The Cluster is a new lexx episode created by Valdron. It is a fifty minute video that takes place before IWHS to explain many of the key story lines behind lexx. Valdron created The Cluster by re-using video from season's 1-3 and editing them together using 3 crappy vcrs. I have the video and I can tell you that it's hard to follow the plot through the rough editing. For most, reading through his plot outline would be better that watching the video it-self. But never the less I still enjoy The Cluster for what it is, an innovative idea that was followed through by valdron.

Quote Originally Posted by Valdron
Good timing....
Date: 01/30/2004
From: Valdron

I only check this board about once a month, if that. But thank you for the compliment. Here is basically the plot outline, I apologize for the course editing of The Cluster, but I was working with the equivalent of stone tools.


THE CLUSTER

This takes place five months before I Worship His Shadow, and is based on Starherd's "Aurora' fanfic. I haven't watched it or referred back to my script notes, so I'm going by memory here.

- Opening scenes are a montage of The Divine Order, its warships, destruction of planets, etc. As the camera zeroes in on The Cluster, a series of voices (HDS, Time Prophet, etc.) tell us who and what the Divine Order and His Divine Shadow are all about.


- His Divine Shadow dies and a new Divine Shadow is incarnated. This new Shadow summons Mantrid and Brizon in order to demand that His Shadow receive the key to the LEXX. (This seemed an obvious plot hole in IWHS. If the Shadow couldn't leave The Cluster, what was he doing with the key? It seemed likely that the original plan was to place the key with some trusted, perhaps shadow tainted, lieutenant.).

- In order to obtain the Key, the new Divine Shadow must reveal its human form beneath the robes. Mantrid and Brizon are shocked to discover that His Shadow is a beautiful human female. (I chose Eva Haberman because of continuity, she was no longer active in the series, but there was 10 hours of footage featuring her wandering about on The Cluster, interracting with Kai and the LEXX, etc. Also, Eva has an angelic beauty which in the right light, can become demonic beauty).

- The Shadow meets with the Predecessors, who are upset with this assumption of the Key. This was not part of the plan. The discussion goes not go well.

- The Shadow, restless, decides to take a tour of her world. Already established as rebellious (taking the Key), she decides to rouse Kai as a bodyguard. She visits an award ceremony, but is bored. She visits the LEXX, her greatest toy. Bloodsports at a stadium are more entertaining. She descends down into the torture chambers, and really enjoys this. She keeps descending even to forbidden levels... and there, she spots, far below, a human being where no human is allowed.

- While she is wandering her world, she spots Stanley Tweedle. Amused, she terminates his Designated Data Cooperator status... which will eventually mean an automatic death sentence. (In I Worship His Shadow, Stanley is told that his DDC status was revoked five months ago, unknown to him, which leads to his present predicament. So this basically allowed me to fix the time for The Cluster. It was also a nice character bit for The Shadow, she's a girl, wandering around, randomly handing out death sentences to people who don't even realize she's doing it.)

- Troubled, she reverts back to His Shadow's robes to consult with the Predecessors, and shows them the image of the human at the forbidden levels of The Cluster. The Predecessors, however, are not interested. All they want to talk about is the prophecy, and they are upset with the reactivation of Kai. They ignore her image of the human in the forbidden area, and show her images of Kai's death. Angry, the Shadow repudiates the prophecy and claims that only she decides what will happen.

- Her Shadow summons Kai, in human form, she demands Kai satisfy her urges. Kai states that he is an assassin, but she is indifferent, and simply uses him for her pleasure. It is lust, not love. Rape, not sex. And she does it, not merely for her pleasure, but to repudiate the Predecessors and the prophecy.

- The Predecessors monitor this and freak out. They're convinced that desperate steps must be taken or they will all be destroyed.

- Her Shadow, having sated her desires, goes on a journey to the lower levels of The Cluster, in pursuit of that human in a place no humans are allowed to live. The next scenes show her continually descending, entering the empty corridors, bypassing access restrictions.

- The Predecessors, up on topside, summon Brizon and Mantrid. They want this Shadow terminated, so that a new, and saner male Shadow can take over. At first, Mantrid wants nothing to do with the plot, but Brizon is interested, and talks Mantrid into it. The two Bio-Viziers agree to help the Predecessors.

- Down below, Her Shadow and Kai breach the lower perimeter, bringing a wave of Cluster Lizards to attack. At the forbidden level, Cluster Lizards are used as guard dogs, running wild and destroying anything that comes down this far. Kai destroys the Cluster Lizard pack, leaving only a baby, which Her Shadow indifferently throws over a cliff.

