“We need that map, or a picture of it” Sweet Pea demanded from behind red bangs that fell before her deep emerald green eyes which were glaring at Babydoll in this present moment. Baby knew precisely where that anger was coming from and it had her name written all over it. She knew exactly what needed to be done; get the map or an image of it at all costs. Without it, they would remain trapped there in that show of horrors that seemed to replay in their lives day in and day out. Besides, the High Roller would be there tomorrow and the girls were desperately running out of time.
Baby nodded in reply, no words need to be spoken. They all knew the stakes and as she glanced around the room to the other girls they too nodded in reply.
“Get the radio” Sweet Pea ordered. Amber spun around, reaching for the thing. A moment later it was in place and she was adjusting the tuner to a station playing something, anything that would get Baby moving. “You wanted this, you've got it, now get to work!” Sweet Pea barked.
No sooner did the speaker produce sounds to move to did Baby begin to sway. It was as if her body was on autopilot as she closed her eyes ever so slightly to clear her mind and begin the process of going within. This was always how she did it and this time was no different.
A moment later and she opened her eyes, the room was gone, the girls have gone and it was only her, and the music that led her life from this point on. A deep beat rose within her, matching the beating of her own heart while the music rose in a crescendo, taking her over and began to give her the power to succeed. The melody fell to the wayside as the world solidified around her. An explosion rocked her to “reality” while the battlefield reminiscent of France during World War I grew before her, taking shape and breathing life into its own. The sky was on fire from the bombs and explosions detonating hither and thither. Two biplanes roared overhead and toward almost certain doom as Baby checked her gear. The magnificent and ancient katana lay silent and asleep within its scabbard strapped to her back by the very leather shoulder holster that protected her nickel-plated Colt .45 ACP, its charms dangled and swayed in the hot air from the grip that protruded just enough to give her the ability to draw it in a flash if needed.
Baby's navy blue viciously-short school girl skirt danced in the hot wind as did her golden hair, held in place by a similarly colored cloth hair-tie. Two ponytails dressed out her shimmering head and kept the majority of her hair from blowing into her face no doubt obscuring her vision had it not been while they draped down her back and onto her crackerjack sailors top. Her beautiful brown eyes scanned the battlefield a moment and then she saw what she was looking for, a break in the battle, just long enough for her to make her move. A smile played across her voluptuous lips and then she crouched, a look of sternness and conviction replaced the smile as she gathered her energy before leaping forward, a perfectly positioned and steadfast jump. Baby soared into the sky like a falcon, reaching the apex of the leap, her body twisted and turned as she aimed her legs toward the point of contact.
A few seconds later and she hit her mark, precisely where she desired. Her legs contracting as she released the energy into the ground during the impact; they call it a “superhero landing” and she executed it perfectly, one leg outstretched, one under her, her right arm and hand-stretched out with the same leg, it was amazing to behold, truly. A brief second later and her head darted up, taking in the targets before her that were stunned to see this girl not only land like that but to also see that she was staring them down. For a brief time, they looked at one another, her them and they to her each trying to process just what occurred. Before they could react she was upright, katana in her right hand, Colt .45 ACP in the other.
This was trench warfare but she was ready to redefine it for ages to come. As if it were guided by more than just her hand, the katana began to feed. Her Colt spoke up and began to demand that bodies fall before them and fall they did, one right after another. This was certainly a Hell, but it wasn't hers, it was theirs and they knew it. Feebly they tried to stop her but as they ran toward her, they fell with ease. These Krauts never knew what hit them until it was too late. She carved and blasted her way toward the forward operating base, the place that just had to hold the map. No other building or location would suffice and she knew it.
Baby cut down the final soldier and it was then that she realized that the soldier and those before him were no longer among the living. She had managed to single-handedly dispatch fifty to sixty men in a matter of minutes. She stood erect, blood dripping from her blade while her Colt tried to breathe deeply as it exhaled volumes of smoke from its exercise. Baby felt a momentary sense of accomplishment but that was the easy part. The difficulty lies in locating the map despite her feeling that it just had to be in the building that stood in defiance before her.
A brief moment later and the door was no more. Splintered into a thousand pieces by her right foot clad in heeled jet-black Mary Sues and protected by blackened stockings that terminated seductively on her milky thighs.
Expecting to meet with the German General, Baby was prepared but instead of him, she was greeted by what appeared to be an empty room. Confused though somewhat relieved Baby entered and scanned the area, locating the place where the map did at one time live but being greeted by nothing but a barren wall.
“Damnit” she muttered as she closed the distance between her and the wall. She sheathed the blade in one swift motion and reached out with her gauze-wrapped right hand but before she could make contact with the wall her senses alerted her to the presence of another. Within a split-second, she spun around leveling her Colt in the direction of the one who would challenge her. She had difficulty sussing out the figure. It was skulking within the shadows but her sharp eyes still managed to track it. She didn't expect this and it shook her somewhat but she managed to repress that sense and kept it from exposing her true feelings. She remained stalwart and gathered herself despite the strange turn of events. Who was this person, what did it want and why hasn't it tried to strike her down just yet?
“There you are, you gave us quite a scare you know,” a rather somber male voice says from across the room, blanketed in shadow.
“Where am I?” I inquire, still somewhat fuzzy from the punch I took earlier.
“Safe, for now,” the kind male voice answered.
A single figure comes into view but still protected by darkness, once obscured by the haziness of regaining consciousness but now leveling out as my field of vision solidifies and comes into focus; my head still somewhat ringing from that cleaning. This man's voice wasn't at all familiar but the tone carried with it a kindness I'd not known in a long time.
The man, now visible, sitting across the room in a red leather-backed chair, wearing a white smoking jacket and black pants is sipping on what appears to be a scotch in a high-ball glass and continues, saying “I don't know how to put this delicately so I'll spare you the insult of being vague. You and I are supposed to f***. Forgive my language, but it is in keeping with the spirit of the arrangement.”
His words struck a chord deep within my very being and almost out of sheer impulse, I sat up, my head still throbbing a bit but abating slightly with every somber word the man uttered.
“I have no interest in f***ing you” he continued, “as a matter of fact, I can think of nothing more offensive.”
