kiwifruitbat: (Awesome)
[personal profile] kiwifruitbat
Chapter 1
 
“Damn the arrows man!” Grand General Richard Nathaniel shouted. “We’ve no time to waste! Commandeer the horse regiments and drive them towards the front lines! That hill must fall before the ending of the day! Nightfall merely strengthens the defences or our erstwhile foes!” He waved his sword in a gleaming arc; the bright light that surrounded him glittered wickedly off the emblazoned steel that depicted heroic charges of the histories of the world. He could hear the cheers of his men as they rallied to fulfil his command. Out of the corner of his here, he could see his loyal second in command striding up to him, the man's raiment catching the light of the slowly dying sun and gleaming with magnificent splendour. Powerfully built the man was, and loyal to a fault. He cleared his throat and the Grand General turned to hear the words of great import that were about to be uttered. Perhaps it was about the lines of the enemy being broken, or worse, the dreaded counter attack. He leaned down slightly to better hear the utterances.

“Ric, get down off that sawhorse before I have to physically drag you off of it and ply some sense into your fantasy addled brain, most likely through the repeated application of a wiffle bat.”
 
David Williamson watched his friend with a quiet sigh as he spoke. It was nearly always like this. Give the man half a week of boredom and he was a space captain exploring uncharted territories, or delving deep into the unknown empires of lost worlds and civilizations. Still, He admitted to himself, it could be worse. Some guys lost days on the computer playing things like world of sheep lings or star commander VIII or whatever was the latest hot trend.

“Never you accursed knave!” Richard yelled back, aiming what seemed to most to be a simple roll that had once carried the paper towels consumed by the masses. To his eyes however, it was the ancestral sword of the Nathaniel line – a proud and glorious warrior race. “I would far rather hang and my toenails ripped from me still living carcass before I give up such a glorious battle!”

“You’re on your own then,” David replied with a half grin and turned. “I was going to see the latest Marvel movie, thought you might be interest. That or the sparkle pyre marathon could use some extra popcorn aimed at the screen.” The effect was electric. Ric jumped off the planks of wood, lost the towel that had become a cape and headed over to his friend.

“Tease,” he said his tone now more serious. 

“Got your attention didn’t it?” David replied with a smirk. “I've already got the marathon tickets – seems the only merciful thing to do than have my aunt and sister sighing over lord sparkly pants all month… for the next year.”

Ric chuckled. “You think you’ve it bad? Angelica would be plotting how to pry Jacob to her side for all time. Possibly doing so by writing with some of her potter/fuzzy romance.” David shuddered. 

“Fan girl fan fic. Don’t go there dude, it’s just not worth it.” Ric nodded with a grin.
 
“I try not to," David replied with a wry smile.

The two friends could hardly be different in appearance – Richard was lean, muscular and the typical surfer dude with hair and tan. The seasickness he suffered from however kept him from doing what he considered a boring sport. Football was far more interesting and the girls were just as hot. He worked as an assistant manager for a consultation company and was stuck in suit and tie far too much for his liking.
 
David however was more than a little overweight, dressed almost exclusively in casual clothes and worked as a web designed and programmer of various things. His idea of regular exercise was watching Monty Python and letting his belly shake with laughter or his skin crawl out the window while watching the all night horror monster move festival on cable.
 
But friends the two were, brought together by their love of role playing games. Yet even here, there were differences in the mediums - Richard preferred the console games and the shoot-em-ups while David preferred the more traditional route of table top genre and LARP's. But it was the tabletop that they came together with and had the greatest level of enjoyment. They worked well together, something that others noted and enjoyed - each teasing the other in a manner most would take offence with. Yet, it worked.
 
Their campaign was at a mutual friend's house, a seemingly dour man by the name of Michael who, to his friends, was known to be a lively and energetic individual. You just had to catch him at the right time and with the right things up his sleeve. James and Chloe had met during a battlefield miniature figurines event as opponents and while it was James who was defeated in play, he conquered Chloe's heart. At least, that was how they told it. No one cared or dared to tell the unwary or curious listeners that the "battlefield" had lasted for nearly a good year with a long grudge match that was settled in a rather interesting fashion. And nothing more is ever said on how, what or why. But like David and Richard, they worked well together.
 
It was game night the following night - something both had been longing for. Richard had been unable to get any of his beer drinking buddies to stay sober for more than half an hour and was climbing the walls - witness how readily he had gone to see a movie about stalker vampires dressed as romance. But it got him out of the house, both of them. But the night had just begun and the fates were waiting with a baited lure that neither could resist.
 
The marathon had been as bad as they had expected and as they staggered out into the early pre-dawn light with the other over-caffeinated movie goers, David's foot caught a small brick and sent him stumbling forwards; his weight that was more suited to a seat now trying to accelerate to a more horizontal position. Ric caught his friend with the speed brought by years of football training, practice and games and helped him stand again, looking behind his friend to the object that had tripped him. As soon as his sleep fuddled brain registered it, David was all but dropped. Ric half jogged and half staggered over to the small brownish red object that looked very brick like and poked at it with a finger.
 
