Tuesday, March 19, 2013

[Doctor Who Fanction] An Alternate Ending : The Angels take Manhattan.

Tired of beating my head against an Ultima fanfiction that just doesn't want to be a good set of ducks and line up, and too sore to write anything of my own.. so have some Doctor Who fanfiction. (Sorry Mr Mick, no bunnies this time.)

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Alternative Ending : The Angels Take Manhattan

River Song was trying to mother hen the Doctor into taking better care of his TARDIS, Rory and Amelia exchanged proud, if amused, looks over the interaction. Before the two could get into married squabble mode, Rory decided to jump in with a quick subject change. "Next time, came we just go to the pub?"

Before they group could get into the TARDIS, however, Rory's attention was caught by a gravestone that had his name and age on it. Had that been there a moment before? Had the writing on it changed? Was time still in flux?  "Amy, come and see this." he called. As much as he hated to admit it, his wife was better at figuring out this stuff.

"What?" She said, half into the TARDIS and already thinking about dinner. It had been a long time since the aborted picnic, in more ways than one.

"There's a gravestone here for someone with the same name as me." He pointed out; a mix of amused and confused.

"What?" Amy repeated, walking over to Mr Pond.

Opening his mouth to speak, he suddenly disappeared. Amy's eyes switched from the gravestone that she'd been trying to read without glasses and the angel that had appeared behind Rory. "DOCTOR!" She bellowed, panic and confusion. Had she just lost Rory again? How many times could your heart be ripped away from you in one short period?

"Where the hell did that come from?" River growled, absently trying for a weapon she hadn't found a place to store in her dress. Oh, her love may claim the brain was the best weapon, followed by swift talking, but some days a girl just wanted a sonic blaster and some bad guys to use it on. Any being who had just sucked her father away from her mother certainly counted as a bad guy!

"It's a survivor. Very weak, but keep your eyes on it." The Doctor was already grabbing his sonic screw driver from his pocket. Why hadn't he scanned? He should have known how much Angels loved graveyards, the lost time, the death, the misery.

Amy's dispair was rapidly turning into the deep burning anger that had kept the Scots surviving on moors and oatmeal. "Oh, I'll keep my eye on it." She growled, stalking over to it. A glance at the marker now showed an age to Rory's name. Fine, if that's how it wanted to play it. She glared back at the Angel who hadn't moved, only lowered its arm a bit as if the alien was rather unsure. "Must be male," she growled.

"What?" The Doctor asked and started to move forward, but River put her hand on his arm; this wasn't his battle. It wasn't their battle. As much as she wanted to rip the universe apart, it just wasn't their battle.

"This is how we're going to do this." She told the Angel. "You can't bring him back, can you?"

She blinked and its hand was lowered completely now, claws finger nails once more. It almost looked confused. People didn't just accost the statues.

"And the TARDIS, if we bring it to him, we pretty much blow things sky high, yeah?"

Blink. It was looking to the left. She blinked again, it looked to the right. It almost seemed like it was looking for an escape route.

"So, here's what we're doing to do. I am going to touch you and you are going to bring me to him. In exchange for that, he and I are not going to try and escape. We're not going to figure out a time and place that it'd be safe for the Doctor to land. We're not --"

"Amy!" The Doctor protested, trying to shrug off River's hold.

"We're not," she repeated, louder, ignoring her best friend, tears growing in her eyes, "We're not going to do anything but live our lives, grow old, and die and give you whatever it is you want to give. You are going to bring us together." She stepped forward to the Angel, inches from it, "Because if you don't, I will hunt down every single one of you, I will smash you all to ribbons and rubble, I will make you weep blood for the moment you targeted my husband and thought you could keep him from me. Do you understand?"

"AMY!" The Doctor was struggling with River now.

"My best friend, my dearest friend, is that man. That man is the man who makes the Daleks step back, that man is married to my daughter. My daughter who makes Daleks beg for mercy. Who do you thiknk she learnt it from, yeah? Its not all genes and weak whiskey!"

Blink and the Angel had actually stepped back.

"Do we have a deal then? You'll take me to him? We won't fight, you get what you want, I get what I want, and I don't need to found a sledgehammer factory." She wasn't quite sure how one would make a sledgehammer that would connect to an Angel that wouldn't suck you up in their little time games, but there had to be a way to destroy them beyond starvation and she was perfectly willing to spend the rest of her life to find that way if she needed to.

