Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V

It's almost two in the morning, and will likely be after that by the time I finish writing this. Few things can make me want to stay up this late, especially considering how tired I already was before I even started the final missions of Grand Theft Auto V. But I was compelled to finish it, purely because of how invested I had become. GTA V has already received its praise. A bit more won't do much.

Where should I even start? GTA V, if you didn't already know, is an third person, open world, sandbox game. Probably the best of its ilk at what it does, if you ask me, challenged only by games such as Red Dead Redemption(another Rockstar title, go figure), and maybe games like Skyrim. It takes place in the fictional state of San Andreas, mainly in the city of Los Santos and the surrounding Blaine County, which is essentially southern California in all but name. Some may recall this(minus Blaine County) as having been the setting for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and while names of landmarks are shared, it's very much a new playground to explore. Though there are a few cool places to go back to if you're a vet of the series.

The story follows three people. Michael, a retired bank robber having to deal with the tedium of day to day, along with his family that makes even the word 'dysfunctional' seem too subtle. Franklin, a gangbanger who wants nothing more than to not only move out of the hood, but up in life. And Trevor, a psychotic hillbilly, who used to work with Michael, but hasn't seen him in nine years after an event at the start of the game. So respectively, a GTA protagonist after the end of a game, a GTA protagonist at the start of the game, and your average GTA player. All of them are interesting, have their own story arcs, personalities, friends, side missions, activities, and so on, while also remaining connected and having their stories intertwine. This also leads to the game's most interesting mechanic.

At most points in the game, not counting points in the game where certain characters are unavailable whether because they're hiding out or have yet to be properly introduced, you can switch between playing as these three men. By hitting down on the D-pad and selecting one of them with the right thumbstick, the camera will zoom out to the clouds, shift over to the character of choice, and zoom back in. Usually you'll get an interesting little scene of what they've been doing. For instance while popping into Trevor, I constantly found him having caused some sort of trouble, sometimes of the murdering variety, while nearly naked and wasted. I wasn't sure this would actually work out, but it does. This is probably one of the most interesting mechanics to have in an open world game.

Other aspects of the game include a variety of things to do on the side, ranging from things like golf and tennis, to more adrenaline filled sports like racing through the streets, or if you're the athletic type, a triathlon. These are all responses, and as easy to play as they should be expected to be, considering the high production values of the game. There are also side missions, called Strangers and Freaks a concept that people may recognize from Red Dead Redemption, that are shorter than your main missions, and involve interacting with a few nuts from around the city or state. These are humorous, and many introduce even more activities to do. Some activities are restricted to certain characters, giving you even more incentive to play each one.

On the gameplay side of things, the gunplay is very responsive, more so than it was back in GTA IV, though not quite at a level that some may enjoy right off. Auto-aim can be both a life saver, and an annoyance when it doesn't actually seem to snap to anything. At other times, it can make the game seem almost too easy. Mess with the options, and you'll probably find some sweet spot for difficulty, though. I stuck with the default option throughout the game, and only rarely found a reason to complain. Cover works well, though a few more ways of being mobile in it would have been nice. Perhaps I just missed the prompt for such, but I never found a way to move between cover, aside from being able to move around corner of the cover being currently used. Driving has improved since GTA IV, with the vehicles feeling lighter and more responsive, making them easier to maneuver. Of course this will depend on what you're driving, and while it may be less realistic, it is more fun to play. Putting the main aspects of the game together though, shooting and driving, can be a pain to do. Shooting while focusing on driving is hard, but it's only made worse by having a tiny reticle in the center of the screen that can easily be lost while you're trying to focus on driving. Eventually you will get better at it, but for me, this was probably the most constant source of frustration in the entire game.

The largest edition to the gameplay comes in the form of heists, which you will be preforming throughout the game. These range from small jewelry store robberies, to large scale bank robberies that. They start off with you usually having the option to go loud(or as the game likes to call it "loud and dumb") or in a more stealthy way("smart and quiet"). While the former may sound like it's not the game's preferred method, both options are equally fun, and have their own unique twists to make you want to replay them again(which you can from the pause menu), just to see the other side of things. Once you've selected your option, you'll select your team should you need one from a pool of people you've met over the course of the game. These people's skills will range from good to bad, with their cut of the profits being higher if their skills are better. They also have a range of stats pertaining to their role, such as how well a gunman chooses their weaponry, and how soon they'll crack under pressure.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous. I'm sure there are better looking PC games out there, but when it comes to consoles, I'm hard pressed to find a competitor. The Last of Us is close, and probably does win in some aspects, but considering it's a very closed and contained game as opposed to GTA V's open world, that's a very tough call. The game's framerate holds up well even when it's moving at its fastest pace, which honestly surprised me. Yes, there is a bit of pop-in here and there, and some objects, and on occasion people, seemed a bit lo-res, but this was a rare enough occasion to be a bother. There's some breathtaking sights to be had here.

