Author Topic: [Fanfic] Special Thinkin' Place  (Read 960 times)

Offline FiendishDrWu

  • Sergeant
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
[Fanfic] Special Thinkin' Place
« on: November 23, 2022, 09:12:08 pm »
Cranky Brianna stared into her cup of moonshine and grimaced.  “Don’t they ever clean the fucking still?” 

She opened the door to the closet and dumped the foul liquid out into the corridor.  She quickly, yet quietly, closed the door again.  No sense alerting others to the presence of her Special Thinkin Spot.  She pulled “her” personal computer from underneath a pile of rags and dropped some sectoweed on a brass brazier.  Using the last few drops of moonshine left in her cup as starter fluid, she soon had the funky alien weed filling the closet with its dank, earthy aroma. 

“Ok, Bri, THINK,” she murmured, taking a deep lungful of smokey air before coughing repeated.  Even before the coughing abated, however, she’d pulled several pieces of scrap paper together, along with a pen, and pulled up some notes she’d made on the computer. 

“Ok, so both Lokk’Naars and Narlocks agree on their shared origin, so what if…” Brianna began, frantically sketching dots and lines on a piece of paper, muttering and crossing things out and redrawing them, soon crumpling the paper into a ball and tossing it on the brazier and beginning anew on another sheet. 

A loud SLAM sounded as the door violently swung in, knocking the brazier and its burning contents to the floor.  “SHIT!” Brianna swore as she scrambled to snuff the burning embers scattered about, while the foot of Sugar Knife withdrew and was replaced by her grinning, clearly drunken, head. 

“Wass going on in heeeerre, hmmm?” 

“I’m WORKING.  And you, Sugar Knife, are INTERRUPTING that work!” 

“Ahhhh, Cranky Brianna.  Truly a gal worthy of her name!”  Sugar Knife stepped into the closet, then crouched down next to Brianna, her heavy frame seeming to make the space seem impossibly cramped.  “I followed your scent, like a good hunter.”  Her face scrunched up, her nostrils flaring.  “Sectoweed, really?” 

“It aids the research.” 

“And what research are you doing in a closet, anyway?  Shouldn’t you be in the lab with the other Brainers?”  Sugar asked, punctuating her words with repeated shoves to Brianna’s upper arm.

“Nothing you’d understand, meathead!” 

“Oh yeah, maybe I should tell the Cap’n you’re doing some kind of unauth… unapp… some kinda stuff you ain’t should be doing!” 

The two women glared at each other for a long moment.  Sugar’s composure cracked and she began laughing, falling over backwards and landing with a loud smack as her muscular bottom struck the plastcrete floor. 

“Awww, I don’t give a shit what you’re doing.  Come out and have some fun!  Cap’n’s got a wrestling tournament going on in Hangar 2.  Winner gets to interrogate those two Altar Boys that got brung back last night.” 

“There’s nothing more useful those guys can tell us, though.” 

“Yeah, but the Altar boys don’t know that!” giggled the large woman.  “Got to help with an interrogation a couple of weeks ago - the boy pissed himself when I took off my top!  Don’t think he’d ever seen a set of tits before, much less a pair like mine!  For all the shit they try and cram in those boys heads, you think they’d take five minutes and give ‘em a clue about the facts o’ life.” 

Cranky Brianna rolled her eyes, and, satisfied that the fire hazard had been dealt with and seriously annoyed that her contemplative mood had been ruined, began stuffing her papers together. 

“Whuzzis?” Sugar rolled herself back into a seated position and thunked her pointer finger repeatedly on a piece of paper covered with lines. 

Brianna sighed.  “Honestly, maybe nothing.  Just something I’ve been thinking about.  It’s probably nonsense.” 

“Tell me.”  Brianna looked earnestly at the frowning Brainer.  Brianna’s features softened, and Sugar pulled out a flask and offered it to her.  Brianna took a long pull and sat with the flask in hand, pulling her thoughts together. 

