|Note: The following project has been canceled. Renewed interest in it is possible, but not likely at this time.|
Ciem: Nuclear Crisis™ is the canceled sequel to Ciem: Vigilante Centipede. It was in many ways to have been a remake of Ciem 2, fitting that story's narrative into the Comprehensive Gerosha timeline. Its plot was rewritten and retooled to become part of the plot of season three of Sodality.
Not quite two years go by from the time that Candi and Donte reconciled and resumed their relationship. Donte struggles with a slow-growing cancer robbing him of his abilities as Evansville's superhero Emeraldon. He does, however, gain a powerful sidekick in the form of Candi's Ciem identity. Ciem has since abandoned her whips in favor of "dart shooters," which enable her to sting enemies with her venom without having to actually get close to them. The couple struggle with their continual desire to start a family, and begin discussing when they will marry. They also want to adopt young Charlie Wortell, before sexual predators Gary and Daryl can bribe a judge into letting them have the boy in the interests of political correctness. Meanwhile, Donte struggles to find a job.
As Donte heads off in early September of 2023 to receive cancer treatment, Candi begins to suspect that she may be pregnant again. Meanwhile, her sister Miriam discovers that she is pregnant - with twins. Her celebration is cut short, as her fiance Steve McLaine sends her on a plane to find Candi and hide with her. Steve vows to head to China and clear her name, after her Sniperbadger identity is compromised by the Hebbleskin Gang's rival hacker Melvin Markus. Melvin used the resources he stole of Miriam to peek at Chinese state department secrets, in the hopes of helping Duke Arfaas steal the Ming-Yo and Ming-Cho.
Both radioactive artifacts are revealed to have been stolen first by a terrorist faction called the Mik-Non, bent on spreading chaos all over the world - and on starting a war between the US and China. However, the Mik-Non are intercepted by CIA agents Vienna Dockler and Betty Harmin. The two women are instructed to hide in the Evansville area with their stolen items. Little do they understand that an NSA agent named Lloyd Kolumn tampered with their instructions. Lloyd Kolumn is revealed to be secretly working for the Hebbleskin Gang the whole time. It was his idea that Arfaas should have Melvin frame Miriam for everything.
Betty Harmin flees to Farrenville, where she ends up being killed after hiding the Ming-Cho in an old man's tire-filled backyard. Vienna, however, heads to Evansville itself. She plots to find Miriam, and get to the bottom of the whole Hebbleskin conspiracy. Elsewhere, Chinese officials send a team of four agents to Evansville to track down "Sniperbadger" and bring her in for questioning. These four agents turn out to be Black Rat, Tin Dragon, Stung Hornet, and Teal Hog.
To capture Miriam first, Arfaas abducts a military flunk-out named Simon Aardvin. He turns Simon into the horrendous Captain Aardwulf against Simon's will. Aard breaks out, and begins gradually going insane. He plots to abduct Miriam for his own purposes, and also steal the Ming-Yo. He reasons he can ransom them for his own kingdom - one where he will have servants to feed him termites.
Meanwhile, NSA operative Andrew Tinsel uncovers Kolumn's treachery. He pays for it with a hitman arriving at his house and killing his wife Maggie. Andrew responds by grabbing his daughter Sandy and trying to hide in Evansville. However, Kolumn's hitmen track him all the way there. Meanwhile, Angie appears to Candi in a dream and warns her about Miriam being in trouble. Candi awakes disturbed by the nightmare, and goes patrolling the night as Ciem to clear her thoughts. She ends up intercepting an assassination attempt on Andrew on Sandy, defeating the assassins and saving the family. Andrew rewards her by giving her some information on Kolumn to look up. As she starts fleeing the scene, her powers begin glitching for the first time. She starts seriously suspecting that she is pregnant.