It's really hard to pull apart a game that's as big as this, and judge it all. I haven't even scratched the surface on the little things, like the internet, TV shows, and radio. Everything you see is largely satirical, and it's hilarious, if not a bit scary, about how accurate it is. And for people thinking that Rockstar picks sides? Nope. Whether you sit on the right, left, middle, or just don't care, there's probably an aspect of your life that's parodied here, and it's spot on, and a tad worrying at times. GTA V is incredibly funny, and not in an insane Saints Row sort of way, though there's quite a bit of 'mature' humor in there, that's crude for the sake of being crude. The world feels alive, lived in, and you get the impression that even if you do nothing, people's lives will continue on. There's little touches, like conversations on the street between pedestrians, or random events in the world that range from simple robberies that you can stop(and have the option to return the loot or keep it for yourself), to plain out crazy(there is a wonderful No Country for Old Men reference in there).

Now, with all that said, I should actually put some criticism on the main aspect where I thought GTA V faltered. That was easily the story. With the three protagonists, you can constantly jump about as you wish, and follow a person's personal missions while ignoring others. This leads to less flow that past GTA games had, and other, similar games have, because you can jump back into one character's story and not even remember what was going on. This happened to me the most with Franklin, the character I played the least of. I would call him easily the least interesting character of the bunch, but that doesn't mean he isn't a good character. The other two just prove to have more interesting situations, contacts, and so on. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the story, it's still not as strong as other Rockstar games plot-wise. It has its moments, trust me, but it just felt a bit disjointed at points. I suppose what I mean is when it comes to the plot, I find it hard to summarize. Whether that's good or bad, is up to you. I found it to be more of a character study than anything else, and with these characters? The interaction is great. The dialogue is witty, funny, and all around well-written, which is what it should be. I want to continue on, both to hear more of it, and to be able to see what's going to happen next. Whereas other GTA games start slow to introduce mechanics individually, GTA V is smart enough to keep you moving and always look towards the next big heist, or other large scale event.

Sound design is another one of GTA's high marks. The voice acting is great all around, with the leads all offering wonderful performances. Not even the side characters drop below decent, even the random pedestrians you'll pass by(or run over) on the street. The music can be spoken about in two ways: the radio, or the game's original score. When it comes to the radio, there's something here for everyone(unless you're into metal, in which you might be disappointed), ranging from rap, to pop, to classic rock, and even a country station making a return. The original score does a good job of building up tension when it should, but it isn't as good as other game's. Considering this is the first Rockstar North game I can recall having this extensive of an original score, though, hopefully they'll nail it the next go around.

This is all being said having played only one half of the game, though, since they haven't even allowed people to play the Online mode(which releases Tuesday, October 1st, 2013). If that's as much as it's being hyped to be(or even if it's not entirely what people may be expecting) it looks to be even more content for people in the way of 500 missions, with at least 200 more on the way, along with many side activities from the main game being available. Combine that with the ability to create your own races and death matches, combine it with the single-player portion, and you have an incredible bang for your buck here.

At the end of the day, GTA V is great. Will it offend people? Sure. Is it perfect? Of course not, but what is? Is it fun though? Oh yes. Oh yes it is fun, it gives you enough content to justify the purchase and then some, and it's a highly polished product from start to finish, with little skimped. Of course it's gotten its fair share of praise already. It'll probably continue to get more as time goes on, while also getting people nitpicking at it. But for right now, with the euphoria still in overdrive after having played it? I couldn't care less. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I have a number of freaks to meet up with, before I try skydiving again. Maybe this time I won't smash my face right into the side of a mountain again. Fourth time's the charm, right?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dead Grass on Either Side

(This story was done in collaboration with another person. Their side of things can be seen here: Another's Shoes...Or Lack There Of )

      He was going to kill her. He didn't care what he had to do, whether it was make her scrub the bloody ghoul pit with her tongue, or sort through a dozen forms every single time she wanted to blink, he was going to make her regret whatever had just happened. 

