Friday, April 23, 2010

All Request Friday: Meet the Cast

So, my colleague Jason Richards over at Jason Richards Dot Net made a compelling post the other day called Rethinking Rifts wherein he riffed on the ideas of transhumanism in gaming that I talked about in Tuesday's post. In the comments thread that followed, he asked me if I'd post this little gem. It's a character study of a Rifts character called a "Crazy", but as described she could probably be at home in any futuristic transhuman kind of game. So, instead of doing an actual post (because A: I'm neck-deep in Rogue Trader assignments and B: I simply can't be arsed to think real hard today) I'm just going to introduce you all to Olive. She's something else.

In the dark of a starlit Texas midnight, a large and battered troop carrier trundled along a dry wash and came to a halt in the lee of a stand of hickories. The thin rind of moon cast a bleary and pale blue light down on the hill country. A hatch in the side of the vehicle swung open and cast a shaft of dim red light out onto the gravel and dust of the wash. There was a muted exchange, a scuffle, and a young woman was unceremoniously pushed out into the cool night. She stumbled a bit, pinwheeling her arms for balance. She gained her footing and turned back to stare mutely at her former mates. Disheveled, a thatch of short, matted red hair, dressed mainly in her nightclothes. A threadbare t-shirt with an ancient and faded logo across her breasts, green BDUs cropped a the knees. Shoeless. A large canvass duffel was tossed out after her and landed with a dusty thump at her feet. It was followed by a small plastic doll that someone inside shied at her head. She ducked and threw her hands up over her head as the doll clattered among the stones behind her.
“There”, called a voice. “Now git!” The hatch swung shut with a clang, leaving the woman blinking in the dark. The driver stoked up the engine and ground into gear. The big carrier lurched away engulfing the lone and weary figure in a cloud of red dust and stones. She watched it go without protest, then sighed and padded over to retrieve her doll. It was a small plastic figure on a round base. Its head twice the size of its body and held on by a spavined spring. The doll’s features worn smooth by the ages, showing only the hint of a beard. It wore a severe, faded black suit and carried a cigar. She sat tailorwise in the road, held the doll in her lap and addressed it in a tired voice.
“Doctor, I’ve been feeling a little, well, lost lately.” The doll’s head lolled about on its spring. She considered the silence for a bit, staring down the road.
“You’re right, of course” she sighed. “Yes. Yes, I know. I know.” The doll’s mute questioning seemed to comfort her. She stood up from the road, crossed to her bag and snatched it up.
“Thank you, Doctor.” She said. “We’ll talk again soon. I’ll remember what you said.” She stuffed the doll into the duffel and shouldered it. She shaded her eyes and studied the stars to get her bearings then passed through the hickories and clambered up a small ridge to scan the countryside. She stood there in the wan moonlight. Long legged, lithesome, an athletes build. Strong shoulders. Steel hoops glinted in her brow and nose and ears. The small chrome ball run through her lower lip winked like a little star. Dull steel discs the size of Empire dollars were set flush with the flesh of each of her temples and another set in the back of her skull at the top of her spine.
She spied a town in the distance, its lights an oasis out there in the long night. She smiled. The Doctor was right again. Something had come up, new doors open when old ones close. She hitched up her bag again and set off down the ridge at a trot, secure in the knowledge that this town was exactly where she needed to be.

That's Olive. If you all like this one, maybe I'll do some more in the future. Have a good weekend, y'all.


A. Ringia said...

Olive is awesome! The description is excellent. Now I want to know where she is going from there, and why she got thrown to the curb.

On a transhumanistic've hit the dehumanizing aspect of high tech pretty well. What about the dehumanizing aspects of magic?
Any thoughts?

Shawn said...

OLIVE!!!!! My *favorite* RPG NPC ever! Thanks for profile--awesome.