Friday, August 30, 2013

Me and Aldaris (p 15): The Final Stretch

You are Sam McManus, son of Jarred McManus, the miner, son of Caleb McManus, also the miner, son of Cain McManus, who had come all the way from planet Earth on the Argo to come and settle on the Koprullu Sector planet of Moria.  Cain wasn't a miner; he was a criminal responsible for thefts upwards of ten million dollars, but the family never talked about that.  You were a mining family and nothing else, as far as Pop is concerned.

As you might expect, you're a miner too.  in fact, you're on the way to work right now, headed for second shift in the mines of Mt. Tracy.  Your father and your two older brothers won't be joining you yet.  They get to work through the night on third shift.  Their pay is much better, but since you're only barely seventeen, you don't get to spend the night blasting in caves for the gold and the minerals.  You get to shovel rocks and rubble into the sorter so that the gold can be removed from the plain ol' rocks.  Yippee.

I grinned.  This was a great way to start the story.  Granted, it would be nice if I had an actual title for this story, but what are you going to do?  I figure I'll write up the rest of the story and decide what I want to name it later.  After all, writing a "choose your own adventure" story is bound to take a while.  There's plenty of time to name it something.  No need to rush.

"Aldaaarissss!"  I yelled.  "I'm boooooored agaaaaaain!"


"Dang it...."

I almost contentedly typed away at the computer in my living room, not really expecting anything to happen.  It'd been a while since anything interesting I work at a bookstore and haven't done much besides go swimming in the pool.  Some journal, huh?  There was that time when a neighbor of mine had their apartment burn down, but I was at a coffeeshop at the time and missed most of the excitement.  Other than that, I made friends with a half-stray named Smoky.  Not exactly riveting stuff.  Smoky is pretty cute, though.  The neighbor said that if I put cat food out, she'll kill the mice that've been in the neighborhood lately.

And thus for the sake of my journal, I was pretty happy when I heard the distinctive voice of nobody's favorite authority figure.  Well, sort of.  Charlie wasn't in the best of moods.

"What are you doing?" Aldaris' voice, rather impatient, sounded in my head.

"I'm just writing a Starcraft fanfiction." I replied, chirpy as ever.  For some reason doing something Aldaris disapproves of is just hilarious to me.  "It's a choose your own adventure thing, and I figure if I can write it up pretty well, Blizzard will actually publish it."

Aldaris didn't actually say anything, but he hadn't left; I could still sense his contempt in my head for several seconds of silence.  And I'm pretty sure he could sense how amused I was.  That made me even more amused.

"And you sincerely believe that this is a profitable course of action?" he finally said.

"Well, not really.  Blizzard will probably just send me a rejection letter for legal reasons.  But I want to try anyway." I went ahead and shut down my computer.  I'm not willing to risk being teleported with it on and then something bad happening to the hard drive.  "If it does get published, it'll be pretty sweet, but even if it doesn't, I can just post it online and hopefully people will like it.  Don't worry, you're not in it."

"Because I am 'dead', I suppose."

"Well...yeah.  That, and with you being real and non-historical I don't have the right to use your identity." I grabbed my Brood War disc.  "If you show up down here, you could sue me or something."

"Bethany," Aldaris' voice darkened.  "I believe we have had this discussion before."

"Yeah, yeah, you're not coming down.  I don't mean to pressure you or anything, I'm just saying.  Anyway, are you ready to finish off Starcraft?"

"More than ready.  Less than half of it remains, yes?"

"Yep.  Just the final terran and Zerg missions of Brood War."

"Good.  Are you prepared for transport?"

"Uh..." I looked around real quick and grabbed a little drawstring bag with some stuff in it.  "Yep, now I am.  Let's go!"

It must be annoying to travel by glowy blue clouds when you're trying to sneak away from an enemy.  I thought as said clouds enveloped me.  Probably more than once it's given away the Templars' position.  Of course, if they're leaving then it doesn't always matter where they....what the heck?

