Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
Advice from an Unlikely Source
I leaned against the door, gasping. I felt exhilarated. I was still working out what I could do, but I'd saved that plane load of passengers. For someone still feeling their way, that wasn't too shabby. I trotted up the stairs, tossed my briefcase on the bed, and thought about a shower.
“Whoo! Nice ass, baby.” I spun around. I was alone in the room. Who the hell! “And the milk bags are great too.”
“Who is that? Where are you?”
“On the book shelf, chickie.” I looked at it. The top shelf had a series of Anime statues, a bird- a bird? It looked like a raven, but made of some translucent plastic. As I watched it stretched it's wings wide.
“What are you, for that matter, who are you?”
“What I am is a representation of a raven, as anyone who actually looks at birds would figure out. I am what you would call the owner's manual for the ring. They were going to send you a metal owl like in the old Clash of the Titans movie, but Loki suggested that since Ravens can talk just like parrots, they make me to look like one of Odin's birds. He even gave me my name.”
I rubbed my forehead. “Probably 'Quoth' like the one in Terry Pratchett's work.” I mumbled. “Well spill it. What's your name?”
“You're psychic too?” It asked in an amazed tone.
“What do you mean?” I glared at it.
“He was remembering Edgar Allen Poe. 'Quoth the raven, nevermore'.”
“I'm being advised by a wise ass plastic bird, sent by a wise ass god. Someone just shoot me.” I moaned.
“Hey, I could have been a ten pound metal owl that didn't talk instead.” It protested. “Be thankful for small favors.”
“Having you talk is a favor? Gee thanks, Loki.”
“Haven't you ever seen the Original Clash of the Titans?” It asked. “The owl just chirps and clicks, and Perseus automatically understands. Isn't it better that I actually speak English? You'd bitch if they hung you with a new rope!”
I waved at it. “All right, thanks for being able to talk. So how do I use you?”
It cocked it's head. “Let me take a wild guess; you're the kind of dweeb that throws the owner's manual away, and just tries.”
“So I'll tell you now, I can't be thrown away. I'll be here as long as you're a hero for them. As for how to use me, what you do is ask me questions, and I'll tell you the answers. That's what is called 'conversation'.”
“Great, now it's correcting my social skills.”
“If you need it, I do it.”
I just growled in frustration. “Fine, what powers do I have?”
“Well first, that book isn't going to help.” It pointed at my book bag.
“The one Janice picked out. It's the old stories from Norse Mythology. Face it, do you really need to know that Loki is Odin's blood brother? Or that Thor and Loki had more adventures than Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had Road movies? Or that Loki got Thor to dress in drag, yet the giants never caught on that a six foot seven man with a beard wasn't Freya, who by the way is only about five foot four?” The Raven shook it's head. Makes you wonder about giants, doesn't it?”
“So where should I do my research?”
“Go online, and Google Deities and Demi-Gods, first edition.”
“No, I'm not. The most recent editions cut out a lot of pantheons because the gamers weren't interested. So you lost the Japanese gods along with Celts and the Chtulu mythos and Elric's Melnibonean one.”
“Do I need the last two?”
“Nah, they're just Fantasy.”
I sighed, and sat at my computer. I found the reference Quoth had mentioned, and as it downloaded I turned back. “Why use a reference book from a game?”
“Because they treated the gods like real people you can meet in the game. So you have abilities, alignments; which you don't need to worry about, weapons they carry, and powers they use.”
“Why not alignments?”
“Because it is men judging the Gods as if they have that right. What a man sees as evil, the gods see as necessary; take Kali, who is a goddess of destruction. Nature needs something to tear down so it can renew. So think of her as the owner of a junkyard, removing usable parts from the wrecked cars, and recycling everything else. It's just that she does it with people too.”
“You know, that makes some kind of weird perverted sense.”
“Don't it just?”
“So invulnerability I got from Baldur. Flying?”