      She had come barging in, fresh from Durotar, to show him some device or something she had gotten off of one of the Kor'kron. They had decide it must have been for use in infiltration or something. Or that's what they had finally settled on after he'd tried to ignore it as he was bound to do. After that things were fuzzy. The one thing he was certain of was that he wasn't in his office.

      He kept his eyes shut, face pressed against something soft. Slowly he moved his hand against the surface, moving closer to his head. At first all he could feel was some sort of soft cloth, before his hand hit something even softer. He frowned. It was a pillow. He was laying on someone's bed.

      Pushing himself up from the bed, his frown grew. This was his quarters, either. Red turned over, shifting into a sitting position, rubbing his eyes. It felt like his brain was in a fog, his vision was still clearing, and his ears were ringing. For some ungodly reason he couldn't smell either.

      "Beck," he muttered to himself, "So help me if I don't throttle you." Rubbing his temples, he could feel his head starting to clear, but only slightly. "'Oh it wasn't my fault Red,'" he grumbled doing his best impersonation. "'It's not like you can blame me for this!'"

      He stopped, looking around. He could have swore he had heard...No, no. The room was empty, aside from the furniture and him. Going off the size and amount of closets he didn't even want to guess on what or how much the contained. He shivered. It was bloody cold in here.

      "Alright," he muttered again to himself, "Now where are w-..." he stopped again, grabbing his throat. Beck wasn't in the room, but it certainly sounded like it. Wait. No, it couldn't be. This had to be her quarters. That certainly explained why it was larger. He recalled her having broken down a few walls. Someone had dragged him to her quarters? But if he sounded like Beck, it was possible that he...

      In one part of the room, he spotted a mirror. Sighing he slowly stood, not daring to take his eyes off of the mirror. Something was obviously off. He stumbled and almost fell flat on his face. Once he had managed to straighten himself, he almost instantly recognized it as a problem he had had to deal with not but a month or two ago. There was a sense of dread growing in his stomach.

      Approaching it from the side, he shook his head. "You're gonna regret this, you know," Becky said for him. At least that what he wanted to think. He shut his eyes tightly, slowly inching to the right until he figured he had to be in front of the glass. Slowly he opened them, and he sighed. As he feared, staring back at him was Beckyann Eastburg. Red went through a motion, first raising his hand, then gently tapping his cheek, sighing when the reflection did exactly that. Looking at his hands, he wiggled his pinkies, feeling odd to even have them. Becky's nails were...What was the word? Manicured? Something like that, to the point where he swore if he needed to he could have used them just like he still had claws. Looking down at his armor, he could easily tell why he was cold. He didn't exactly feel safe. On his head he could feel some sort of metal, and reaching up confirmed that he was now wearing some sort of headband. Why was he even having to go through this checklist? He'd seen Beck enough to know that.

      His attention was diverted for a short moment when there was a thud at the door. He blinked, looking to it, swearing it had to be some sort of explosion. Outside it sounded like someone was talking, and two other someone's were screaming their lungs out. There was a pause before he finally decided to check. Cracking the door open and peeking out, he found only an empty hallway, and what appeared to be ash on the other side of the hall. Frowning he slunk back inside, and shut the door, leaning back against it.

      It was only a moment before he could hear someone outside talking again. Through the door, he could hear someone screaming "Ma'am?"

      With a sigh, he reopened the door, staring at the person on the other side. A Private. "You could have just bloody knocked, you know," he said, holding back the urge to cringe at his voice.

      The Private blinked, shaking his head. "The last time I knocked ma'am, I was almost blown to kingdom come, ma'am. The door..." He trailed off, staring at the door, a visible shudder going down his back.

      Red blinked, looking at the door. "Looks fine to me," he said, shrugging before looking at the Private again, "What do you want?"

      The Private held up a small stack of papers, "You have a patrol scheduled, ma'am."

      Red was frowning now, "I didn't schedule any patrols." He almost hoped the Private would buy it.

      "I believe Captain Pendlegast had them scheduled for you, ma'am," the Private said, looking down at the pages.

      "Never heard of them," Red said. When the Private held up the papers again and Red snatched them from his hand, looking them over. Without another word he pushed past the Private, pulling the door closed behind him. Had he been watching he would have seen the Private recoil in fear as he almost made contact with the wood.

      In turn the Private missed Red mutter, "It's not like anything happens on these bloody things, right?"