The box that had done a remarkably good job of looking like a brick partly fell into itself and a lid popped open on the top; Ric's face was bathed in a slight green glow as David turned to see what had caught his friend's attention. Adrenaline surged through David's body as fear and concern kicked in and he cautiously approached the object as one might approach a spider. One never knew when the damned things might try and bite you. He took a look in the box over Ric's shoulder and stepped back
 
"Dude, be careful with that thing," David cautioned, "You don't know where it's been!" Ric shook his head, his eyes transfixed upon the glowing green object inside.
 
"Man, relax. It's only a twenty sider. We use them on a weekly basis." Ric retorted, his brown eyes transfixed by the gleaming polyhedral object that was now starting to pulse with an inner light
 
"Yeah," David conceded sceptically, "But not ones that glow in the same was as that gloop from teenage mutant ninja turtle.... oh no." His voice trailed off as Ric looked at him with a sudden look of childlike glee. He had forgotten his friend's obsession with the old kids cartoons of the 80's and 90's. It felt like a fatal mistake.
 
"You mean I might become a mutant??" the gleam in Ric's eyes became a sudden hunger of curiosity. "That's fraking cool!" David tried to think of a way to tell Ric what that did to the cat, and how no amount of satisfaction could fix the damage.
 
"Ric, trust me. I've got a bad feeling about this." He said as Ric picked up the box carefully.
 
"A big boy I am and Obi Wan Kenobi you are not." Ric retorted
 
"No, and you're no Yoda either."
 
"Touché."
 
"Riposte!"
 
"Cutting remark!"
 
"Witty yet insightful counter comment!"
 
"Leading yet suspicious question?"
 
"Positive affirmation of aforementioned statements."
 
"CATCHPHRASE!" the two of them said before laughing and resuming walking. David couldn't shake the nagging worry that there was something wrong about the entire situation.
 
"Ric, I'm serious about that die in the box. It's just not right." He said, trying one last time to convince his friend that what he was seemingly about to embark upon was a bad idea.
 
"Fine, look, I'll just bring it with me - if it does nothing by tomorrow morning, I'll keep it." The tone in Ric's voice told David clearly that he had won this battle, but not to push his luck. While David was the heavier of the two, Ric was far stronger and more athletic. There was no doubt between either of tem who would win in a contest of strength. David sighed and nodded. Ric grinned and clutched the brick coloured box close to his chest tightly and the two of them walked back to their apartment as the sun slowly rose over the horizon created by the cityscape.
 
They each took the day off work by mutual consent - Ric knew things were quiet enough he could afford it and David wrote his own hours but at the same time there were no pressing projects. Each crashed in their bedrooms while the mysterious box sat on the table, the light still pulsing within the box.
 
The sun slowly racked through the sky, the light from a window inched slowly towards the table with a grim inevitability. By chance, fate or design, the box happened to be directly in the path of the light. The edge of the sun beam touched it then crept over the side as if investigating it with the painstaking care of a bomb technician who has discovered that the device he is disarming is a close cousin to Little Boy. Carefully it seemed, the ray of light tiptoed over the rim and along the half closed top until finally it could peek inside. The effect was incredibly dramatic.
 
The twenty sided die rose swiftly out of he box and hung in mid air, spinning on the X-axis; slowly at first then faster and faster. The pulsating green glow within it flashed faster and faster, illuminating the living room at first then penetrating the walls in the same manner as an X-ray. Both David and Ric slept soundly through the green flickering light that penetrated their eye lids as if they were being kept asleep by a mysterious alien force. The truth being more mundane - both were dog dead tired. The light penetrated the walls, but neither the ceiling nor the outer walls; scanning and recording the sentient life within the building. Then with a crack of soundless thunder, it exploded - fragments of light were flung in all directions and vanished a heartbeat later. The sunbeam moved on, unconcerned with the spectacle it had created. Outside the apartment complex a non-descript stereotypical covert government agency issued dark car with legitimate state licence plates lurked innocently. The stereotypical covert government agency issued passenger lowered the binoculars, adjusted his covert government agency issued dark grey hat and put his covert government agency issued sunglasses back on, then looked at the other stereotypical covert government agency issued man in an equally stereotypical nondescript covert government agency issued dark grey suit.
 
"Call central," he said in a dull monotone. "The device has been activated. We need to prepare for a possible incident."
 
"Roger that," the driver said and removed a portable two way radio from the dashboard. "Central, this is car 10110. Possible situation developing on Ninth and Madison. Code Green."
 
"Acknowledged car 10110. Monitor and observe, report any changes," came the emotionlessly dry reply from a stereotypically covert government agency issue woman's voice over the radio. Both of the men then settled down and watched the front door of the apartment complex from behind the darkened lenses of their sunglasses.
 
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Alan

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