Perfect Works #1: CPA2

CPA2: An early sketch.

Sequence of stories
Alternate titles
The doomed idea of 'time parts'
Unused preface to Sages of Time: Part One
Unused synopses / draft outlines
The design and layout of CPA2
Unused opening for Sages of Time: Part Two

Those of you who have been paying attention to my online endeavours over the past year or so will remember the thirty-story building in my imagination called CPA2. CPA2 was the setting for a series of novellas called "Sages of Time", which was never finished. Now, for the first time ever, I bring to you the facets of my original vision.

See: Charts and diagrams! Story ideas! Original notes! And as a special bonus: An early draft of Part Two's introduction!

But first, we'll look at the sequence of real stories. Stories that you can read right now!

"The CPA Revolution" (start here)

Part One: The Plot Unfolds
Part Two: 20,000 Bricks Under the Roof
Ending A: Worst Case Scenario
Ending B: Realistic Scenario
Ending C: Best Case Scenario

"Sages of Time" (or start here)

Part One: A Dramatis Personae of Sorts
Part Two: The New Age

"William Matheson's 'The Artifact'" (or even here, though CPA2 is nowhere to be seen)

The Artifact: The Final Battle for CPA

And that's all there is. But what you don't know about is the sets of alternate titles I came up with for the different parts of "Sages of Time". And the whole thing could have been called "Interludes and Reflections"... or even "Hunt". Take a look at this:

Part One:

A Dramatis Personae of Sorts
People, Places, and Events

Part Two:

The New Age
Suburban Wonderland
Second Iteration
Down Deep
Interludes of Love, Hope, and Pain

Part Three:

Project Nova One
Terms of Chaos
Let us rise from the ground after telling the sad stories about the deaths of our kings...
Cracks in the Stories

Part Four:

Return to Grace
Saga's End
Return to Grace OR Lots of Stuff Gets Blowed Up Real Good

And that's not all. It might also be interesting to mention that my original idea for Part Two had the whole thing taking place in different time parts. That would have been very disconcerting, as seen by this paper. I had to check things off as I was going along:

Listing of what happens where.

More messy writing...

B5 parallels?? I don't know what was going through my head. But there weren't too many B5-influenced items that stuck in the final product; not much besides the idea of outlining of the entire story and the coloured sectors.

Descriptions of the various time parts. Then, as you can see, I gave up on the idea.

As you can see, I gave up on the 'time-parts' idea fairly early on into Part Two.

And this is an unused preface:

Prologue / Part One Preface

            Some of you (hopefully lots of you) may recall that 70% of "The CPA Revolution" was written in a week and published with frightening speed. But that was in August 1998, and let's face it, I had a LOT of time on my hands.
            This story was going to be called "Hunt", but instead of just backpedalling from "The CPA Revolution" and adding a few subplots, I wisely decided to take on a much more cerebral spin and create something that is, in my opinion, truly superior. I have not decided on a title at this point, but I don't think I need to make that decision for a long while yet.
            Now, in January 1999, I have precious little time. I am scrambling to complete overdue assignments, study for exams, etc... and to make matters 'worse' I just got cable (so I'm hooked on Babylon 5 now!) and Final Fantasy VII which I have yet to complete (I still haven't got out of Midgar!).
            God knows what I'll do when I get my first job.
            Anyway, the story is a VERY long way from being complete, and for the record it's quite a bit longer than "The CPA Revolution". Other things you'll notice is the more subtle use of clichés, whole sections of the story that aren't meant to be the least bit funny, I asked MOST people for their consent to appear here, and I think... I think, mind... that I might have something in the works for Part Four that could bring tears to your eyes.
            But that's a long long LONG way off, or so I hope. In other words, I hope to get enough material to fill four parts (as opposed to two and a half in "The CPA Revolution"). Anyhow, I think publishing the Prologue and Part One now will prove to be a good idea, so without further adieu, here it is:

I guess my life situation must have changed between the time I wrote this and published Part One. Or maybe I just lost that particular sheet of paper.

Now we'll look at my early synopsis notes (hang on, the good stuff is coming!). If you look closely at this first image, you'll notice that I had planned to put something that never actually happened into the synopses just to see if people were paying attention. Your call on whether or not it was a funny idea. If you get an entire school thinking that you're capable of mass-murder, you have to develop some kind of sense of humor about it.