- Up on topside, Brizon and Mantrid are studying the problem. Examining scans of Her Shadow, they realize that Her Shadow is really an insect, or a vessel for the insect essence. They realize that with this knowledge, they can overthrow the Divine Order and take over themselves. Mantrid is reluctant. But Brizon wins him over again. The two are now plotting not only against Her Shadow, but against the Predecessors, their own allies.

- Brizon, in order to tempt and enlist Mantrid, and to show off his mastery of The Cluster's infrastructure, decides to corrupt the programming of the Lustikkon machines... So that the machines now turn out replica's of Her Shadow's human form. (This is my biggest regret, because it is an important plot and character point, but the editing just went to hell. Brizon's corruption of the Lustikkon was intended to explain just why this Shadow looks like Zev... because Zev was actually based on Her Shadow. It also was intended to show off Brizon's smugness and mastery of the machines, and Mantrid's perversion, and to be the key to Brizon winning over Mantrid. It just didn't turn out).

- Down below, Her Shadow and Kai climb down a vast cliff to the ultimate lowest level of The Cluster. There, they find themselves at the shores of a living lake. Her Shadow tries to use Kai as a conduit or channel, to communicate with the life at the core of The Cluster, but all she gets is babble about the prophecy.

- All of a sudden, a human shows up. It's Pa Golene (from White Trash). He takes them for escaped convicts, like himself, and explains that he and others who have escaped the Cluster's torture chambers have fled down here, to the lowest levels, where no one ever goes. Her Shadow and Kai follow.

- Pa Golene leads Her Shadow to a colony of escaped prisoners. Kai fades into the background as she walks into the middle of them. They have built a crude bomb, with which they hope to defend themselves if they are ever discovered. (They have figured out the secret of The Cluster, that there is something alive down at the center of it, that HDS and the Divine Order want to protect. They think that if they threaten to kill or injure this thing with a bomb, then they'll be left alone. The trouble is, lol, I never figured out how to get this across fully... so I had to settle for showing a strange and mysterious machine that everyone is focused on, which is triggered and despite Kai's efforts to stop it... blows up)

- She announces that they will all die.

- Kai starts his slaughterfest! People left and right are being killed. Women and children flee. Pa Golene escapes. But the escaped prisoners trigger their bomb... Kai tries to stop it, but cannot. Her Shadow seeks shelter, the bomb goes off...

- When she comes out, only Kai is standing. Everyone is dead. The secret at the centre of the Cluster, the secret of the Gigashadow is safe once more. It is time to return.

- They make their way back up to the surface.

- At the top, at the temples, Her Shadow discoveres a massacre. Clerics have been slaughtered. Kai realizes it is an assassination attempt. Mantrid and Brizon appear. Brizon disables Kai with his gem. Her Shadow, realizing her danger, tries to flee.

- Brizon sends Kai after Her Shadow. They meet, battle, and Her Shadow is defeated.

- Her Shadow, in human form, is strapped into a carriage where waves of energy are being used to destroy not only her mortal body, but the insect essence. The Predecessors realize that Brizon has betrayed them, and they wail, even as Brizon crows his victory. All over The Cluster, the machinery grinds to a halt.

- That victory is short lived, as Mantrid attacks! Mantrid now double crosses his partner, sending drones after Brizon, and attacking his life support. At first, Kai destroys the drones, but then, Mantrid catches him in an energy web and disables him. While this is going on, clerics loyal to the Predecessors run off with Her Shadow's dying body.

- Brizon realizes that he's lost. He's lost both Kai and Her Shadow, and his life is in danger. He has no choice but to flee. He and a handful of acolytes (including, as we discover) two Erikan code technicians fly off in stinger ships. (I wanted to explain what Brizon was doing off in deep space on his own, with a stinger ship. In this story, Brizon after designing the LEXX, participates in a failed coup and flees for his life... his henchmen or assistants later supply a key to the LEXX to Thodin).

- Her Shadow's body is dying, and under desperate conditions, there is no satisfactory host body. Instead, the essence uses one of the aged clerics as a host. It is only a temporary solution, since the aged clerics body is already failing, and within five months, His Shadow will need a new body (this is to explain why the changeover, and in particular, why the changeover in IWHS was such a mess with a poorly prepared host body being used... the existing His Shadow was unexpectedly failing quickly). (An unintended consequence is that the Cleric chosen is Yottskry's twin brother, an event that precipitates Yottskry into rebelling against the Divine Order in Gigashadow. - But I was never able to edit footage, dialogue or narration to get that plot point across).

