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[Rising Tide] Dinner at the Davies'.

Discussion in 'CivBE - Stories & Let's Plays' started by BevHeartMuncher, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. BevHeartMuncher

    BevHeartMuncher Chieftain

    Jul 18, 2015
    I got bored one time, and reading through all these debates about how the affinities mix and match, I decided to write a thing and try to incorporate my interpretation of the affinities' viewpoints of each other, this one being from the perspective of Purity, toward Purity-Harmony and Harmony/Supremacy.

    It's a bit long. Sorry.
    Spoiler :
    It had been a long day at work for James Davies. Still wrapped in the lifting-skeleton he used in his day-job as a construction worker, he sat bored in the public transport vehicle as it flew effortlessly along a pre-determined route, stopping at designated stations to let off passengers. The stress of putting a building together made the even the lightweight metal frame feel like it hung from him, despite the reverse being technically true. This kind of gear was very minimalist, just a series of struts and joints which ran down along his limbs, locked into place at the hands, feet, waist and shoulders. The exoskeleton generated its own power, and provided support and extra power to James’ own limbs in order to move immensely heavy materials around without the need for a vehicle. The train pulled up at the station, and the engine noise faded to a low hum while the doors opened.
    James disembarked, and with effortless skeleton-assisted strides he traversed the mostly-empty platform and scanned his transportation pass to exit the station. The car was waiting in the place James he knew he put it in that morning, and without second thought he opened the door and sat down, reaching for the wheel, only there was only air. He remembered suddenly that his overprotective wife, Janie, had gone and spent a large sum of their money buying one of these ridiculous self-driving vehicles, which used a program to drive itself everywhere. It had a manual override, which James was tempted to use, but he knew Janie would have another rant at him for not ‘appreciating developments that save lives’. James just didn’t trust computers. They broke down, they had malfunctions, and they could get viruses. Some genius over in Reclamation Corp’s colony further west even invented a computer which thought and acted like a person. That was just unnatural – no way could a computer be like a person. James shuddered at the thought of it. He set the car’s destination for home, staying in the driver’s seat and keeping a hand tentatively over the manual override button in case something happened.
    When James arrived home, something was odd. He couldn’t tell what, but he felt something wasn’t as it should be. Ignoring the feeling, James got out, locked the car and went through the front door. The family pet, a domestic breed of wolf beetle named Pokey, skittered over and vocalised her enthusiasm at James’ return – likely because it meant food, since the kids never remembered to feed her. After detaching himself from the skeleton, and stretching briefly to readjust to normal limb strength, James walked tiredly to the kitchen and sat down. “Janie!” he called.
    “Coming,” replied the soft voice from the next room. James heard a door open and shut, then 2 sets of footsteps as Janie came in from the back deck. What James saw behind her nearly made him draw his gun. James was by no means a small man- years of construction work, despite exoskeleton assistance, had built his 6”2’ body into a broad, muscled figure. But the guest, who James thought looked familiar, had to be 7 or more feet tall. He had to bow his head to fit below the roof, and his long figure was complemented with more than enough muscle to wrestle with an elder male raptor bug. The giant stood up straight has he entered the dining room where the ceiling was higher, and James couldn’t help but feel dwarfed, even while standing.
    “This is my nephew, Keith. He signed up for an augmentation program that Athens Co. funded. I know, they can do some serious stuff these days, especially now they’ve been doing this research into genetics.”
    “Afternoon, Keith. I’m James, James Davies. Nice to meet you” James nervously reached out a hand, wondering the extent of Keith’s ‘augmentation’. James was put off by how different this man was, if he was even a man anymore. People were built a certain way, and beyond fixing errors made by Nature, changing it was wrong. If we were meant to be bigger, we would have been born so, as James believed.
    “Now boys, get to know each other a little better while I put dinner on. Athens Co. is a military company isn’t it, Keith? James was in the military. Delta-One-Zero-Five.”
    “Delta? That’s a specialist heavy corps isn’t it?” Keith inquired. James stayed silently for a moment, contemplating whether or not he actually wanted to answer the monster in front of him.