Look closely for a small gag.

And now we're about to deal with a more or less complete synopsis of Part One. I never used this draft anyplace either, instead, I went for the "detail absolutely everything" approach that you can see at the beginning of Part Two.

Outline: Page One

Now I'm starting to think that the whole thing was an outline! Of course! That's what it was! I might even have written this ahead of where I wrote the actual story to. Fascinating.

Outline: Page Two

Outline: Page Three

We're about to get into some parts that I never got around to writing, mostly concerning Lori's adventures and future parts.

Outline: Page Four

You can see here some brief ideas I wrote down concerning future parts. Notice the frequent mentions of "Devon" and "Theadore". The lines between fantasy and reality may have been blurred in my head. =) I promise to explain all of this in the 'secrets' section further below. And I was never in love with Devon. Obsessed with, yes. (which doesn't make the woman terribly unique at all!) In love with, no.

But now, let's look at the design and layout of this fictional building. I kept showing these papers to Greg Baker back one day in 1999 when he was explaining to us the design of Lockview High School (then popularly dubbed Fall River High). He kept having to tell me that CPA2 wasn't real. Well it sure as heck was real in my head, anyway.

From up above, and from the side again.

Here you can better see the placement of the sectors because we're looking down.

Side view of CPA2.

This is a drawing of mine that was originally meant to be three-dimensional, but that never quite came about. Four of the seven sectors are visible in the drawing (Green Sector is behind on the left, Red behind on the right. Brown Sector is mostly underground.), Gray Sector being the original CPA building. The complete structure stands thirty stories above ground, which puts you up pretty bloody high since CPA itself was built around the highest point in the area. (The winter wind is something else up there!) Notice that the Skydeck Sector narrows at the upper two levels. These levels contain the Observation Decks and the Cheetah Lounge, a hangout for the school's elite. (My character wasn't allowed up there, of course.) You can even see an out-of-scale shadow of a helicopter up there on the Helipad that I later whited-out. Details, details, details. But this drawing definitely did not come first. Rather, I believe the first things I drew up were the rows and columns of elevator buttons. (Redundant, because as you may recall, the CPA2 elevators in "Sages of Time" are all voice-activated.) I like drawing up odd things like that first before looking at the big picture, it's just the way my mind works.

Skydeck 30 to Blue 6

This is the trip down from Skydeck 30 (the private Cheetah Lounge) to Blue 6. The crude diagram continues:

Blue 5 to Brown -15

Now we're down at the guts of the school. I love this stuff. More revealing, however, is the basic floor-by-floor plan:

Gray 1,3 - Red M - Green dT,uT - Brown T - Blue T,L,23 - Black 1,3 - Skydeck 25-28,30,ROOF

These are the images that started it all. The reason that these papers don't go up or down in an even sequence is because I would be slipping a new sheet of paper on top of the original drawings to trace the new floors.

Gray 2 - Red L - Green G - Blue 5-22 - Black 2 - Skydeck L,29

And here's some more tracings. You can see the new Main Entrance at Red Lobby (second floor).

Brown L,-2--9,-10,-11

Taking a spin into Brown Sector, CPA2's underground begins to unfold. First supporting the Green and Black Sectors, Brown Sector eventually turns into a cylinder, kind of like the Skydeck Sector. The lower cylinder houses the gargantuan computer core and massive power generators.

Brown -12--14,-15

And now we're finally at the bottom. It goes without saying that this whole area goes up in a giant fireball sometime around Part Four, destroying the school. (Yayyy!) Rounding out our tour, we see a list of CPA2's secured areas.

Now that you've seen most of the building, it's time to get on to the good stuff: the secrets. Since I probably won't finish "Sages of Time" to Part Four, you, the loyal reader, deserve to hear about all the spoilers you can handle:

