was supposed to basically be Snex’s awesomest fight in all of Next Era.
Atos, oh Atos. Atos (and Maria) was going to basically be the person in the frontlines of life after Next Era, so to speak. But I didn’t actually have a lot of plans for him. There was a thing where 666 had spent a bunch of time with him, with his final lesson delivered posthumously being to ensure that Atos was never going to become like him.
For an imagined sequel series to Next Era I imagined up a great-grandson for him, though. But there’s a document on that.
The vampires were iffy to plan for. Raines, well… I never really used him in anything. But long-term plans are long-term plans. He was involved in the fight against Haigos as well, and came out of it alive.
There was a death planned for him. It had to do with his half-vampire body basically rebeling against itself. There was probably going to be some more intricate explanation, something that caused it. He became pretty much permanently bedridden, and needed a wheelchair to get around. So he was stuck in his home and employed a bunch of house staff to help him. Among them Maria, who was his chef. He was a bit smitten by her, and at one point before his death, kinda awkwardly asked if she would be willing to bear his child. She actually accepted, on the condition that they got married first so that she would have a family name. Raines protested since he didn’t know for how long he’d live, but in the end they did get married and Marie got pregnant. Raines was to die before the child was born, and the child would become either the parent of the creator of or the creator of (my notes are inconsistent) a reploid that was part of earlier mentioned sequel series.
Our crazy awesome badass vampire. I… didn’t have any plans for this guy either, really. Assumed dead after a fight with Haigos, lots his sword there, came back later. For Fortress.
His chapter was to be called Stand, and he was the other major character that was going to meet his final death there. Standing guard outside the fortress after the other primary players made their way in, guarding the entry from a massive army of mechaniloids and mavericks. At the end, well… that particular paragraph was actually written so just keep reading, but be sure that it was a fitting death for a nearly indestructible badass.
Mina, in my head, became the enigmatic deus ex machina, sort of. She was more of a concept. She was to outlive both her sons and have the time to give birth to a daughter, who’s the third of the trio of main characters in aforementioned sequel series. She was also essentially going to be the character to bridge Next Era with the new one, and her death was to be a very pivotal event in the backstory of that and pretty much a self-sacrifice.
I don’t even know.
Actually, an immediate-ish plan I had for Metro was that after Snex disappeared, most of Snex’s workload got pushed to him. He actually started rising through the ranks a bit and became a good friend of Atos. In Symphony he was going to sacrifice his ride chaser I forgot the name of in his battle that was never written. I think his eventual death was going to involve overloading himself bigtime and causing a pretty massive plasma burst.
The only real plan I had for this guy was that 666 periodically returned to fight him. Even though Hailius implied at times that 666 was going to match him eventually, that never happened because 666’s death got in the way.
Morgan Lock, Lucy Woods & Simon Barker
Lock was the only one to enlist with the Maverickhunters after her conscription period ended. Lucy returned to her sports (with rumours of being involved in something else) and Simon ended up working as a bodyguard. Lock ended up becoming 666’s student, as mentioned, and ended up becoming a user of a pretty advanced grappling hook weapon system. Cigarettes was going to take place over the course of some time, and while Lock definitely became quite adept in close combat she didn’t survive the story. 666 never went to her funeral, but left his forehead protector in her casket before she was, well… shipped home.
Alia & Layer
Alia died. Layer became the head navigator and eventually got together with Zero.
There were going to be a chapter in Fortress called Response, which basically was going to run across all chapters – with everything told from the perspective of the navigators back at Maverickhunters HQ.
X & Zero
Fuck if I know.
Was to receive a combat body called the Omega Body that basically was going to make him really fucking strong. He was meant to be the one to defeat Sigma in Fortress, but 666 stole that kill. He was going to get a chapter in Fortress too, called Priority.
That’s everyone I wanted to say something about. Now? DOCUMENTS.
I’ve uploaded everything. Every story draft, every stupid document I found. I might have missed something, but it’s all under history. I haven’t edited anything, some of them I’ve barely even looked at between finding and uploading.
So let me say a few words about each new document. Anything I had in Evernote was exported as html documents because copying the text didn’t make it display correctly in OpenOffice. First, stories:
Bridge was a Shiva story I started writing. The big maverick talked about is Soldier Stonekong, and the bad guy was going to be Ride Boarski. That’s about all I can recall about that. It’s not very well written.
Cigarettes I spoke a bit about and yeah this is all that was ever written of it. 666 and Lock trains and works together, and the central thing is, well, the cigarettes. 666 was going to offer Lock one after every training session or mission or whatnot, and, well, only accept when she’s already dying. It’s not very well written.
Dance is an old as shit thing. I think both involved wants to forget it but that’s not how we do things here. Bonus notes in Swedish.
Expiry is the story of Pallette’s death, kind of. It tells the story of everything that led up to her death, and is told in reverse chronological order, starting with her death and then working backwards.
Fortress is the prologue to all the stories in Fortress.
Fortress Promise is the end of 666’s chapter.
