"Despair" Gerosha is one of many narrative universes to comprise the overall Gerosha multiverse, homeworld of The Gerosha Chronicles in Dozerfleet Comics. "Despair" Gerosha is also the first universe to feature a version of Ciem mythos that has become a template for every Ciem origin story since. The universe lasted from March of 2006 until October of 2006, and was an attempt to reboot Gerosha Prime and repair the works in that continuity. It was canceled due to hardware problems, noted below. On top of this, "Despair" Gerosha is the first Gerosha continuity to adopt the use of "Dozerfleet Productions" as the name of its parent brand, as the brand changed its name to that in May of 2006.
At some point in the past, the Marlquaan was put in place by God in the event of a event that would happen near the end of time. However, the risk it posed was that it would find ways to invariably be used before its intended purpose. That happened when a man named Zeras Carpathius was first struck by it and became the first Marlquaanite. Through him, the Meethlites first came to be. As they began experimenting on themselves, a power struggle led to the Green Meethlites becoming a nation unto themselves. They eventually colonized the world of Phaelon, leading to the Phaelon-Metheel War when Phaelites and graphite-colored Meethlites refused to peacefully coexist. Also at some point, a faction of Phaelites landed on Earth and were stranded. A group of troublemaking Meethlites were also exiled to Earth. They began creating Phexos and Meethexos to combat each other with.
The Phaelites formed a society that would eventually being to operate under guidance of the US military, and would come to be a sort of agency unto itself. The Meethlite fugitives eventually became a global menace known as the Hebbleskin Gang. All of this tampering with the Marlquaan, with genetic engineering, and more would prove risky for everyone involved. In WWII, the first major conflict of a Phexo and Meethexo on Earth would come into play for either side. "Centipede Charlie" became a war hero.
But that was only part of the story. A dangerous substance known as "nin-chyo" would be discovered in China. It would lead to two radioactive projects in China being created from it - the Ming-Yo and Ming-Cho. Several Marlquaanite rubies were also created. It attracted some good - like the Beamer's Ruby guardian Hester Prynne and Miles "the Oraphim" Wealthington. Even John Domeck, Miles' good friend, would get together with his wife Kicked Deer to defend the Marlquaanite rubies. But evil sought to achieve that power too. The Shrouded Entity became one of the most powerful Marlquaanites ever, and even got his jollies by pretending to be the Devil himself. It would take Oraphim trapping him in a block of ice in Greenland to protect 17th-century Massachusetts from the menace.
However, Shrouded Entity had a very destructive effect on the Umpid family. His corrupting influence led to young Sarah Umpid growing up to become a witch that went by the moniker of "Meshaluta." She would also find a way to bond with the Marlquaan - but only in a way that she'd be able to unlock in the event of her demise. A secret society of occultists and New World Order-aspiring types formed called the Society of the Icy Finger. They sought to rule the world after getting their hands on as many Marlquaanite rubies as they could. John Domeck did all he could to stop them.
John's heroics cost him the life of his wife. He and his daughter Marge were about to be executed, but got struck by the Marlquaan and traveled through time instead. Marge find herself in the year 1995, where she grows up and becomes a superheroine in the Miami area. John finds himself at some point in the 21st century, where he dons the mantle of the Gray Champion for himself after discovering he has ghost mimicry abilities courtesy of the Marlquaan. He is aided in his quest by Heeshwa Pwong, the daughter of a museum curator. He must face Eqquibus, who brought him into the present and who has become a very real threat to the greater Boston area.
Meshaluta's influence would be felt for many centuries after her demise. She is murdered with gunpowder explosions and fire in her own house, after being betrayed by the Rintolin family. She initially worked with the Rintolins to keep the Icy Finger from harming Rintolin stocks and estates. Zachariah Rintolin changed his last name to Rintel, hoping to escape the curse. This only worked for a short time, when Meshaluta deduced the ruse and swore to destroy the Rintels one way or another - even from the grave. One member of her coven, Sanction Harlem, gave a bone-chilling poem right before being executed for witchcraft. Another of her cult followers, Sam Wrikon, would be blamed in Colorado for a silver mine accident. He'd be executed by being trapped in a cabin and stung to death by bees. He became the ghostly Honeybee Samuel and terrorized the cabin.