“Ok, so there’s all kinds of things we Brainers are trying to figure out, right?  There’s the obvious stuff, like how various weapons work and how to best kill stuff, there’s interrogations of prisoners, there’s work to figure out new facilities and stuff like how aircraft and their weapons work, and all that’s good and useful stuff.  But there’s other stuff we find out, and I’m not sure what to make of it all.” 

“Ok, go on.”  Sugar pulled her flask back from the now distracted Brainer, and took a sip.

“The thing is, we’re finding all kinds of bits and pieces of knowledge, but we don’t really know how it all goes together.  Like, by trial and error we can figure out how to make it so a button in the cockpit of a helicopter sends a signal to a weapon pod, but there used to be whole fields of knowledge and it all fit together.  So that the people of old didn’t need to tinker and try stuff to get things to work, they could just, you know, build stuff out of stuff they made and they knew exactly how it all worked.  And we don’t know that stuff anymore - I think that’s part of the Star Gods plan.  As long as we just use technology or tinker with it, but don’t make or, or only make it in ways they approve of, they can be content that we’ll never challenge them.” 

“Ok.”  Sugar nodded.

“So, their study of materials gave them insight into chemistry - poisons and acids and the like - which gave them insight into how matter and energy worked, and it was all systematic and rigorous and predictable.  They called it “science,” and it was the foundation of much of their world before the arrival of the Star Gods.” 

Sugar nodded again.  Brainers would get like this, she’d discovered, and it was better to just nod and keep drinking whenever they did.  They’d run out of words eventually. 

“But anyway we’ve been discovering lots of other stuff, too, about the Lokk’naars and Narlocks and their religions, and about the Church and it’s not-exactly-veneration of the Star Gods, and connections between the faith of the Church and the faith of the Deep Ones, and where the Reticulans fit into all of this and… and..” Brianna struggled with the words, even as they came out tumbling faster and faster, and suddenly tongue-tied, scrambled to pull out a piece of paper covered with lines and dots.  “What if there’s some pattern, some kind of systematic ‘science,’ that lets us understand all the strange religions and mystical stuff, too?   Like, look at this!” 

Sugar pointedly fixed her eyes on the paper.  “It’s, uh, lines.  And dots.  And a buncha symbols.” 

“Ok, this pair, right here.  This here is the Lokk’Naar Golden Prince… and here, this is the White Father of the Narlock pantheon.”

“So?”

“Ok, there was this ancient Pureblood, name of Cartez.  He did a bunch of stuff, centuries before the Star Gods.  He conquered an empire, but he also invented Cartesian Duelism.”

“Huh?”

“Um, it’s like… you know about fighting duels, right?” 

“Sure!” 

“Well, he kind of defined the whole thing!  And the thing about duels is that they, in theory, are about even opposites.  Like… the light side and the dark side.  Day and Night.  Moon and Sun.  Female and Male. I still don’t know how slapping someone with a glove to start the duel fits into the theory, yet, but I’m working on it.”

Sugar blinked silently. 

“Ok, so here’s the thing… we know the Narlocks are supposedly described as ‘aligned with light’ and our Lokk’Naar allies are ‘dark’ and both sides have eight deities, right?  What if they’re the same deities, just in light and dark aspects?  See, the Golden Prince is all about Pride, and the White Father is about Humility… but in their own ways, both about possessiveness of others.  The Prince is a slave master, and White Father has his vice of possessiveness.  Same thing!”

“Uh.”

“Hasn’t it ever occurred to you how odd it is that Jack just happened to have his home base right outside where we settled, and why he seems so willing to help us?  Jill has her ninjas, who seem to be becoming more and more active even as we become more active?”