      Working his way out to the balcony, Red gave the geist manning the gryphons down to the Enclave a small nod, finding a small group had already assembled. They were already mounted. Upon seeing him arrive, they gave him a nod and a salute. He did the same in return, trying to ignore the urge to turn around, and find Beck. I figured now was probably a bad time to be strangling her.

      He squinted slightly, having to think to remember the words to summon a deathcharger. When he finally recalled it, he sighed as the beast rode up, almost missing the fact that it tried to run him down. Red rolled to the side, barely missing it.

      “Bloody psychopathic freak o' nature!” he shouted as it went past. Staring at it, he rose only when he was certain it wasn't going to try it again. Rising, he brushed himself off, and redirected what hair had found its way in front of his face back behind it. Looking to the Privates that were still in line, he shook his head, “Did you see that? Thing tried to take me out. Bloody hell.”

      “Are you...Feeling okay, ma'am?” one of them, a woman, asked, looking at him quizzically.

      He shook his head, “Yeah, just fine. Think I'll be walkin' though, know? Doubt I wanna ride that thing.” Ignoring the strange looks they gave him, he simply walked past them, and soon enough heard them trailing behind.

      They moved silently through the Enclave until they reached the main portion of the Plaguelands. He occasionally shot a glance over his shoulder, only to find them staring at him oddly. Finally the footsteps behind him came to a stop. Red blinked and stopped himself, “What?”

      “Forsaken ahead, ma'am,” one of the Privates said, pointing.

      “Well. They probably got as much a right to be around here as we do, I'd guess. I've seen the Horde running through here,” he muttered. “They gonna be hostile?”

      “It's a possibility.”

      “Well...We can just wait to see if they pass.”

      Again he could feel their eyes digging into him. He simply crossed his arms, trying to ignore the awkward feeling of doing so, and watched down the road. There were about four of them, from what he could see, and he was in no mood to be starting a fight. After a few minutes had passed, they turned and went off towards the west, leaving them the only people on the road.

      “See? What'd I tell ya. Went right on their merry way,” Red said, smirking. He took a step forward, his foot slamming into a rock, and fell right onto his face. “Ow.”

      One of the Privates directed their steed over near him, and looked down, “Are you sure you're okay, ma'am?” He sounded both annoyed, worried, and amused.

      Red pulled his face out of the dirt, spitting. He gagged at the black ooze that came out. “No, I ain't. Why don't y'all keep going ahead, and I'll just head back to the Hold. I'll file the report and all that.” Standing he grumbled as he shook his hair out of his eyes again. Pointing at the Private who had gone to check on him, he muttered “You're in charge for the rest of this.”

      With that said, he turned, deciding to ignore whatever else they might have to say. Maybe they would just assume he was going off to fume or something. He wandered through the ruins of the Plaguelands until he found some old abandoned shell of a house, where he sat down and rest back against the wood.

      Staring up at the sky, he silently cursed to himself. Beck could deal with what had just happened, probably. Right? Light only knew what she had been up to. He allowed himself to sigh in relief when he could feel his head growing fuzzy again, as it had earlier, before he found himself staring at his office ceiling instead of the sky.

      Redamous blinked, glancing around. He sniffed, and frowned as his eyes found Nicole staring at him with a smirk. He raised one clawed finger, “One question.” She nodded slowly, trying to not burst out laughing. “Why in the holy hell do I smell like bloody soap.” Nicole simply shook her head and lost it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Last One Out

(This story is about my main on WoW, Redamous. Redamous is a Worgen(Werewolf, essentially) Death Knight. I say that for anyone who might run across this and not know. This story was written originally for a writing competition my WoW guild has had going on for twenty two days now, where a new writing prompt is posted each day, and you must write a story relating your character to that prompt.

The prompt for this story was: "There are some things which we would never, EVER do. What is one atrocity your character would never commit?"

I've considered posting a few of my stories for this competition thus far, if not all of them, but had yet to find one I was truly satisfied with to the point of wanting to share it beyond my guild. While I wouldn't say this is my best work, this is probably the most satisfied I have been with a story for sometime, concerning Redamous. Please enjoy.)

Last One Out

      There was something calming about the rain. Something calming about the way it slowly pattered against the roof, forming that familiar little pitter patter in the background, no matter where he went. The clouds cast the land in a gray light. Some might have found it rather depressing, he found nothing but comfort in the fact. To see some of his homeland's familiar weather lifted his spirits ever so slightly. Sitting in the empty house did the exact opposite. Yet there he sat, allowing himself to wallow in the pain of old memories.

