A Modest Proposal: Saving Mr. LaFong (April 1, 2017)

Baggins

Petty Officer
Hmm, I can't seem to log into it... If I got a password sent to me I have no idea what it is, maybe it got eaten by the spam folder? Not even sure what email I applied on it with at this point... I tried having it send me a new email, but its not seemning to go anywhere.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I'm ready to get back to working on the Wiki myself -- maybe we should have a kickoff meeting?
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
I finally was able to get into it... and ya my email spam folder doesn't like WCPedia for whatever reason!
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
  • ??? the Wing Commander II section of the Ultimate Strategy Guide. We propose that the ???Wing Commander II??? section is BLAIR???s autobiography rather than saying that LaFong was also a traitor who had a relationship with Angel. (Later material does establish pretty clearly that Blair IS the character in WC2; his treason is referenced constantly in novels and later stories??? his victory in the Vega Campaign is not.) Supporting this idea is the coincidence that the Wing Commander 2 section is written very differently, the name LaFong is never mentioned and he is only called ???Prankster??? twice by a drugged Maniac!

What doesn???t work?

  • The introduction to the Wing Commander I & II Guide is still problematic as it features one paragraph in which LaFong mentions being blamed for the Tiger???s Claw???s destruction. It can be worked around, but it should be noted as it does suggest an intent counter to this retcon.

I would argue there is no change in style between parts of the USG guide... In fact I'd say the style remains very consistent...

Points to remember...

Through the majority of the book (particulary once you get into the game play sections), he is only mentioned as Prankster... 99% of the time LaFong is only called Prankster... or by his Rank, never LaFong. Prankster is actually used in almost every "Between Missions" story section throughout the entire book including the Wing Commander and Wing Commander II chapters, and by more characters than just Maniac.

Once he earns the nickname Prankster from then on he is only referred to as Prankster if he is referred to at all... Except maybe occasional time he is called by his Rank.

It is actually more common for him to refer to himself as "I/my/myself, etc", and no one actually use any names for him when talking to him... But when they do its usually Prankster, and you are lucky to see "Prankster" used only once or twice between missions. Rarely do you see any one refer to his callsign during a mission (these mission descriptions tend to lean more towards formal and technical rather than anyone having conversations..., he does mention his wingmates names but only to discuss the orders he makes for them). When he is acknowledged by his wingman or given information/warnings they usually refer to him by Rank alone.

He as far as I know never refers to himself as "LaFong, and its always in the first the first person. He only mentions his name specifically when other characters quote his name (this only happens twice that I could find, once by Tristan Roberts in the "Forward" and once by Maniac before he earns his nickname). The only two other mentions of LaFong or his full name is in the title of the memoirs (which encompasses the entire "Part I" from Wing Commander I to Wing Commander II section) and the Forward within Part I, which are accredited to be by Carl T. LaFong.

As for Wing Commander II events...

We get Doomsday referring to him as Prankster just before Tiger's Claw is lost...

That night, I was talking shop with Shotglass when Doomsday grabbed the next stool at the bar. "This is it, Prankster. I can feel it in my bones," he said mournfully. "Our luck can't hold out any longer. We just pulled through Firekka by a hair on a gnat's ass, and now we're heading into the middle of another catfight. Why do we go looking for trouble?"

Here is Colonel Fratworth debriefing LaFong after he lands on the Austin...

"Prankster, where's your flight-data recorder?" the Colonel asked. "You know it's against regs to tamper with the black box." "I didn't tamper with anything," I replied defensively. "As soon as we hit the deck, I came straight to the briefing room."


The paragraph about him being Traitor is doubly problematic as it also makes reference to the book/holovid "A Treacherous Hero" as being his biography and that he worked as a consultant on it... This info is recycled but with Blair's name in Kilrathi Saga manual, and in the Prophecy Blair biography... These references are very specific in details recycled from the LaFong accounts.

I was blamed erroneously for the destruction of the Tiger's Claw and suffered the indignity of a court martial. I was exonerated on all charges, but I was known as the "Traitor of K'Tithrak Mang" for the following ten years that I spent at the Caernarvon Space Station. During the Enigma Campaign I served aboard the TCS Concordia and the truth concerning the demise of the Tiger's Claw finally came out.

