Thursday, December 31, 2015


No one had ever said such a thing had existed, but no one had stated the contrary either. Which left him firmly with the conclusion that, though possible for such a thing to be it certainly was not yet. But if such was the case in this instance, what stopped such from being the case with everything?

              He brought a hand up to stroke his face, fingers tapping away against the desk as he considered the possibilities. If such things were true, then there were numerous things that might exist, but had simply not been found yet. In fact, nigh anything was real, and could simply be extremely skilled in matters of stealth and sorcery. How many things had escaped the grasp of documentation because of their quick wit, or agile speed? How many things had been too strong to be recorded, and let into the annals of history, and how many more would remain in the realms of the unknown?

               Part of him was tempted to pick up his quill, which sat at the corner of his desk, and begin penning the numerous possibilities that had yet to be seen. There would be more supplies required for such a task, of course. Numerous pages worth of paper would be needed and easily filled, pots upon pots of ink emptied, candles to burn throughout the late night hours as the ideas came, and foodstuffs to keep him well fed and able! His hand moved as if on instinct, grabbing for the colorful feather, so carefully crafted from some exotic expedition, forcing him to grab it and hold it at bay until he could collect his thoughts further.

             This was no time to begin such a project, not when his thoughts were so muddled and confused. Of course not! If anything, the fact that he had even considered engaging in such was just a sign of how far he had forced his mind to wander, and how desperate it had become to rest. Clinging onto such high fantasies of being able to just create things out of thin air, just because they had not been disproven in existence!

               A chill crept its way down his spine, closing in swiftly on his lower back, forcing him to twitch. How had he even managed to consider such blasphemy? His hands shot to his lips, shielding them, lest he let loose so much as a stutter of the cursed ideas. Even alone in this cramped office someone might hear him, as they wandered down the hall and past his long darkened door. From there it was only a matter of time until word had found its way to the hierarchs, and not long after he would have just been dismissed entirely!

              The very words they would spit at him, the very poison in their voices rang in his head. Lines of how the Historium was not a place for such nonsense, of how if he were to even consider such he might as well be nothing more than a storyteller in a village, cobbling together useless tales to amuse and appease some thirsty crowd. Perhaps an actor who spewed dramatized lies to an audience of idiots.

              He shuddered again, the same chill working its way back up to his brain. These were the things nightmares were made of. Things meant to wake one up in the middle of the night, sweat still beading down their face as the realization of reality slowly swept over them. A hand ran back across his head, though unlike when he had done so in his younger days it found much less hair. This was the work of ruin, and the work he could never commit to, and yet, these thoughts remained.

               “Curses upon you boy,” he muttered to himself, biting his tongue before his lips leapt into a frenzy and brought yet another possibility of undue attention.

               He could still see the child’s smug face, sitting so peacefully at his desk while his instructor wailed on and on about how improper such accusations were. It was beyond his realm of knowledge to assume the boy’s intentions, though. Perhaps he had meant the question innocently enough, wondering if somewhere in the world fantastical creatures could exist. Fish the size of men, who stood with a tall stature and were spotted, wandering this way and that with no need for the water. Birds with puffed feathers colored by rainbows themselves.

              But yet he could not bring himself to cease at the conclusion at the boy’s goals were so noble! He had been standing right there, watching as his own student, the boy’s instructor who was getting so much use out of his vocal cords. Just a few feet away, so it would have been so easy for the young lad to see the looks of horror upon his face as he considered the prospects presented before him. That there was somehow the chance that such things could be.

               His hands found their way to his face, smothering him for a moment, the only source of comfort he could give himself. His thoughts were bound to cycle as such for some time. Any prospects of sleep were bound to be in vain, and any hope of breaking away from this circle now was all but abandoned.