Miriam arrives in Evansville around the same time. Later that same evening, right before dawn, she makes contact with the webmaster of the Mila Fila website. She warns him that his own life could be in danger if he continues posting porn of Miriam, due to the Hebbleskin Gang upping the ante. He begins to comply with her wishes that the site be taken down, only to be shot in the head by Hebbleskins who immediately peruse the files for confirmation of Miriam's identity. A gang war envelops in the streets, as the Mik-Non and local gangs clash. A stray rocket blows open the front door to Miriam's motel room, resulting in a deranged drug addict breaking into the room within seconds. He attempts to rape Miriam, but is immediately shot in the back and killed by Teal Hog. Since Teal Hog doesn't recognize Miriam as Sniperbadger, he lets her escape. She flees into the streets, only to be mistaken for a member of a gang and arrested.
Candi makes it to the lab to work with Laurie, and begins feeling under the weather. A man that Andrew mentioned had gone missing appears on an autopsy table as a cadaver, and Candi immediately suspects trouble. The lab comes under attack within minutes, as Kolumn's underlings plot to remove the cadaver. Candi quickly changes into Ciem, and beats up a few of the agents so that Laurie can flee safely. With Laurie out of the way, Ciem flees the scene also. Her powers begin glitching again. She decides to visit the police station and ask about Miriam, since her premonition said Miriam would be in the Evansville area. However, she changes back out of her Ciem suit into civilian clothes. No sooner does she end up in the interview room with Miriam than chaos ensues outdoors. Miriam learns that Simon had been turned into Captain Aardwulf. She also warns Candi of how overblown the entire situation has become. The police station is raided by Mik-Non terrorists, and the girls plot an elaborate escape. Vienna arrives at the station, hoping to intercept Miriam. Alas, she is knocked out by a Mik-Non terrorist and abandoned. She awakes to find the girls gone, but Captain Aardwulf wreaking havoc.
Vienna goes out to confront the monster, but is soon forced to retreat. Aard dodges a bullet by Stung Hornet, seizing his opportunity and killing her immediately. More chaos ensues, and Vienna is forced to abandon the fight. Meanwhile, Candi changes back into Ciem to be ready for any more threats the girls face. The downtown becomes a war zone within minutes, as the National Guard is called in to restore order. Aard makes his first attempt to capture Miriam; but Ciem intervenes. Her powers begin glitching again; yet she holds him off long enough for Miriam to steal a car and hit him with it. He goes flying.
Feeling sick, Candi is unable to keep fighting. The girls flee in the stolen car, retreating ito Latin Town. Miriam gets another hotel, and insists that both girls lay low. Maria Sanmarcos, now able to speak a little English, helps secure the girls in hiding. Vienna asks a few questions around town and learns of Candi's identity. She dials up Candi's cell phone, and asks to speak with Miriam. The three girls begin sharing information. Vienna agrees to meet with them, but states that it'll be dangerous for her to travel to their location. Meanwhile, Capp Aard deduces that Vienna has the Ming-Yo based on what he thought he saw in her pocket when they last battled. He raids a gun store to draw her attention; but she returns fire by driving a car right into the shop. She flees on foot to Latin Town. It is revealed that Aard survived a second time being hit by a car. Vienna meets up with Candi and Miriam, but is immediately assaulted by Tin Dragon. However, Capp Aard arrives and ambushes Tin Dragon, killing him. Candi becomes Ciem again in order to lure Aard away from Vienna and Miriam. A fight ensues, but ends when Aard tosses a dizzy Ciem onto a highway. She crashes into the front windshield of Betsy Stanson, who is shelting Andrew and Sandy. She takes the unconscious Ciem to her house to nurse her back to health. Aard immediately returns and abducts Miriam, seizing the Ming-Yo along the way. Vienna barely escapes the scene with her life.
