And while the opener was my own creation, the story it ended up landing into morphed into a cheap Noein knockoff. See, this was when Noein was showing on SciFi's AniMonday program, along-side Gurren Lagann I believe. It quickly became one of my favorite anime of all time, so naturally, I would steal from it in a story. This being somewhere between 13 and 15 I'd guess, though (so, at minimum 6 years ago, but probably 7), obviously, my writing sucked (no, seriously, I'm staring at a copy of the original file and it can only be called, objectively, godawful), I didn't have the idea fleshed out that much, and I had too many other ideas, so I didn't get very far in the story.
...So why is it, unlike my other dead-end projects, actually memorable? Well for one thing, you may recall that my other anime-knockoff story is one of my MAJOR side-projects, and my current novel--while distinctly my own--takes a few large cues from both Gundam 00 and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. In short, the stories taking content directly from anime have left a huge impression on me, this one among them.
For a start, the weapon I made for the grunt (a tall, lanky humanoid made from purple clay) I cut in half was shaped loosely as a rifle but looked more like a gunblade to me; it has then since inspired many of my characters to use a weapon of the same design...including the predecessor to Sinaer (Aersin), which got incorporated into Sinaer's backstory. (In other words, Sinaer used to use a gunblade before switching to her staff.) That's just one modern example, but I do mean everywhere. Technically speaking, I still have the original clay gun somewhere buried in my bed, though it wouldn't surprise me to learn it's been completely destroyed. (In fact, the protagonist of the short was also there, and may have suffered the same fate. Speaking of him, though......)
The other character, the protagonist, was a shorter, sturdier (frankly a bit fat, but meant as muscular) loosely-speaking humanoid figure, wielding a katana in his right hand. I gave him a weird color scheme, yellow jacket (because there wasn't any white) and red pants, because I meant for it to be an inversion of what I was wearing at the time. (Black jacket, dark blue pants. Which, coincidentally, I still am, just a different type of jacket and pants, with an occasional black pants thrown in.) However, I ran out of clay for his left hand, and to get that shade of clay was impossible, so I ran with what I had, giving him a slightly-exposed left arm, basically allowing the aluminum foil to show. (In other words, I created a cannon on his left arm.)
That wasn't the original plan--I meant him to use the katana in both hands--but I made it work. The katana, for its part, was as well-crafted as a wire-based, aluminum-wrapped clay sword can be: way too long for the height of the character, rounded instead of having two points, but otherwise decent.
Anyway, I named him Mijarna. (Why? I dunno, I was fond of nonsensical names back then.) What was there was a being with a cybernetic left arm (I decided he could transition between the energy cannon and a mechanical hand), wielding a katana, who wore casual clothes otherwise. There's more to him than that, but basically think of him as being my take on the bad-future main male protagonist in Noein's equivalent. He stayed there.
So what made it so important? Did I constantly come back and wish to expand on it?
...Well, yes, I did, but not for the reason you might think.
The reason the story is so memorable is that it gave birth to the concept of Mijarna, someone who eventually evolved to become my roleplay character of choice, with a heavily-modified backstory. That Mijarna was a farmer, who instead of below the elbow had lost his entire left arm (a concept I have only used one other time--and coincidentally enough, that story I also revisit constantly). This being a fantasy setting, though (albeit a magitech one), he had not gotten anything replacing it, being disabled. He was a young man, about to attend 'The Academy' (the setting of our roleplay, and the inspiration for my usage of "The Academy" in other stories--given the degeneration of the roleplay, it gained a negative connotation rather quickly), so didn't have a sword; he used a pitchfork instead.
The roleplay went south fairly quickly, because the group of friends I was with (save for one aside from myself, who has also had a character named after him be a planned character in many, many of my fantasy settings) was...a little bit immature. They were volatile, a bit hostile to each other, and prone to whims. They didn't have what it took to hold a coherent roleplay together, and the person running it (I think that was me?) not being the best gamemaster certainly didn't help, so it quickly fell apart. But while the roleplay stopped, the characters it created were forever burned into my mind.
I planned on making a story featuring them all, as I imagined it could have played out had things continued, with the drama inside the characters rather inside the people controlling them. (Thus, the birth of The Academy being evil and driving its students evil and/or insane.) This is how Mijarna became an established roleplay character, with the events of that hypothetical story (I never started it, I don't think) serving as his backstory.
After further expansion, I decided he became a politician, but that he lost his lands in a war, and this is where he got his artificial arm grafted in, to become a warrior, basically tying the original Mijarna into the roleplay Mijarna as is my wont, and created someone capable of using fire magic, tech, and a lethally-efficient swordsman, all the while remaining casual.
