Addressing the Alliance*

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thousand
Posts: 144
Joined: 23 Feb 2016, 14:45

Addressing the Alliance*

Post by thousand » 13 Sep 2017, 11:45

Second-person perspective solo GO! You, the reader, take on the role of an NPC in this short. Sort of.

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You walk through the front door of your home, fatigued from the days labors, and make it halfway to the kitchen before shaking your head and collapsing bodily on the living room couch. The recent conflicts have been felt everywhere, even here where they’ve taken the form of labor shortages. This was a boon to many hourly employees, but not to you- no, you’ve just found yourself buried under a crushing workload while receiving the same salary you always have. Shaking your head fiercely, you forcibly push the topic from your mind. This is not work, this is not their time, this is your home and this is your time. You nod to yourself, resolute, before turning on the TV and begin clicking through the channels mindlessly.

News Report…. Daytime drama…. Children’s show… another News report. So much news lately, and none of it good; of late, you find yourself skipping it more often than not. I mean, you’re under enough stress as it is, you can’t reasonably be expected to bear the stress of an entire galaxy, now, can you? Click, click, click. You pause for a moment, briefly, as the channel switches to a highlight reel from a recent ki-ball game, as a heavyset man in a pinstripe suit interviews a young, exotic looking kaio girl- not merely a fiery beauty, but apparently a major up and coming contender in the sport, and a fan favorite. You make a note to yourself to remember this “Rhevy” before continueing to click through the channels.

Seems like there’s a whole lot of nothing on. Shaking your head at the obviously-biased nature documentary on the screen, you shut off the TV and force yourself to your feet, finally dragging yourself into the kitchen. You’ve only just cracked a beer and started boiling water for some cup noodles when the soft voice of the documentary’s narrator is suddenly audible once more, before being replaced by a loud, keening tone. Darting back to the living room to see what’s going on, you find the TV back on, displaying a pattern of colors on the screen accompanied by the Alliance Seal. You click the channels up and down, but the image doesn’t change, nor does the tone disappear. Even the power button refuses to respond. Your hands are reaching for the power cord when the tone and color pattern finally disappear. You hesitate, looking back to the screen. A lone figure stands at a podium, facing the camera. A human, not particularly tall, rather lean in build, with shoulder-length grey hair streaked through with brown, and brown eyes. He clears his throat, eyes looking directly at the camera, as if he were looking directly at you- pretty disconcerting.

You click the channel again, and again, but each time you change it, the feed remains the same- that of the as yet unidentified man behind the podium. Sighing to yourself, you figure it must be something important if all of these channels are being interrupted for it- obviously someone with -some- kind of pull with the Alliance. The figure clears his throat, and begins to speak in a soft voice, all but devoid of emotion.

“Good evening, everyone. My apologies for interrupting whatever you were trying to watch, but what I have to say here is very important.” The man pauses for a moment, as if he hadn’t adequately prepared for this address, and then he continues. “We have recently repelled a dire threat to all of our lives, at great cost. I would have those lost, remembered- and I would have those who remain, vigilant.”
The man steps out from behind the podium, pacing back and forth across the stage, continueing. “I suppose I should introduce myself first. My name is Thousand- most of your won’t recognize my face or name because I’ve endeavoured to keep a low profile. But myself- and more importantly, my closest friends- were… are veterans of several major battles in recent memory- we took part in breaking the Siege of Zeon VII, and more recently at the Battle of the Sanctum. And this is what I’ve interrupted your show to talk about. If you’ll give me a moment…”

You leap to your feet with a gasp as the figure on the screen- this “Thousand-” lifts his shirt and pierces his own abdomen with his fingertips, trickles of blood running down his stomach, and by all appearances begins to pull his own intestines out, live on camera. Your dropped beer rolls across the floor, foamy brown liquid seeping into your carpet as you fight back a scream, horror and revulsion drowning all else out in your mind- but despite fighting back your own, you still hear screaming coming from your TV. Thousand hesitates a moment, a loop of bloody intestine coiled in his hand, his gaze sweeping across the camera- and his jaw drops, a look of consternation crossing his face. He speaks once more.

