Friday, February 24, 2017

Random - The Monster in the Movie



This is a bit of short-story I used set in the Whateley Academy shared universe fiction that was focused around a mutant school a la the X-Men. The primary characters of those stories were transgendered due to some aspect of their power though none of these characters were like that. This isn't exactly an early version or Random and marks as the first story in which her personality and oddity started to take form. This version was before I came to the idea that Random's active emulations would alter her physical appearance. At this point she had a semi-static form that was a bit of a mix between girl, raptor and xenomorph and the emulations were entirely mental/supernatural. This started with the Changeling the Lost version (which I haven't rebuilt yet, mostly because building a Hallow is headache inducing and also because the metaphysics of Changeling the Lost won't exactly be friendly to the modern version of Random). That version had a much more human personality, having remember most of her prior life, but that version did lead to the version represented in the story and builds before.

This piece of art shows a version of Random from Changeling the Lost.

Recent versions of statting this character in different games are linked above the story.

Oh, one thing to note. Random's internal thoughts at this point in her development follow up all speech with something like "I said" whether she said it or someone else did. I haven't really used that conceit in more recent versions but don't have as complete a representation of her thought processes as this. The modern version of Random also never really uses gender pronouns in reference to herself. Actually, within her thoughts she doesn't even use pronouns to refer to herself always calling herself "the monster". Then again, this character might be a non-binary character really, in which case I should probably alter all the pronouns here, but I'm not really sure. By default, most of my characters are female and I've only occasionally played non-binaries and I generally only realize their non-binaries sometime after the campaign is finished. An early version of Random had a maternal instinct and so was feminine, but modern version is so divorced from normal behavior that it's hard to say what she identifies as.

I am not entirely certain Random is alone in her mind. Then again, if there is another entity in her mind, I'm not entirely certain they can tell each other apart any longer and thus they might as well be one entity.


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The train stopped and both Terra-Innocent and Wyrmling-dragon-reckless-friend-confusing-thing started to stand up and grab bags.  The monster straightened and looked around.



“Are we here?” I asked.



“No, just, you know, changing trains,” I responded.



What are they changing the trains into?  The monster wondered briefly.



“We’re supposed to take a different train to Dunwich,” I added.



Oh, they’re changing to a different train.  The monster understands now.



The monster straightens up then.  That meant she had to change trains too.



“I have to…”



“Whoa…this is a deep shelf…”



The dragon is rooting around in the monster’s door?



“We should go, you know?  Before the other train gets too many, you know?  People?”



The dragon turns away from the door and the monster is relieved.



“What about it?  Let them look at us.  Who cares?  I am hot!” 



The dragon burst up in to not-flames briefly as she smiled at the monster and the innocent.



“What?  Fire?  Hot?  Get it?”



“Not fire.”



“You know, she’s right, there was no, like, heat or anything.”



“Okay, so it’s some sort of bio-electric energizer thing, but it looks like fire.  Oh, whatever, see you over there.  Compartment 15, right?  Over there?”



The dragon points out the window.



“Yeah, that’s what I was told?  We could just, like, follow you.  Right, Random?”



The monster already left though.  In the garden.



“Oh, hmm, like how does she do that?”



The monster moves through the garden.  It’s dark.  The walls are still black and slick.  Little blue runners scatter as the monster moves forward.  The monster considers pausing to grab one of the slower ones, but the monster’s in a bit of a hurry right now.  The monster stopped around a corner and listened for sounds from the other two doors.  Far enough away for victims to think they maybe heard something but not know what.



Then the monster stuck out the right ring finger and twirled it around into the ground at the base of a pillar.  The slick black ground swirled below her, grey waving images appearing in the whirl. 



The claw twists and twists and twists, looking for an opening. 



Briefly, the monster saw Terra and the dragon walking onto another train and the twisting finger followed that, looking for a dark place, unnoticed and innocuous.  Some place open.  A closet, a false ceiling. 



Not under the train again.



Under the train was the worst.



Lots of things almost hit the monster that time.



There was a closet,  A supply closet.  Perfect monster grab place.  Good door site.