That's the roleplay character.
But back to the story that spawned Mijarna...the original version of Mijarna...I continue thinking about it every once and a while, and tonight, I thought of some pseudoscience that would flesh out the concept and by extent, the characters so much. The basics behind this tie into the central plot, and thus, everything. Basically, it ties into spacetime and the multiverse. In Mijarna's world, he explains how scientists (his parents and the love interest's equivalent's parents) developed a theory tying them together. The multiverse continues to expand since with every single point where different outcomes can happen, different universes result based off of that. However, while there are an infinite number of multiverses, with increasing diversity with every passing second, it was theorized that there are a finite number of probability-branches, relative to a point in time and space.
...Like I said, pseudoscience; I haven't fleshed the idea out any. But basically, the theory was that time travel itself wouldn't be possible, but by using these principles, many possibilities would open up: the ability to travel through space in an instant by crossing through multiverses into a multiverse where the destination you wish to reach is where you were standing before, and yet otherwise events have played out similarly enough as to make it indistinguishable from the multiverse you were in.
It would also allow for what would appear as if time travel, in that by traveling to a multiverse on a different branch, you could find a 'verse where humanity's 200 years ahead or behind. Same point in time, and same point in space, just that on the different branches, events played out in this differing manner. This traveling is called voidspace, because it exists outside of space.
...The problem is, and this is what drives the story, there is one 'verse of beings who mastered this principle hundreds of years ago, and since then, have become multiverse conquerors. Because anyone with this technology can jump between multiverses that are on different branches, it effectively means that they can expand their civilization to a near-infinite size, looting resources and land while still staying in contact with one another.
...And they specialize in invading 'verses that are near the point of reaching this discovery, as to prevent them from gaining access to the vast power the voidspace provides. So in Mijarna's verse, they invaded seven years ago, and have since conquered the whole world. These beings are biomechanoids, emphasis on the machine, and have access to all those scifi type weapons. However, they also have the ability to tap into the voidspace for seemingly-magical feats. See, the laws of physics are the same across the multiverses, but by accessing the multiverse on a localized scale, they can perform superhuman feats, like, say, controlling a fireball.
It does have a side-effect, though, shared with traveling through the voidspace: in the multiverse you're in/heading to, short-term, time seemingly comes to a still for everyone except those sensitive to voidspace. It should be noted, though, that sensitivity to voidspace can be natural, but can also be granted. Equivalent beings (that is, the same person in two verses) will automatically become sensitive to the voidspace if a counterpart of theirs has gained control of voidspace and their verse is being entered.
Additionally, the more and the longer beings are exposed to the voidspace (not to mention the greater the intensity of the voidspace being used), the greater the chance they gain the sensitivity to it, thus why the time-stopping-on-a-local-scale thing doesn't work for very long.
Mijarna's world was, as I said, invaded seven years ago. Since then, a resistance group has popped up that he's a member of, but they're trapped in a deathcamp, in a war they are very, very badly losing. They've become partially-cybernetic themselves, and have mastered voidspace, but they can't actually use it except on the localized scale, because they lack the resources. Their one advantage is that the biomechanoids they're fighting when using it on a local scale have to wield huge machines to do so. (That's localized, in comparison to the portal they use to travel.) Humans have learned to do so without the machines. But they can't even use it on that localized scale without risk of being found, since every time voidspace is used, those sensitive to it (and all the biomechanoids are) can sense its usage.
The biomechanoids were about to send a scouting party to "our" world, the world the main story primarily takes place in, and Mijarna's resistance force stalled them to allow Mijarna to make a desperate trip through. He does, thus kickstarts the plot upon--when wounded--encountering the protagonists. "Our" world is about seven years behind, but in our world, the protagonists are the ones who would make the discovery that dooms them.
And thus, the plot begins, with our world basically being the hope of every world, with them beginning to get voidspace training, but having an advantage over Mijarna: they're absolutely invisible to other voidspace travelers, but they're also (without becoming cyborgs) so naturally in-tune to it that they hold much greater innate talent--problem is, they're inexperienced and can't use it consistently, and Mijarna can't train them. They basically have to wing it each time.
The exact nature of the story (how much traveling to other verses) and number of characters I'd have, I never determined, but there'd be a fair number on Mijarna's side, requiring at least half that number on "our" side to varying different extents. This is far, far more than what I had before on the story, so I'm quite happy with this expansion.