We also have this quote form the "About this book" from USG...

Part one, which forms the major part of the book, encompasses the memoirs of a retired pilot who flew all the missions in Wing Commander I, The Secret Missions, The Secret Missions II, and WIng Commander II. While the memoirs provide fictional context for many of the characters in the gam...

And this quote from the back of the book...

Through the memoirs of Lt. Colonel Carl LaFong, Terran Confederacy Space Navy, Ret., you'll examine mission profiles for every enemy encounter in both Wing Commander games and the Secret Missions...

Now some other errata the accounts are not always consistent, but some mention there were no other survivors on the claw (from Blair's position), and seem to suggest that Blair never met with any of his former crew members when he landed on the Austin, and seemingly even got quarantined to himself (LaFong on the other hand doesn't get cut off until after the briefing and has a brief run in with Spirit before he is locked into his room, and contact cut off).

Notice Spirit also refers to him as Prankster, and she's not drugged nor 'insane"...

The Colonel ended the debriefing abruptly, but not before issuing a general order. "All pilots, except those from the Austin, are restricted to quarters for the next 24 hours," he said. "A full investigation will commence immediately. Each of you can expect a visit from Intel during that time. Cooperate fully," he said. On the way to quarters, Spirit came up alongside and offered some encouragement. "Losing the black box is serious, Prankster," she said, "but I am certain it will turn up eventually. It has been a trying day for all of us, and sleep will not come easily. When this is over, we'll take out our frustrations on the enemy." "Count on it," I said, and opened the door to my assigned cabin. That's when the building emotion broke through my facade and the tears began.

LaFong on the other hand confirms other survivors... Iceman and Doomsday for example and as mentioned Spirit (though from WC4 guide we can assume she 'left' the ship and transferred earlier). Interestingly, he believes Shotglass died, but Voices of War might suggest Shotglass actually survived somehow, if the letter was written post-WC1....

The descriptions of the briefings/interrogations/court-martial don't always match up though those describing Blair's often borrows from LaFongs.... Edward Pyle for example appears in accounts of both characters. He bullheaded as he is believes neither... The meeting between Tolwyn and LaFong and Tolwyn and Blair after the the 'court martial' accounts do not always seem to match up entirely word for word... Though do lead to same outcome...

Then let's go back to the last chapter of the Firekka Series in USG... the last quote by LaFong is clearly forshadowing of his next chapter about his last flight on the Claw and his career being destroyed...

We reached the Vega System and settled in for what Halcyon called "routine patrol duty." It would prove to be anything but routine, and would create drastic changes in my career in the TCSN.

Which leads into the next chapter...

After cruising around Vega for a couple of weeks, where the maintenance and tech crews had been kept busy with repairs, the Tiger's Claw had been ordered to Enigma Sector for a move on K'tithrak Mang. Halcyon explained that we would be mounting an all-out assault on the enemy's headquarters. "Get some rest in the next two days, pilots," he barked. "We'll be scrambling every wing onboard as soon as we complete our leap."

That night, I was talking shop with Shotglass when Doomsday grabbed the next stool at the bar. "This is it, Prankster. I can feel it in my bones," he said mournfully. "Our luck can't hold out any longer. We just pulled through Firekka by a hair on a gnat's ass, and now we're heading into the middle of another catfight. Why do we go looking for trouble?"

In this chapter we also have this foreshadowing of the flight recorder issue...
I raced to the launch bay and jumped into the Rapier. The tech who was hooking me up to the oxygen sensors looked up and motioned for me to pull my helmet off. "Sorry, Lieutenant Colonel," he said, "but I wanted you to know that we didn't have time to finish all the diagnostics after our repairs on the Rapiers.

We made it through the drive units and eject systems, but we couldn't get to the radar and targeting units. Just wanted to warn you ... we don't usually let ships fly unless every system checked one hundred percent."

"Appreciate that heads-up, Lefty," I replied, and whipped my helmet back on as the flight-line warning klaxon sounded.