Fortress Stand is the end of Gary’s chapter.
Mantis is the story of when 666 was forced to kill Emerald Mantis, for reasons.
Navigation is… actually, here’s the story of when Shiva and Pallette got together. With notes in Swedish, because at one point, this was supposed to become a comic. But things kinda ended before that. It’s a draft.
Passion is about a meeting of two characters. They’re not named in these parts that basically are the beginning and the end. See if you can guess who they are! (it’s not hard)
Student is the story coming before Cigarettes, of course. It’s just a page.
Symphony is actually here. Yep, you read that right. Since I’ve realized it’s never getting completed, I’m putting it up here. 13,467 words, 75,555 characters of pure unedited Symphony that hasn’t been touched in three years. At the bottom is an outline of how I had planned things to go, but there were changes. A few things were going to be rewritten – Kay was going to be in the desert after a helicopter crash, not a faulty motorcycle – and I’m not a fan of the opening parts. But, well, there you go, the closest you’ll ever come to reading the full story.
Tag was a story I don’t think I ever mentioned to anyone. It contains among other things the first mention of the Omega Body, as well as the actual return of Snow (remember her? Of course you don’t). Chronologically, it was going to be the first story after Shiva and Pallette got together. Also introduces a character called Bolt who I liked but never became a thing. Incidentally, he was going to be gay, which was going to basically be a thing that was true about his character and not be his character. Atlas and Talos were in my head part of a thing that was odd and I’m not going to say anything about, really.
Tribute was finally going to be that story, you know… if you remember that caption contest we had, the prize was going to be a cameo in a comic. Instead of a cameo, we decided to make that guy the villain. The comic was never made so I eventually started writing this, but obviously never finished it. Sad thing too. It was going to have Wheel Gator, Tunnel Rhino and Morph Moth combine into a giant mech and do a Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann parody.
And then there’s the miscellaneous things:
Chronicles is first and foremost where I typed down some things for that sequel series I mentioned. Names and weapons and stuff of the three characters! At the bottom is some notes about, well… an imagined video game featuring these guys, which was to be a sequel to a game I imagined with the NE characters. In that first game, the four initial playable characters were going to be Silver, Snex, 666 and Shiva, and beating the game with them would unlock, respectively, Raines, Metro, Type and Gary. The names down there are the big bosses of the game: “Final Stage” is the final boss, 1 and 2 are bonus bosses that can only be unlocked with that character… and they’re all corrupted versions of the playables from the first game, except for Mina and Sigma. Archangel is 666, Blood Brothers are Raines & Gary (obviously), Marshal is Snex – also called “Fire Marshal” and now uses fire instead of plasma, and the only one who wasn’t corrupted in the same way as the others – Phoenix is Metro, Golden Melissa is of course Silver, Alpha is Type and Succubus is Shiva. Stupid? Why, of course.
Fortress Outline is just some planning for Fortress.
MMXNE is all in Swedish so sucks to be you if you’re not Swedish, I guess. Listing of the bosses in an imagined Mega Man X game where the bosses are our characters.
Navi was actually supposed to be a story, the story of when Cyber Peacock was defeated by Navis, but the story wasn’t actually written – just an appendix that explains the backstory of Net Navis as it relates to Next Era. Pallette was pretty much going to be the main character, and the person who suggested bringing in Navi enthusiasts (of which she is one) to try to deal with Peacock.
NE-College! is also Swedish. It’s us being silly and imagining out characters in a College AU. Thank god we never did anything with that.
Next Era IFAQ is a thing I planned on making a page on the site. It never happened.
Random was, well – it ended up being mostly about the Stardroids. It contains an excerpt of a story that was going to have X and Zero fight Pluto. There’s a line in Spear that refers to the Stardroids. Also a small part that is supposed to be Metro fighting Sunstar. Sunstar, incidentally, was going to be one of the most dangerous enemies any of our characters ever faced, given that his primary weapon was basically a wide disintegration ray.
And that’s it, really.
I might find more stuff. But this is all I have for now.
I’ll take this opportunity to thank everyone who was ever involved with Next Era. Silver, Flex, Lief, Metro, all of you and more people. Working with Next Era was really fun for me, and I firmly believe it made me a better writer. I have a new project now, a project of my own where – yes – working towards the ending is one of my primary motivations. Even if we don’t communicate much anymore (which we should, though! Add me on Skype or something, kennyman616), I still feel like I made some friends for life. Even if Next Era is getting laid to rest, I’m not done with you guys. And, of course, Next Era was what made me get the webhost. I still use kenny.next-era.net to upload things, and there’s been a bunch of more domains added to the hosting. My family, especially my brother, makes use of parts of it.
And to everyone who has read our stories, our comics, followed the website, anything at all: THANK YOU, it’s been an absolute blast. If ten, five, if even one person not part of the staff has read my Next Era stories and enjoyed them, well…
That’s enough for me.
See you in another part of the internet.
Sten Magnus “KennyMan666” von Goës Karlström