Candi has a vision of her parents. In it, they help her come to terms with her feelings of guilt and failure. She awakes to find Donte hovering over her. Betsy, Andrew, and Sandy further explain the situation. Vienna leaves them a note, stating that she's gone after Aard alone. She also states Aard's whereabouts. Candi immediately insists a SWAT team be called to that industrial center. However, Aard has already killed the entire staff. He has tied up Miriam and taken her hostage, while he tries to unlock the Ming-Yo's secrets. Vienna breaks in, but runs into Black Rat. They quickly explain to each other what is happening, and Black Rat agrees that he and Vienna should work together. Aard smells them immediately, and loses his concentration. He ends up exposing himself to a deadly amount of the Ming-Yo's radiation, while going mad. The agents promise to keep him distracted so he won't hurt Miriam. Ciem and Emeraldon arrive. Ciem frees Miriam, then distracts Aard so the agents can get Miriam's help. She finds an unguarded computer, so she sets to work as Sniperbader to expose Kolumn and Markus. Emeraldon uses his powers to shield himself from the Ming-Yo's radiation, vowing to fly it over the ocean and destroy it. Black Rat initially objects, since it is Chinese government property. However, Vienna convinces him that it is the best for everyone to have it destroyed.
As Emeraldon makes his flight, he ends up having his own power glitches. He flies to the Gulf of Mexico, then drops the Ming-Yo in so as to set off a violent reaction. It explodes violently, and Donte loses his sense of direction. He flies as far inland as he is able, but begins to lose his flight ability before he can assess where he is. He ends up along the border with California and Mexico. Meanwhile, Ciem continues to distract Aard. Aard eventually melts into a puddle due to his having been exposed to the Ming-Yo's radiation. The SWAT arrives at the scene, only to find that the situation has been handled. Kolumn learns within minutes that he and his schemers have been exposed as Hebbleskin spies, and is forced to flee. Candi receives a phone call from Donte the following morning, explaining what happened.
Candi and Donte end up getting married in Vacaville, in a double-wedding with Miriam and Steve. Marina and her family are invited. Heading home, Candi and Donte are able to successfully beat Gary and Daryl in line to adopt Charlie. The latter duo vows revenge, only to be killed by Extirpon a few weeks later when they're caught trying to corrupt young children. Candi reveals to Donte that she is indeed pregnant, and that they'll have to consider retiring from superhero work soon to focus on their growing family. Donte reveals that he is willing to go along with that plan.
Building and background
The book cover for Nuclear Crisis was shot in front of the Ledge Craft Center Ltd. Art Center building in downtown Grand Ledge, MI. In keeping with the tradition started in August of 2009, it was deemed possible to use parts of downtown Grand Ledge as a geographical double for Evansville.
Being the last appearance of Vienna before being written out of continuity, her first appearance ever outside of a Sims-related game was her appearance on the book cover for Nuclear Crisis. Her model was made in MakeTarget's MakeHuman 3D Alpha Build 6.0 software, much like the model used for both Ciem and Miriam. However, all models were initially rendered as nudes. Clothing was not initially implemented in MakeHuman software. The book cover's elements strived to achieve as much photo-realism as possible. Numerous lighting tweaks were attempted on the 3D models to make them more life-like to begin with. The nudes were each given an overlay of censor-square underwear and bras in Photoshop, before further work was attempted.
Ciem had her suit painted on first, since the main outfit's skin-tight molding meant that simple recolors of skin covered a majority of the needed effects. Suit details were added next, with weaving being saved till near the end. Very careful inspection of the model's wrists reveal that dart shooters were intended to be designed for the model, doing away with whip mechanics almost entirely. The dart shooters' places on Ciem's costume were made more obvious for Sodality.
Miriam's outfit was the second to be designed. While the shirt was mostly painted on from imagination, her pants were modified from a photo. Actual female khaki shorts were stuffed with pillows and shot against a mostly-neutral background. Her shoes were likewise painted in from modified photos of real shoes. Her socks were painted from imagination. Similarly, her baseball cap was painted in from imagination. Her shirt design was meant to be consistent with the running gag that she is a fan of Snakes on a Plane. However, a custom design related to that was put on her shirt; to avoid infringing on any trademarks. This was also the reason that the "D" in her Detroit Tigers baseball cap was missing. It re-appears in concept art for Sodality, since the concept art is never intended to be for sale. The book cover, however, was intended very much to be sold on book shelves.