The Battle for Gerosha
Main article: The Battle for Gerosha
The Phaelites and Meethlites' creations occasionally clashed, but things would come to a boiling point in the late 1980s in Boonville, Indiana. After a breakup-turned-ugly that occurred between baseball player Steve McNolan and his girlfriend Alison Ligash, the pregnant Alison became a target of violence by the Hebbleskin Gang. This was after Steve sold her out to them, out of revenge for her deciding that Tobey Flippo treated her right. However, Tobey and Alison turned to the Phaelites for safety. They married at some point. In exchange, the Phaelites demanded the right to perform two different experiments on Alison's firstborn child. Stan Flippo was fused with a centipede using the Phexo program, allowing for one his children to inherit centipede-themed superpowers. Before that, a small amount of his DNA was extracted and used to make a half-clone. Volunteer scientist Insila Murtillo was impregnated, and gave birth to a son she named Ploribus. As Ploribus grew up to become a major National Guard figure, he changed his last name to "Philippine." Stan could not be allowed to know about these parts of his past until much later in life.
However, Stan's mother died around the time he was 15. His stepfather Tobey would die a year later. After an encounter with the vicious serial rapist Dwayne Lloyd, Marissa Hood conceived a child named Shalia. Shalia would grow up to become very talented and intelligent - though disadvantaged for being black. Shalia lived with Marissa in a shack in the woods outside of Boonville. It was there that she met Stan for the first time, as he was taking care of himself. The two were almost immediately star-struck with the sight of one another, and fell in love quickly. When Marissa died some time later, the young Stan and Shalia got married.
They decided to live peacefully in Boonville's outskirts, where they had their firstborn child: Reily. They pursued their dreams for 12 years, but then Reily was abducted by the Hebbleskins. Sgt. Luddin and Fantisk Hebbleskin set to work putting their sympathizers and plants in the Boonville area, and began to spell trouble for Stan and Shalia. Before Shalia knew what hit her, she was a political prisoner; and the city of Gerosha was being occupied and controlled by Hebbleskin operatives. Stan became a fugitive, looking for a way to save Shalia's life. Patrols formed, and Gerosha turned into a police state. With his programming wearing off, Officer Lionel Sanchez helps his fiancee Trina Domingo escape from death row along with their daughter Amelia. A jailbreak occurs, and Shalia escapes. She and Stan are eventually reunited. A covert ops specialist with the National Guard going by the name of Mitch Brandel takes out "Jeanette the Bunny." He proceeds to help other members of the resistance escape, though he has to shoot and kill police chief Franklin Smonds to do it.
During their time in taking back Gerosha with help from their new friends, Stan discovers the truth about his origins. He and Shalia also discover that Ploribus has rescued Reily and kept him safe. However, he also recovered the orphan Erin Wyer. Reily and Erin get along like a brother and sister, so Shalia considers adopting Erin. After Sgt. Luddin and Fantisk are killed in action and Gerosha is reclaimed, the other Hebbleskin plants and sympathizers are arrested or driven out. Gerosha regrows after the battle, and absorbs the remains of Boonville.
Stan and Shalia build the Triangulum together. Reily grows up to marry Ashlee Kornsdall, and they become world-famous chefs. They have a son named Kirby together. Stan and Shalia also have several more children: Mike and Jeff, Tom, Candice, Miriam, and Marina. They are run off the road and assassinated in the year 2006 by the Hebbleskin Gang, leaving their not-yet-grown children to decide where they will turn for help. Most are able to fend for themselves or make a living for themselves. Candi, Miriam, and Marina find themselves in Erin's custody.
In 2011, Hurricane Nekoda would lay siege to Louisiana. The Rintel family, being targeted by Meshaluta, would survive her assault amazingly enough. She would try to target the Colorado Rintels next, but would only succeed in killing one of them. This failure cost her Honeybee Samuel as a useful minion. She would finally be defeated once and for all in Boston by the Rintels of that region - and by Cassie Manning.
Around the year 2019, Candi reveals herself to be a Centhuen Prototype to her sister Miriam. The Hebbleskin Gang is rumored to have returned to Gerosha to finish the job of killing off the Flippo family. One evening while Erin is returning home from work, the Hebbleskins set an ambush. They were hoping to kill Candi, whom they suspected of being the "Gifted Flippo" that was allegedly prophesied. A young Candi Flippo is outside, practicing her training that she gained under her godfather Imaki Izuki in a run-down building area not far from home. She longs for another visit from her friend Donte McArthur, a police chief in Dirbine who has a bit of a crush on her in spite their age differences. She is suddenly attacked by Don "the Psycho" Mendoza, an ex-boyfriend of hers that broke her heart in grade school. He reveals that he has joined the Hebbleskin Gang, and makes an attempt on Candi's life. She battles him, but accidentally sets him on fire. He burns to death, and she flees the scene. She is disgusted with herself over having killed someone; and she flees town. She learns later on through the family's friend Tracy McAuley that Erin was murdered. She vows to start her life over in the town of Viron, eventually plotting to listen to Imaki's advice and become Ciem in order to fight back against the Hebbleskins.