“Oh, geeze. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I know how this must look. Don’t worry- I’m not in fact human, I am an android.” He dabs a finger in the “blood” running down his stomach, pointing it towards the camera. “Lubricant and coolant, nothing more. And this…” He wiggles the coil in his hand. “Is just a data interface cable.” Thousand shifts his weight from one foot to another sheepishly- obviously not as prepared for this address as he had hoped to be. You settle back down to the couch, the shock of the display wearing off, but your attention and interest piqued nonetheless. You wonder, for a moment, if the visceral experience was intentional just for that effect, but it occurs to you that that doesn’t make much difference.


Meanwhile, on-screen, Thousand walks out from around the podium, approaching the camera, blurring as it goes out of focus, though obviously intent on connecting the data cable to the device. A moment later, he takes a few steps back, the cable protruding from the bottom of his shirt as he faces the camera, his eyes shimmering with a blue-white light momentarily. A basic HUD is applied to the display, beginning to follow his gestures and highlight individual things with additional text information, more data scrolling along the righthand side of the screen.

“First, you must see what we faced.” The display begins to fade to black- mostly. The HUD portions added a moment ago remain. You lean forward in your seat, hands clasped, regarding the display, before involuntarily leaning backward as a bright flash and swirl of color appear, before resolving into…. The largest fleet of ships you have ever seen, on course for a small planetoid. Large asteroid? Something like that. None of the ships in the fleet is recognizable, though the styles are reminiscent of some old Arlian relics you’ve recalled touring. The largest among them thoroughly dwarf the largest ship you’ve ever seen! The massive fleet faces off with a much smaller number of apparent defenders, a hodgepodge of models, some recognizable, some not. The largest of the defenders is recognizable, after a moment, as the infamous bio-ship “Requiem.” It took a moment to recognize it, simply because it typically dwarfed any other nearby craft- not so now; the largest of the attacking fleet made the Requiem seem like a child’s toy.

All of the ships on both sides freeze in place, Thousand’s voice returning. “The odds were overwhelming from the onset. That we even survived to face her was nothing short of miraculous. And by comparison…”

The HUD remains in place as you watch, with the image of the attacking fleet shrinking to occupy only half of the display. On the other half, a similar scene is revealed- the planetoid/asteroid has been broken into pieces, though still recognizable, and the surrounding space littered with debris, as a fairly sizeable fleet of Alliance ships begin appearing. Fairly sizeable, at least, until compared to the attacking fleet displayed in the frame on the right. Data readouts on each side confirm what is already obvious- the Alliance fleet may as well have not even been there, for all it compared to the Arlian fleet. Thousand’s voice continues- “The combined might of the Alliance fleet brought together to face it. Of course, they arrived after the party was already over…”

The frame containing the alliance fleet collapses back off of the screen as the frame containing the attacking fleet expands to fill the display once more. The androids voice continues: “It was never enough to match her fleet, so I can’t fault them for arriving late- had they arrived earlier, I doubt we’d have anything to show for it beyond a much higher death toll.”

The frozen display unfreezes, and begins playing at high speed, faster than the actual battle played out, slowing down or pausing momentarily here and there to highlight certain aspects of the battle, Thousand commenting the entire time. You would love to watch the entire thing, but you have an unfamiliar sensation of having already watched months of this already, despite it being news to you; as such, you find yourself muting the TV and popping off to use the restroom while these past events are rehashed, “off-screen” such as it is.

A few minutes later, you return, and for a moment you wonder whether the transmission had cut out on you- and then you notice the HUD is still in place. Your brow wrinkles as you wonder exactly what a professional athlete has to do with the conflict, recognizing the face of Rhevy, that ki-ball player highlighted on the news earlier. This time, though, the athlete doesn’t have a stitch of clothing on, and her hair writhes about her in the throes of a level of energy she puts off that is almost palpable, even conveyed through a television set. You recall that you muted the TV recently, and unmute it, Thousand’s voice returning mid-sentence.

“-atched. Hopelessly outmatched. It was only through the sacrifice of… everyone. That we were finally able to defeat her. I am the sole survivor of the battle, and I am no hero…”

Rhevy’s- no, wait, wasn’t she younger? Maybe it was her mother? At any rate, the kaio’s image fades from view, replaced instead with another fast-forwarded version of the entire exchange, this one focused on Thousand, showcasing what appears to be a rather valiant struggle, but little actual effect. The highlight was a well-executed counterbeam against the kaio, which barely even qualified as a wound after it connected.

“I deserve no honors for my part in this, as you can see. I barely did a thing. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is twofold. First, that the real heroes of this conflict be remembered.