    “Yeah, battlesuits. Mostly worked in wildlife clearance, standard-issue armour doesn’t stop a raptor bug from disembowelling you.”
    “Cool,” Keith nodded, “I just got back from 6 months on Wackjob.” James chuckled. Wackjob was the name for someone from this recently landed colony, called itself Al Falah, whatever it means. They didn’t have cryo on their ship, so they got here with some real twisted senses of what in the world was right. Their bodies had mutated in the four-hundred-year journey, plus whatever sick experiments they did on themselves like what Keith signed up for. At least Keith still looked human on the outside. Wackjobs had the general figure, but you couldn’t tell which parts of them were human. Some were supposed to have fangs and the ability to turn invisible. James knew that was ridiculous, but they were still by no means natural. Neither was Keith.
    Everything about his nephew seemed to be the opposite of James’ self. Keith was no older than 25, with blonde hair and a clean-shaven face that he held upward all the time, out of some odd habit. His holier-than-thou demeanour made James frequently irritated, and whether he meant it or not, Keith seemed to enjoy his own stories, especially war stories, a little too much. James, however, hated recalling his service. He did a stint on Wackjob once, plus some other isolated warzones, and the costs of war were all-too real for him. Dwarfed by Keith, James’ black hair was kept short and tidy, to avoid it being caught in his exoskeleton. He did, however, sport a beard that he took great pride in, forming a thick, dark fur which framed his face well. Keith was exceptionally clean, and despite having apparently spent a lot of time out on patrol, his skin remained a light olive and seemingly free of any mark or dirt. Keith’s face was a dark tan, and his hands were covered in mud from work. Everything about Keith screamed unnatural to James, and he was sure Keith could tell. The tension grew, despite Janie’s best efforts with dinner, and the kids eventually dragged the enormous curiosity away after dinner. Janie sat down next to him, and gave him a disapproving look. Her curls of red hair fell down around her small, pale face as she scratched the back of her neck. “What exactly is so wrong with Keith? I can tell you don’t like him.”
    “He’s not natural. You can’t do that to a person, and listen to how he talks about his war stories. Not fazed at all. I don’t know what Athens did…”he trailed off. James could not bring himself to be comfortable with that thing.
    While the couple sat silently looking at each other, James sipping a beer, Keith bounded down the hallway and to the door. “Sorry Aunty Janie, got to run. It’s work, supposedly an emergency.” Then he ran out the door. James got up, following him out of curiosity, and it couldn’t have been more than four or five seconds before he reached the door and looked down the street to see Keith more than a block away. James was dumbfounded – that was not possible. There was no way any normal man could run almost 200 metres in that timeframe. Not even a great sprinter from old earth could do half that distance in that time. Whatever Keith was, James was now even less comfortable with it. He shuddered, and went back inside. He turned on the television, and it cut to a breaking news story.
    “NSA Leaders are calling all military personnel to report in after a surprise assault by an Al Falah naval force began landing in Deepcastle just over an hour ago. Battle has broken out in the streets, and many run for their lives as chaos erupts…”The newsreader’s voice faded into the back of James’ mind as he realised that Wackjob duty had reached Deepcastle. He felt his phone ring in his left pocket as he walked out to the back shed. He answered the phone to hear his commanding officer’s familiar but expected voice, and James Davies reported in as Delta-One-Five-Zero, on duty and moving to assist. He pulled open the double shed doors, revealing what many described as a ‘walking tank’ – James’ battlesuit, complete with rifle and ammunition.
    The Davies house was situated only a kilometre or so from the edge of town. From what James knew of Wackjobs, it wouldn’t take them long to get from the boarding vessels to the house. The sheer bulk of a battlesuit meant that even a veteran like James needed half an hour, with assistance, to suit up. The attack had been going for a valuable hour and a half by the time James was ready. Each footstep landed with a resounding thud as all 300 kilograms of man and armour cautiously exited the yard, and into the street. After scanning all the nearby houses for heat signs, he confirmed that most of the neighbours were holed up in attics or other safe areas, and no signs of Wackjobs around yet. Nerves set in as James took a few more steps down the street, continuing to scan for potential ambushes. Wackjobs were savage, but still cunning. They could be anywhere.
