*The Heir: An Instinct that Never Lies

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Dumastin
Posts: 374
Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

*The Heir: An Instinct that Never Lies

Post by Dumastin » 16 Aug 2017, 23:26

He breathed deep, nostrils flared and eyes closed as he inhaled, and he swooned slightly as overwhelming smells washed over him. The plate glass window was cool under his fingertips as he took another deep whiff, and the aroma of cooking meat had no less impact on him than it had done the first time.

He was *hungry.* Yes, a healthy Namek could live almost indefinitely off of clean water, but even the nameless one knew that there were costs. How did people expect them to build muscle, or heal, or maintain their stamina without nutrients? And aside from berries he’d been able to gather, he hadn’t eaten since he’d awoken in the underground bunker several days prior, his attempts at foraging for less-obvious food or trapping some kind of fish or game having proved a waste of time. Four days of water and the occasional handful of berries, coupled with the exertion of hiking such a great distance, had left his frame a bit spindlier than it had been when he’d first awoken, and something smelled amazing.

Once more he shifted his shoulder, bringing the satchel he’d found up to where he could dig in with his hands. As carefully as he could manage, he brushed past the other contents, fingers brushing against the small bundle of money. A pragmatic voice in his head said to save it, to hang onto it for an emergency… but another deep breath through his nose left that voice brutally overwhelmed. He looked up at the sign, proclaiming the place as “TAM’S DINER,” then nodded.

He pushed his way in through the sheet-glass door, and turned his head. An older Human, her graying hair bound up, wearing jeans and a shirt in some sort of garish pink, looked up from where she was sweeping the floor and smiled at him, albeit with a slight hesitation.

“Have a seat, dear.” She put a folded menu in front of him as he settled into a booth, then chuckled as his brow wrinkled in confusion.

“I… don’t know what I like…?” His voice pitched it into a question.

She chuckled as she poured ice water into a glass and pushed it toward him. “You from offworld? Don’t see many of you folk around here.”

He sipped at the water gratefully and then shook his head. “I, uh, just got here.” It was almost reflexive; he didn’t want to *lie*, exactly, but some part of him just piped in and, and quickly he realized that things would be easier if he didn’t have any uncomfortable questions to answer. His train of thought on the matter derailed when his stomach gave a fierce rumble, and he pressed his hand against his midsection. “I’m sorry. Can you just… choose something? I’ll eat whatever it is. Feels like, like I haven’t eaten in days.” He stumbled a bit, realizing she probably didn’t know that wasn’t all that abnormal for his race.

She smiled at him again. “Not every day we get to cook for someone who’s never had Earth food before. Wait right here, hon.

When she came back from the kitchen, she was carrying a tray piled with plates. “I figure it’s not fair to make you choose, so I had my husband serve you up a little bit of everything.” She started laying plates in front of the Namek with examples of some of her diner’s specialties. A steaming bowl of chili, layered with cheese and a healthy scoop of sour cream. A burger with chili cheese fries. A hot dog, dripping with onions, mustard, ketchup, and more chili. More, but his eyes widened before he could take in the whole tableau, and the woman-Tam?-giggled as he scooped up the hot dog, being careful not to impale it with his sharp fingernails, and started to tear into it. It was a surreal experience, almost overwhelmingly tasty, and he closed his eyes as he continued to slaughter the mountain of food.

“Careful, hon. Take your time, don’t choke on anything. That’s my family secret recipe chili, and-” She cut off, frowning, as the bell over the door rang again. Four humans walked-no, swaggered-in, three of them in jeans and leather jackets. Their dark hair was slicked into spikes with some sort of pomade. One of them was smoking, and at a frown from Tam, stubbed his cigarette out on the counter with a sneer. The fourth, though… he wore what looked like tailored pants, and his coat’s material looked expensive and had some kind of glittering effect to it.

The Namekian slowed, but continued eating as the obvious ringleader sauntered up to Tam. “Ey, Tam. Lookin’ a little slow, today, eh?” She shrank back from him slightly, a tremor entering her hands, and the doors to the kitchen swung open, a beefy Saiyan man in an apron coming through. His fists were balled so tight that veins popped out along his arms, but he looked even older than Tam, much of his race’s vaunted muscle having obviously gone to fat in his age.

“Told you before you wasn’t welcome here. You go on back to your daddy and you tell him we ain’t selling. We ain’t scared of you.”