She blinked, the Angel stepped forward and she too was gone.

"NO!" The Doctor cried, rushing to where the Angel stood. "You bring her back!" He demanded.

"It can't." River said, following slowly. The Doctor knew that, but what else could she say?

"I don't care! It shouldn't end this way! Why does it always end? I don't want it to end!" Tears blurred his eyes long enough to find the Angel moving backwards, its job done.

River briefly considered finding a way to blast the statue to rubble, a warring notion of vengeance wanted and curiosity of what they looked like on the inside. "Everything ends, my love." She said softly.

He looked at her, a whole new level of pain in his eyes. They both knew that her time was catching up with her quickly, how many more stolen days would they have?

"Let's go." She said, putting arm around him to guide him into the TARDIS. There was nothing but pain to be found here.

"Your parents." He said as she closed the door behind them.

"Mm." She said. "Yes, I suppose I'm about done raising them, aren't I?" She said, squaring her shoulders and looking at the console. A pub with video games somehow no longer seemed like such a good idea. She wasn't so good at this side of things. She watched the Doctor practically crumple to the floor. "Where are we going?" Her eyes hardened, "And don't you dare say New York!"

There was silence in the magical box.

"I don't know." He finally said.

River bit her lip for a moment before making a decision. She disappeared into the realms of bed chambers and bathrooms to return with a blue covered journal. On the front, in Amy's writing, was the word 'The Spoilers of Mrs. Williams."

"Mrs. Williams? Who's she kidding?" The Doctor muttered, staring at it as River patiently held it out for him to take. Within was the story of Melody Malone, probably the draft that would be taken off to be published. He flipped past the words he'd already seen, the story already told until he got to the end.

"Well Raggedy Man, I am here and you are there. If I know my Doctor, he is sitting on a step plotting on how to change what is without hurting anyone. Rory and I have had a lot of years to think about that, and we both say 'Don't.'. I know its not the ending any of us would have chosen, it's without its goodbyes and hugs and tears, but maybe that's for the best. We all know you don't much like goodbyes.

"The Angels never really showed where they wanted us, whether it was here physically or just here in this time so we stuck it out in New York. A promise is a promise and all that. Don't think we just sat around though, that would be too boring. Rory worked as a nurse, ignoring all stupidity attached to a male nurse in this era, I made fashions like I almost knew what was next, raised kids and tried to stay out of trouble.

"Oh yes, children.. lots of them! It started with Rory, as it always does. He found a boy rummaging around in the trash for food and so, Rory told the boy (Daniel, by the way), that he was coming home to be fed. You'd think this feral child would think it some sort of trap, but he just fell in and we fed him.. and others. After all, not all Melodys can find their parents to raise to stay off the streets.

"I miss you terribly, but we do good here and that's what you taught me, do good wherever we go. Bloody Americans can't make custard worth anything either, and the less said about their idea of tea is probably for the best. You take care of my daughter, she pretends she's tough, but she needs you. You keep her out of what trouble you can and enjoy the trouble you can't.

"Its not the end. Not by half. So don't you go sulking in your box, you hear me?

"And clean the pool, Rory says he forgot to do it before we went on our picnic. Probably starting to stink a bit by now, the TARDIS does like to toss you in it at its worst and everything.

"I love you. Thank you.

"Amy Pond Williams and Rory."

The Doctor rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, River sitting beside him now, resting her head against him.

"I miss his stupid face." The Doctor said before wrapping his arm around his wife. "Still won't try the fish fingers and custard, will you?"

"I'm not her. I can't be her. But I can travel with you .. sometimes. Only so much insanity allowed in the blue for any length of time. And you won't be alone. Because I won't allow it and we Mrs Ponds always get our way."

"Yes, you do tend to do that." The Doctor said, closing his eyes to lean his cheek against the top of her head. No, he'd not be alone, never alone, he always had his memories and regrets to keep him company.

Friday, March 8, 2013

[A long introspective] Why I am who I am.

 (Too Long, Don't Want to Read : Send money to this Kickstarter, please.)

I know it will sound just a little crazy to say that a video game helped me become who I am. That's okay, I'm more than a little crazy, I'm happy to sound that way.  When I was a young thing, my brother was a computer addict. I, too, was soon bitten by the bug. Of course, not being the hard worker my brother was and still is and being three years younger, I didn't have a computer of my own and had to bug him, as only little sisters can, to use his. First it was a Vic 20, and then it was a Commodore 64. On that C64, he played CRPGs; computer role-playing games.