The Destruction of the Tiger's ClawEdit
My patrol was the most isolated of all. I would be 75,000 kilometers from any other fighter wing at the closest. I knew I'd have to stay alert, because help was a long way off.

I hit the first nav point without seeing an asteroid, Kilrathi mine, or enemy ship. It was kind of fun just cruising along at 250 KPS and letting autopilot handle all the navigation while I scanned the radar. I was running through a check of the arming sequences on the guns when a large red blip flashed on the radar display. I wasn't sure whether I'd seen ships or just caught a reflection from the auto-pilot light out of the corner of my eye.

"Maybe it's a glitch," I muttered to myself. "Lefty said they hadn't run the finals on the radar."

Which is brought up again by Prankster in his court martial chapter...

I explained about Lefty's comments concerning the electronics on the Rapier. I recounted the story over and over again of the phantom enemy ships I'd seen near Nav 2 on my patrol. It was obvious from their expressions and comments that I was being blamed for the loss of the carrier.


Next in the section "The New Tactics of Space Combat Operations" LaFong makes references and comparisons to what he learned back in the Academy, and makes nods to what he discussed in previous similar chapter during his Academy days and "Stratetcy and Tactics in Space Flight Combat" section.
 
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Baggins

Petty Officer
Also there are a number of things Prankster remembers about Maniac that are references to conversations and encounters
Prankster had with Maniac in the Between Missions sections of the earlier part of the book... Which is even more evidence that these sections and style are very consistent with previous chapters styles.

Now the other Wing COmmander II references to Prankster (I've already covered Doomsday, Fratworth and Spirit referring to him as Prankster)....

Here is Paladin in the Between Missions Ghora Kar and Novaya Kiev...

I think Maniac's already lived his down, Prankster," Paladin replied. "He saved the entire strike fleet in Deneb Sector when he forced two Ralatha to collide in space. No one's sure how he did it, and some think he was on autopilot when it happened, but there weren't any Broadswords or Sabres out there to take down the capital ships with torpedoes. If those two ships hadn't collided, this war would have taken a real turn for the worse, and our efforts here would be meaningless."

Finally in the last chapter...

Maniac is no longer in sick bay and no longer on drugs... Prankster and Maniac have a reunion...

"What the hell," he said. "How'd you find me, Prankster?" I started to explain, when Maniac interrupted.

"I guess you think you're the big hero of the war again, right hot shot? Well, let me tell you something," he said. There was a malicious edge to his tone. "You can't hold a candle to me when it comes to flying. I saved our entire strike fleet in Deneb, with some of the niftiest maneuvers you've ever seen. Ask anybody around here!" he exclaimed. "They'll tell you who the best pilot in the space navy really is!"

"Hold it, Maniac," I replied. "I just came over here to see how you were doing. I figured things had changed. I thought you'd be glad to see me." I noticed that the bar had become very quiet. Everyone was staring.

"Glad to see you!" he yelled. "There's isn't anyone I'd rather avoid. You've tried to knock me down since our first day at the academy. On the Tiger's Claw, you talked about me behind my back. I've heard all the stories. I know what really went on. You were just trying to be my friend so that you could learn my secrets. Well, it won't work this time, Prankster. I'm wise to all your tricks. You just wait. By the time this war ends, you'll find out who the real hero is."
 
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Baggins

Petty Officer
Then this commentary after the main story... from LaFong's perspective... Doesn't mention any names specifically... Other than LaFong is talking about Tristan Roberts again (nodding back to his forward at the beginning of the book and discussing how Tristan was telling his stories in his holovids, and also including losing paths)



Roberts made every effort at creating an authentic experience for the game player in his holo-vids. He worked hard to ensure that the missions flown in Wing Commander II matched those that I actually flew in the Enigma Sector. The fact remains, how-ever, that we won that confrontation against the Kilrathi. In creating a game, Roberts had to create a way of losing the game as well. It would be pretty boring if players only won the game.

