Project Quarp Gemini Concept Art (click here for full size)
I don't think my illustration actually qualifies for the competition, since I neither used any of the provided art assets nor posted it on Facebook (since I'm not on Facebook). However, the contest was at least a good excuse to get this idea out of my head and onto actual paper.
As usual, the final illustration doesn't entirely match what I had in my head, looking somewhat more conventional. It still has my personal approval, though, since it looks close enough, heh. The perspective view in particular turned out even more dramatic than I had anticipated, though there's something not quite right with the pylons. The nacelles are also simpler than I had planned, since I ran out of creativity and couldn't come up with any really cool bomb port ideas. To the side, I have a headshot of project lead and former prototype pilot Kai Tana (now promoted from Lieutenant to Commander, having returned from the dramatic events at the end of Velocity/Velocity Ultra that I won't spoil), not just to fill space but because that was my original layout intention. . . . I get the feeling it looks like it was meant just to fill space, though. Anyway, I had wanted to draw a good, attractive headshot of Ms. Tana for a while, and I mostly succeeded here, I think. Her hair did not come out the way I wanted, because I didn't think through at the start how it was supposed to look. Also, her expression was supposed to be more stern and confident, rather than the somewhat "Did you take the picture yet?" ambiguous look she's sporting. Lastly, the drawing was originally going to be more manga-styled, but I ended up thinking her nose and mouth looked pretty good this way.
So there it is! The Quarp Gemini concept piece. With not just one, but two black holes, it really sucks!--Wait a minute, don't publish tha--
This situtation gnawed away in the back of my mind for some time. "Surely," I thought, "there must be a way to depict the character in swimwear while maintaining her character attributes. It can't be either-or, can it? I wonder if I could do the concept justice." And so, I drew this:
Lt. Kai Tana, caught reading technical manuals while on vacation (click here for full size)
Unfortunately, as I don't have a scanner, I had to make do with taking a picture of the illustration with my point-and-shoot camera. It had a difficult time focusing on the image, due to my tendency toward light pencil lines, and so the resulting fidelity was not entirely satisfactory. I then cropped the photo and severely increased the contrast while dialing back the brightness, yielding a more viewable image but also rendering what was supposed to be pure white as not very white at all. In addition, the shadow caused by the curling of the paper's upper right corner was magnified to the point of nearly resembling an intentional night setting.
Regardless, the image above is close enough to looking at the original sheet of paper to convey the actual content. Did I succeed? Does she look like both an intelligent, competent, confident woman and an attractive one clad in a swimsuit (setting aside the fact that I'm admittedly not a true artist)?
With his trusty portable Recycl-O-Ray in hand, the indefatigable warrior Ace Armstrong stepped into the windswept, cliff-top arena. Across the barren expanse, he could see his opponent: a Giant Enemy Crab (TM). "Geez," thought Ace, "that guy's freaking huge! I hope this gun will be enough to take on someone this tough!" Just then, the imposing crustacean noticed Ace looking at him. The arena shook as his monstrous legs pounded the ground and turned his body toward Ace. A massive claw menacingly brandished, the fearsome creature spoke: "Hey, buddy! Welcome! Glad you could make it! My name's Clawrence. I'm really looking forward to our match! You want some coconut juice before we get started?"
Ace picked his Recycl-O-Ray up off the floor, along with his jaw. "Uh, n-no, I'm okay. I'm good."
"Oh? Well, all right. Then let's get this show on the road!" Clawrence pointed toward a diminutive figure at the side of the arena. "That's the referee and judge for our match, Thor (er, don't make any comments about his age! He hates that!). Thor, whenever you're ready!"
Ace and Clawrence took their ready positions, and Thor's voice thundered into the heavens:
"ACE ARMSTRONG vs. CLAWRENCE the CRAB! FFFFIGHT!!!"
Ignoring the sudden blasting of techno music from the sidelines and a voice chanting, "Kano . . . Liu Kang . . . ," Ace broke into a run and began firing his standard shots at Clawrence. Meanwhile, his opponent charged straight at him--yet none of his shots hit! "Crap! His hitbox is too small!" Ace leaped out of the way as the crab zoomed past at full speed. Recovering from his evasive roll, Ace considered his situation. "I'm going to need a different weapon. But how?! Wait--of course! When he charges, he leaves a cloud of dust behind him! I'll suck that into the Recycl-O-Ray, and BAM, new secondary weapon!"
Just then, Ace noticed that Clawrence hadn't actually been charging at him at all. He had simply been dashing to the edge of the arena in order to catch what appeared to be a massive golden Viking helmet dropping out of the sky. As soon as he caught it, Thor's voice once again shook the arena: "INVINCIBILITY! HU HA HA HA HA HA!"
Ace sighed and shook his head. "Well. That sure sucks. WHOA!" He jumped away just in time as Clawrence came zipping past once again.
"WAAAHOOOOO!!! Hey, Ace, isn't this fun?!"
Ace couldn't answer, as he was busy sucking into his ray gun the dust cloud left behind by the boisterous crab. He checked the weapon display. "Yes! The shotgun blast! I've got an idea! Oh, here he comes again!" Clawrence barely missed trampling him for a third time. But, this time, the Earthling space hero managed to open fire with his new weapon, successfully knocking off the helmet. "Now's my chance. I HAVE YOU NOW!" As Clawrence came back for another pass, Ace engaged his secondary weapon . . .
. . . and nothing happened. Ace once again dove out of harm's way (but just barely, as Clawrence was getting more accurate with each run) and then checked his weapon display. "OH NO!" he gasped, "I accidentally pressed the Triangle button again! I DISCARDED THE SHOTGUN BLAST! NOOOOOOOO!!!" His attention thus distracted, Ace became a sitting duck for Clawrence's next attack. The enormous crab once again reversed direction and began to charge . . .
. . . only to find himself dashing uncontrollably right past his opponent, through the arena wall, and over the edge of the cliff. "OH, CRAP! I accidentally pressed the X button twice! I didn't mean to hit the Turbo! CUUUUUURRRRRSSSSEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeesss . . . !!!"
Dumbfounded, Ace sat cross-legged on the ground as he listened to the fading voice of his self-disqualifying competitor. He vaguely noticed Thor walk up to him. After staring at him for a few seconds in silence, he managed to say, "Uuuuhhh . . . ?"
Thor ignored Ace's victory speech. "Congratulations. You have defeated Clawrence. More or less. Certainly no FLAWLESS VICTORY."
Ace scratched his head. "So, does this mean I advance to the next round?"
Thor raised an eyebrow. "Next round? There is no next round. This was the qualifying test for a mission. You were the only one who managed to dodge that crab's attacks well enough to survive. So, we're going to give you a fighter craft, and you're going to use those skills to avoid getting killed while infiltrating the heart of an invading force. Watch out for the buzzsaws, by the way. Oh, and if you have too much trouble with the ship's controls and your whole thing with not having 3 right thumbs, we can patch that for you (you wuss)." Thor headed back to his official's podium. "All right, so now I'll announce your next task:
ACE ARMSTRONG vs. the ALIEN SCUMBAGS!"
. . .
Meanwhile, at the foot of the cliff, a voice piped up from the bottom of a smoldering crater: "Oh, hey, I found a huge red gem! And, look, a pearl necklace! OWW--what the--??? Is it raining coconuts down here?! And *gasp* GOLD!"
Well, so there's my "origin story" for two Minis, plus a cameo from a third. I hope people enjoy it. If so, then maybe I'll think of something else to post. For this one, some ideas popped into my head, and I felt like putting them down into a little comedy. If people don't enjoy this, well, then I'm sorry, and I won't do it again.