“Then you can let me go” I retorted almost on impulse and feeling a bit like a sh*t considering the kindness he'd been demonstrating toward me thus far.
My words must have bit hard upon him as they caused him to exhale audibly; setting his glass upon a nightstand next to the chair he then rose from, the leather groaning slightly as he did so.
“Yes well, that brings us to the current situation. I don't want to call it a 'situation' maybe negotiation makes more sense. You see, I'm what you would call the man who has everything, yet, I lack the one thing that money can't buy” he confesses.
“Love?” I flatly inquired, my curiosity starting to twitch.
“Close” he responds, “Truth is more accurate. A true moment, a moment that exists outside of who I am, of my money, my status. A moment of truth in a world of lies” he admits and I could tell he was being honest if not brutally honest. It was obvious it pained him to express such a thing and with every tick of the nightstand clock, I found myself drawn to him. Drawn to what might come next...
The man draws close, out from within the shadows that obscured his visage and into the light for me to see clearly for the first time. He was not at all what Blue had described to me. He is not the fat, greasy monster I had envisioned. Instead, as he moves closer I took note of his perfectly groomed hair that was only just now starting to gray around the temples, trim in his impeccable tailored smoking jacket which punctuated his movie-star good looks. Eyes of the deepest blue I had ever seen, blue and kind as he warmly smiled at me. Me in my white cracker-jack dancing outfit. I felt out of place for the first time since waking up. Out of place and out of my league to boot.
He went on, obviously still very much in control of this situation, “And it just so happens that that moment, that true and fragile thing like a glass egg or a sandcastle, can only be given by a non-faker, a non-actor. That's you” he said with a smile.
“I don't understand,” I said, echoing what had been growing within my breast.
This man, this High Roller now stood over me as I drew my legs inward and toward my chest, my arms embracing them in a feeble attempt to protect myself but from what? This man, this kind man who is showing me such reverence for the first time in a very long time? Still, I found myself in such a position, almost begging him to sit down on the side of the bed where I once laid.
He seamlessly removed his jacket and placed it upon the back of a chair that sat not far away then quickly yet smoothly began to remove his cuff links which found themselves placed with care into the breast pocket of that very jacket. A moment later and he began to unbutton his silk white shirt but not all the way, only the top two buttons, one of which was hidden behind a black bow tie that has just been removed and draped cautiously over the jacket itself.
The man stands there a moment, perhaps considering his next words briefly before speaking once again as his hands go into his black trouser pockets, “I have spent a small fortune to get you here into this room, this golden cage. All of us want you here. But you... And what you want... Well, that's the real question, what you want. You're supposed to give yourself to me or I'm supposed to take you – that's the arrangement. It requires zero from you in the area of the spirit – it is completely physical. A disciplined mind, which I can see you have, will give me nothing. I might have your body, but you the intangible and undefinable spark, the dream that makes us... each of us, who we are, that unique and perfect identity like a snowflake – impossible to duplicate again in all the ages or on a billion planets across the infinite universe. That you, I will never know... But that's precisely what I want.”
Just then the High Roller begins to unbutton the rest of his shirt and despite the gravity of the situation, it didn't bother me. Not one... single... bit. The perfectly white shirt comes off his strong frame elegantly and finds itself joining the jacket on the chair as the man then sits softly upon the side of the bed, closing the distance between us, and again, nothing in this whole experience is bad, repulsive or otherwise something I didn't wish to see. He reached out with his right hand, his left still supporting himself slightly as he lovingly brushed a bit of my hair from my face, the gap between us shortening ever so slightly. I could feel his breath upon my brow and I could sense my heartbeat raise ever so much in tempo as I took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly in light of the situation.
“I know what I am asking” he softly expresses, “for the most precious possession you have... You're wondering that even if you wanted to, you don't know how to find that kind of desire in yourself.”
I cut him off just then, “I'm sorry, you seem nice... You don't want me to lie, do you?” I ask, my eyes now meeting his in this moment of truth.
He smiles and replies, “Right... You're getting it, so here's my offer: Because, though you can't buy love, truth IS for sale. All I require is a sliver of a moment. To have you not by force, not in prison, but simply as a man and a woman. To see in your eyes the truth of desire that you give yourself to me freely not because you have to, but because you want to. And right here, right now there is no place you would rather be, and no man you would rather be with.” And then he smiles, the warmest and most loving smile I had ever in my life seen. I glance about at him, in that moment and see his tan chest and arms shining in the warm glow of the room.
He says as he closes the gap, “And for such a gem, I am prepared to give as well... Freedom. That will be your payment. Total and perfect freedom. Freedom outside the drudgery of practical living. Freedom as an abstract ideal.” I can feel the warmth of his breath on my neck and it sends tingles up and down my spine. My breathing intensifies, almost out of its own accord and not at all something to which I have control over any longer.
He then kisses my neck softly, my tension just melting away. “And how you experience such freedom if that truth can pass between us? I have the power to release you from this place. I will promise you that Blue will never touch you again. I will buy you a cabaret, a paradise, for you and your friends with an unlimited production budget. A place where you don't have to f*** the clients. A place where you can express yourself without fear – motivated only by the joy of that perfect freedom.” Another kiss and bolts of electricity course through my body. His touch is gentle, yet full of purpose as his hands – surgeon hands, begin to explore my shoulders at first and then the small of my back. My eyes begin to close as I start to give myself over to the feelings welling within me.
“Freedom from pain” he goes on, “freedom from worry” another kiss, “responsibility, from guilt, regret...” He then kisses me deeply and without the ability to fight it, I embrace him, my hands pushing the back of his head to increase the pressure our lips feel upon each other. White flashes of enjoyable pain dance before my closed eyes. We fall into the softness of the waiting bed and it was then that I realized I was no longer wearing clothes but it was perfectly okay... everything was perfect in this now perfect moment. He pushes his body into mine as I begin to close my eyes.
“Don't close your eyes” he softly says, “Look at me... the freedom to love” he continues as I arc my back, begging him to love me, speaking only with my body. Then, in that timeless place, something washes over me. Not reckless desire, not lust, something much deeper... peace.
