Lasombra Files Episode 25: Darkly, In a Mirror
Welcome to the Lasombra Files, PSU’s weekly hit program. Follow the story of Lasombra and V as they try to stay alive in Shadow City, unraveling its secrets, while at the same time shining the spotlight on gamers around the world and in our community.
Lights turn on in this underground bunker as we get out of the vehicle. It looks like someone spent a lot of money on this setup as there are more blinking lights than on the Enterprise. “Welcome to the Omni Project,” The Boss tells me, as a scientist hands him a folder. “Now, I know you must have some questions so ask me now because once the switch is flipped there is no turning back until the assignment is over,” he says, handing the folder back to the scientist. “The hit squad, the beatings, all this black-ops spooktacular time has been a test to see if I’d survive this assignment. But what made you think I’d accept instead of, you know, going to the cops or hiding or just quitting the company?” He claps as if I asked the million dollar question. “Curiosity. It is like I told you on top of the tower, your little rise to power caused some of the people in the established power structure to take notice, and it made them uneasy. I just never told you that I want you to succeed. The better you do, the better the network does, and the better I do. No one wants to be the boss of a losing network.” He points to the large hallway, motioning me to follow. “V saw the wisdom easily enough, not that we needed to test her much. I had you shot so I can see how you’d do on your own, seeing as how your previous cameraman got electrified on a previous report. Either your undercover investigation works and you both make it back, or something goes wrong and one or both of you die.” We arrive to a circular chamber with a row of tubes getting power pumped into them. I see V and Captain Li in two of them, leaving more than enough left for other occupants in Episode 25: Darkly, In a Mirror. “Get into the tube and we’ll begin.” I read the file back in the hospital. I knew what was going to happen. He was right; curiosity was too much for me. I wanted to see this assignment through. After stepping into the tube it closes with a swoosh, and a moment later everything goes white.
Name: Dane Smith (Lasombra)
Occupation: Teacher/Gaming Journalist
Disclaimer: This interview is reproduced as written by the interviewee. Pictures copyright of their artist/photographer/owner. All likenesses used are for parody and/or satirical purposes.
Skip: Welcome everyone to the Tokyo Dome, live in the NGN studios. I’m your host with the most, Skip Williams with the doctor of trophinomics, Max Platinum. We have an extra special episode today as we have a sit down with the enigmatic, acid flashbacked mastermind and star of The Lasombra Files, which you can see here every Monday night during prime time.
Lasombra: Pleasure to be here, Skip and Max.
Max: So tonight is the airing of the season finale, and like at the end of every season we like to do a little recap, a behind-the-scenes featurette if you will. How was it working on season 2? With the network getting bought out and a bigger audience’s expectation, it could not have been easy on the cast and crew.
Lasombra: It was definitely a change, Max. We had a new boss calling the shots, a new direction for the season, and a lot of script redos. Some days we’d have our lines memorized and the day of filming we’d get a whole new script. We had a deadline to meet so adaptability under pressure was a skill we all learned.
Skip: With such a diverse cast of interviewees, how was the juggling act of asking new, fresh questions and standard every day questions?
Lasombra: If anything starring in the show has taught me it is how different gamers are in the world, but at the same time how much we are the same. Having interviewed gamers from Kuwait, Japan, Canada, Singapore, Peru, and virtually everywhere, it is always interesting how subtle or grandiose the differences in cultures are, but at the same time how everyone is still a gamer at heart.
Skip: We have an audience question, and our ace reporter Stan Daman is here to take questions.
Stan: Thanks, Skip. We have Missy Bravadoa from Bangor, Maine who has a question.
Missy: Hi, big fan of the series. I can’t believe I’m on live TV. Hi Mom and Dad!
Stan: What is your question, Missy?
Missy: Oh right, the question, who gets chosen to be interviewed? How do you decide where to fly to?
Max: Yeah, Las, how do you decide where to take the corporate jet to? Every time I want to take it out for a spin you always have it rented.
