Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Setting: Underwater Base
Plot: Yet Another Christmas Carol
Narrative Device: Promoted To Scapegoat
Hero: First Person Smartass
Villain: Villain With Good Publicity
Character As Device: Iron Buttmonkey
Characterization Device: Compliment Fishing

My friend looked straight at the person who was quite possibly the best-known figure. I knew where this was going, so looked out the window to watch the fish. Boring conversations I can fake interest in, but I could mouth along with this one if I wanted to.

"You know, your colleague there would make a splendid commander." I heard and didn't react. The man wasn't addressing me, I'd always survived before, and the school looked like a white fish had swum through a prism.

"I'm sure you'd know better than I." I suppressed a smile that the best-known might see reflected in the glass. Three...two...one...

"But you have the most insightful opinions. I really would like to hear." The first time I'd heard the man speak like this, I'd been confused. His persona was so carefully crafted. It honestly hadn't occurred to me that he was charading. I suppose I wanted the world to be as it seemed.

"Very well." My lips did twitch then, as I turned to look at the two who were moving past the traditional back-and-forth. My friend sat cross-legged and we followed suit, though I was still clearly outside the conversation. Not that they'd notice if I did mind, wrapped up as they are in each other. Honestly, I should just bring candles and lobster one of these times.

"Let me tell you three stories. They're about you."

Setting: Premiseville
Plot: Legion Of Doom
Narrative Device: Hostile Weather
Hero: Technical Pacifist
Villain: Non Action Big Bad
Character As Device: Fantasy Character Classes
Characterization Device: Kick Them While They Are Down

I sighed at the dim light of false dawn as rain poured down. There wasn't time to run back and grab my jacket unless I wanted to miss the sunrise.

The only particular reason one would run across this particular place was because of its name. First, because out here, far from Earth, the names were traditionally quite long and two words at a minimum. Second, because out here, people had come to find fresh and new; very few used any piece of the old Earth languages or names. No Plymouth, no New London, always something different. And then here we were, old enough to be part of a dead language, but in the fresh land, barely a generation and a half settled.

Tomorrow, I would be fighting. I'd been in something like this before, and figured this would be worse. Some would be with me, but I'd be darting to reach where I needed to be, and I'd be alone. It'd feel like me against the world. And, of course, the world as a whole would have no trouble killing me, even if I were lucky enough to find some with a code like mine.

Avoiding killing them wouldn't be a problem once I reached the heart. The leader wasn't much for physical fighting, really. Guile, yes, of course. I'd have to be on my toes, when I'd probably be bruised and suffering from minor-to-severe blood loss. I briefly entertained the thought that the injuries might make someone go easy on my before my suspension of disbelief shattered.

But still. I was fighter enough from my mother, and had smarts enough from my father. Even if this didn't work, I'd probably survive. Bruises, blood, broken bones and all.

I watched the green and gold of a drenched Pax sunrise.

Setting: Big Fancy House
Plot: Forgotten Birthday
Narrative Device: Explosive Leash
Hero: Hurting Hero
Villain: What Measure Is A Mook
Character As Device: Reformed Criminal
Characterization Device: Ridiculously Successful Future Self

The ballroom was the definition of opulence. If you stuck the picture in the dictionary and left no other definition, people would get the basic idea. A more thorough idea would probably also require the living rooms, the bedrooms, and the fireplace. Oh, and the guest kitchen.

It was a terrible place to dust.

The place would have been awfully time-consuming even if I wore comfortable clothing. As it was, the jumpsuit itched, and the collar chafed. Of course, the collar was not quite as uncomfortable as it would be, should I move three steps outside this room.

Everyone forgets us. It's not that I really expect them to care most of the time, but I feel like they should care when I do something wrong, at least. Some iota of concern. But nope. Uncomfortable outfit, choke collar, and beyond that we're just forced labor that did something wrong. Something, somehow, somewhere, somewhen, but not quite someone. I rubbed at my eyes with the heel of my hand. It was the dust in my eye.

It was my birthday, the day before the one I'm writing of. As I write this, three years have past, and I celebrated my birthday for the first time in a decade. Chelsea's is in a month, and I'm already planning the party.

The old house is still a terrible place to dust, but I make sure none of us work on our own. After all, I can afford it.

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