- Mantrid tries to claim credit for saving His Shadow, which he has. But His Shadow is not fully convinced. Mantrid has played for and against every side, and is not trusted. (Which results in Mantrid's imprisonment and exile off of The Cluster at the time of IWHS and prior to the cleansing in Gigashadow).

- At the end, things have come almost full circle, with this New Divine Shadow communing with His Precessors, as if none of the bloody massacres, coups and countercoups have ocurred. Instead, they serenely plot the extinction of the human race, in a repetive dialogue that we'll see again in IWHS. The last line is a triumphant His Shadow, imagining the maiden voyage of the LEXX, saying "I bid you extinction."


And that's the whole thing. Stanley Tweedle, the perrenial bystander appears here and there, but he isn't really essential to the plot or even significant, except for the scene where his DDC status gets cancelled without his knowing about it.

Xev appears here and there as a bystander, but she's not really Xev. Just a pretty bystander, that's all. An early or standard model love slave. Pay no attention to her, lol.

Her Shadow, does of course, become the model for Zev's new body, because Brizon has corrupted the Lustikkon which transforms her. However, later when Lyekka recreates Xev, she cleans out or disposes of the corrupted programming, and creates Xev or Zev, the way she was originally meant to look... ie - the original love slave design rather than Brizon's overlay.

Pa Golene appears in a very significant role, explaining who and what that group of people are down at the center of The Cluster, he and his family escape to be the only survivors of the massacre and wind up hiding in the bowels of the LEXX.

The rest of the colony of escaped Prisoners are taken from Eating Pattern and K-Town, with massacre bits from everywhere. That's not King Bog, although it might well be his Light Universe doppleganger.

Mantrid and Brizon appear as themselves, first rivals, then conspirators, then allies and then enemies. They were the most fun to try and edit together, and their mutual glee in being bad was a a kick.

By the way, if it seems like it was the same guy being tortured to death by the organ grinder... coincidence, and that's my story.

The Cluster was put together using two and sometimes three cheap VCR's to edit scenes together, or to mix scenes with sounds and sound tracks. All of the source tapes were taped from television (including some not so good quality images).

If I was using DVD's, I could have probably gotten away with a lot tighter, frame by frame editing. On DVD's there's even a close up function, which would have allowed me to blow up images and effectively crop unnecessary or distracting persons (like Stan or Xev) out of the background. If I'd had any kind of editing software, I could have done a really amazing job, I think, something cleaner, more pristine, more focused and easier to follow.

I had an advantage in that a lot of His Shadow's and the Predecessors dialogue took place MOS... without lips moving, and that they had been established to be able to communicate telepathically, and by projecting images into minds. It doesn't always work, but it made it a lot easier to try and stitch together occasionally disjointed conversations.

Another advantage that I had, especially from using Eva, was that I could create an impression of a scene, because she would be physically in the frame with a character. I used this kind of overlap a lot, looking for ways to create a kind of continuity. Kai is in the same frame with Brizon, Mantrid, Eva and HDS. Eva is in the same frame with Kai, Mantrid and Stan. Brizon and Mantrid are never in frame together, but they wear the same hat. HDS appears with the Predecessors and Kai, and has a couple of nifty transformation scenes.

The whole thing took about three months to do. The first month was just watching the episodes over and over, trying to create logs of lines and images, a bank of scenes and dialogue which would then be used to create the episode itself. Kind of like making a mosaic.

Then it was a matter of trying to assemble the huge jumble of images, scenes, characters, lines, etc., into a coherent story, developing the plot, coming up with a rough through line of images and ideas for individual scenes, and then trying to identify which lines or images would allow me to construct a particular scene. Didn't go perfectly, for which I apologize.

Then it was just a matter of lining up my VCR's and trying to assemble it all together. Improvisation on the fly accounted for 15% to 20% of the final product.

In hindsight, it was probably too much work for too little. But on the other hand, its fun to put a theory into practice and try something new. There's a lot that just didn't quite make it with The Cluster, and there's a few things (like the Lustikkon corruption) that failed outright. But there are also things I really really like. The opening montage is cool, the massacre scene worked really really well, the Kai/Her Shadow sex scene worked nicely, Pa Golene's speach laid over those scenes were good, I'm happy with practically everything else that Mantrid and Brizon did together. Bottom line, I think half successful.

And for the record, all copyrights and trademarks in LEXX, its scenes, characters etc., are property of Salter Street/Alliance Atlantis/Paul Donovan and original cast/crew and writers. No claim is made, nor any insult or disrespect intended to any of the people whose images I used. This is non-commercial work made for private use and shared privately. So don't sue, okay.

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