The girl's eyes shoot open and in a split second she is fully conscious, her hand ripped from yours, the stark bleakness of the room you two are in plastered across her face in a show of confusion, and is it... sadness?
So you wanna see what I'm capable of? Seems reasonable and so in that vein I've complied a couple of samples for you to read over. Feel free to read one, or both but I only ask one thing: That you enjoy yourself.
After the death of Babydoll's mother, Baby's stepfather discovers from their mother's will that his wife left everything to her two daughters. Apparently enraged that he worked so hard to marry the woman (and perhaps engineered her death) only to be left nothing, he gets a bottle of Paradise rum and drinks (Paradise is reoccuring theme in the movie - be it an idea, commodities or objects in general). He gets so drunk that he heads for the girls' rooms, and just as Baby is leaving her sister's room, he decides to attack Baby and possibly try to rape her. He doesn't succeed and then turns his sights on Baby's sister. He locks Baby in her room and then moves in on his youngest stepdaughter.
Baby, in a panic-stricken state, escapes her temporary "holding cell" by climbing out her window and finds her stepfather's Colt .45 pistol. Baby stops her stepfather just as he breaks into the closet where her sister has locked herself. Scared at seeing Baby with a gun, he tries to reason with her, but she fires one round that misses entirely and takes out the lightbulb in the closet. A second shot grazes his left forearm, however, the bullet ricochets off a steam pipe, and then fatally strikes her little sister.
Baby rushes to her sister and cries over the body, horrified at what she had done. Scared and angry, she stalks over to her stepfather who (presumably) was trying to call the police. She aims the gun at him, but is so upset at what just happened she drops the gun and flees the house. Her stepfather successfully calls the police, who arrest the distraught Baby at her mother's grave. She is injected with something by EMT's and then taken to the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane.
Her stepfather has framed Baby for the murder of her sister, and conspires with the corrupt head orderly, Blue Jones, to forge Dr. Gorski's signature in order to have Baby lobotomized so that she cannot reveal the truth about the circumstances leading up to her sister's demise, hence the title of the movie; Sucker Punch.
There are five days before the doctor arrives to perform the procedure on her. During that time in the asylum, Baby retreats into a fantasy world in which she is newly arrived in a brothel operated by Blue, whom she envisions as a mobster. While there, she befriends four other dancers: sisters Sweet Pea and Rocket, Amber and Blondie.
Dr. Vera Gorski (now going by the moniker of Madame Gorski within the first level of fantasy) encourages Babydoll to perform an erotic dance like the other girls, during which Baby further fantasizes she is in feudal Japan, meeting the Wise Man for the fiirst time. She tells him she wants to escape, so he presents her with weapons and five objects she needs in order to escape: a map, fire, a knife, a key, and an unrevealed item that will require "deep sacrifice" but bring a "perfect victory". He gives her one last piece of advice before he ushers her out the door into the waiting blades of three demonic samurai; she must defend herself. Taking her newly acquired sword in hand, she fights. Once she bests all three warriors, her fantasy ends and she is brought back to the brothel level of fantasy, her dance impressing everyone including Blue.
At this point Baby has retreated deeply into her own psyche and we as the audience do not get the true asylum reality of what really occurs during this scene and are therefore left to our own fantasies as to what actually happens to trigger this fantasy within Baby.
Later, while still within the first level of Baby's fantasy (the brothel), she tells the girls she has a plan to escape, Rocket is all for it but her sister Sweet Pea flatly rejects Baby's plan, saying no one has ever managed to escape before. Blondie says the last three girls who tried died in the attempt (foreshadowing the deaths of 3 of the girls). Nontheless, Baby tells them that they need to find a map, something to start a fire with, a knife, and a key, all four of which she saw when she first walked into Lennox House. She tells them that when she dances, everyone will be so distracted that no one will notice the girls stealing the tools they need. After some convincing, the girls join her in her quest to acheive freedom. First they must get the map with all the exits marked on it, which Sweet Pea has volunteered to steal from Blue Jones's office. Baby begins to dance, transporting herself into a deeper level of a fantasy world mirroring Sweet Pea's theft. In her illusion, the Wise Man informs the girls that the map is in a German bunker on the far side of "no-man's land" (a WWI trench warfare reference) guarded by undead steampunk WWI soldiers. After some spectacular fighting and a timely rescue by Amber, the girls secure the map and Baby is brought back to the brothel once again.
Next, the girls must find a way to make fire in order to force an employee of the asylum to pull the fire alarm which will automatically open all the doors in Lennox House. The Mayor (Amber's client), has a cigar lighter that will suffice nicely. Unfortunately it is kept in the man's breast pocket, and he is not a handsome fellow by a long shot. Amber doesn't think she is brave enough to swipe it from him, but, as Blondie tells her, he is her client. "Just kiss him on the neck and slip your hand down his chest into the pocket", is Blondie's advice to her. Gathering her courage, Amber agrees and Baby dances for the first time onstage. This time her fantasy is of an orc-infested castle guarding a young dragon and its mother. Inside the baby dragon's throat are two rocks that when struck togethher will create the most awesome fire the girls will ever see. To Rocket's dismay, they'll have to slit the baby dragon's throat in order to "reach inside" and retrieve the stones. The Wise Man warns them not to wake its mother and sends them on their mission. Rocket, Sweet Pea, and Babydoll storm the castle from the ground while Amber and Blondie take to the sky in a highly modified WWII B-17 bomber. Once they find the little dragon and slay it, Baby strikes the stones together, producing a magnificent fire. Unfortunately that fire wakes up the mother dragon, and she is not happy to find her baby dead. The girls run for their lives as Amber leads the mother away with her plane. After a bit of chasing Big Momma Dragon bites off the part of the aircraft that held Blondie's gun, causing Amber to lead the dragon back to Babydoll et al, saying that the firebreathing lizard is all hers. Babydoll swiftly jumps the jet of flame the mother shot at her and stabs the dragon in the head, completing their mission.