- Devon only gets to be mentioned in the story so much because I was infatuated/obsessed with her during the composition. =) The whole subplot could have just as easily been based around someone else. But then you could also easily say that the only reason Greg gets to be in the story so much is because he was sort of a friend of mine.
- "The CPA Revolution" has heavy ties to "Sages of Time". But because Jen Holdway wasn't pleased with her inclusion in the first story, and because Shawn Ahmed was no longer a CPA student; I brought up the worthy replacements of Lori Walsh and Greg Baker, who were more than eager.
- Although completely unrelated, "The Artifact" was so ambitious partly due to all the things I didn't get to express with "Sages of Time". But in no case did I take an event I was originally planning for "Sages" and send it over to "Artifact"; "The Artifact" is entirely its own story.
- But there is one common element: 'Theodore' from "Sages" and 'Theadore' from "The Artifact" (played by Joe Chisolm!) might as well be the exact same person, or at least a reincarnation. For the record, Theadore is the intended spelling. Theodore is what came out of the spell-checker just before I published Part One, and I did not realize my mistake until afterwards.
- During "Sages of Time", I hoped to somehow address my mistakes of placing Devon Day with the Bedford Junior High feeder group and putting Jeremy Strong in with the George Philias Vanier Junior High herd. The actual truth is the reverse. So to cover up these mistakes, I decided to muddle the whole thing up and create clones. Any misspelled name in "Sages of Time" is a clone: Jerremy Strong, for example.
- All the students in the story have a clone, with the possible exception of Lori Walsh since she probably wasn't around at the time of the cloning. Even William Matheson has a clone, but something got messed up during the process. The result: Theodore.
- So it goes to reason that when Theodore/Theadore is becoming obsessed with a chick, it's a parallel of a real-life experience of mine. However, I never wrote secret mush notes nearly as freaky as the ones in "The Artifact".
- The whole "CPA Revolution" story becomes just one of many alternate timelines of "Sages of Time", which Lori Walsh struggles to reset to normal.
- The reason that the MacDonald bridge is missing has something to do with one of Lori's weird devices; they all go on a field trip, and while crossing the bridge, the bridge decides to collapse for the third time, ending the ancient Miq'mac curse. Lori, panicking, hits a few buttons on her box of tricks at random, causing who knows what to happen.
- They eventually return from the field trip in the dead of night, only Lori remembering the collapse of the bridge. They come back to find everything completely different: The TSF has taken over CPA. The people on the bus get to romp around in the midst of "The CPA Revolution".
- You've probably guessed this by now, but the student Laura hears going up the elevator using William's access codes when the school is in its death throes is actually Theodore.
- Greg labels Will "The Betrayor" for something really awful my character or his clone does. I never quite worked out what it was; I figured I'd just leave the details for later.
- A *lot* of dialogue and/or events happening in Part Two are quite closely connected to reality. For example: Devon finding a Prom date just before 'Theodore' was going to, finally, ask her himself; Greg struggling with his math and Brian asking Will (me!) to go pick up his Cosmopolitan (Ooohh... I wonder what Elder Haas would cough up to keep that quiet... kidding!); and of course the famous Lauren Weir newspaper interview. You might also notice a transition from Will (me) obsessing about Devon to obsessing about Beth MacQuarrie. I wonder who it will be next. And, in real life, people were actually speculating about me and Ross Long taking over the world. Our official line on that is: "Should the opportunity present itself, yes.". Whoo-hoo! And Hughie and Sara's interaction might as well have been taken from a transcript.
- The story about how I came to run for Student's Council is more or less real, except for the scary "someday I'll kill them" thought going through my head. Did I ever really think things like that? I'm not sure, but it seems quite alien to me now.
- "The listener" is probably Devon Day, or perhaps her clone.
- I was going to make poor Chris Spencer and his then-girlfriend Katrina Boyce become major villains for Parts Two and Three since William drives them into insanity. =) It doesn't seem to be too far from the truth, actually. Chris said he'd agree to being in the story on two conditions: 1. Not to use his or Katrina's names, to instead call them Eric and Cindy... whoops. I guess the jig is up. 2. Give him some cool weaponry, like an F-14 or something. Man, that would have been sooo cool!! Rock on!
- My ideal ending for Part Three had Lauren and Will rising up from the Admiral's Rock area to join a huge student militia that had gathered in the woods. That would have been cool.

And now, to finish off, the original opening for Sages of Time - Part Two: The New Age. (There is actually another opening, but the title was changed to Suburban Wonderland and the opening had me walking through fog to my school bus in Peerless. It has since been lost, at least for now.) I believe that my line "it's quite a bit quieter than levels one and two" is the result of a mental error on my part.