The door opened and hostility rankled.



“I mean that I find it ridiculous that I have to share space with such sub-h…”



The monster reaches out grabs the bad guy by the feet and starts dragging him into the garden.  As soon as he was all the way in, the monster will throw him further onward.  Then he’d get lost and the monster could become the bug and that would be thaaaa-!?!!



Something pulled the bad guy out of the garden and pulled the monster out with it until both the bad guy and the monster where in a heap in front of Terra and the dragon.



The monster let go as the bad guy cried and whined.  He then stood up and ran away, so the monster went into the private compartment and hopped up on the seat.  Terra and the dragon were asking questions that the monster didn’t want to answer yet.  Maybe a game?



“Rock-Paper-Scissors?”



The dragon and Terra looked at each other nervously before coming in to play.



The train started to move and the monster watched her hand closely, waiting to see what would happen.  They’d barely gotten underway when the glow she could see about her ring finger returned.  At the same time, the door she’d placed in the closet simply faded out of existence.



Anxiety started to work up the monster’s spine.  She’d stupidly placed the lair door in the train.  Not such a bad idea when she thought she’d be staying on the train for a while.  But now, it would be a while before the lair closed and she was out of reach of the garden until then.



“Something wrong?” I asked.



The dragon smirked a little.



“She’s probably never been, like, so far from home before?” I answered.  “I know I haven’t.”



“Yes,” I added.  “Far from the garden.”



“I thought the garden was where you go?”



“Yes.”



“And you’re far from it?”



“Yes.



“Like, how?”



“The train took it.”



“But wasn’t the garden on this train?”



“No, just a door.”



“But now it’s, like, not?  Here?”



“The train took it.”



The dragon looked confused.  So did Terra.



Oh!  One of the doors came back.  The monster’s middle finger was starting to glow again.



“Door’s back!” 



The monster pointed at her right hand wriggling one taloned finger.  And then she held it out in a fist.



“Rock paper scissors?”



“Uhhh, like, sure.”



Terra-innocent reached out her hand and the pale scales turned brighter and thicker, up her arm and over her skin.  The monster twisted her head to the side.



“Just a little…uhh…tired?  You know?  From holding the disguise thing?”



“Oh, I see.”



No, the monster didn’t see.  But okay.



The monster played rock paper scissors for a while.  Then the train was coming to a stop and “Dunwich” was called out.



The dragon and Terra started getting their bags again.



“Another train?”



The monster was worried.  The lair door hadn’t closed yet.  The monster couldn’t go to the garden until it did.  Sneaking on trains was a lot harder when it couldn’t get into the garden.



At least the monster thought it would be.



“Nope, this is Dunwich.  We’re supposed to get picked up by the Academy people here.”



Picked up?  How would they get picked up?  The monster thought about black SUVs and helicopters.  It was a secret facility?  What were the rules about those?



Well, the last secret facility was where the monster escaped from.



But the monster was going into this one.  Would that mean that’s where the killing happened?



No, wait, the monster had been on two trains with no killing.  So maybe the movie hadn’t started yet.



But going into the secret facility would be a bad idea.  Too much chance to fall into the wrong rules.



Maybe will have to say goodbye to Terra and the dragon.



The monster steps off the train.  Smells the air.  Everything twitches.  The monster looks away from the buildings.  There’s bad stuff here.  Very faint, filtered.  Like bad air.  But close.  Bad stuff.  Stuff the monster doesn’t know but it smells bad.



Nope, nope, the guardian monster can’t leave the Innocent.  Black Shuck has to shadow Katie O’Connor and secretly protect her from the thugs of the evil Irish mafia and the redcaps they’ve summoned.



The monster follows Terra and the dragon.  There are other monsters here and maybe heroes.  Smell funny.



Oh!  This school is a guard facility, not an experimenting one.  First defense….



So when the movie starts….all the bad stuff…will be right here?



Names are called.  The monster waits to hear her borrowed names.  But they aren’t called.



Maybe the monster’d already given the names back?



The monster didn’t remember giving the names back.