“Hermes, Greek messenger god. He can be anywhere he wants to be as fast as he wishes to be. That is where you got the ability to fly 1100 miles in less than a second.”
“How did I phase through the plane then?”
“Pretty much every god lives on what the game would call the Ethereal plane, and to someone there matter is just a bunch of loosely connected molecules. So going through solid matter is like swimming.”
“Hearing the pilots at that distance?”
“Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost Bridge into Valhalla. He can hear everything, right down to conversations when he concentrates on it. He can also see what's happening anywhere in the world. Take that girl Heather you keep thinking about...”
Unbidden, I thought of her. How was I going to- Heather felt terror as the two men forced their way into the house. She had ordered a pizza, and like a ditz had forgotten to check the peephole. One of them was the man from this morning, the other a huge bruiser with an evil grin.
“Heather!” I felt myself change, and teleported to right outside her door, and promptly fell on my ass. I had still been in the seated position when I made the leap, and gravity had done the rest. “Note to self, stand up to teleport.” I grumbled, standing up. I marched to the door, and tried the knob. Locked. I phased through the door.
The big guy was holding Heather, one hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. The smaller guy from this morning was pulling the cover off a needle in a syringe.
“Excuse me.” The guy turned, and went ashen as I marched toward them. I caught the big guy's wrists, and peeled him off of Heather like a bad jacket. She dropped to the floor, and scuttled backwards on her butt as I pinned both wrists with one hand. I felt something poke into my side, and looked down. The other guy had tried to stab me in the ass with the needle, but I felt the liquid run down my butt. I sighed, snagged his collar, and lifted him off his feet before looking at Heather.
“Are you all right, Heather?”
“I'm fine now, yes.” Then she looked at me, confused. “How do you know my name?”
Think! “You know a guy named Nick Parker. He told me you wanted to meet me.” She had a blank look for a moment, then was excited. I sighed inwardly. “So hi, nice t-meet yah. Could you get the door, please?” She walked around us. The smaller guy had drawn his gun, and I twisted his collar, so he would be concentrating on breathing instead. I walked them out the door. “Guys, we're going to have a little discussion about your manners, away from the nice lady.” I flipped them straight up into the air, turning to Heather. “I'll see you again later.”
As I took off like a heat seeking missile I heard her wail, 'But you still haven't told me your name!”
I caught the big guy as he passed about three hundred feet, flying upward with him to catch the smaller one as he passed eight hundred. I must have been wicked pissed at him. I stopped us around a thousand feet up, holding both by their collars. The small guy had crapped his pants in terror. “All right you guys, only one warning. You mess with her again, and I bounce you off the International Space Station.”
“The boss don't like threats.” The big guy rumbled.
“I don't care what your boss likes. Leave her alone, or there will be trouble.” We dropped slowly toward earth. Is that your car?” I asked nodding toward a late model LTD.
“Yeah, it-” The big guy screamed as I let them both go. I didn't see what his problem was, we were only about thirty feet up when I did. I considered making myself invisible, and was. This was getting to be fun. As the little guy just curled up in the dent he'd made in the car's roof, his partner drew out his cell phone. I extended my sense, and heard both sides of the conversation. As I did, I searched, finding where the 'boss' was.
I teleported, arriving above a nice house across town. A good sized lot, with a huge house on it. I dropped onto the doorstep, and leaned on the buzzer. A guy who was as much a tough as the two I'd just dealt with answered, and I was in no mood to deal with brawn that didn't have a brain. “I'm here to see the boss.”
“Make an appointment.” He started to close the door, and I stopped it with a negligent hand.
“I see him now, or every law enforcement agency sees him tomorrow morning.” I told the guy cheerfully. Then I slammed the door open, throwing him into the wall behind it.
Someone shouted, and two men came down the main stairway. I picked up the first and used him to bludgeon down the second. The man I was looking for was upstairs, and I took the stairway three at a time. Another man tried to stop me, and I threw him through the door into the office. I stepped over him.