Back in their dressing room, the girls celebrate Amber's bravery in getting the lighter and taking one more step closer to freedom. Blue breaks in on their little celebration (pesumably because he heard their jubilation), asking why they are so happy. Sweet Pea explains that they are glad Baby did so well on her first time onstage, which can be frightening. Blue is all smiles but is not at all convinced, instead lightly-but-threatingly accusing the girls, specifically Sweet Pea and Amber, of messing with his stuff and stealing little trinkets from clients. He advances towards Baby, saying that if she wasn't about to make him lots of money dancing for a man they call the High Roller (a rich man who will buy Babydoll's virginity in her fantasy but in reality is the doctor who will perform the lobotomy)... Blue leaves the threat hanging while we, the audience, are left reminded of his obvious brutality.
With time running out, Baby knows they must hurry. The next item up is the Cook's kitchen knife. Sweet Pea and Rocket agree to do this, even though the large, temperamental cook had previously harmed Rocket physically and attempted to rape her before Baby came to her rescue. Amber, Rocket, Sweet Pea, and Babydoll all work in the kitchen waiting for Blondie and Madame Gorski to set up the music. As the clock ticks and the two don't show, the girls start anyway. Rocket sits on the cook's lap to seduce him as the others tune his personal radio to more suitable music, spilling a bucket of pealed potatoes in water near the radio wire in the process. Baby starts to dance once more, creating another illusion and once again going deeper into her fantasy. This time the mission is to deactivate and capture a massive bomb set to go off when a futuristic train it's on reaches city limits. Sweet Pea, Rocket, and Babydoll handle this mission, shooting every robot set to guard the bomb. They successfully manage to deactivate the bomb with four minutes to go, hook it up to Amber's helicopter, and are nearly ready to leave when a robot that was blasted in half regains use of its arms and presses the big bad button overriding the deactivation procedure. Suddenly brought back to the kitchen, Baby sees that the radio wire had shorted out in the spilled water, messing with the radio, turning it off and back on again in quick bursts. The Cook snaps back to attention just as Sweet Pea grabs the knife from his belt. He shoves Rocket off of him and angrily takes out another knife, intending to stab Sweet Pea, but before he can Rocket knocks her aside, taking the blade meant for her sister in the ribs. As the knife comes down Baby suddenly snaps back to the fantasy and the bomb on the train. She has managed to get on the helicopter's ladder, but Sweet Pea and Rocket are still down below. There is no more time to try to deactivate the bomb again, so Rocket presses a button on her elder sister's jacket, activating a jet pack to send her off into the sky and safety while Rocket stays behind to see if there is anything she can do. Sweet Pea screams her little sister's name as the huge bomb explodes ending the second level of fantasy. Back in the kitchen, Sweet Pea takes her mortally wounded sister in her arms while the others are frozen with shock. With her dying breath Rocket asks her sister that, when Sweet Pea gets home, to tell their mother that Rocket loves her. Sweet Pea promises, and Rocket dies somewhat peacefully. Blue Jones bursts in at that moment and, seeing one of his girls dead, angrily shouts at the "inbred" cook, snaps at his bodyguards to lock the hysterical Sweet Pea in a closet, and yells at the remaining girls to get ready for their show. Despite all this Amber manages to claim the knife.
Meanwhile Blondie is crying in the dance room, clearly distraught at the events that just unfolded. Madame Gorski finds her sobbing on the ground and tries to comfort her, asking Blondie to tell her what's wrong. Before she can, Blue interrupts though we do not know for sure that it's Blue until later. He interrogates the badly upset Blondie, and finds out about the the girls' plan to escape.
On the eve of Baby's last performance, Blue decides to make examples of what happens when people try to escape and "break the foundation of trust." In the dressing room he rants on about how he tries to give all his girls the good life and he does, so he says. It breaks his heart to have his girls conspire against him. Try to escape even. Madame Gorski attempts to calm him down but he strikes her instead. To her credit, she stands right back up and continues to try to soothe him. He presses a gun to her throat and asks her what is it she does, to which she viciously replies "I teach them... to survive... you." He very nearly shoots her, but to everyone else's relief he doesn't. Amber starts stammering out excuses, terrified to her very bones, but Blue calmly says that it's okay. He nonchalantly walks behind Amber and shoots her in the back of the head to the horror of the other girls and Madame Gorski. A terribly guilty and scared Blondie tells the girls she is sorry as Blue informs them that Blondie told him the plan. He appreciates her tip off but says no one likes a snitch, and kills her too. He has the bodies disposed of and sends everyone out of the dressing room except Baby. He comes close to Baby, and compares his job to a sandbox: he is sitting at the edge of the sandbox while everyone else gets to play with his toys. But not this time. This time he's going to take his toys, and go home. He then tries to rape Baby, but she grabs the knife they had stolen earlier and stabs Blue on the left side of his neck. Stunned, he sinks to the floor. She strongly tells him that he will never get her, and yanks the master key from around his neck. She runs to free Sweet Pea from the utility closet, who asks where Amber and Blondie are. Sadly, Baby states that it's just her and Sweet Pea now. They have all the items at this point, and so initiate the escape plan. They create a fire using a molotov cocktail in a Paradise Rum bottle, and wait for someone to pull the fire alarm, unlocking the doors. All is going according to plan until they see Blue's men at the front gate. Sweet Pea, visibly shaking, is distressed to find their way blocked and despairs, but Baby concludes that she is the fifth item. It is not her story after all - it is Sweet Pea's. She tells her friend that she will walk out and create a distraction so Sweet Pea can escape. Baby tells her to tell her mother what Rocket said, and that Sweet Pea will have to live for all of them now, after all, she is the only one who can fit into the outside world as she's the only one who still has a life. Quelling Sweet Pea's protests, Baby walks out into the open in full view of Blue's men. Sharing a final look with Sweet Pea as the latter sneaks out the front gate, Baby kicks one of the men very hard in the crotch.