I'd already been introduced to the world of RPGs via his gaming group who said "We need a cleric" and Dave looked at me, handed me a piece of paper and said "When we say heal, heal." and I said "Okay!" The magic, at first, was being included with my cool brother and his awesome older friends. I was getting to play a "grown up" game at the grand age of 11.  However, as the Game Master (Gordon Westbroeke) described this world and what was happening (Mostly my brother and his friend Chris having a complex duel, which I don't remember who won.) I fell in love with this concept. Here was an imaginary world (and I'd created lots in my head) that didn't require props of any sort. I could be anyone I wanted to be and I could do anything!

The problem with the computer versions of these role-playing games was that they were very linear. You went from a to b to c to d. You were this male who may or may not be a native of the world, you did magical things and heroic tasks. Don't get me wrong, they were pretty cool and I sunk many hours that I probably should have been spending on academic things on them.  However, I always felt there was something a bit missing. Then my brother came home with "Ultima IV".

Not only in this game could I actually play a GIRL, I could do ANYTHING. I could go anywhere, I could kill anyone, I could save anyone. I had this huge and heroic quest to save this wonderful detailed world. I was in awe and I was in love. I don't think I ever actually finished Ultima IV myself, I watched my brother finish it a couple times, so I never sat down to go through the Abyss, etc, on my own. The only flaw with the game was you could only save on the main map, which meant once you started dungeonering you were pretty committed. And let's face it, my brother has always been a much more patient individual than I. (Some might say it was from growing up with me as a little sister.)

But the most magical thing was, you had to be a good person to win. Well, actually, you had to be an incredibly awesome person to win but that's not hugely relevant. This game came with some guidelines on how to be a good person. Be honest, be brave, be humble, be compassionate. Now, I'm not saying at the age of 11 I suddenly became the grandest person on the planet. One of my biggest problems with being an imaginative and creative kid, and later teen, was I enamoured of embellishing my life with tales of untruth, writing them in my diary as if I had this totally awesome life. This, unfortunately, developed into a person who lied about pretty much everything. I lied about who I was to even myself. It took meeting someone with the exact same qualities and a rough break-up to shake my world enough to say "Oh. I don't want to be that way." I would love to say I became a great person overnight, but alas, no, it took years upon years to get there, and it took years upon years to become the person I wanted to be. I first had to start unweaving the web of lies I'd built. Some were obvious, some were subtle and well woven, some just so well developed over time everyone just took it for granted.

Somewhere in the morass and mess that was my life at the time, I gained a copy of Ultima VII. It'd been out for a while, but Ultima VIII hadn't arrived yet. I explored every corner and inch of that world, in love with being back in Britannia and the rich, wonderful worlds Lord Britishcreates. I was also happy to be that heroic person again who goes forth and saves people, who helps people, who is noble and wonderful, and hey, a pretty hot lady in or out of her armour. I pestered and harassed the Origin team with questions, suggestions, bugs, problems. The poor people had shipped this game two years before and I'm bugging them about it? Two years is aeons in gaming time! I then opened Ultima VII part two. My biggest issue with part two was it felt like it didn't have the polish of part one, like it was 95% finished and then shipped rather than 100% finished. However, I still got to be this awesomely avatar person. (Who may have cried in real life when Dupre died.)

These games, as strange as it seems, sat in my subconscious. I didn't have a lot of problems with lying and stealing to and from those I loved growing up, I don't know why, powers know my parents tried and tried.  The penny dropped, however, when I started Ultima VIII. A friend gave it to me saying the game was terrible, I could have it. I was overjoyed. I put it in, I started playing and.. Good Lord, what was this horrible thing? It was buggy, it was unfinished, storylines would just hang, the population was next to zero and I had to play Mario and jump and slash and, well, let's just say I loathed it in comparison to the other games. I finished it, I'll say that much, mostly just to get the story and say I finished it. What, I think, was lacking the most was the virtues, the lessons, this example of being a shining beacon. Somehow, everything that my parents had been trying to drill into my head, everything my friends were (I won't deny my friends were better people than I was at the time!!), sunk in. I realized, I wanted to be the Avatar. Not the sword swinging, armouring wearing avatar; I wanted to be the lady who is honest, who helps people, who can be counted on to guard your most precious possession or secret and return it to you as you gave it. I wanted to be someone who my parents could be proud of. I wanted someone my friends could say "THAT'S why we're friends with you, doofus! We knew that was underneath!"