Part Two: The New Age

            It was fall.
            It was overcast.
            Lauren shivered. Skydeck 30 was not without its problems. Cold drafts plagued the Cheetah Lounge. The giant windows looking out onto the miserable gray sky further reduced her sense of warmth.
            "That was... sad.", uttered Will.
            "I guess it was."
            "Should we go?"
            "It's almost-"
            BEEP. "It is now lunchtime. Please proceed to your intended destinations in a calm and orderly fashion. Red Sector Lobby and the Green/Blue Transfer Level are accessible via the express turbolifts. Thank you." BEEP.
            "... lunchtime."
            "Oh-no!", gasped Lauren.
            "We have to leave."
            "How? All the lifts servicing Skydeck are probably in use!"
            "I know! The stairs!"
            "Aren't they blocked off?"
            "Not to me... let's go!" Will and Lauren hurriedly packed up their belongings and hurried to the south-east side of the Cheetah Lounge where the stairs were located.

SKYDECK Stairs 30F | SE C.L. | CPA2 | CAUTION: General alarm will sound when opened. Please use the elevator. | Emerg. Stairs

            "We can't open this!", screamed Lauren.
            Will inserted his card into the nearby slot. "Deactivate general alarm for ten seconds. Disable all audio and visual warnings and indicators. Authorization Matheson Nova One."
            There was no way of knowing whether or not the computer complied. But with a leap of faith, Will removed his card and pushed the door open.
            Lauren breathed a sigh of relief as they stepped inside. Will quickly shut the door behind them.
            The stairs themselves were of the narrow steel sort, and the stairwell was of the gray concrete sort with dim emergency lighting.
            Will and Lauren started down the stairs. "Where are we going", she asked.
            "I don't know.", Will replied.
            CLANK. CLANK. CLANK.
            "Can we go to Gray Sector?"
            Will stopped. "Why?"
            "Because I haven't been there since they built CPA2. I want to see what's down there."
            "Ugh. I don't. Haven't you heard all the stories?"
            "Yes, but how can they be true?"
            "I don't want to know... but if you insist, we'll go. I'm a bit curious myself..."
            CLANK. CLANK. CLANK.
            Will took a breath. "Phew... level twenty-six. We've got a ways to go..."
            CLANK. CLANK. CLANK.

Some time later...

            CLANK. CLANK. CLANK.
            "Okay... level two. We'll cross over from here."
            "Why level two?"
            "Well... for one thing, it's quite a bit quieter than levels one and two... at least in Green Sector. The transfer levels just above and below us are the main traffic areas, at least in my opinion."
            "But isn't Red Lobby on this floor?"
            "Yes, but we won't need to go through there."
            "Oh... right. Okay, then open the door."


            Will looked around. "No cardlock... If we open the door, the alarm will go off."
            "I guess they didn't think people would try to get into a floor through the stairwell..."
            "What are we going to do then? Can't you disable the alarm?"
            "I could... once it's underway. We'd have to wait until 4:00 or so... they'll think it's just a systems test."
            "4:00?! Are you insane?!"
            "Didn't you know that there were no cardlocks?!"
            "No, I've never been in here before."
            "But you have that card!"
            "Yes, and I also want people to think I don't have it."
            Will sat down on the steps. "I have a deck of cards. Let's play a game or something. We have plenty of time."
            "Oh, fine..."
            Lauren sat down. "Why don't you tell me your story?"
            "What do you mean?"
            "You know... your half of the story. I told you everything I know. Now it's your turn."
            "Frankly, I'd rather not talk about it."
            "Why not?"
            "Long story."
            "Mine was long..."
            "Oh, for crying shame, I'll tell it to you!"

And then I stopped, probably because I really didn't have a story to tell. Maybe I should have jumped ahead to near the end of Part Three and wrote up the ending, because I had no shortage of ideas for it. (I did a similar thing with "The Artifact", although I only skipped over maybe ten or fifteen pages in the third quarter of it before going back to where I was. This is why [spoiler alert!] The Leader, in her confrontation with Michael, suddenly says "Now for the pleasantries" and continues the conversation. At that point, you reach the ending that I had already written.)

But maybe it doesn't matter in the end, because the important thing is that this complete story still exists in my imagination. And now, a part of it exists in yours. This is the philosophy behind my forthcoming series of Perfect Works. Thank you.

Future Perfect Works titles: Star Trek: Nova Fleet; Mushroom Kingdom / Solaria