Her enrollment at Viron University seems uneventful at first, until she befriends a man named Denny Levens. Denny is discovered to be a brilliant scientist. The two begin to become attached, but Candi still has feelings for Donte. Both men agree to be close to Candi, as they are some of her only friends. However, a woman at the Viron Community Church where Wilbur Brocklyn preaches decides to ruin Candi's reputation by claiming that she sleeps around. Candi grows depressed by the impact these rumors have on her, and she stops going to church for a time while Wilbur tries to sort the situation out. She initially finds work at the Hazy Eighties Bowling Alley, until it is taken over by a new manager named Victor Nanale. Victor is suspected of having ties to the nefarious Kerpher Gang, which has been abducting children and selling them into sexual slavery. Candi immediately distrusts Victor, but cannot prove anything. Victor reveals his plans to turn the bowling alley into a strip club, and offers Candi work as a stripper. She turns the job down, rendering her without a job once more.
An emotionally vulnerable Candi tries to join the pom squad for Viron University's team. She goes for a walk in the park to clear her head one evening, but discovers one of the Hebbleskins assaulting Denny. She arrives in time to fight said Hebbleskin assassin to the death. She runs up to a frightened Denny, comforting him. The two head back to Candi's house, where they proceed to have sex on the couch. Denny feels terrible about it, so he goes out and buys Candi a ring. She discovers that she's pregnant about a month later, and alerts Denny to the news. The two of them get married, with Donte offering minimal objection. He vows to be a close family friend. This is especially strategic on his part, as Candi knows he is Captain Emerald.
Problems form in the marriage after only a few months. Candi is disgusted by what she discovers of Denny's secret experiments. It turns out that one of them involved the invention of a pill intended to let women survive decapitations. Early test subjects, however, didn't survive. Candi also finds out that Denny was unfaithful at least once. However, the night they are discussing what to do about their marriage is the same evening that L1 the Llama attacks their home. Candi tries to defend herself, but is badly injured. Denny is straight-up murdered. Candi starts going into labor, so she drives her car really fast to both reach the hospital and get away from her attacker. A gang fight breaks out, leading to a pile-up of cars that gets Candi stranded. She gets shot in the arm. She discovers that her healing factor doesn't work very efficiently when pregnant. She is able to flee the scene with her injured arm right before L1 arrives and kills most of the fighting gang-bangers. The prostitute they were fighting over flees into the night. Donte offers to be there with Candi during her birthing of Angie. However, Imaki shows up and reveals a special plan that he has in store.
Candi awakes to find herself naked in a coffin, located inside a cabin that is slowly sinking into the bog it was built in. She finds a video explaining that Imaki has died, and that her daughter Angie didn't live long after birth. She is given instructions and a few Ciem suits, located inside quantum storage packs known as Zeran wardrobes. Candi heads back to Dirbine only to find that the Hebbleskins have attacked and taken over. Donte has been captured, and it's up to Ciem to raid Duke Arfaas' doomsday ship and save Donte. Only the two of them together can defeat L1 and set other things right in their town.
Since there is no Dr. Leone in this version, Candi's power loss was going to be due to other reasons. Otherwise, most of the plot to this rendition of Ciem 2 was planning to be near-identical to its Gerosha Prime version. Ciem 2 required the least amount of revision of all three original Ciem tales.