Lasombra: Well, that is not a big secret. Either it is by fan mail, with people mailing in letters of people I should interview, or I happen to find them through some actual journalism, searching out people of note and interest. The show is about putting the spotlight on lesser known people in the community and the world, those who the other networks don’t care about. The order is completely random
Max: So you’re saying if I wanted to get interviewed by you I just need to send in a letter asking for one?
Lasombra: Yeah, that is about it. This is not an ivory tower network. Our best strength is our community and viewers. Instead of sucking them dry, we try and give back.
Skip: I told you all you had to do was send an email.
Max: I know, I know, but he always talks in monologues on the show so I thought I’d get some weirdo reply.
Skip: The storyline for the series is certainly unique and seen nowhere else. Max doesn’t believe it but you also write and direct the series. Where do your influences come from to create such a unique narrative? Tell the audience how the genesis of the show was formulated to help give inspiring writers some tips and tricks.
Lasombra: Unlike Max’s energy drink addiction, I don’t get inspirations from being in an energy drink induced coma.
Max: You should try it some time. You always wake up refreshed.
Lasombra: The genesis of the format came when I read other similar interviews from during season one’s creation. It was kind of boring as it was just words on a page. It is an all-or-nothing format. If you like the person being interviewed then it will be interesting, but if you don’t then it will be a boring read. I came up with the story segments as a way to lessen that negative impact. If the person being interviewed isn’t interesting for the reader, at least the story keeps him entertained. I generally draw upon anything and everything I’ve seen or experienced and try to find a unique twist on it. With so many references, subtle changes, in-jokes, and caricatures, my work can be categorized like Hideo Kojima, Quentin Tarantino, and Kevin Smith, who are inspirations for me. Everything is reused and changed to make something new and original, something unique with it’s own soul despite being based off something already created.
Max: That is a really deep answer. Psst Skip, did you understand it all?
Skip: Didn’t you say last week you went to university?
Max: Yeah, but not in philosophy.
Skip: Having traveled around the world and interviewed so many people you must have met other reporters and press at events. How do those relationships pan out?
Lasombra: It is like any kind of relationship. Being in the same industry just means we have a common interest but at the same time we all work for rivaling networks and companies. Some people met on the road are cool, some are never spoken to, and others you forget about a week later. The gaming journalism industry is just like any kind of group of journalists when it comes to social interactions. Everyone is going to be naturally defensive about their work and reports, so if you have a concern or a complaint about an article then don’t go in guns blazing. Just act like a reporter yourself and ask the question with tact and curiosity rather than take a trolling approach.
Max: We have another audience member with a question. Stan, take it away.
Stan: Thanks, Max. I have a Ricky Ricardo Rodriguez from Mexico City, Mexico. What question do you have for our panel tonight?
Ricky: I read your guys Dead Space 3 review. Whoever wrote it must have been sniffing glue. It deserved a 9.98 out of 10. Who decides who does reviews for your network, the janitor?
Skip: Harsh words from the audience. Reviews are always a point of contention for any gaming network. How does it work for ours, as even Max and I don’t get called in to review anything?
Lasombra: There are a number of different factors that play into who reviewing games at this station: seniority, scheduling, and experience. Those are the main three. Usually the big name titles go to the higher ups as they earned their wings, and the rookies get the lesser known or indie games to cut their teeth on. You can’t throw in a rookie and hope he’ll swim instead of sink on a triple-A game, not because of what the score will be but because review writing is a different talent than writing news reports or original articles. Schedules also play a factor as if one guy is already working on one game he obviously can’t be working on a second game at the same time. It is a pretty simple process.
Max: Having written the scripts for fifty straight weeks like clockwork, how do you stay motivated? What advice can you give any aspiring journalist or writer to help them?
Lasombra: Find something you like to write about. Find your niche and focus on that to make a name for yourself. Every network needs certain kinds of writers, our own included. If everyone wrote news then it would be a boring site, and conversely if everything written was original then a network loses a lot of people who want news. If you’re enjoying what you write then even if you’re up until 3am writing it, it won’t feel like a chore compared to the university experience of having to write term papers on boring subjects for boring classes. But most importantly, believe in your creations and your skills. If one place turns you down then don’t despair, use the rejection to fuel you to be better and prove them wrong.
