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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:36 am 
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 12:00 am
Posts: 1561
Location: Just outside the city limits
Now that Chen is officially confirmed dead and I won't look like an idiot posting this, I want to post a theory I have about why he needed to die (because he did).

In many stories, you often wind up eventually coming across a supporting character who has access to vast amounts of information relevant to the plot. Be it the cliche informant in a noir, or the old guy who was there when the war started, or as in this case, the scientist who's the only one left alive to know everything about Dr. Steve and his plans.

Often, these characters are put out of commission sooner or later, lest their info make things too easy for the heroes. This is what Chen was for Sluggy. Chen knows everything, and he only revealed to Torg (and us) enough to make him (and us!) want to know more. The risk was too great. His death was inevitable. But!

I also think the original plan was for him to tell all.

A year and a half ago, when Pete first rolled out the notion of the 20th anniversary possibly being the end of Sluggy as we know it - before he had a grip on how to finance the site in a better way than the Defender stuff could - every indication was that the main storyline would end (and maybe continue on as like a gag-a-day thing, or maybe he'd just spend the next ten years telling stories in Timeless Space). I'm extremely confident that was the plan as Six Months Later kicked off. I think if it had stayed that way, the result would have been a truncated version of Torg catching Oasis, Sasha #4 dying, and Plan Fall being executed, all culminating in the Rebirth Facility being revealed in like July at the latest. Then all this current stuff happens, but instead of Roberts killing Chen...Chen spills the beans on OASIS. This leads to the true climax of the chapter, and leaves the world fundamentally changed in some major way that would probably feel rushed and weird.

But early on, whenever it was he made contact with his new team, who pitched a version of Erfworld's payment model, that plan changed. He let the current chapter play out longer, knowing he didn't have to worry about shifting this into being a side project (also because it was probably a ton of work on his end he had to focus on). AND it meant the chapter didn't have to end conclusively, which meant he now had a problem. The mystery of Oasis needed to be partially preserved so the story could be told with better pacing. Except Chen knew too much. He needed to be stopped. Enter Pete's secret weapon: ROBERTS. What would have originally played out as a power struggle of conflicting Oasis orders instead becomes Chen's pyre.

So here we stand, still in the dark thanks to Sluggy's own success. Chen, if I'm right, then you were sacrificed for a good cause. I salute you. er...well most of your ashes blew away, but I salute some of you.

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