Soon after, Baby is lobotomized. The Doctor asks Dr. Vera Gorski, "What did she do to deserve this?" Saying that the look in Baby's eyes just as he did it... it was almost as if she wanted it to happen. Dr. Gorski says that Baby caused a lot of problems in the one week that she was at Lennox House, including setting a fire and stabbing an orderly, but Vera wouldn't have done a lobotomy as a solution. Confused, the doctor says that she signed the order authorizing the procedure, but Dr. Vera says that's not true. The Doctor shows Dr. Vera the signature he was given, but she quickly recognizes it as a forgery. Meanwhile Blue Jones and his "bodyguards" lead a lobotomized Baby to a cell where she will be kept. The bodyguards are uneasy, saying they don't like hurting girls and they won't do it any longer, but Blue screams at them to put Baby in the chair and to shut the door. Alone with Baby, Blue kneels close to her. He softly complains to Baby that she has lost herself, and that she's not allowed to lose herself until he says so. Leaning closer, he kisses her. The kiss is broken when police bust open the door, Dr. Vera Gorski at their side. They swiftly arrest a clearly insane Blue as he yells about how he takes care of the girls and that nothing was done to Baby - just look at her face! He struggles and shouts that he will use the bribe the Stepfather gave him to lower his sentence. An officer shines a light on Baby, asking if she is okay. The camera turns to Baby's face for the first time since the lobotomy, revealing a blank expression but she very slightly smiles, suggesting that Babydoll is not completely lost and is now trapped(sic?) in her own fantasies from this point on - a paradise if you will.
Although Babydoll can use any gun or weapon needed, she primarily uses a personalized M1911A1 pistol and a Katana. She also utilizes a Heckler & Koch MP7, as well as a Lewis Gun she acquires from one of her many fantasy-based enemies.
In the real world, Babydoll wields a blue-black M1911A1 - .45 ACP against her Stepfather.
In the Japanese Temple, The Wise Man presents Babydoll with a polished nickel-plated M1911A1 with engravings on both sides of the slide. The grip features a cherry token in the center. Five charms hang from the pistol's lanyard ring. She is also given three spare magazines.
A traditional Japanese sword but with a Babydoll twist: Engraved on the blade is a timeline of the movie. The hand guard is made up of lobotomy picks and cherries. The sword is carried in a brown scabbard decorated with golden snowflakes. She used it extensively along with her pistol in all tiers of the fantasy realm and even carried the map on the blade as she and her friends left sequence one.
"The most intricate weapon bestowed upon Babydoll is her samurai sword. The sword features a handle of black rayskin (the belly of the Manta Ray, favored by the Japanese for its sandpaper-like quality that prevents slipping), covered with oiled brown leather, a hand-carved tsuba, or sword guard, and hand-sculpted bronze menuki, charms hidden beneath the leather. The saya, or scabbard, is made of lacquered wood festooned with snowflakes with a gold braid sash to fasten the sword to Babydoll's leather shoulder holster rig."
Mouse over the following numbers to view a detailed description and close-up of the associated portion of the engraving on Babydoll's Katana
The beginning of the sword/story, showing the symbols of cherries and daisies (both representing innocence & purity), growing from a strong foundation (the tree)
...also showing a doll/stuffed rabbit, symbolizing both childhood as well as "something close to her."
The foundation (tree) is destroyed by bullets (when her sister is shot) the will is revealed to be the catalyst of...
Babbydoll's commitment to the hospital. This segment is intertwined with a strait-jacket taking the placeof the tree as the foundation.
Once in the hospital, the countdown begins, forcing Babydoll to begin depending on her fantasies...
Her fantasies overtake her, the dreams of WW2 plans fighting and flying by the moon...
Dragon wings and steampunk-ish gas mask hoses intertwine with this stage's "foundation", which is Babydoll's dance, represented by the feathered boa.
Though she has fought, her friends are dead and her innocence is taken from her, the pure daisies are destroyed, the object "close to her" is decapitated, and...
She accepts defeat as the lobotomy doctor proceeds, but Babydoll, having nothing left, becomes enlightened by her acceptance.
Heckler & Koch MP7A1
Babydoll's primary firearm is a Heckler & Koch MP7A1 sub-machine gun. She wielded it during the "fire" quest. It is later suppressed for a more covert approach to the Baby Dragon's nest. Babydoll has also customized this weapon with a Zeiss red-dot sight, a flashlight and two 40-round magazines taped together for faster reloading.
Collaborative Writing is used to describe those written work projects that involves multiple writers taking participation in writing and completing the work. It is different from shared writing in the manner of its execution, i.e. in shared writing, people divide the respective areas of work among themselves and focus on those areas itself.
What happens in collaborative writing, though, is that multiple writers are employed to complete the task and these writers have overlapping domains of responsibilities. This means that writers have the authority to go through the content you have written and suggest changes that you may or may not implement.
A day-to-day example of this could be the Wikipedia entries, which are written by people, edited by admins and changes are suggested by readers. In a truly collaborative writing environment, each writer has equal abilities and authority to engage in tasks of writing, editing, suggesting changes, removing text, and adding some more.
This makes the best product come out in the end as multiple recursive processes run on a written text before it is published. Collaborative writing encourages a series of changes in written text, so that a consensus emerges on accuracy of text.
Scope of Collaborative Writing Professional writing is one such requirement that can be found in a variety of professions, organizations and department. Because of the quick availability of high-quality task, Collaborative writing is now being used in many fields ranging from education and remote-learning, because it has been observed that people pay more attention to a text when they are given the powers to edit the text if they don’t agree to it.
This brings out a healthy debate as the original writer is made to share reliable sources to support his claim. This improvement of content based on mutual interaction makes the final product agreeable to all. While some of these documents are planned, drafted, revised and edited by a single author, most business reports and significant shorter communications are either formally written in groups or are reviewed by key readers in a company.
Industry experts reportedly state that about 87% of workplace writers submit their task through collaboration instead of isolated writing stretches. A professional collaborative writer needs to have the competency in language, skills and knowledge on the subject that provides him the ability to engage in collaborative writing.
Collaborative Writing - Lowry's Theory Collaborative writing and its effects have been studied by researchers and business experts for years now. Depending on the observation of these researchers, numerous theories and working models have come up. According to Paul Benjamin Lowry, a common vocabulary must be conceptualized that different people working in a team or teams, can use to communicate in Collaborative Writing.
He says that in the absence of this common vocabulary, teams put into collaborative processes and left to themselves to get the work done will make a heavy waste of resources like time, efforts and money. Keeping these factors in mind, he propounded five collaborative writing strategies, which are:
Single Author Writing
Sequential Single Writing
Mixed Mode Writing
Let us now discuss each of these collaborative writing strategies in detail.
