Thursday, November 21, 2013

Me and Aldaris (p21): Alley-oops!

Aldaris and John were back from trying to make the ship work, and John rejoined our little group of humans on the floor near the window.  Aldaris sat at his table, casting wary glances at the four of us.  Sheesh.  It's not as though we could have done anything in this empty room while he was gone.

"Everything fixed?"  I asked the Protoss.

"All is under control at the moment." Aldaris replied.  

Toby sat up a little straighter.  "So what was wrong with the ship, then?"

Aldaris narrowed his eyes, in that way he always did when someone asked a question that pried too much into his business.  Sheesh, we aren't electrical engineers.  It's not like we know how any of this stuff works.  Aldaris, catching my thought, glared at me before continuing.  

"It is the recall unit.  It malfunctioned, and because the four of you were the last ones to be taken by the recall possessor, your..." Aldaris seemed lost for words, and he gestured a bit as though it would help him think.  Finally, he gave up.  "I do not know the human word for it.  My vessel remembers you, and that allowed the device to summon you in its error."

"Huh...but we're the only ones who have ever been on your ship from Earth." I pointed out.  "It's impossible, presumably, to bring in somebody from your universe.  What if it tried to teleport again after we were all up here?"

"That is precisely what it attempted to do.  Hence the failure." Aldaris shifted in his chair, straightening his posture and lifting his head like a disdainful king.  Charlie tends to do that when he wants to change the subject.  "For the time being, you shall remain here until the recall device is at adequate power to send you home."

Yeah, and he could hardly wait, I bet.  In the meantime, John had already sat down with us again, and Cheonha very professionally poured him more juice.  Seriously, what's with her hostess kick already?

"Yay, so we get to hang out with everyone's favorite cranky reptile." I winked.

Aldaris responded with such a stare that I almost turned to stone.  For real.  "Bethany, perhaps you wanted to rephrase that statement."

I was about to respond with even more sarcasm than before, but I felt my mind blank out -- as though I couldn't get access to my wit.  It was weird...normally I don't feel that way unless I'm up at one in the morning trying to write a story and hyped up on nothing but day old coffee.  Oh wait, there's a seven-century old psychic mastermind sitting there glaring at me with his laser eyes.  That would explain it.

"Uh, what I meant to say was that we get to practice diplomacy by speaking with a highly intelligent foreign politician." I blushed and pointed to the window.  "And that I'm going to go sit over here now and stop saying things."

"That is an improvement." Aldaris nodded.  "Though I doubt that you would keep any promise to remain silent for longer than a a few minutes at a time."

Statkus was starting to get annoyed with Charlie at that point.  He doesn't like it when Aldaris starts getting all "I'm the boss of you" to us, even when I deserve it.  Thankfully, though, Toby's not good at noticing cranky people.  Either that, or he's really good at putting up them.  It's a superpower.

"So Charlie," Toby asked.  "How'd you like Starcraft II?  You never did pick up the disks for Heart of the Swarm.  That bad, eh?"

Before answering, I got a nice second dosage of evil stares from Aldaris.  "Is it your doing that my unfortunate 'nick' name has taken precedence over the proper way of addressing a 'foreign diplomat'?"

I crossed my fingers over my mouth.  Hey, he's the one that didn't want me talking.

"I see." he glared at me a second longer before turning back to Toby.  His face relaxed notably, though probably more because he was tired than anything else.  "I find this 'Wings of Liberty' to be nonsensical.  The portrayal of the Taldarim was most offensive, and though I have learned many dark things of Raynor from your game, it would seem highly out of his nature for him to destroy Protoss of any sort for the sake of profit.  I did not finish it, nor care to."

"Did you get to the part with Zeratul?" I asked, grinning.  Lol, I'm sure Charlie just loved seeing it.

"There it is." Aldaris said, lifting his gaze to me.  "Bethany deceives us with a false promise and breaks her silence.  But to answer you, I have viewed a little of Zeratul's part in it, but no more than his greetings with Raynor, if one may call it that.  Though I doubt I shall like the answer, I ask you this: what more have they done to slander Prelate Zeratul?"

"Oh yes, where he talked to Raynor was pretty stupid.  I burst out laughing when 'I bring tidings of doom'." I cringed at the horror which was Zeratul's dialogue.  "Maybe if Zer's original voice actor hadn't died, he would have stopped them from making Zer such a moron.  Or they would have kicked him out like they did Kerri's voice actress.  Anyway, after he talks to Raynor, Zeratul gives him a memory crystal of some sort, and through it the player can access some additional missions.

"And those missions are insultingly stupid.  Zer and Kerrigan meet up and say some vapid crap that doesn't mean anything, and then Zeratul goes after bits of some prophecy..." I strained my mind to remember. "Sorry, I'm not so good at remembering stupid things.  It basically culminates in a really cheap 'break the cycle of the gods' crap.  Zer then goes to Aiur, where he encounters the rotting corpse of the Overmind and Tassadar's ghost."

Aldaris blinked.  "If I recall your notes correctly, this game is set four years post Brood War.  Surely what was left of that corpse would have rotted by that time."

"Heh." I chuckled.  "See, the thing is, you're using your mind.  Sadly, the writers of this game were not, and Zer gets to have a really stupid conversation with Tassadar about how the Overmind wasn't really evil, but simply following the directive of...something.  I think they're trying to set up the Xel'Naga as evil or something.  And apparently the Overmind was happy to die because that meant he was no longer under the whatever's control, and - "

Aldaris cut me off with a swipe of the hand. "By all means, cease speaking of Starcraft.  I am beyond submitting myself to human prevarications.  It was already clear from 'Wings of Liberty' that I have nothing more to gain from observation."

"Certainly not from Heart of the Swarm." I winced.  "'S terrible."

"Then by your courtesy, do not elaborate."

"Okay then."

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