               There was just too much of a chance for him to lay them to rest entirely, yet there was no reason for him to cling to them as he did! Things were discovered all the time, yet prior to their discovery what was the chance they would have been scoffed at! If one were to describe half of the concepts and creatures in the Historiums libraries to those who were alive prior to their induction, they would have received the same cold, disgraceful greeting he would imagine for a playwright.

              Another idea found its way onto the center of the stage of his mind, to which he nodded furiously, as though it were a friend who had just appeared in his chamber to deliver a wonderful package. To banish these thoughts from his mind, they needed to be captured. To be captured, they needed to be written, and illustrated.

               He stood, approaching the door with the stance of one who meant to pick its lock, opening it as though he were a rogue sneaking through the halls. Soon enough, he would return with what he needed, ink, paper, and more. Once these things were banished, perhaps burned even, he could finally let the matter rest.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Highs and Lows

Written while listening to:

She slumped forward against the kolto tank, squinting at the controls slightly. Regardless of anything she had said prior to this point, whether it be to whoever had set her organs straight, the droid in the taxi, or even a few passersby on the way back to Harbinger, there was no way in hell she was okay. One of the multiple reasons she knew that was by the sheer amount the ship seemed to be rocking, even though she was next to certain it was still grounded.

“Harbinger,” she muttered, when she finally managed to process the thought that there wasn’t much of a chance that she was going to manage to operate the tank on her own. “Start evaluation process, prep kolto tank, heavy damage.”

Overhead she could hear some instrument start whirring until it had apparently finished its assessment. Elsewhere some speaker crackled to life, the ship’s deeper tone coming throw, “Tank prep underway. It is assumed that you did not complete capture of present target.”

Resting her head against the top of the panel, she let out a short cough, jerking her head left and right, “No, Harbinger, I didn’t.”

“And it really doesn’t matter either way, now does it?” she rolled her eyes, reaching up into a cabinet, hand patting around until it found its way around the familiar neck of a whiskey bottle.

Plucking the bottle from the cabinet, she shut the door, turning to look back to her companion once more, popping the top off and taking a swig. Once she had downed a fair share from the bottle, she looked back to him, continuing, “I am perfectly fine. It weren’t nothing but a fight. That’s what happens.”

His face happened to have been beet red by this point, whether because he had been hitting the bottle prior to her showing up, or he was getting too worked up. It got rather hard to tell sometimes, depending on how bad he was feeling by the evening, not that she had any room to talk in the alcohol consumption department.

He pointed to her armor, where any number of patches had been recently sewn in, her best solution to the problem of having holes in her armor until she could get someone to properly attend to it. Which only served to remind her that she needed to make that appointment with that tailor. Blinking, she looked back at him rather than through him, raising a brow until he got to his point.

“Gettin’ stabbed ain’t never been ‘just a fight’ in my book,” he said, frowning when he apparently realized she wasn’t going to explain herself as he hoped she would. “Neither’s looking for a fight, and getting in trouble with Imps.”

Daeria couldn’t help but smirk, bringing the bottle up to her lips again for another pull, “Didn’t get in any trouble with Imps. I mean. Ain’t like they’re hangin’ me for treason or anything, now is it?”

“Yet,” he muttered.

She waved the idea away, even though in reality she had considered the possibility a number of times. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had decided to cut loose ends at the end of a contract, and certainly wouldn’t be the last. “It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Me? I’m fine. You? You’re fine. We’re fine.”

He narrowed his eyes, finger coming up again, this time to point to himself, “I sure as hell ain’t fine. I went to some black market lookin’ to see if anybody knew you where you mighta been, ‘cause you decided to wander off an’ get caught, and couldn’t check-in to tell me everythin’ was fine, so I get to go into a panic over the fact that maybe we’re gonna get some sorta hammer brought down on us.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off as swiftly as possible, “I got manhandled by a guy dressed like a banana. And I kept lookin’ ‘cause I was startin’ to fear that eventually I’d just be getting’ visited by the folks in shiny suits to be hauled off to some prison camp or somethin’ to do whatever the hell you do in a Zakuulian prison camp.”