Path of the Ming-Cho
Main article: Path of the Ming-Cho
The fallout of events in Ciem 2 was that Betty Harmin arrived in the Dirbine suburb of Farrenville, not far from some farm country. She was carrying the Ming-Cho, but hides it in a tire in the backyard of Charlie Raymond. She keeps on running, but is shot dead by Chinese agents. They get frustrated when they are unable to locate the Ming-Cho. Little do they know that Charlie's dog Taquito has found it. Charlie begins complaining of feeling sick to his friends Rob and Hannah Marrington. They arrive over at his house with Ann Kim when he complains that Taquito has died. They discover via Geiger counter that his house is being contaminated with a radiation leak. The leak appears strongest near a device that is on a shelf in his bedroom, and that just so happens to be the Ming-Cho. Jake Asawa shows up, a man from Hannah's past. He quickly covers the Ming-Cho with a lead container to cover up its leak of nin-chyo. He then recruits Rob and Hannah to go with him on a journey to Nevada to have the Ming-Cho destroyed. Ann stays behind to treat Charlie's radiation poisoning in the hospital. Rob reluctantly goes along, wishing he could spend more time in Farrenville looking for a job after losing his position at a hotel.
Hannah's sordid past is covered, and she and Jake overcome it and fall in love all over again. Rob learns to cope with his sister's life decisions. He also learns to overcome his own bitterness over losing his job - and over his parents' bad decisions in life that affected him adversely. He learns that he and the Ming-Cho are connected historically. His ancestry going back to France means an early Marrington ancestor witnessed the murders of Zhoo Lin and Min Lin, who first introduced France to nin-chyo during the French Revolution.
As the trio of Rob, Hannah, and Jake go about their road trip, they have to take pains to avoid all the interested third parties that want the Ming-Cho for themselves. These include a mob boss named Luigi, the Hebbleskin Gang, the Chinese government, a Chinese terror group called the Mik-Non, and more.
Inspiration and revision
When Gerosha Prime seemed to deprive Candi of a meaningful origin story and sufficient motive to run away from her home, as well as adequate explanation of Erin's murder, there was a strong desire to rewrite the story and fix those very issues. Giving Candi even a small reason to feel that Erin's death might have been partially her fault added to the tension that would steer her character in a believable direction. Also, it didn't seem right to skip ahead to her marrying Denny. That part needed some explanation. Donte became so essential to who Candi was, that it seemed wrong to have him only show up after the events that led to Angie's death. Ciem was therefore re-envisioned almost from the ground upwards. There were plans to likewise re-envision Ciem 3 in that manner. However, those plans did not pan out. Ciem 2 would have been the least altered, because it was "almost perfect" to begin with.
One minor issue with Ciem 2, however, was that it had this great potential for a side plot with Betty Harmin...and then dropped it. Vienna Dockler likewise disappeared after part 2 and was never seen or heard from again. Path of the Ming-Cho was seen as a way to correct that oversight. It would function as a narrow window into the world of The Gerosha Chronicles seen through the eyes of the mostly-ordinary. The protagonists would not be Flippos. They would not be Phexos or Meethexos or Marlquaanites. They would have no ties to any of the mythos elements that made up a majority of narrative content. The intrusion of one major element of mythos, however, makes their story extraordinary. This is in spite the fact that these protagonists themselves would remain mostly ordinary. They would have no powers, no special equipment, nor would they have particularly outstanding origin stories. Path was to be a little bit Lord of the Rings and a little bit Novocaine, as the latter film inspired its set design and visual style emphasis. Making Sims look as good as possible became the new emphasis for Path, to compensate for its lack of superhero action.
Most costumes were slightly-enhanced rehashes of their Gerosha Prime counterpart. L1's original mascot suit was dumped in favor of a metallic version of a University llama mask and a recolored metallic Imperial Stormtrooper outfit. It was seen as an attempt to make L1 look more frightening than before. In the end, he still didn't quite look frightening enough. The Ciem suit that was about to be used was a slightly-enhanced version of Candi's Ciem 2 suit from September of 2005. Alas, the webcomic was canceled in production before Despair Candi ever got to actually wear the suit. Denny was given a tiny bit of facial hair, to indicate that he was no longer a clean-cut individual. This allowed him to have a dark side without him becoming Dr. Leone, as he was to be killed in this version rather than abducted and brainwashed.
One major change to occur in this version is that the Flippo triplets were created in advance, to ensure their skin genetics were a tiny bit closer to being accurate. Candi still had gray eyes, but her other issues were fixed. She was made slightly shorter - from 6 ft. tall to 5'9". Miriam's life in Alaska was going to be expanded on as well, to determine what she did in her career as Sniperbadger - and why she moved to Alaska.