The man in the fancy jacket ran a hand back through blond hair, slicking it back with a grin. “Now that’s a shame. You know, he made you a nice offer last time. Better than you deserved, and you’d have been wise to take it…” The smoker, behind him, was lighting up again, chuckling as he flicked his lighter. “Place like this, all this grease. You emptying the grease traps on the regular? Fire trap, I’m telling you.”

The Saiyan man growled and started to come out of the kitchen, but Tam rushed over to him and pushed him back. She gave a sharp shake of his head, and his expression softened, though he still glared at the intruders.

“Yeah, thought so, big guy. Get back in that kitchen and make me a sandwich. Ground beef’s about all you Saiyans can intimidate these days, anyway.” That one elicited a harsh laugh from his goons.

The leader frowned, then, and slowly turned his gaze away from Tam and her husband. His eyes locked on the Namekian, sitting there with his back to the ongoing shakedown, still stuffing his face. “Hey. You. You stupid or something? You don’t have the sense to get the fuck out when people are talking business? Go back to your farm. Greenbeans aren’t welcome here.”

The Namekian slowly set down the french fry in his left hand. He pushed himself up and out of the booth, still clutching a scrap of a hamburger in his right hand, and he popped the last bit in his mouth, chewed, swallowed. He wiped his hand on a pile of napkins sitting on the table.

He knew he should avoid trouble. This wasn’t his fight. He didn’t know these people, and really, just leaving meant a (huge) free meal. Nobody would blame him.

It wasn’t necessarily the shaken human woman standing off to the side, now watching him, that kept him rooted there. It wasn’t confidence, because he had no reason to have any. He didn’t know how to fight.

But some instinct welled up from within. He felt his heart pounding at the words. The insults. Yet it wasn’t the kind of unthinking rage that comes from a fool who allows himself to be goaded. He kept his hands loose at his sides. “This is wrong. I won’t leave.” His back straight, he lowered his brow and glared at the man in the fancy jacket. Instincts boiled up inside him, and every mote of his being screamed at him. ‘Stand,’ it said. ‘Not even a single step back. Not now. Not here. Not ever.’

The man took a reflexes step back, startled, then his face tightened. “Boys, show this fucking greenbean where he belongs. Plant him out back, neck deep, and see if he sprouts.”

His leering, grinning cohorts straightened up and advanced as a group toward the Namekian. He stepped back, his hands balling into fists. No magical knowledge or training came to him this time, no slipping into an unarmed combat stance. Three on one, and he swung, trying to land the first hit, but one of the thugs blocked him and slammed a fist into his chest. They kicked him, sending him sprawling across the floor, and then a cruel laughter broke out among them as they moved in, raising their feet to start stomping him.

The first foot crashed into his back, sending searing pain through his body. He rolled, sending a table and chairs crashing over as he pushed himself back up to his feet, and he dropped his fists to his sides, breathing heavily through the pain.

He was on fire. No, it wasn’t Ki. Nor the pain. It was something deeper. That voice was screaming now, or was it just the pounding of his blood in his ears? His heart was racing. Sweat beaded on his skin, and his pupils dilated, his lips drawing back from his teeth. He felt no pain, no fear. He felt alive, like every instant, every second of every day since he’d awoken in that bunker, was nothing more and nothing less than a dream, and only now was he awake, eyes open. For an instant, just a bare fraction of an instant, the image of a skull, drenched in dried blood, flickered across his vision. And then he launched himself forward, entire body leaving the floor in a full-fledged tackle. One hand caught one of the thugs about the shoulder, and the Namekian’s weight and momentum flung him off his feet. He bore him down to the ground and flexed his arm, slamming the man’s body into the tile so hard that a couple of them cracked, and he gasped and wheezed as the air was blasted from his lungs and his muscles refused to cooperate.

One of his buddies rushed in, throwing a kick at the wild Namekian’s side, and the impact knocked him off of the fallen man. Almost as quick as he’d dropped, though, he was back on his feet, rushing at the man who’d kicked him. The more experienced fighter swung at him, grazing the side of his face and snapping the Namekian’s head back, but then the Namekian was inside of his reach, blood dripping from the side of his mouth as his right arm swung in a wide and brutal arc that terminated in the thug’s belly. He doubled over as he took another blow, and then another still, and then, on his knees, the Namekian dropped him with a brutal backhand.