The woman calling names pauses and looks at the monster.



“Didn’t your name get called, miss…?” I asked.



The monster tries to remember how she borrowed the names.



“Dorsey.  Riley.”



“That’s an odd name for a girl.”



“I borrowed them.”



“You borrowed them?”



“I’ll give them back.”



The woman looked at the list and the back at the monster.



“Are you here for Whateley?”



“School for mons…mutants?  Terra said school for mutants.”



The woman leaned forward and stared.  The monster shrunk back into a crouch nervously.  Did the woman see the monster?



“Terra Firma Black.”



Terra Firma?  Her name is actually Terra Firma?



The monster feels sorry for poor Terra.



“Terra.  Met her on the train.”



“I think you’ll come in the van with me.”



Ummm.  Going with boss of secret facility not a good thing.  The rules say it is very bad.  But Terra is already getting on a van and going.  And the monster doesn’t….ohhh…the lair door just closed.



Bad timing.  Wish it was minutes earlier.



“Oh…kay?”



The monster looks at the other people in the van.  Maybe five?  The woman sits next to her.



“What’s your mutation then, dear?”



Mutation.  Mutation.  The monster is a monster…that’s…ohh…wait?



“What do I do?” I ask.



“That’s right.” I answer.



“I go to the garden.”



The woman stares at the monster.  Why is this so hard for people to understand?



“Where’s your luggage?”



“Luggage?”



“Your things?”



“My things are in the garden.”



The monster is nervous.  Look around.  The driver tries to start the van, but it doesn’t.  Of course not.  The monster is on the van, and it has to be slowed down to be apart from the other vans. 



“Damn it?”



“Is there a problem?”



“The car won’t start.”



Ah ha!  The authority figures are distracted.  Time for the monster to strike.  Or something.



The monster reaches into the shadows under the seats and stretches out a fin…stretches out her ring finger…not the index finger.  No lair door here.



And twist and twist and twist.



And now the monster has a door.



The van starts and begins taking the kids to the secret facility.  But not time to go to the garden yet.  Don’t know if close enough.



“Hey, what’s up?” I ask suddenly.   The monster flinches and looks up.



The girl is smiling brightly.  She’s blonde.  Her eyes are yellow and I think she’s Asian.  Maybe she has a sword.  Asian girls have swords.  That’s in the rules.



“Ceiling.”



“Oh, I see that,” the girl said.  The girl smiles, she reaches back into her seat and comes back with a bag.  “Do you want some candy?”



AHHHHHH!!! The girl knows!  How does she know!?  The monster doesn’t know but she knows! 



The monster isn’t even the hunter right now!  The monster is Black Shuck.  Why is a girl offering her candy.



“You see, I really shouldn’t eat this see.  It’s bad for me.  All right?”



She pushes the candy bag in the monster’s face.  The monster carefully takes it.



The woman is unamused.



“I hope you plan to offer that to everybody, Miss Hannah.”



Ha - na, please.  And sure!  I have enough for everybody.”



There was a lot of candy bags.  And she gave a whole bunch of them to the other kids in the van.  It was very strange.



The van passed some walls and gates.  Not like Jurassic Park gates.  More like House of the Dead gates.  But nice not old.



The monster doesn’t like nice peaceful gates.  They mean REALLY bad things happening.



Ahh, there’s Terra’s van!  This is close enough.



The monster waits until people are getting off the van and dives under the seat.  She hears the woman.



“Did Miss Dorsey get off already?” I say.



“I think she’s still inside.”



The monster makes its quick disappearance and goes on the search for the innocent!



Pause.



The monster goes back and grabs the candy bag and the woman sees her.  Run.  Run.



“Call security.  We’ve got an unknown in a dimensional pocket around the school!”



That’s not how this is supposed to go…did the monster get the rules wrong?



Take turns, climb to lower level.  The garden is getting big.



Should be clear. 



The monster reaches out with…her thumb…not sure if lair yet.  And twist, twist, twist, twist.



Someplace dark.   Someplace isolated.  A room very locked.  Maybe look for Terra and the dragon?