    There was no mistaking the growl, though. It sounded somewhat like a slow-running engine, a series of deep pops which sent chills down anyone’s spine. Wheeling around, James found himself confronted by a menacing sight – a Wackjob soldier, with two dark fiends on either side like hunting dogs – but with a lot more teeth. James raised the enormous gun in front of him, sights on the Wackjob’s head. Thinking out the move, he considered which he should shoot first. The big blade on the bottom of the gun meant he could wound one of the creatures if it jumped on him, and if he shot the Wackjob first, he’d still have one on his face. A decision had to be made quickly, so he shot. The bullet caught the Wackjob in the side of the skull, putting a hole in his face, but he didn’t fall. The creatures jumped, and he managed to knock one to the ground with the rifle before the other reached him. Spinning to remove the creature, he moved one hand off the gun to grab the creature off his shoulder and throw it into number 7’s concreted mailbox, smashing the mailbox. As he turned again to face the first creature, the Wackjob was on him. How it survived the bullet was beyond James, but some serious tech must be in this thing to do that. Still, the Wackjob massively underestimated James’ weight, because despite tackling him with a lot of force in the side, James stayed up. Punching him in the gut, James quickly grabbed the Wackjob by the head and threw him, too, before batting away the other creature as it recovered from being batted by James’ gun. Standing back up and regaining his balance, James noticed he was now surrounded. Between an invincible maniac and two very dangerous animals, he wasn’t sure which to kill. He could probably take on the Wackjob alone without much effort, but those dog-things made it difficult. The Wackjob drew a weapon from a sheath on his back. Dropping to a stable firing stance, James held the rifle up, clicked it into full-auto and aimed it at the Wackjob.
    The Wackjob’s sword was as long as Janie was tall. On the Wackjob, and compared to James’ bulk in the suit, it wasn’t that big, but it had to be 5 feet long at least. Knowing some of the damage Wackjobs could do with those things, James still got nervous. He growled again, that same unnerving series of clicks, and he felt the two creatures get closer. An alert showed up in his visor – friendly signature, 50 metre front-left, approaching incredibly fast. James could only hope it was what he needed it to be, then engaged. Instead of going for the Wackjob, he spun around and put the rest of his magazine into one of the creatures. No amount of healing tech will fix a body that’s got enough holes it could be a sponge. Behind the flash of his weapon firing, he saw a bronze blur in his peripheral vision. Obscenely tall, it sped in and crashed full speed into the Wackjob like a wrecking ball and knocked a full 20 metres. James spun again to deflect the second creature, and as he wrestled the beast off his armour, he saw the bronze giant, wearing ancient-looking armour, deploying his own sword, this one made of hard light. James heard about guns which shot the stuff, a lot of the newer battlesuit divisions had them and they supposedly ran off a battery and didn’t need to reload. Now that he was only dealing with one threat, he quickly pinned the Wackjob’s little savage to the ground and crushed its head with a titanium fist. The Wackjob had sprung up, sword in hand, growling more and hissing at the bronze soldier.
    “James!” it called. “It’s Keith. Do you want it, or are you good?”
    “You can take it,” James replied. He cracked his neck. So that’s what those supposed Immortals looked like. The bronze was a bit over the top, but with a company named Athens making them, the ancient Greek references seemed appropriate. After a brief swordfight which James filmed off his helmet camera, the Wackjob was dead. He looked again at Keith, wearing that awful bronze-color suit, now spattered with black Wackjob blood, but still couldn’t bring himself to look at Keith like a person. Sure, compared to the Wackjob, he was very human, but that kind of messing with the perfectly suitable human genome struck a bad chord within James.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. masda_gib

    masda_gib Chieftain

    Aug 13, 2013
    Nice story!
    I like the first half the most. Where they think and speak about one another at the table. That really pictures James' thought nicely. :)
    + Whackjob is an awesome word XD
  3. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

    Sep 15, 2015
    I really enjoyed reading your story! I felt like I was there!
  4. Packherd2

    Packherd2 Chieftain

    May 24, 2011
    Great vignette!

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