      How he'd managed to keep hold of the key was beyond him, but he had. In the years since the residents of Gilneas, Red had found that their architecture had lasted through the weather as it was meant to. Because of this, the house had managed to survive even a few rough winters. Its wooden roof had yet to start sagging, its paneling outside only missing a piece here and there. The glass in the windows remained in one piece, and there wasn't any paint on the wood outside to wash off, though some of the wood had given way to rotting in places.

      The Worgen sat on one of the chairs inside, glowing eyes slowly working their way around the darkened room. What was left were objects he didn't object to being taken by looters. Furniture, mainly, along with clothing and other things. He had no need for it, and it would have just seemed creepy if he had taken it with him. No need to be dragging a bunch of children's clothing, and women's dresses back with him to the Hold. He squinted for a moment, before shaking his head. There was no way in hell he was going to tell Becky about them. Seeing her in them would have just been disturbing.

      In his clawed hand, he held the chain that usually rested around his neck. Rarely did he pull it off his neck, as it served no purpose to do so, but today was somewhat special. He'd long ago forgotten exactly how many years ago it had been, but he was certain of the date. Several years ago to the day, he had gotten married. Years would pass, children would come into the picture, but that would remain constant. Not all good things last forever, though, and the day came where certain people ceased to live, himself included, but that part of his life wasn't his focus. Whether celebration or mourning, he was here for his anniversary, and so he sat at the table where he and his wife would have been enjoying some sort of meal. What it would have been was a detail he didn't bother himself with.

      Turning over the chain, he ran his claw across the two rings that sat on it, their loops intertwined to connect them. He had had such done so that they wouldn't slide around as individual pieces. He wanted them together where otherwise they would not have been. A small smirk crept onto the Worgen's face. That was almost too sappy of a metaphor.

      His attention was drawn away from a small noise, his ear twitching slightly as he heard the door open, someone silently slip inside, and then close it. He followed the small sound of their footsteps as they crept through the room, despite, as far as they knew, there being no reason to be. Why would they ever suspect someone to be home?

      In the low light he could see them enter into what had been the living room. They turned slowly, eyes squinted. Redamous silently pulled out a match, striking it against the table loud enough to grab the person's attention. As they turned, the motion sudden and surprised, he heard them gulp. Moving the match next to the wick of the old candle that still remained on the table, he continued to stare. The person, Red could now see it was a man, screamed as the face of the Worgen, a horrible look of anger on his face, popped into existence. He fell backwards over a piece of furniture, hitting the floor with a thud.

      The intruder lay there for a long moment, but not in silence. Red could easily hear him muttering to himself, a constant repetition of “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

      “Get up,” Redamous said, trying to keep his voice from becoming a growl. The flicker of the candle didn't do a good job of illuminating the room, but it was more for the intruder, not him. He didn't need it to see.

      The man slowly rose, holding his hands up. Sweat slowly worked its way down his face, past his eyes, which were wide as they could possibly manage. “Look mate,” he said, his voice quivering, his accent unquestionably Gilnean “I didn't mean to barge in he-...” The Worgen frowned even more, and the man nearly lost it. “I didn't think anybody would be here.”

      “Sit down,” Red said, pointing to the chair on the other side of the table. The man began to tremble, starting up his repetition again, but the Worgen interrupted him, “You can sit down, or I'll make you sit down. An' if you choose the latter option, I'll make sure you wish you hadn't.”

      The intruder shook his head slowly, but made his way over to the chair he was ordered to take nonetheless. He rested his fingers against the table, nails gripping into the wood when he took notice of the Worgen, but more specifically the fact that he was deceased.

      “Name,” Red said, turning to face the man. He leaned back in his chair, watching almost passively. Almost.

      “J-John,” he managed to sputter, “Johnathan Winthrop.”

      “An' is there a reason you're in my house, mister Winthrop,” Redamous said, glowing blue eyes never once wavering from his 'guest'. When the man opened his mouth to speak, Redamous stopped him instead, “Let me guess. Look around. See what's in here. Right?” He might have not taken certain things, and left their fate up to the looters. That didn't mean he was content to let them take them besides that.

      Winthrop's eyes shot down to his lap. He slowly shook his head, and for a moment Red thought he might just deny the accusations. “Look sir,” he started.

      “Redamous,” the Worgen said flatly.