The next portion of the address is very hard to follow. The android’s voice cracks and breaks as he speaks, his hands shaking, as images of each fallen hero appear, highlighting their contributions in the struggle, along with Thousand’s commentary on them. There is a scathing quality to his commentary, as if reprimanding the galaxy for having treated most of these heroes as villains. He speaks at length about Jules, Dumastin, Devrios, Requius, Elphlane… he touches on Rizion, though he doesn’t know the man well enough to do him proper justice. And finally alights on Sam, his voice catching strongly as he explains the struggles and prejudices that Sam had faced all his life, and pointing out the heroism that Sam had displayed on numerous occasions.

You find yourself pitying the android despite yourself- you know he’s just a machine, and obviously can’t really -feel- any which way, but he really sells it with his expressions, tone, and everything. But it also seems that he’s reaching the end of his address, the HUD fading away and the image returning to that of Thousand standing behind the podium. You turn the volume up a bit to catch the end.

“Remember them, and honor their memories and their sacrifice. They endured hatred throughout their lives, and yet still laid them down for all of you. That should count for something.” The android pauses a moment more, eyes closed, before speaking further in a flat, emotionless tone. “But more importantly. This recent conflict has claimed the lives of most of the galaxy’s fiercest defenders, and at the same time created a power vacuum among the forces that would see us all brought to ruin. Already, there are stirrings of more trouble to come. The Alliance simply isn’t capable, in and of itself, of handling these threats, and we’ve now a major shortage of those with the power to make a difference. These will be dark times- I ask that you all explore your own potential to the best of your abilities. The galaxy has run out of heroes, and it will need more in the near future, of that I am certain. Do not consider this temporary peace as a good opportunity to disarm yourselves- we must be prepared for what will come next.”

The android sighs, bowing his head slightly, before continueing. “To that end, but not just for that reason, I intend to open an orphanage for the children and dependants of the fallen in the recent conflicts. This will not be an ordinary orphanage- I intend to offer the children the best quality of life possible, and the best education and training that can be had, the better to temper the potential they’ve inherited from their parents. I am seeking donations and manpower to assist me with this- both for running the orphanage, and for tracking down all of the children. Their parents died for our lives and our freedoms, and left them alone. That sacrifice would warrant as much deference as we can muster for the children in and of itself- but their birthright may well be our salvation. They will flourish- and perhaps, one day, they will take up the mantles that their parents left them.”

The android looks down at the podium for a moment, then back up at the screen, gesturing towards the right edge. A frame pops out on the right edge of the screen, listing out numerous methods for contacting the android regarding the orphanage.

“If you can assist in any way, you can contact me via the information here. Thank you for hearing me out. I’ll let you get back to what you were doing now. Remember- remain vigilant, this is not the time to hammer your swords into plowshares.”

The color pattern, alliance logo, and keening tone return to the TV for a long moment before the display flips to the credits for the nature documentary that was on earlier, some irritating hippy-esque acoustic anthem playing in the background, but going unnoticed as you jump to your feet.

A lot of those names and events were ones that you were unfamiliar with, but you distinctly recognized one of the touted heroes, and knew how the android could locate at least one of the orphans in question. Your mobile phone is across the room, and you lunge for it, your foot catching on something.

Your world turns upside down, and suddenly everything appears to be happening in slow motion. You watch the beer bottle you had dropped earlier fly slooowly across the room after your foot rolls over it, to shatter against the far wall. You flail both of your arms, trying to catch yourself on something… anything. From your peripheral vision, the sharp point at the corner of your coffee table looms closer, and closer. A sharp flash of pain at your temple, and then all goes black.



You have no idea how much time has passed as the scene fades back in- a long queue ahead of you, occupied not by the figures of men, but by what appear to be clouds or whisps, extending out ahead of you, finally ending before a massive mahogany desk, behind which sits a gargantuan red-skinned, bearded man, with a pair of sharp white horns atop his massive head. You try to step forward, and feel nothing. You try to look downward, and see nothing but another of those wisps where your body ought to be. Thoughts of aiding that android, thoughts of contributing to the defense of the galaxy, all gone now, with only your current plight to focus on. Confusion and terror fly through you- you have no mouth, but you must scream.

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

Re: Addressing the Alliance

Post by Kuro » 17 Oct 2017, 21:05

rpp awarded

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