Daeria tossed her arms up, walking to the other end of the room to find some couch to crash down onto, drinking yet again from the bottle when she had settled in, setting it off to the side for now. “I don’t get why you’re getting so pissy about this. It’s my kriffing job, idiot. If you haven’t gotten that part thus far, I seriously don’t know what to tell you, besides grow up.”

Red frowned, following, “Then where the hell was this job in the past half a kriffin’ decade, huh? All that time where it was just bein’ creepy ‘round folks, starin’ at ‘em and reportin’ on ‘em, or crawlin’ in their windows to stab ‘em in their sleep? Not this stalkin’ and ambushin’ crap. Nothin’ of the sort.”

“I got bored,” she said, resting back and shrugging, “Gotta keep busy somehow. Zakuulian contract’s a great way to do that.”

He stared at her for a moment, “You got bored. Well, next time you ‘get bored’, lemme know so I can try and stick my head under the dirt somewhere in the hopes of hidin’ out.”

She shrugged once more, “I got no idea what the hell you want me from me. So either spit it the hell out, or get over it.”

“I want to know why you got stupid all of the sudden,” he muttered, falling into a nearby chair, apparently prepared to drop the subject.

The Chiss stared him down for a moment, before leaning forward, “I do shit like that because I have to.” She held up a finger to stop him from talking, knowing full well the sort of comments such a statement would bring on, “I had to do somethin’ like that. I had to. ‘Cause I have no idea if I can anymore. All this time of sitting on my ass and playing fly on the wall and ‘crawling into somebody’s’ house to off ‘em, for five kriffing years, instead of doing the stuff I’m good at.”

With a sigh, he just shook his head, allowing his head to fall backward to stare at the ceiling, “I figured the other stuff qualified for stuff you were ‘good at’.” She just frowned. It was by this point in any conversation involving this subject that he checked out, probably because he didn’t want to consider it in his own realm, or didn’t want to think about her in such away. Either possibility made her want to punch him, yet in some sort of endearing way, were such possible. Perhaps because she hated both thoughts, but also knew that they were necessary, lest this ‘safe’ house become nothing but talk of dark things.

“I kill people,” the Chiss said, almost in a whisper, taking her own opportunity to lean back to stare at the ceiling, “I used to be good at that. For the longest time that was just.” She paused, considering, “That was it. I killed people. And it felt, and feels, so good.” There was no need to look at him to imagine the mortified face he was making, “And sometimes, I just need to remind myself that I can still do that. That I can hit that high at some point. And that means getting stabbed, or shot, or punched, or kicked, or any other thing.”

Her armor clattered to the ground with a number of clangs as she unlatched it. With a few feats of what strength she still had, she finally crawled in the tank. Rolling onto her back, she stared up at the top of the inside of the tank, forcing her breathing to slow as the tube closed itself. It had taken quite a bit of convincing herself to come this far, not least of which was the thought of how long it would take her to recover without it. Even having managed to come this far she still wasn’t okay with it.

She hadn’t been okay with it the first time she’d had to use the freaking kolto tank, and she would probably never be okay with it. It was cramped, and enclosed, and the air was so thick, even if the moments she was conscious in it were short. The thought of it just malfunctioning and not opening crossed her mind, potentially choking to death on something that was meant to heal her. How ironic would that be.

No panic attack this time. That wouldn’t be good. As the kolto started pouring in, that thought seemed harder and harder. No panic attack. Focus on something else. Put on the breathing mask and focus on something else.

She wanted to kill that bastard.  She was going to kill that bastard. Or do whatever happened to be worse, which would probably involve just collecting on the bounty. Screw whatever idiot woman he’d managed to scrounge up, screw every idiot Mando in that kriffing bar.

The kolto was working its way into the tank at a steady pace.