Then I started playing Everquest (which didn't become linear, no matter what Mr Garriott says, until long after WoW came out.) I got sucked into this magical world where I got to hang out with hundreds of other people. Some of them were cool, some of them were asshats, most were in between. I eventually stumbled into a guild called "Sanctus Covenir."  They'd started as an Ultima Online guild and grew into other gaming worlds. The general gist was you lived your life by the code of the Avatar. This is challenging enough in real life, its even more so in the game world where there's actually no real consequence for going through the city of Freeport and killing the guards and merchants and griefing other players.

If I hadn't had the love of Ultima, I probably wouldn't have joined Sanctus Covenir. I would have written them off, as many did, as goofy role-players on a non-role-playing server. But somewhere, Max with his polite thees and thous, with his willingness to help no matter the cost to him, Glofindle with his polite pokes in the ribs when I was being a bit of a, well, bitch, Delphinae and Thalstan with their teaching me how to play my druid with grace and patience, amongst others. There were many laughs, many long, long, long, nights in dungeons, and there was camaraderie. Unfortunately, I was getting bored with the mid-level content and wanted to raid, real raids against dragons and gods, not just dungeoneering. So, off I went to another guild that was chaos and a cess pool that I didn't swim well in, and really missed my old companions.  It wasn't until I found another guild with similar principals to Sanctus Covenir and Ultima's virtues in the end gaming world, that I found another home.

When I was faced with dealing with an asshat situation, I often thought of what would the virtues have me do. I forgave people, I was honest with people even if they didn't necessarily want that honesty but had asked, I tried to be courageous when I'd rather just cower under my bed, and I tried to help people however I could. I thought about the leaders of Talaire, Max, Moonchaser, Sierrah, these people who guided with patience and respect and tried to emulate. (Though, Sierrah was pretty good at the Gibbs smack too. That taught me to hit delete rather than enter on some of my more choice observations and comments.) And even over a decade later, these people are still friends and still in my life.  Its gotten to the point where I don't have to stop and think (okay, except when talking with stupid people, I still have to stop and hit delete instead of enter sometimes) "What would the Avatar do?" I just carry on with my life and I like to think I'm a good person.

Maybe I would have developed into this person anyway, maybe my parents would have managed to get sense into my head, maybe I would have found another source that made me think "Wait, is this who I want to be?" But, what it boils down to, is this series of games, and let's face it, Richard Garriott, had a huge impact on my life. And that's why this long huge ramble, to in essence say, if you have a few dollars, please throw it Kickstarter'sway, and help him bring this world of virtues back into play.

Monday, March 4, 2013

[Gerbil Fiction] Party at Speedy's!

(One comatose gerbil)

Thank you, Speedy! I had a wonderfuls time at your birthday, even if Mr Mickey is teaching everyone to call me "Foo' Gerbil" instead of my name! I'll forgive Jensen, he's young and doesn't know any better, but I think Maddy'll be donating to my nest if she keeps it up! (Little gerbil stomp)

Be sure to thanks your Mum for the wonderful spread! I'm not sure who spiked the punch. (Looks in the direction of Mickey's Den) Anyway, it was fun, though the world is a little spinny and I decided to spend the day in my nest, only coming out for a piece of popcorn. I almost took a nap on the green wheel.. fortunately, I managed to rouse myself before my human noticed. Phew.

And another party coming up! Mario over at Roadbunner is having his *tenth* birthday party this weekend! TEN! That's like, ancient! He must be using a cane! I hope its metal though, 'cause other wise he'd chew on it and it'd collapse when he needed it, which could be kinda  embarrassing. Wow, Ten. That's almost as old as Mickey's breath!

The Mum muttered something about promising she was gonna writing SOMETHING every single day of March. (Not necessarily posting online) Then the zombie drugs took over. It wouldn't even be so bad  if she wasn't still bitching about paid. (Sighs) See what a gerbil has to put up with?

Anyway, this wood hut isn't gonna gnaw itself! Thank you again for the party, Speedykinz! See you all at Mario's on Saturday!