      “Well, Redamous, look,” he started again, motioning around, “It doesn't look like you live around here. This stuff. Well. It's just going to waste. It's rotting. Eventually nobody'll want it, and then it'll just keep sitting here going to waste.”

      “Didn't ask you to justify your lootin', mate. I asked you to admit to it,” Red said, his claws clicking against the table. He blinked only a few times, his blue force cast orange in the light of the candle. His teeth showed when he spoke, glistening by the light, sharp, threatening. For once he might actually look scary, or threatening. The thought never once crossed through his mind.

      “I...Just...Yes, sir,” he said, nodding, “Yes, I'm looting.” His eyes slowly moved about the room, squinting to see what the life could not show or even help to show. “Take it this was your place, mister?”

      Red nodded slowly, looking back to the room, frowning slightly, “Was. Maybe it still is. Don't matter these days, probably never will again.” He motioned towards one corner of the room, where a small wooden chest could barely be seen, “In there's a bunch of toys. Nothin' special, 'cept to the ones who owned 'em, know?” He smiled sadly, “Nothin' like seein' a kid play with a toy.”

      He motioned toward the fireplace, which was lacking wood by this point, “Over there, think you can probably tell what that was.” Red glanced at the other man, who nodded slowly, but said nothing. “You know what it is. Can't know what it means to me. Saw a dozen bad storms through huddled around that thing, blankets wrapped 'round all of us, waitin' to for the sun to come back up, or the wind to quit howlin'. Eventually we'd just all get to sleep, an' the sun'd come up and the wind'd stop at some point. Didn't really matter when by that point.”

      Next he pointed towards the stairs, “Up that ways our rooms. Kid's room's got a few more toys in it, some clothes. Guess a bed or two. Not sure if you're here for furniture. Tucked 'em in every night. Read 'em a tale or two on most of 'em, 'less they were just too tuckered out for it. In our room, me an' my wife's, there's a bigger bed. Few closets, set a drawers or two. She had some jewelry she kept on top of those.” He allowed himself to grin, “Some of the best parts of my life? Came outta there, if you catch my meanin'.”

      “I think I get your meaning,” Winthrop said, nodding. He tugged at his collar, “Mister, look, I didn't think. Well. You'd be here.”

      “Makes it harder, don't it,” Redamous said, grin shrinking into a small smirk. “You can have that crap, if you want it.” The man blinked, staring at the Worgen, “You can go up there, and you can take it. Hell. You can do the same at any house you go to. Any of the stuff you take. You can grab it, and then you can sell it off to somebody. I can tell you right now, won't mean near as much to you as it did to its owner. Won't hold near as much value, and really, it shouldn't. I'd like to think you're here 'cause you gotta do this to get by or somethin'. There's a little voice in the back of my mind tellin' me that's a bunch of bull, but I'm ignorin' it, for now.”

      The man gulped again, “Are you gonna kill me, mister?”

      Red grinned, showing off his teeth, but still shook his head, “Nah. I ain't gonna kill you. I don't kill folks who are just getting' by.” His claw kept slowly clicking against the table, “Think you recall where the door is, don't you?”

      Winthrop nodded, standing, “Yep. I do.” He began walking away, stopping to look over his shoulder, “Thanks, mister.”

      “For,” Redamous said. Despite it being a question, it sounded more like a statement.

      “Not killin' me,” he said, his voice growing hoarse.

      “Uh huh. Best get a move on, lad. 'Less you're gonna go grab some of that stuff.”

      “No, sir,” he muttered, before heading for the door.

      Red's ears twitched again when he heard it open and close, before the house fell silent yet again.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Accountant's Ledger: Entry 1

(This is a more diary/journal style of story than anything else. Trying something new. Warning for language.)

[[Accessing Datapad…

Username: dmalcolm

Password: *********

Access Granted.

Select file.

File selected: Video Log 1. Subject: Fly Me Off the Moon.

Starting playback…]]

The video feed cuts in, fuzzy at first, before growing clearer. It’s still obviously not the best of cameras. At first the view is simply of a chair pressed against the back wall of what appears to be an older looking ship. Some may recognize it as a D5-Mantis. This changes when a chiss enters the frame, taking the seat, and resting back in it. She is covered in armor which seems to be a mixture of metal and cloth, with the clothing hanging down slightly to about the back of her knees. Her head is the only part of her not covered in metal. Her features appear to be that commonly associated with chiss. Blue skin, red eyes. Her hair is dyed pink.