Couldn’t just act so stupid the next time. No acting like a jackass. That had never worked in the past. That was something she had done something like a decade ago when she was still green. There would need to be something more to this, that wasn’t acting like an idiot in a bad holovid.

She closed her eyes, nearly entirely encased in the green stuff by this point.

Of course it would mean another fight, one she was just as likely to lose. So wait, and recover. Don’t go in with armor patches. Take hits on the punching bag again. There was a rhythm to be found here. Something to be recovered from where it had gathered dust.

There was the threat of death, of course. Not that she wanted to die. But if she were to die, what would it matter? Better to go out on that high, than crawl into some corner and let it rot. Better to have to crawl back into the Hell Tank than to never hit those high notes again.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Shadowrun: Datastream

Never gonna get used to the feeling. The thought crossed his mind anytime he did the deed, crossing from some proverbial plane of existence into one with far less flesh in it, as someone somewhere had once told him. It had been odder at the time, though. Which was natural when you were shoving moving bits into your brain, or whatever went on.

Even now, that he didn't feel like he needed some atlas to get around or a GPS to give him directions, for the most part, there was still something decidedly unnatural to it. Part of him was okay with that. It kept him distanced from the folks who had decided that this was where they were meant to be. The type to jack-in and log-out from life. The other part wasn't really okay with it, since it meant that this still didn't feel entirely right, even though part of it was routine by now.

As if on cue he pressed himself up against the distorting dark wall of flashing pixels to his right, not allowing himself to move until the floating geometrical mess of an eye that was scanning the area passed him by. Not getting caught this time, because it definitely wasn't worth the mess.

Once the thing had passed, he let himself detach from the wall, continuing on his way. Despite whatever he told himself, he had absolutely no idea how much further he needed to go. Sure he had been given directions, as vaguely as possible as was the norm when getting mail from a stranger involving the opportunity for work. That didn't mean he had gotten much better at judging distant though. Sometimes what he felt was bound to be a walk around the corner was a walk around so many corners it wasn't even funny.

Well. Someone might have found it funny, given that sometimes he felt that those treks probably needed to be made just to gather the most menial of information. Some bookie's real odds, rather than the advertised ones. A piece of security from someone's terminal. So on.

He paused as the path dead ended, a node firmly planted in another wall, which he promptly took to accessing. A bit of struggling with it was all it took, leaving him with nothing more than another address, this one existing without the reaches of cyberspace.

There was a short moment where he could feel his stomach churn, his actual one. Blinking a few times, he glanced around his room, giving his device a small shove away. Even if it didn't do much for his stomach, it always helped his state of mind to keep the Matrix as far away as possible after he was done with it. Soon enough he'd have to be dealing with it again to look at the address he'd found, likely a meeting spot, or another place with another clue to find another address. At this rate he felt like he'd be hoofing it around half of Seattle, just to find some work.

But it still wasn't anything new. Or at least, this part of it wasn't. Not anymore. A number of people named 'Johnson', a number of strange dive bars or upscale joints, and a number of jobs. The job itself was always the odd part. If it wasn't retrieving some freaky item from some messed up hole in the wall, it was dealing with people with names he still found odd, even if he'd had to give himself one.

With a sigh, he stood, wandering off to the kitchen, idly giving the far wall a glance as he passed it. At some point not too long ago the wall hadn't been there, having been ripped apart in a matter of moments by some helicopter at the end of another odd night. Somehow, probably due to the fact that he promised to pay for it and then some, he hadn't got evicted.

Pulling a can out of the fridge, he turned once more, returning to pick up the discarded device. Tossing it back on his desk, he sat down with a sigh. Routine. Open can, take sip, start messing with address, take a sip, get ready to go, chug, toss can. Reaching for the can, he squinted in thought, trying to recall whether or not he had ever managed to scrub the blood from his black coat after the last job.  Either way, there wasn't likely going to be time to correct it, which meant that on route he'd best start planning on the excuse for it.