Vienna's hair, being the most prominent and least covered, took the most effort to paint in. Her clothes, particularly her gloves, took the most effort to draw in place. The girls' outfits were modeled as closely as possible after their iconic appearances from various Sims games. Burn marks and other dirt was painted on to give the impression that they had been in a war zone for a period of time. Smoke and fire effects were painted all around them and the surrounding city, so as to produce a Transformers-style urban war effect. The Ming-Yo, for the first time ever, was played by an actual rock. The rock was wrapped in aluminum foil, and its blue-glowing effects were painted in later. Captain Aardwulf is overlayed above the girls, partially in the skyline. His near-ghostly imposition into the frame was to represent him as a looming threat in the background for all three gals, even as more obvious threats surround them.
Nuclear Crisis was originally going to be dubbed merely Ciem 2, consistent with the fact that bare-minimal effort had been put into making it any different from its webcomic predecessor. However, it was decided in late 2010 that the story should have a meaningful subtitle consistent with how its predecessor had been given one.
The original title of Ciem was Ciem: The Human Centipede. The subtitle was dropped in early 2010 to avoid confusion with The Human Centipede. It was determined from that point onward that the novelization would be re-dubbed Ciem: Vigilante Centipede. This is similar to how Marc Webb's Spider-Man movie was re-dubbed The Amazing Spider-Man to avoid confusion with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man.
The decision to have Vigilante Centipede have a sequel titled Nuclear Crisis was to play on the double-meaning of that phrase. While trying to prevent a nuclear war, Candi Levens must also decide how to secure her family planning from a world bent on tearing apart the little family she has left.
Cancellation and recycling of elements
On November 6th of 2012, Comprehensive Gerosha as a continuity was canceled. The entire future of The Gerosha Chronicles was thrown into question, as it was deemed unlikely that the Ciem era plots as they were written would even be possible after a second Obama term. Instead, it was deemed likely that the United States would very likely go over the fiscal cliff and deteriorate into utter chaos. Based on a prediction that the Muslim Brotherhood and China would begin fighting each other for the rights to the US economy, Cataclysmic Gerosha was proposed as a "What If?" continuity. Work on this continuity recycled components of the plot for Nuclear Crisis to compose the third season of Sodality, an ambitious series project on par with Stationery Voyagers that would explore what the Gerosha protagonists would do to function in a post-America world. Due to the toss-up of plot details, a lot of plot elements did not translate over well.
Vienna Dockler began as a part of Gerosha mythos in 2005, and was originally a parody of Jennifer Garner's Sidney Bistrow character from Alias. However, the old joke didn't seem to fit anywhere in the new continuity. Lloyd Kolumn was a parody of Alec Baldwin's "Kudrow" character from Mercury Rising, and also served little purpose in the new narrative. The spin-off, Path of the Ming-Cho, was only barely allowed to continue. However, several details needed to be re-written to make sense. The original plot to that story dated back to 2006, in Despair Gerosha. That line of logic made sense under the Bush Administration, when a United States economy thriving in the year 2023 seemed plausible.
The Wall in Sodality becomes a major plot point, one which would have made the original journey from Indiana to Nevada near-impossible to pull off due to the way borders were re-drawn. Capp Aard was also made more intelligent in the new series than in Nuclear Crisis or any continuity before that, in keeping with the fact that he'd need to pull more of his own weight to keep the season three plot arcs interesting. Characters like Black Rat, Tin Dragon, Teal Hog, and Stung Hornet were introduced earlier than before, and given different backstories to explain why they'd be working with Miriam rather than against her.
The plot of Nuclear Crisis otherwise was to transplant in as much as possible the plot that was to be used for Ciem 2 in the final 2009 webcomic draft. It desired to keep intact the webcomic's plot; one which spoofed those of Alias, Spider-Man 2, and Mercury Rising by merging them into a single story. Characters' obsessions with the Ming-Yo were to make it a MacGuffin similar in nature to the Pink Panther diamond, with the exception that it's radioactive.