Single Author Writing Single-author writing occurs when one person represents an entire team writing collaboratively. This type of writing is usually practiced in law firms, when the lawyer employs a team to do all this research and paperwork, while he himself bears responsibility for the accuracy or fallibility of the mentioned facts.
Sequential Single Writing In Sequential single writing, a group of writer’s work on individual areas of a writing project, but in a sequence. It means that the responsibility of writing is shared by the members of a team in a numerical sequence. The writer who is supposed to start with the writing, will complete his part and then pass the document to the second in sequence.
Parallel Writing Closely resembling shared writing in method and implementation, parallel writing involves employing a group of people who are handed different portions of the document and are asked to work on their areas at the same time. There are two kinds of parallel writing, one where the document is divided into smaller sections and different members handed writing responsibilities of these sections.
The other one is where the team-members involved in the writing process are handed different roles. For example, proofreading, fact-checking, typo-correction, etc.
Reactive Writing Reactive writing involves different team-members or various teams going through one another’s output and “reacting” to the content by suggesting changes, proof-reading, fact-checking, editing, etc. This is considered a healthy practice and ensures a credible written document.
Mixed Mode Writing In the mixed mode of writing, some or all the above modes are incorporated into the writing process. For example, a team may have its team-members arranged in a sequence of writing, so while the first writer will be writing his part of the document, the rest might engage in reactive writing on it. When the first few writers are done with their tasks, they can become reactive writers in turn.
Collaborative Writing - Construction Theory
Javier Onrubia and Anna Engel carried out a research study with three student groups engaging in Collaborative Writing on four to eight written products. After analyzing the strategies that these teams used while preparing the written text, they identified four distinct yet interrelated processes of knowledge construction. These processes are as follows:
Sequential Summative Construction
Sequential Integrating Construction
Let us now discuss these four processes in detail.
Parallel Construction Each group member is asked to work on a different part of the document and in the end, the final document is formed out of juxtaposing of these different parts. In another scenario, the document was divided into different portions and distributed among each teammate. After the writer had submitted his part of the document, smaller portions of text were selected from these and juxtaposed to form the final document.
Sequential Summative Construction One team member, usually a senior presents a partially-completed document with different sections made out and partially fulfilled as per the style, technique, verbiage, and specifications required. The rest of the team is then entrusted with the responsibility to complete the writing on the different sections and submit the final complete document.
Sequential Integrating Construction One team member presents a partially-complete or complete document to the team, upon which the rest of the team suggest changes, provide justified modifications or engage in discussions on the part they agree in the document or not. There is a successive contribution to the document.
Integrating Construction The difference between Sequential Integrating Construction and Integrating Construction is that in the latter case, the changes and modifications are suggested during the writing of the document, as opposed to waiting for the document to be submitted for the contribution process to start.
Collaborative Writing - Engagement Theory
Stephen M. Ritchie and Dona Rigano interviewed a science teacher who, as the head of the department, wanted to reform the education model of their schools. By comparing his belief system to the consents, concessions, negotiations, trade-offs and rejections that the teacher received on his ideas from the rest of the science teachers, Ritchie and Rigano were able to identify two levels of engagement between the team members in implementation. They are:
Turn Writing This form of writing is more cooperative where authors contribute to different sections, bringing changes and additional modification, which are then checked, implemented and collated by the lead writer.
Lead Writing Two or more specialists on a topic are given a text to compose, who then speak their thoughts and others bring amendments into it which polishes and refines the text. The final text is then written down by another team member acting as a scribe. When the topic is done with, one of these specialists will act as a scribe and other teammates who are experts in the current subject will voice their thoughts.
Collaborative Writing - Pattern Theory
Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford researched on the significance of the audience of the text. They postulated a theory called the “Audience Addressed vs. Audience Invoked”, which debates the possibility of there being a pre-existing audience for any work of a writer, whom he will address through his work and whom he has to keep in mind while writing.
The other argument is that writers create their own audience and they don’t need to keep the audience in mind while creating their content. Based on their observation and learnings, they theorized seven organizational patterns for collaborative writing, which include:
First Pattern In this pattern, the entire team outlines and divides the task among team members, which each member then prepares and submits. The whole team then compiles the individual parts and revises the entire document.
Second Pattern The team plans and outlines the writing task, however only one member partially drafts the document and the rest of the team edits, makes changes, modifies the document and does the final revision as well.
Third Pattern In this working pattern, only one member of the team writes the final draft, which is then revised by the rest of the team. The difference between third pattern and second pattern is that, here the member writes the complete draft, not a partial one.
Fourth Pattern One teammate outlines and writes the document. Once he is done, he will submit the document to other teammates, who may or may not consult the original author on the changes or modifications done.
Fifth Pattern In the fifth pattern, the entire team collectively outlines and writes the draft and later one or more members revise the draft without consulting the rest of the team.
Sixth Pattern The sixth pattern divides the team broadly into three parts:
One supervising member who outlines, divides, and assigns task to the team-mates.
A second supervisor who collects the completed tasks from the teammates and compiles them.
The remaining teammates turn into writers.
Seventh Pattern The seventh pattern also divides the team into three groups, where the first part dictates, the second part takes care of the transcription and the third part edits the resultant document and submits the final draft.
Ede and Lunsford found that the levels of satisfaction among team members working in different patterns change. Many people confess that they would like to be part of a writing process where the goals are clearly articulated and transparently shared.
They also noted the degree of mutual respect among the team members, the control writers have over their content, their level of engagement in the editing process, the manner in which credit is shared, conflict-management, constraints on the writer, and finally the significance of the project within the organization.
Example Researchers have found that people learn more about different cultures through mutual interaction, as opposed to giving them inter-cultural lessons in training rooms. For example, some of the common collaborative tasks given in Spanish cultural sensitivity classes are:
Team-mates collaboratively prepare a cultural report related to Hispanics, their geography, climate, economy, popular customs, and regional cooking) through mutual discussion.
Vacation in Spain
Teams collaborate and describe their idea of a vacation in Spain, and places to explore. The team is also asked to design an entire itinerary for the trip, inclusive of expenses on transportation, lodging and meals.