The mission tree pictured below shows the structure of the missions in Wing Commander II. On previous pages, I provided mission profiles that correspond to the chronology of the actual engagements against the Kilrathi. Those 31 missions are represented by series 1 through 8. If you win each of the eight series, you will follow the path represented by the solid line. In playing Wing Commander II, individuals who fail to successfully complete the necessary missions in a series may be taken to the losing path. That path is represented by the dotted line. After losing a particular series, it is always possible to return to the winning path, by completing the missions in the next series.

On the following pages, are the mission parameters for each series on the losing paths, numbered 9 through 12. For each mission in those series, I have provided a map that indicates your route and the enemies you will encounter. In addition, I've included the specific actions which must be completed for you to move from the losing path to the winning path.

Author's Note
This section is not really a part of my memoirs, but contains information that Wing Commander II game players will want for the successful conclusion of the game.


Which links back these other references about LaFong's time on Tiger's Claw and Concordia from the forward:

Now I don't keep up with the celebrity scene, but it turns out that Roberts is the hottest director in the holo-vid industry. Well, he had decided that his next projects, the Wing Commander series, would let people experience the Kilrathi Wars as a pilot on the TCS Tiger's Claw, and in the sequel, aboard the Concordia. That's where I entered the picture.

"I pride myself on accuracy," Roberts said, "and you're the man who can make sure I achieve my goal. I don't just want the numbers, times and dates correct; I want to make sure the feelings, emotions and relationships are on target as well." Following many hours of negotiation, and his assurances that the holo-vid would stick to the way things really were, I agreed.

I don't think I've ever had so much fun and been paid for it as well. I was treated like royalty, squired around by a grade-5 robot chaffeur in a spanking new solar, anti-grav limo, and fed fruits imported from the second planet in the Brimstone System. I'll tell you, it was quite a few cuts above what an old, retired naval officer is used to. As far as my consultation, Roberts kept to his word and made every effort at recreating the tension, agony and exhilaration of the missions flown from the carriers.

Recently released, Wing Commander I and Wing Commander II have spawned a resurgence in public interest about the Kilrathi Wars in general, and the vital role of our space carriers specifically. I've even found myself on the talk show circuit, promoting the holo-vid and answering questions about my combat experience. It's been pretty heady stuff for a 73-year-old codger who thought vivid memories were all that remained in life.

As the project progressed, the idea of writing a book kept sneaking into my thoughts. In the first place, while the new entertainment technology is astonishing, it can't re-create completely the 15 years of lessons learned and friendships earned aboard the Tiger's Claw and Concordia. A book can, or at least it can from a different viewpoint, and I hope that has been accomplished on the following pages.

Now does any of this errata fix the problems between LaFong and Blair, not really... but I think its more important to remember that things are more complicated than it seems, and no fix is going to be completely 'clean'.
 
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Baggins

Petty Officer
Well I don't think I'll be editing the Wing Commander CIC's encyclopedia anymore.. I have Dundradal telling me not to use "LaFong" at all because its just an 'April Fool's Joke'... Although technically we have had the discussion in the past long before April Fools, and plus its already 'canon' in the Star Soldiers manual...

But this is the reason why I tend to avoid CIC's site I'm more likely to step on someone's toes...
 
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Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I told you not to replace Blair with LaFong in articles because this was a joke article done for April Fool's. Where you were replacing the names it's clearly Blair. The reason I said not to change it was to ensure there wasn't confusion with things. It was never to say "stop doing everything" it was simply not to make that change. There's a billion other things that need to be worked on in there.

You could have also replied to the message and had a conversation about it.
 

Baggins

Petty Officer
Only places I changed Blair to LaFong was where it was 'direct quotes' from the Wing Comander I & 2 guide itself, and in a specific LaFong article...

If a wiki is trying to be 'honest' it shouldn't modify the original 'source's 'quotes' when its transcribing from the original source....

Hell... Most of the articles I modified weren't even related to LaFong or Blair (nor do they even touch on "Blair"), and my edits had nothing to do with LaFong or Blair...

https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/Special:Contributions/Baggins

There maybe only one page I even made a change from Blair to LaFong directly...

On another note the reason why the other wiki (which is currently on "Wikia") has more material also has to do with the fact that it was started much earlier back in 2005-2006 or so...

While WCNews started theirs in 2007 or so.

Found that detail interesting.
 
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