She smirked offering the camera a small wave, “Hey there. Was kinda bored, sitting on this moon and all. Figured I’d get myself something to do. I’ve heard everybody’s doing these, so hell. Why not? Not that anybody’ll see it. ‘Less I end up dead, and somebody’s going through my crap.” She tapped her chin, smirking wider, “Actually, I take it back. You won’t be able to go through my crap. It’ll be gone.”

“Quick introductions,” she said, motioning first to herself, “Serd’aeri’asai, if ya want my maiden name, Daeria if you wanna pull the core name outta that. Daeria Malcolm for my full name now. Got married after a bad night of drinking. Or a good night, I guess depending on who you are. Maybe you’ve heard that from my husband or somethin’. I really don’t give a damn. Bad exposition done.” She tapped the metal wall behind her, “This here’s Harbinger. Harbinger’s a D5-Mantis. Say hello, Harbinger.” No voice followed, and she simply grinned, “What? Were you expecting it to talk? It’s a kriffin’ ship. Freaks.”

“So, guess maybe you’ll want a little about me?” She leaned back, staring up at the ceiling, “Let’s see. I enjoy long walks to my target, quiet night time assaults on guarded compounds, and hunting. People, that is. Not a kriffing animal. That’s freaking boring if you ask me. And yeah yeah, I’m somebody would tell me that animals can be a challenge and blah blah blah. I don’t really care. That’s what I think. I’ll stick with what I think. I’m an accountant, you’d probably call it a bounty hunter, but accountant sounds nicer, so screw you. Not the best at my job, but pretty damn good at it if I can say so myself.”

“What have I been up to. Let’s see. Been stuck on the freaking moon, but now that I’m done with my job here,” she idly picked up a blaster from her belt, looking it over, “Probably be leaving soon. And as a note to self, log pistol number…” She trailed off, squinting, “What’re we up to. One three seven? Eight? Something along those lines. I’m sure some people’ll be happy to see me gone. I swear, I see one more military idiot who gets all uppity with me, so help him…” She grinned at the camera again, “Just my luck, I guess. First I have to deal with General Greenhorn, who’s got some stick shoved so far up his ass you could probably use him as a puppet. Hell, had to work with him once. Heaven forbid he crack a smile and have some kriffing fun, right?” She laughed, “Like I don’t know how big of an ass I am. I do, and trust me Greenhorn, you ain’t exactly perfect either.” She waved at the camera, “Thanks Xul, for settin’ me up on that little play date. I hated your guts that entire day, and I’m sure as hell he did too. ‘Least I suckered him into payin’ me, though.”

“There’s one here, who I swear to something, I just wanna take his dumb red hat, and shove it over his face, hold my hand over his nose and mouth, use the other one to just squeeze his throat,” she began to mime her actions as if she were holding a struggling person, “And just hold, and wait.” She stopped, going back to her relaxed position, “But that isn’t gonna happen. ‘Least not yet. He gets a mark put on his head, oh I tell you. He’s dead. Maybe shock his ass and watch him shake. One of ‘em punched me. That was a surprise. Didn’t think he’d have it in him. Guess he’s having marital issues. He can get in line on that train. You wanna talk ‘bout not seein’ your spouse, buddy, try four freakin’ years. But I guess you want to see ‘er. I just don’t get that, but hey. Whatever.”

“Not that the Sith are any better, all ‘I’m better than you and so broody and scary’! Like I care, buddy. One of these days I’m sure I’ll tick one of them off too. Guess we’ll see. You can’t ever say I’m lying, though. I just call it as I see it. Maybe misinformed, but sure as hell not lying.”

She sighed, “So where from here. Guess I could stick around to see what comes up. Something’s going on, I guess. People are making a big deal over a bunch of stuff I don’t know about. Folks being snatched by people or something. Might get in on that, maybe it’ll pay. If it doesn’t pay well enough, I can turn it into something that will, I’m sure. People love that good old classic double agent story don’t they?” She shook her head, “Or not. Like I need to be getting involved in crap like that. Stay low, stick to the work, get paid, repeat. It’s worked thus far.”

“Not that I’ll have to worry about running out of work any time soon. There’s still a lot of people left in this galaxy. Somebody is gonna want somebody dead.”

The chiss stands, walking out of the frame which shuts off quicker than it took for it to come on.

[[End recording.

Exiting video playback.

Logging off.]]