A now completed web serial by M. C. A. Hogarth
, written in script format, Spots
follows the adventures of Magda "Spots" Guitart, a Space Marine
fighting the "Crabs" at a remote anti-matter production facility. Which would be a standard issue coming of age story, except that Spots is a middle-aged reservist with a husband and two kids, pulled up from her one weekend a month desk duty and who's at least ten years older than her squadmates. As their battle against the Crabs goes on, she finds herself the designated liason with the facility's resident alien technology advisor, a friendly insectoid alien who goes by the name Samuel Colt. Which is good, because they'll need his help as the crabs start evolving almost literally under their feet...
This story provides examples of:
- Action Mom: She shoots, she bakes and she will call you out for using bad language.
- Author Appeal: Hogarth really loves long hair.
- Berserk Button: You can call Claws a bug lover to his face, but do not insult Spots.
- Big Damn Heroes: Twice, when Peaches and Co. attack the crabs from behind, without armor, and rescue Samuel Colt and Spots, then save Team Kitty when they're escaping the Queen's lair.
- Bug War: The Crabs fit this trope. Subverted a bit in that the Fiddlers are also bugs from the Crab homeworld, who contacted humanity to help them prepare a defense when the Crabs approached Earth
- Cluster F-Bomb: Played straight and subverted. Spots' fellow marines swear like modern audiences expect them too, but Hogarth renders it with a discreet set of asterisks every time.
- Compressed Hair: She has thick hair that comes down to her ass, yet somehow Spots can tape it up so it fits under her armor's helmet.
- Corridor Cubbyhole Run: A rare example of this being set up by the protagonists. Along the corridors where the Crabs are most likely to appear, they've set up "Fox Runs" which the Marines can duck into for safety.
- Deflector Shields: Deployable Cover mounted on the Marines' powered armor, figuring out new ways to use them is a major part of the plot.
- Desk Jockey: Spots' former duty. Most of her squad wishes Lt. Peaches would spend more time practicing this, at least at first.
- Fantastic Anthropologist: Actually Samuel Colt is a technical advisor. Studying humans is more of a hobby with him.
- Glory Hound: The unit's previous CO, much to the detriiment of everyone under him.
- Heroic BSOD: Peaches gets one after Avril and his squad are captured by crabs and presumably eaten
- Katanas Are Just Better: At least for the unit's Sarge.
- Mama Bear:
- "NOT ANY MOTHER'S SON DAMN YOU ALL!"
- We later learn that Spots shot and killed an intruder in her family's apartment when her daughter was napping.
- Manly Tears: Claws gets some after the rescue of Samuel Colt.
- Mildly Military: Averted.
- Military Science-Fiction: Well just look at the title...
- Mission Control: Nice friends to have when you're being overwhelmed by crabs and need reinforcements RIGHT NOW.
- Monster Is a Mommy: The Queen.
- Not So Different: Even the crab Queen loves her children.
- Oh, Crap:
- They figure out the crabs are after Samuel Colt
- "They've breached the airlocks!"
- Powered Armor: Well it is about Space Marines after all.
- Raised Catholic: Spots always prays before bunking down, and never take the Lord's name in vain.
- Screwed by the Network: Apparently Games Workshop got Amazon to stop carrying the e-book of Spots because it supposedly infringed on their trademarks, despite the term being used in SF novels since at least the days of E. E. “Doc” Smith.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Fang, originally. Everybody towards the end.
- Shown Their Work: Hogarth went to a bit of trouble to research how real world military units function and it shows.
- Space Marine: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Starfish Aliens: Samuel Colt, the base's resident Fiddler, who resembles a giant praying mantis with too many limbs. But he's in a body specifically created by the Fiddlers on his homeworld to interact with humans. Baseline fiddlers are aquatic and implied to look stranger.
- Team Mom: Spots of course.
- Theme Naming: Team Kitty includes Spots, Fang, Fang2 (It's a Long Story), Hairball and Claws. Other squads have similar themes.
- The Pollyanna: Spots is explicitly described as such by the author. Subverted a bit because Spots does feel angst, especially about her distant family, but has the strength to keep going through her faith in God.
- The Squad: We look at some members of other units, but the main focus of the story is on Spots and Team Kitty.
- Wham Line: "Does it hurt you as much as it hurts me?"
- White and Gray Morality: Humans are only defending themselves from a demonstrable threat, but the Crabs are programmed to be expansive and agressive, even against their best interests.
- Zerg Rush: SOP for the Crabs.