Max: Psst Skip, do you think Capcom is interested in hiring a new writer for a Resident Evil movie?
Skip: I don’t think a love triangle between Jill, Ada, and Claire would work out too well at the box office.
Max: It’s not like it could do any worse than Paul W. S. Anderson’s scripts.
Stan: We have one final audience question, guys. I have Mitchell O’Hara from Dublin, Ireland.
Max: We have fans in Ireland?
Skip: Apparently so, Max.
Mitchell: This question is actually for Skip and Max. How do you find topics to discuss every week?
Ring Tone: No Way! No Way! You know it’s not a secret. Hey! Hey! You! You! I want to be your girlfriend.
Max: Aren’t you going to get that, Skip?
Skip: No, I’m not. I’m just going to let it ring. Maybe she’ll hang up.
Max: We’re on live TV. She can see you not picking up. I don’t want to be in the dog house you’ve just created.
Skip: Thanks for the question, Mitchell. Every week our producers find us some topics to read about and we choose
one from those. Sometimes one of the topics sets off a signal flare that gets us wanting to write a script for it ASAP, while others we want to do but save it for later.
Max: It also depends on what guest hosts that are available at the time. If we can’t get a certain personality on the show then we wait until they are available before doing the episode.
Skip: That is all the time we have for this week's special edition of Skip and Max's Prime Time Gaming. Next week don't forget to tune in for the season 3 debut of the Lasombra Files. As always, for Max Platinum, I'm Skip Williams saying good night and good gaming, live from the Tokyo Dome.
Max: Seriously though, do you have any contacts in the network that will listen to my Resident Evil script?
Lasombra: Uh, I could try?
Max: Okay, I was thinking Jill could rescue Claire who was captured by Ada and...
Skip: No, I don't care about your broken finger nail. We've only been dating for a week...I'm on live TV, weren't you watching?
Lasombra: And they think I'm the weird one.
The process only takes a moment as my vision comes back to normal. The tube door swooshes open and I shakily walk out, disoriented from the experience. “Well, it looks like the procedure worked. Well done, Doctor,” I hear The Boss saying to someone, as I’m still trying to find my balance. I look at my hands and body, noticing the experiment worked perfectly. However it worked I, me, my soul, essence, whatever you want to call it was now inside The Shadow’s body, and him in mine as I notice him leaving his tube. Suddenly I feel someone grab me and a head nestle into my back. Captain Li, instead of breaking me in like a torture experiment rookie, was now acting as if we were going steady. “V is now Captain Li? This relationship took another weird turn. If we did it, would it be considered cheating? It is not exactly us.” Not amused I feel that loving punch to the shoulder. “Good to know your power didn’t leave you…owww.” Looking across the floor I see our replacements looking over their new bodies. “Hey, this is just a temporary change of address. I don’t want to switch back and find some tattoo located in an unmentionable spot.” As we throw insults at each other, making it obvious only being in the same network is keeping us from damaging each other…ourselves…however it works now, a couple more scientists roll in a giant mirror. It is encrusted with strange coloured jewels, sparkling as if the sun was shining upon them at high noon. “Look into the mirror and it’ll send you to the other side. Your original bodies will remain here as if nothing happened.” “Any hints on how to find out who is killing our reporters?” The Boss chuckles before saying “Just follow yourself around. To return to this world you will have to find the mirror in that world.” Seeing how fragile it looks, only one question comes to mind. “What if it breaks?” “It will be a one-way trip” in Episode 26: Uptown Stakeout. Looking at V, or Captain Li, or whatever we are supposed to call ourselves now, I shrug my shoulders and stand in front of the mirror. One blink I am standing in an underground bunker that looked like Red Skull spent a fortune on it. One blink after and that expensive laboratory looked as if Captain America got done bombing it with the help of Iron Man. “Well V, we aren’t in our world anymore.”
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