He was in a nice suit, and had a nice house, but he was as much a thug as the guys who worked for him. I stepped over the concussed thug, and stalked over to the desk.
“My lawyers will be in contact about the damages.” He said.
“Let them.” I told him. “I'm here about your people trying to kidnap Heather Wayne.”
“I don't know what you're talking about.”
“All right, let's play it your way. Someone keeps trying to kidnap the girl, and as her friend I am delivering a word of warning.” I took the chair across from him. “We both know that such an unsavory person would be thinking about hurting or killing me; after all, thugs think with their fists, not their brains. But if you look downstairs, you will see that I am a bit stronger than you might think, and I have some...special skills which make me pretty damn hard to kill.
“But I also have other skills that would make that man's life a nightmare.” I stood tapping his computer. “Maybe I could spirit away every computer in his offices and deliver them to some cop's desk. Which cop? Does it matter? After all, they will have to access the computers to return them, right? And legally, they can use anything they find on them.” I closed my eyes, communing with the device.
“Especially if I could tell them all of the passwords on each machine, and which files to look at. Like the listing of the Colombians he deals with on a weekly basis. The money laundering at four different Offshore banks, the businesses he has his hooks into.” I grinned.”The taxes he isn't paying. Have I given you enough for this man to worry about?”
I stood. “So I'll ask you to let him know that Heather Wayne is to be left alone. I don't know why she is of interest, and frankly I don't care, but that interest will end now, today. If she is bothered by as much as a panhandler from now on, I will assume that man did not listen. The next thing he feels will be either the long arm of the law, or the depths of space if I am in a foul mood.
“I assume you have my message clear?” He nodded. “Good. I'll let myself out.” I stood. “It's been fun.” Then I teleported back to my room.
If it's not one thing, it's another
I got up the next morning, and got ready for school. I was lucky, and caught up with Heather at the bus stop, but she was deep in thought, and pretty much ignored me. We rode there silently, and when I got off, she walked toward the Girl's side still ignoring me. I saw someone wave, and returned it. Janice was smiling at me like the love of her life, and I was busy trying to think of ways to break her out of her shell. I was sure somebody on the Boy's side would like her enough to become her steady.
I was in the news again. There was film of the landing of the plane in Puerto Rico, with me leading it in ass first. Thanks to the slipstream, all they could tell was that I had red hair, oh, and blue panties. I was still a mystery, and the press was trying to figure out who I might be. At lunch everyone was talking about 'her'.
The day finally ended, and I picked up my bag, heading for the library. I thanked Janice, returning the book on the Norse Mythos, and accepted the one linked to the Egyptians. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I didn't need it; both Janus and I figured it would keep her fixated on me long enough for us to get her more experience with men. I was thinking of who to hook her up with as I turned to head for the bus stop and ran into a woman in uniform.
It was the girl every guy on the boy's side would die to date, Sova Kurkinen, Student Body President now for three years running, ever since she had come to the school. Sova was as tall as I am, with ice white blond hair, and a manner of speaking that made you think of a coldly calculating scientist. Every guy dreamed of making her show emotions, usually by inserting male part A into female B.
“You are Nick Parker.” She didn't ask; it was like if my name wasn't Nick Parker, I was going to change it.
“We need to talk.” She motioned toward the east side of the school, and I followed her. She crossed over to a small bookstore, and went in. She led me to the back of the store, then turned, crossing her arms. “I know your secret.”
“I know that it was you down in Puerto Rico yesterday. And flying around town.”
“I don't know what you mean, Student Body President.”
She sighed, pulling her blazer open, and took what looked like a wand from the Harry Potter series from the inner pocket. She waved it, and I was suddenly in my female form. “Now, no more lies.” She put the wand away.
“How did you know?” I asked her.
“My father was there when they chose you.”