Is that Terra?  Not near any access.  Very fuzzy, can’t…oh…the dragon.  Very tall.  Has to be.  Maybe with Terra? 



The monster finds an access and they’re going inside!  Oh good!



Wait, fuzzy shapes running around.  Security looking for the monster.  The monster smiles.  She has the candy.



The monster lets the door open and pulls out her finger.  And down she goes.



The monster looks around to lots of….lots of….lots of other monsters!



It IS a school for monsters!



Oh!  The monster holds out the candy to the monsters around her.  Not Terra.



“Do you want some candy?”



Ha.  Now they’re marked as the monsters and the monster is disguised!



Terra starts walking toward the monster.  Is…is she going to grab the monster again?



But then security comes in and…



Did Terra just turn that security guard into stone?



“Di..did I do that?”



The monster is confused.  And then sleepy.







Mrs. Shugendo walked from her office down the hall and out the building, heading for security.  It didn’t take her long to find the room she wanted.  Chief Delarose was sitting outside it along with a tall thin, black man dressed in the typical tweed suits of a professor.  Through a window, she could see the sleeping form of a girl.  The facial features were that of the “Riley” girl that had come extra, as was the general slender build.  However, she was not as human as she had appeared at the time.



No, this girl was definitely a victim of GSD.  Her legs were shaped vaguely like a raptor’s and there was a long, almost black tail that seemed somewhere between a cat or lizard tail.  Her body didn’t have the same sort of scaly look that Mrs. Shugendo associated with most reptilian sorts of GSD.  Rather there was a slick, rubberish look to the girl.  More like those creatures in the Aliens movies.



“Can you tell me anything, Dr. Carstaires?” she asked.



“What little I can glean without violating her mind,” the black man said.  “And while asleep, I don’t think there is any direct ill will to anybody.”



“We’re waiting for people from the mystic arts and powers testing departments,” the Chief noted.  “What did you tell the other kids?”



“That their friend was tired from the trip and needed to rest,” she answered.  “It might be true…”



Inside the girl suddenly snapped awake and looked around.  A moment later she’d leaped to the ceiling and started running around the room like an animal looking for a way out of a trap.



“Okay…she wakes up fast.”



“And she broadcasts loudly,” Dr. Carstaires said. 



“Psychic?” Mrs. Shugendo asked.



“No, just emotional,” the Doctor noted.  “Panicked.  Worry.”



“Hostility?” Mrs. Shugendo asked.



“No.  No aggression, either, but that doesn’t guarantee she won’t strike in fear,” the psychic noted.  “The girl is feral.”



“Well, we can confirm, wall climbing,” the Chief noted watching the girl bounce around in the room.  “And maybe exemplar.”



“And magic…” another voice added. 



A striking Greek woman walked into the room to the window, looking inside.



“What she is trying is delicate and she is untrained.  But she is working the weaves of fate, like a toddler with finger paints, but she is trying,” the woman noted.  Inside the room, the girl stopped bouncing around and moved to a far corner of the room, staring defensively at the window as she crouched down.  “And she can sense me apparently.”



“I don’t think we were expecting you here, Circe,” Dr. Carstaires noted.  “I was expecting maybe Chulkris…”



“Yes, well I was planning to speak to Mrs. Shugendo regarding another student,” Circe noted. 



“Another…you think we should take this one on?” the Chief asked.



“She is…intriguing,” the sorceress noted.  “If you wish to double check my assessment, by all means do so.  I’m sure Dr. Carstaires is capable.”



“I thought you had an apprentice already,” Mrs. Shugendo noted rather accusatorily. 



“She’s not that intriguing,” Circe noted with a raised eyebrow.  “I’ll be speaking to you later regarding how you’re handling Miss Black.  You might want to find someone to calm the girl down in there and go over the application with her.”



As Circe left, inside the cell, the girl carefully padded up to the window and pressed her face against it cautiously.  As she did so, her clawed hands started drawing lines down the glass.



“Would you consider it unethical to perhaps give her the suggestion to relax for a few hours, Dr. Carstaires?” the Chief asked.

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