The third thug pulled a switchblade knife from his jacket pocket and rushed in, but the Namekian met the rush. The blade grazed along his side, ripping through the shirt he wore and tearing a gash through his skin, then he reversed his grip and raked the knife along the Namekian’s arm, sending a line of blood spatter across the tiles. And then the freak’s hand closed around his throat, and the last thing he saw for a while was an expansive horizon of deep green, before what felt like a truck slammed into his face and put his lights out, sending his unconscious body crashing through the booth where the Namekian had been eating. A half-eaten bowl of chili slid down the broken table and covered him where he lay.

The Namekian straightened. Purple blood stained his side where he’d been cut, and his mouth where he’d taken the punch, but he turned slowly toward the man in the flashy coat. Red blood-obviously not his-stained his forehead in a star shape where he’d crushed the third man’s nose. “I don’t know who I am. Why I’m here. Who you are. I don’t even remember anything before three days ago. But I know down to my bones *what* you are, and you disgust me.” He was breathing heavily, but it was anger, not exhaustion, driving him. Why was his blood boiling like that? “Get out. Get OUT!” At the last word, shouted, the man turned and ran so quickly that he nearly slammed into the glass door on his way out.

The human woman and her husband rushed over to him as he staggered back a step. His hand went to his side, and came up covered in purple. The Saiyan got a chair under him just as he collapsed, shaking his head as the woman’s tension released itself. She started shouting, but his hearing started to become cloudy, and his eyes drooped shut...
Last edited by Dumastin on 21 Aug 2017, 14:20, edited 1 time in total.

Dumastin
Posts: 374
Joined: 13 May 2010, 14:28

Re: The Heir: An Instinct that Never Dies

Post by Dumastin » 16 Aug 2017, 23:27

EXCERPT: I found myself needing to do a total rewrite on this thing about a third of the way through. It felt so super dry, so I trashed the whole thing… Also, it felt like it was speaking more from Dumastin’s frame of mind, which would tend to be more clinical in a situation like this; I’m aiming for a different writing style with the Heir. So.

Another point: Had this been Dumastin, I almost certainly would have written it from the point of view of one of the observers, rather than the character-focused third person perspective common on DBI.


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The Namek with no name had wandered along the river’s side for several days. The journey had, if nothing else, provided him with plenty of time to think, although he found himself with a disappointing shortage of things to think about.

Time had not restored any hint of his lost memory, nor offered any particular clues as to what had happened to him, or why. He’d tested himself a few different ways, pushing himself to try to unveil new talents that he might not be aware of; it was a distinctive feeling when he found himself doing something he, so to speak, “knew” how to do. At first, it was as if he used those skills without thinking, and even found that thinking too deeply about what he was doing caused him to fumble. But as he practiced, he found that these skills somehow blended in with his experiences and became natural very rapidly.

At the very least, he was in retrospect glad for the quirk of Namekian biology that allowed them to survive on a water diet. Survival skills had apparently not been part of his “training,” or so it seemed. He found that he knew academically what a simple lean-to shelter was, but his first attempt at constructing one had collapsed pathetically, and his subsequent attempts hadn’t been much better. He knew what spearfishing was, knew of a few different methods of building a fire with primitive tools, but while he was able to carve a straight branch into a passable spear he’d failed miserably at catching any prey with it or at successfully constructing a campfire. He’d picked up splinters trying it, although he’d found the simple act of carving at wood to be pleasant, at least.

Still, a Namekian on a water diet necessarily had to limit themselves to a certain level of activity. The biological processes involved left him feeling sluggish and subdued, which he understood to be a natural process to help ensure that the body didn’t incur muscle tearing or damage that would require additional nutrition to repair. And that, he had noted, suggested that his among his education was at least a basic grounding in his own biology.

Such thoughts may serve to pass the time, but in the absence of extra information, he’d really just been leading himself in mental circles. So it was with some relief that he’d found his feet and the river leading himself along toward signs of civilization. He’d found a road, and walked alongside it for several miles, the occasional groundcar passing by but paying him no attention beyond the occasional gawping from the travelers. The signs pointed toward a city called “New Hope,” but it seemed he was still some distance away from the city.

He wandered along the road for a while longer, before he started to feel sluggish. No hunger pangs as a human would feel, but a definite biological sense of the need to either rest or find food. He left the road and found some sort of park, where he found a water fountain to refill his canteen and a large shade tree to sit near.

Kuro
Posts: 141
Joined: 16 Mar 2016, 13:12

Re: The Heir: An Instinct that Never Dies

Post by Kuro » 20 Aug 2017, 20:00

interesting. Can't wait to have him meet new faces! RPP awarded - KURO

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