“Those ninja gals are certainly a good fight, for sure…”

“There’s an old incantation, pre-Star God, that goes, ‘Jack and Jill went up a hill, to fetch a pail of water.  Jack fell down, and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.’  What if Jack and Jill are aspects of the same being, and that ancient rhyme is encoding something important.  What if instead of a hill, they went up into space, and something - maybe the Star Gods, beat them down and sent them back to us?  I just want to figure out what the ‘pail of water’ represents… maybe it’s somehow tied to the worship of the Elder Gods of the Deep Ones pantheon, and-” 

“This… is… nuts.“ Sugar, incredulous, broke her own rule and spoke up, interrupting the ranting Brainer.  “Like, seriously, Brianna, even if there’s like a pattern and a science and hidden meanings to all of this stuff… WHO CARES?!  Look.  Every day we go out and some days we don’t all come back, and so we drink and make merry and all that happy shit and we deal with it.  And some of us drink too much and some get too rough with the prisoners and some freak out on the battlefield and start shooting wildly and some of us just wake screaming from nightmares.  And we accept that!  We tough it out and fuckin’ deal!  And now you want to tell me there’s some weirdo fucking PATTERN to all of this and we aren’t even in control of our own fates and we’re just cogs in some bizarre mechanistic cosmos, ruled by intangible laws?  That there’s secret meanings behind everything that happens?” she began, growing increasingly more strident. 

Brianna, too startled to do anything more, nodded.  Dimly, her booze-and-sectoweed addled brain marveled at how articulate the normally poorly-spoken soldier was, but Brianna had enough sense to not say anything. 

“WELL FUCK THAT NOISE!”  Sugar took the last swig of moonshine from her flask and tossed it down the corridor, which shattered against the plastcrete as if to punctuate the point.  “Yesterday I saw some peasant girl with us on her first mission die.  A ninja snuck up on her and cut her arm off; I dome’d the ninja from behind but it was too late for that poor girl.  She had just enough time to look at the stump of her arm in horror before she bled out and died.  She’s dead!  DEAD!  So I don’t give a fuck about any of this shit.  Fuck you and fuck your project.  Fuck Jack and fuck Jill and fuck the Lokk’Naars and Narlocks and their fucking deities and fuck the gods in space and under the sea and in other planes of existence and hiding right up my Hellerium-tainted meaty ass!  Fuck ‘em all!  If I’m part of their plans I don’t have to know about it, and I damn sure don’t have to fucking like it!” 

Sugar Knife turned on her heel and slammed the closet door, managing to be somehow even louder than she’d been in kicking it open a few minutes prior. 

The scent of moonshine, sectoweed and sweat filled the still air of the corridor, as a quiet sobbing echoed.

Offline FiendishDrWu

  • Sergeant
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: [Fanfic] Special Thinkin' Place
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2022, 09:23:24 pm »
The lore of X-Piratez is quietly one of it's strongest attractions, for me at least, perhaps particularly because it defies easy explanation and systematization.  While there are some bits that I can recognize - traditional yin-yang dualism is obvious, and the eight deities puts me in mind of the Chinese Eight Fairies, there's a bunch of stuff that I can't figure out the source of - either due to my own ignorance of mythic traditions or because it's entirely original to Dioxine.  Whether the (seeming?) incoherence is all intentional on Dioxine's part or simply a consequence of the organic addition of various parts of the game; I've been thinking it'd be fun to write an in-universe attempt to try and figure out a "big picture" overview of how the more mystical and esoteric aspects of the setting may (or may not!) tie together.  Of course, the state of human knowledge being what it is after the fall of human civilization and 600 years of Star God rule, who knows what spurious conclusions a Brainer might draw...
« Last Edit: November 23, 2022, 09:33:40 pm by FiendishDrWu »

Offline Solarius Scorch

  • Global Moderator
  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 11384
  • WE MUST DISSENT
    • View Profile
    • Nocturmal Productions modding studio website
    • Email
Re: [Fanfic] Special Thinkin' Place
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2022, 01:19:39 pm »
A very nice and competently written story! And it's not something I say to every girl. (Or ancient master.) The structure is sound, the style is very decent, and the characters are vivid. Good stuff.


As for the presented ideas, some are on point, some are off, but all make sense.