The Ciem remake for this version emphasized using expansion pack materials for The Sims 2 as much as possible to enhance the environment of every single shot. If it couldn't be made good right away, it could at least try to look good. Or at least, look less-crudely-made than its predecessor. Gerosha Prime bounced around a lot for image appearance. Despair Gerosha was the first time that standardized formatting for HTML and CSS were used consistently. Images were all shot to be 400x300 stills, rather than the varying sizes of before. Old versions aimed for a size of around 320x240, in keeping with the dimensions used for The Blue Face Film Strips. Path of the Ming-Cho in particular sought to utilize CSS in ways not done prior.
There were some hopes to create a digital playlist album for the two works in Despair Gerosha. However, only one song was actually selected for the Ciem remake. That song was "Sleep" by Story of the Year. It was envisioned as playing background music, on while Candi is driving herself to the hospital.
The idea for Path of the Ming-Cho was actually first thought up on February 15th of 2006. It was a transitional point in the Dozerfleet founder's life. His old bedroom, which was the upper room of the Grand Ledge House, was becoming the master bedroom. He was being relocated to a renovated former master bedroom, which traded a lot of open space for a large closet. When it became obvious that a revised Gerosha timeline was necessary to fix problems with the 2005 narrative, Path was transplanted directly from one universe to the other. Work on Path in DSHW format was delayed, however, by the production schedule for Kurse of the Kryptonite. The latter project was finished on February 20th of 2006. Gerosha Prime was officially declared defunct on March 5th of 2006. Despair Gerosha officially was opened on March 19th of that same year - a year that would prove very rainy and depressing in its early half.
Distractions plagued Despair Gerosha development from the very beginning. On April 21st, the Dozerfleet founder left SAI due to lack of hours and work volume. Five days later, the final Cormorant Entertainment logo was unveiled. The month of May proved no more productive. The Dozerfleet founder left EZBoard. Class cancellation politics at LCC were taking their toll, and he was ready to transfer out to another school. That school turned out to be Ferris State. Getting transcripts and other details ready, and preparing for the big move up to Ferris, would take up a good share of the following months. Serious production of Ciem and Path of the Ming-Cho was not to pick up until late August - some time after the move-in to McNerney 116. By then, the brand had officially been renamed to Dozerfleet Productions. The initial logo for Dozerfleet was very primitive, and didn't look at all professional. Work feverishly began on replacing it with a logo that would be passable for use on social media.
Meanwhile, Utterly Sims released a Sims 2 version of the Gray Champion. It was rejected by Mod The Sims, since it lacked adequate bumpmapping in the image stills. This was because the Dozerfleet founder's PC at the time was not capable of bumpmapping. Work began again on Ciem from August 25th-27th, before classes would get in the way. On September 1st of 2006, the Dozerfleet founder joined MySpace. Setting up a Dozerfleet MySpace page demanded a lot of attention away from webcomic creation. Things became even more complicated on September 5th, when the Dozerfleet founder joined Facebook. Figuring out the best use of both forms of social media seemed a time-consuming-yet-necessary step. In addition to campus life demands, social media demands, hardware issues, and school assignments, time for making Ciem dropped to almost nothing. When the Dozerfleet founder got sick on September 18th with a 72-hour flu, it further complicated matters. A further bad omen occurred on September 21st, when his 1996 Huffy Snake Rock's rear axle main bolt snapped in two. This single act of a bolt snapping essentially destroyed the entire bike. This was the same bike that played Ackro in When Bikes Argue and When Bikes Argue 2.
The last hurrah of Despair Gerosha was in mid-October of 2006. Jawknee was proposed as a project. However, it was shelved immediately to pursue Every Ape and His Brother-related work. By October 30th, Despair Gerosha was essentially canceled. This was confirmed on November 9th of 2006, as the HP Pavilion's video card began malfunctioning, buckling under the stress of running Sims 2. All Gerosha work was going to have to wait until a device with more horsepower arrived that could run the software.
That new device arrival came on December 31st of 2006, in the form of "Dozerfleet Portable." The Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop was capable of running Sims 2 - at least, better than its predecessor machine. However, that predecessor machine only ran one more time before its power supply gave out. The parts were recycled or thrown out, except for the hard drive. That hard drive one day vanished without explanation, taking nearly all of Despair Gerosha with it. Only a small sample of promotional materials and preproduction preparation materials for Path of the Ming-Cho remain to the present day, mostly stored in Ivan's Vault. Most of 2006 Ciem is either retained mentally, or else can be replicated by reproducing settings in Sims 2 and turning graphics quality down. This makes Despair Gerosha the first universe since Hyper-Uber-Proto Gerosha to be effectively destroyed, rather than merely canceled.