“Yes. He is Väinämöinen, son of Ilmatar daughter of the sky itself. He possesses the wisdom of the ages because he was in his mother's womb for seven hundred and thirty years.” She shrugged. “The Finns demoted him to merely being a hero in the 19th century, but the Gods have never really cared what humans think.” She saw my confused look. “Remember Percy Jackson and the Olympians? I'm a demigod like they were. Only my father is of the Finnish mythology.”
“Then why weren't they represented?” I asked.
She shrugged. “Except for historians their followers are pretty much been overtaken by the other gods. The pantheons that chose you still have tens of thousands of worshipers, not just a few thousand like Father. Father was interested in why they selected you, and wanted to make sure you wouldn't make any serious mistakes. So far, so good.”
“Why did they chose me?”
“They didn't tell you?”
“I wasn't smart enough to ask.”
“Ah.” She looked curiously at me. “They wanted someone who was so ordinary, that they were almost generic. Someone who is not a success, or an abject failure. Someone in the middle.”
“Better that way for a secret identity.” She gave me that curious look again. “Like the interviews at the start of the Incredibles. Elasta-girl saying there's no way she's going shopping as her super heroine identity.”
“Ah.” She looked me up and down. “One thing puzzles me.”
“Only one thing?” At her blank look I said, 'That's a joke.”
“Tell me the next time. I will try to find the humor in it. Why are you able to talk so calmly to me?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You wanted to talk, you have asked cogent questions, and paid attention to my answers. Isn't that how it is supposed to be?”
“Most of the boys from school are either reduced to incoherence, or try to make passes so heavy handed, they might as well be clubs. But you just speak to me directly.”
“Oh, that.” I waved my hand. “Have you ever read an author named Terry Pratchett?” She shook her head. “He has a long standing Constable character named Nobby Nobbs who without identification would have trouble being accepted as human. In one book named Thud, his fellow police find out that an exotic dancer who is the epitome of beauty is attracted to him, because he's the only guy who ever asked her.”
I motioned at her. “Look at you for example. Intelligent, beautiful, statuesque, commanding, you scare the crap out of most of the guys, because there's no way they are in your league.”
“But I don't scare you?”
“Oh it isn't that. It's just that since I know I can't win the prize, I see no reason to play the game. So I treat you like a person. Like Pratchett explains later in the same book, picking me as a guy to date would be like going to the fanciest restaurant in town, and ordering a dinner roll and water.”
“So you are my Nobby Nobbs.” She commented.
“No. Unlike him, I haven't asked, have I? May I ask a question?” She nodded. I motioned toward her blazer. “What's with the wand?”
“When I was two my father decided to give me gift later in life. He gave the inspiration for the Harry Potter books to the author. He was trying, in his own way, to bring more people back to the older faiths. Since the series of books and movies are the most popular in history, you might say he succeeded. I loved the books and movies so much, wishing I could be in that wizarding world.
“He came back from a business trip with a gift from the Universal Studios Orlando theme park where they had opened a Harry Potter section, and have a wand shop called Olivanders just like the one in the movies.” She opened her blazer, drawing the wand out again. It looked like the one used by Bellatrix Strange, a black wood with a slightly curved almost pistol grip like handle.
I took it, and looked at the writing on the side. “I can't read it.”
“Not surprising; it's in the old Finnish alphabet and language. I was so happy I ran outside, and pointed it at a newly planted cherry tree. That tree suddenly started growing fruit, and within minutes, they were ripe. It was then that he told me of my heritage. That I can do real magic, and he began training me.”
“Training you for what?”
“Pretty much for the job you were chosen for.”
“So that makes us what, enemies?”
“Do you wish to be my enemy?”
“Then let us not come to that point.” She crossed her arms again. “It has been... interesting talking to you. I will see you tomorrow at school.”
As she walked away, I considered that it had been interesting. I had never heard of Sova actually taking an interest in any other student, male or female. I headed home.