Collaborative Writing - Applications
Nowadays, many writing assignments are impossible to imagine without having a collaborative writing team. For example, a major publication house desirous of publishing a book on Spanish Culture may get it written by a team of cross-cultural experts in India, but will get it revised by a team of writers in Spain too.
Collaborative writing and peer reviewing are different activities, because peer reviewing basically is a correctional, editing-based and criticism-oriented process that comes after the collaborative writing effort. However, both are related and are often conducted together, so peer reviewing has been made a part of collaborative writing.
Peer Evaluation When handling a collaborative writing assignment, it is important to set the areas that a teammember can evaluate another teammates output. This decision is normally taken by the teamleader after a consultation with his team.
Some of the most common areas of evaluation are checking for completion, degree of cooperation and dependability on the writer, the amount of effort the writer put in his work and the quality of his output. The most important factor of them all is his adherence to deadlines.
As a team-leader, the person should have the ability to quickly outline a project and delegate different responsibilities to different team members or divide writing responsibilities among different writers in his team.
He should be able to motivate writers to keep writing when the process gets monotonous and should be able to resolve conflicts that frequently arise during the peer evaluation process.
In collaborative writing, the group assignment is designed in such a way that the entire team contributes in writing. This improves skills of leadership, planning, division of labor and responsibility-sharing among team members.
Planning is especially important because writers tend to work in isolation, which means they might not like to engage in frequent conversations and update-sharing. To manage collaborative writing assignments efficiently, a few factors are important to be kept in consideration. These factors are:
The description of the project
Assigning of task evenly
Adhering to schedules
Proper editing and
Timely sharing of feedback
Collaborative competency is not only important to learners, but also to companies that employ them. The whole idea behind running a company is to make sure that the product sells. Collaborative writers are expected to create opportunities for sales, marketing, relationshipbuilding and reliability through their writings.
Keeping this in mind, workplace writers need to hone sophisticated skills of communication through their written text. The demands for collaborative writing also is based on certain practical factors. For example, a business letter full of lengthy, complex Terms and Conditions could be quite challenging to write for any single writer.
Even if the person is an experienced campaigner, he won’t be able to encapsulate all the absolute points needed to be put in the document and if he does, then he will take extra time to consider all the factors and elements. To avoid this congestion of ideas and time, the companies nowadays recruit collaborative teams to address the constraints economically and efficiently.
Often is the case where business environment dictates the collaborative process. For example, the writers are often instructed to write keeping in mind the mood of the general public and the general reviews that a product has received.
Benefits of Collaborative Writing Collaborative process is used in political processes too, where two countries enter an agreement and everything they decide and agree upon reaches a consensus. In such sensitive cases, no single person from either country and no single country wants to be solely responsible for the drafting of such an important document.
In such cases, the collaborative writing process involves the best drafting teams from both the countries. That ensures a level playing ground where no country will be able to exploit any secondary interpretation of text later. That’s the reason all treaties today are drafted by a committee working on collaborative writing principles. A few more benefits of collaborative writing are listed below:
Higher quality output, because various perspectives, skills and inputs of numerous writers.
It is highly motivating to work in a team where participants try to outperform one another.
Co-writers operate as critics and deliver valuable feedback during drafting.
Writers of lesser experience get industrial exposure and experience working with senior writers.
Better working relationship and coordination among team members.
Unanimous acceptance of the final draft because of collaboration and feedback among members.
As you can observe, there are multiple scenarios where collaborative writing not only accounts for higher efficiency and reliability, but also is an indispensable necessity.
Pitfalls of Collaborative Writing As with any creative process, there are times when highly-skilled people will have a difference of opinion. When such scenarios come, a collaborative team gets split into sub-teams very quickly and things go out of control, if the team leader doesn’t respond to the situation quickly. Some of the pitfalls of collaborative writing are given below:
Collaborative writing almost always struggles in case of political and social challenges.
Coordination of collaborative process is very complex for a manager due to numerous writers.
Collaborative writing is time consuming when it is on political processes and logistics documents.
If all writers in the team are inexperienced, the documents won’t be necessarily of higher quality.
Cultural differences and conflicting styles of writing can be difficult to channelize into one voice.
Personal conflict over authority, styles of working and seniority are sometime inevitable.
Some of the most common reasons for the failure of a collaborative team is the weakness of the most junior members of the team in grasping the concept and right approach. People might wonder the reason behind employing junior staff, if they can prove inefficient, but their appointment is subject to logistics and budget considerations.
In addition to that, communication issues like improper briefing and physical distance between the writers, frequent editing of teams also slows down the process and results in team failure.
Finding a Collective Voice Studies of writing teams state that teams give high importance on outlining the practical applications of collaboration and finalizing the best practices like writing, reading, group management, etc. The concept of addressing an audience runs deep.
The most important concept for future collaborative practices will be to understand the viewership that the articles are going to get. It is important to realize how teams perceive and address their audiences.
Now, the audiences can be split into internal audiences (members of the team) and external audiences (non-organization people who are going to read the document). Will the writers get tempted to address the internal audience to gain clearance of their document even if the external audience has different expectations?
These questions are going to be asked more frequently as the collaborative writing process gets further spread and acceptance. Writers term this phenomenon as finding a consistent voice. This voice needs to be consistent with the business scenario or political compliance. Organizations manage to spread their voice through distributing memos, holding meetings, and arranging conferences.
Collaborative Writing - Methodology
While working on a major collaborative assignment, the writing team should first learn how to coordinate their tasks, by outlining a working model. The most common strategy is to assign at least two roles to each individual teammate, one can be related to writing and the other role related to the post-production, such as editing, scheduling, monitoring, etc.
This requires a high degree of professional conduct and interconnectivity of thoughts on behalf of everybody in the team. The most important thing to note is that, even if the roles of writing could be clearly chalked out, the other role could be flexible and overlapping.
In a collaborative writing structure, no person can be the sole partaker of any responsibility. An entire team can also be divided into sub-teams with specific roles such as:
Writer − All members in this team are responsible for writing and completing the document.
Group Leader − This group is responsible for the coordination of the team, scheduling and organization of actions.