Instead of being transported onto a ship, I found myself on the back patio behind someone's house.  Someone's nice house, at that.  A patio of concrete squares covered about thirty or so square feet in the back, forming a sort of porch for all the wicker furniture there: two loveseats, a chair and a lounge.  It was indeed wicker-looking, but not at all cheap.  The homey wooden structures were a nice dark brown, topped off with light green cushions and the occasional black and white floral pillow.  Seriously, it was straight out of a catalog, other than some of the grass that stuck out between some of the concrete tiles.

The house was nice too.  It was a two story building, from the looks of it.  A set of glass double doors led into the kitchen; I could see a sink full of dirty dishes.  The aggregate walls were a nice shade of white, almost perfect to serve as a projection screen.  The tiny little crinkles in it probably wouldn't have much affect on how the projection looked. Yeah, the projector was there, set up on a needlessly fancy wicker table with a glass top.  How rich was the person who lived here?

Behind me, two more bits of blue glow appeared and dissolved.  One of them was a large chair, and the other was the Protoss intending to sit in it.  I immediately folded my arms, staring directly up into Aldaris' smug face.

"What did you do?"

"Nothing." Aldaris replied lightly.  "Do you not find this environment more comfortable than a storage chamber?  I thought perhaps you would be grateful for a change of scenery."

"Just tell me what you did.  Who lives  in this house?"

"Someone surnamed Kensley." a calm Aldaris merrily ignored the human below as he set himself in his chair.  The jerk.  "He was called out of town for a family emergency."

My eyes widened in horror.  Aldaris shook his head at me.

"An emergency I did not cause." he added.  "Surely I would avoid interfering with the lives of any of your people, if only to hide my existence."

"Oookay..." I looked back at the house.  "Who else lives here?  That's kind of a big house for someone who lives by himself."

"The man does live alone, from what I was able to see.  There is a grave in that direction, I believe of his wife who has apparently passed away some time in the previous year."  As if appearing from nowhere, a brown dog suddenly hopped up on Aldaris' lap, and he didn't shove it off.  Instead, he rubbed the thing as if it were his own pet.  "Perhaps Kensley desires to remain here even without her."

"If you say so." The dog was cute, and from the tuft of fur running down his spine, I guessed it was a rhodesian ridgeback.  What, you don't look up different breeds of dogs in your spare time just for the fun of it?   Well, I like dogs, so I went up to pet it too.  "He doesn't have any neighbors headed this direction to check on the house, does he?"

"Not that I am aware, though no mind greater than a small animal can come nearby without my noticing it."

I reached out for the dog to scratch behind his ears, and all of a sudden the innocent looking lapdog snarled, and if Aldaris hadn't been holding it back, it might have done some serious damage to my hand.  No thanks, dog!  I've got my ears pierced, and that's all the piercings I need.

"Inneen, Raasha, inneen!  Maksaleen."  Aldaris patted the dog on the head.  "Bethany, this breed of animal is extremely aggressive.  Its kind is unaccepting of those it does not find familiar."

I blinked.  "What did you to do that dog?"

"Nothing." Aldaris replied as he scratched its shoulders.  "It likes me."

"Yeah, right.  You did something to that dog's brain, didn't you?"

"Why do you make such an assumption?" Aldaris didn't have to have a mouth to make a wry smile.  "Is it so difficult to believe that I am good with animals?"

I stared at him in complete disbelief.  He was way too amused for someone telling the truth.  "Yes it is.  In fact, I am detecting extreme amounts of bullcrappery from your general direction.

"Good for you." Aldaris continued to pet the dog.  "Now go and set up your computer.  It is my desire to see this Brood War though, and I tire of your accusations."

"My accusations that are completely true."

"Why, Bethany, it is offensive how little you think of me."

"Another lie.  You don't care at all what I think about you."

"Very well, I am caught; your opinion does not concern me in the slightest.  Now go set up your computer, for I know how it amuses you to torment me with this game of yours."

"Alright," I chuckled, walking off to the projector.  "I guess I got to see it through, then."

No comments:

Post a Comment