Editor − This group will take responsibility to edit, insert style and proofread the documents, either in intervals or after the final document’s submission.
Graphics Designer − This group is responsible for designing illustrations and the layout of hardcopy and Web printing of the document.
Subject Matter Specialist − This group takes care of researching on a topic and providing answers to queries of the team. They proofread the technical portions of the document for accuracy.
Webmaster − This team puts the contents of the document on the website and maintains it.
Determining which team member is fit for which job is the preliminary stage of any collaborative writing. In the first meeting itself, the members of the team get together and discuss their backgrounds and which areas they will be most comfortable working in. The team leader takes a note of the members’ technical writing skills, background, editing process and experience.
In subsequent meetings, the team outlines the project, delegates responsibilities and asks for submitting weekly informal progress reports in next meeting onwards. The team members can switch roles of note taking during subsequent meetings.
Collaborative Writing - Editing Strategy
When it comes to reviewing and revising the final draft, the team should design strategies that help them evaluate and edit the team’s writing, such as implementing quality control measures, holding periodic reviews and sharing feedback. The feedback should be on whether the writing has:
Accomplished its primary goal of addressing the readers’ uses.
Identified and addressed all copyrighting and editing issues.
Reviewed and edited all the final areas of the document.
As these meetings are held after parts of the document have been designed, the team will have to anticipate many issues that might crop up during the writing process, such as copyediting, grammar usage, content checking, etc.
After that, they will have to mention the project status, note the deviations, if any, from the initial plan and the list of actions that led to the difference between the first action plan and the current one. This process is divided into the following two segments:
Informal Progress Report
Let us know discuss these two segments in detail.
Review Draft In this segment, the team will present their document, acknowledging the incomplete sections, and make space for them in the project.
In the later stages of their presentation, they will describe what will be mentioned in these spaces.
Every member of the team should have authority to review and evaluate the other members of the team.
The feedback should be short, precise and specific so that the members can act in an expedited manner.
The Informal Progress Report The informal progress report can be structured like a weekly memo that gives a clear idea on the progress of the team. Members of the team should then initially sign each other’s progress reports.
The memo should address the following questions:
Who attended the meeting?
Who missed the meeting, and why?
Was the list of items on the agenda discussed?
What was the next sequence of action plans?
What is the status of very participant’s involvement and progress?
These progress reports should include all the team members' names, their contact numbers, i.e. phone numbers and email addresses for easier contact.
Conclusion Learning the skills of writing a project in a collaborative manner in a team is considered as an invaluable asset in today’s world. Many employers have already started giving prior importance to those employees who can handle collaborative writing assignments.
The future of organizations is in producing documents with shared authorship. They need to trust one another with sensitive, proprietary materials, so that they can work together in the future. The unique nature of collaborative writing will ensure that they develop greater cultural sensitivity and multiple viewpoints of drafting a document.
Everything said and done, it is in the best interest of everyone that everyone participates successfully into a collaborative team effort, as that is where the future of business writing is headed.
Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms Collaborative writing involves two or more persons working together to produce a written document. Also called group writing, it is a significant component of work in the business world, and many forms of business writing and technical writing depend on the efforts of collaborative writing teams.
Professional interest in collaborative writing, now an important subfield of composition studies, was spurred by the publication in 1990 of Singular Texts/Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing by Lisa Ede and Andrea Lunsford though the concept and application has been around for much, much longer, dating back to the days of Ancient Greece and presumably even further back than that.
Observation "Collaboration not only draws on the expertise and energy of different people but can also create an outcome that is greater than the sum of its parts." -Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper
Guidelines for Successful Collaborative Writing Following the ten guidelines below will increase your chances of success when you write in a group.
Know the individuals in your group. Establish rapport with your team.
Do not regard one person on the team as more important than another.
Set up a preliminary meeting to establish guidelines.
Agree on the group's organization.
Identify each member's responsibilities, but allow for individual talents and skills.
Establish the time, places, and length of group meetings.
Follow an agreed-on timetable, but leave room for flexibility.
Provide clear and precise feedback to members.
Be an active listener.
Use a standard reference guide for matters of style, documentation, and format.
Collaborating Online "For collaborative writing, there are various tools which you can use, notably the wiki which provides an online shared environment in which you can write, comment or amend the work of others...If you are required to contribute to a wiki, take every opportunity to meet regularly with your collaborators: the more you know the people you collaborate with, the easier it is to work with them...
"You will also need to discuss how you are going to work as a group. Divide up the jobs...Some individuals could be responsible for drafting, others for commenting, others for seeking relevant resources." -Janet MacDonald and Linda Creanor
Different Definitions of Collaborative Writing "The meaning of the terms collaboration and collaborative writing are being debated, expanded, and refined; no final decision is in sight. For some critics, such as Stillinger, Ede and Lunsford, and Laird, collaboration is a form of 'writing together' or 'multiple authorship' and refers to acts of writing in which two or more individuals consciously work together to produce a common text...Even if only one person literally 'writes' the text, another person contributing ideas has an effect on the final text that justifies calling both the relationship and the text it produces collaborative. For other critics, such as Masten, London, and myself, collaboration includes these situations and also expands to include acts of writing in which one or even all of the writing subjects may not be aware of other writers, being separated by distance, era, or even death." -Linda K. Karrell
Andrea Lunsford on the Benefits of Collaboration "[T]he data I amassed mirrored what my students had been telling me for years: . . . their work in groups, their collaboration, was the most important and helpful part of their school experience. Briefly, the data I found all support the following claims:
Collaboration aids in problem finding as well as problem-solving.
Collaboration aids in learning abstractions.
Collaboration aids in transfer and assimilation; it fosters interdisciplinary thinking.
Collaboration leads not only to sharper, more critical thinking (students must explain, defend, adapt) but to a deeper understanding of others.
Collaboration leads to higher achievement in general.
Collaboration promotes excellence. In this regard, I am fond of quoting Hannah Arendt: 'For excellence, the presence of others is always required.'
Collaboration engages the whole student and encourages active learning; it combines reading, talking, writing, thinking; it provides practice in both synthetic and analytic skills."
Also Known As: group writing, collaborative authoring, shared writing and RP (Role Play)