This sort of improvised gaming happens to me often enough, but this one left me wanting more, so I thought I'd expel these residual ideas from my head by writing a little flash story set in this setting. This flash story soon grew into a short story, which evolved into a novella, which is now bloating into... I don't even know what.
I am working without an outline or even a plan. In truth, I feel it's more of a role playing game played with myself, than a work of fiction. So far I have written about 12,000 words and the count grows every day.
I hope you will find this experiment as much fun as I did and if not -- make sure to double check your drink next time we meet :)
Note: I plan to post my progress on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursday. Odd days rule.
|Author unknown, but very awesome.|
I. Von Schmidt and the Princess
He was a man of short stature which barely contained his bloated German ego. He had the trappings of civilization, but the demented gleam of madness. “Oh, my dear lady, how good of you to come to my humble abode and on such a magnificently decorated ship with such a marvelous assortment of the oldest in weaponry and armor! Truly, I am humbled and belittled by your sudden visit.” He took a steep, somewhat ironic, bow. His tone certainly lacked the reverence his words implied. Not to mention that a man of his excellent breeding could not have possibly not known that this was the wrong style to address a terrestrial princess.
The Princess was a tall woman the marital unavailability of whom had led many young men into suicide or debauchery, which in the higher echelons of society amounted to much the same thing. Accenting her arrival as an official rather than social call, the Princess was dressed in the space suit of a common marine from the Old Brigade. Of course, it was impeccably suited for her figure and made of the finest materials. Her expression was impatient and all the lovelier for it. “Don’t be coy, Von Schmidt, you own an entire planet... in the very least”
The man smiled, though perhaps it would have been more precise to say his mouth smiled, for there was no smile in his eyes. Indeed, unless one was a guru from one of the distant meditation asteroids, one would have had small hopes of deciphering his expression. “This is true, but these days one can own a planet for the mere price of a rocket fare. It is the terraforming process that marks one above the common rabble. But come now, dear lady, can a man truly call himself happy if he cannot sit on his balcony, drinking La Eau de Mars ’37 and watching a nuclear explosion light his lonely evening?”
“I see. So I take it you admit that you live on this fully terraformed planet alone?”
“Intellectually speaking...” Von Schmidt sighed and then brightened up again, “But please, no more talk about me, I’m sure the brochures have done a remarkable job at relaying my life and unorthodox pursuits. Pray tell, what earned me the honor of your exquisite presence, my lady? And, may I add, all the rumors of your beauty have been understatements made by spirits devoid of poetry. You are, zakh phirini al kalgwa’ani, as they say in the Old Country.” Needless to say, they did not say this in the Old Country. Indeed, they did not say this on any human planet at all.
“Von Schmidt, it is exactly your planet, namely, a fully terraformed M-class planet that has thirteen registered citizens while nearby worlds are brimming with refugees from Chornoi that concern me and my royal father.”
They both looked out of the window into a sea of verdant piqued by spots of crimson blossoms, azure lakes and colossal cliffs that jutted from the magnificent forest like the fangs of a gargantuan predator that has attempted to swallow the entire world in one bite, but apparently tried to bite off more than it could chew, and found itself quite in a pickle. The silhouettes of pterodactyls and defense drones lazily glided against the backdrop of a gigantic indigo sun and the ephemeral forms of two moons. Massive beasts roamed between the trees, but their forms were hidden from the watchers by the impenetrable canopy. It was hard to believe this primordial landscape was younger than the Princess.
“I would have extended an invitation to the poor fellows, but I thought that nuclear explosions would perhaps have a... saddening effect on their humors. The last memory of many ex-patriots from their respective old countries is a nuclear mushroom, I imagine.”
The princess’s nostrils flared for a moment. “Von Schmidt, this is no laughing matter! People are crammed five families in a small apartment while you’re sipping 7,000 Eagles a bottle drinks and dropping nuclear devices of a magnitude forbidden under planetary self-defense laws, destroying potential farms and residences in the process. And you’re doing this simply for entertainment!”
“Not entertainment, my dear lady, enlightenment. As herr Freundicher teaches in the Sterneisenfaus, ‘The enlightenment of one man is more important than the lives of a million simpletons.’ But come, my dear lady, let us not be late to the banquet in your honor!”
“Do you think me so barbarous as to host the heiress to one of the greatest monarchies of Terra, and not entertain her with the company of some esteemed and fascinating guests?”
The princess jumped in her suit as Von Schmidt laid a hand on her shoulder and led her away from the magnificent view. Few men would have lived for more than a heartbeat after such audacity, and yet, this scoundrel had extended her no more respect than he would an unwanted, but pleasantly distracting, salesperson.
“This was supposed to be a secret —” She protested feebly, following him toward what appeared to be a featureless concrete wall.
“Secrets do not become gentlemen and ladies of our rank, madam. Our escapades are nothing without the adoration or condemnation of our lessers.”
The wall swirled into a prismatic whirlwind that sang in a voice that was doubtlessly only heard before by Odysseus, who was willing to risk his life for this exquisite pleasure. A shudder went through the Princess.
“Von Schmidt, I must insist—” She said in one last attempt to return to the issue at hand.
Von Schmidt shook his head and looked her in the eyes. Only now did she notice that his left eye was mechanical, doubtlessly capable of reading the most minute neuron signals and chemical changes in her body. It scanned her shamelessly.
After staring for her in this fashion for almost a minute, the old German finally deigned to reply. “Please report to you royal father that I have a more advanced and more extensive nuclear arsenal than any of the crowned heads of Terra. There will be no more talk of this. Now, madam, since your mission here has been as much a fabulous failure as your invasion of Chornoi Prime, may I suggest drinking and partying the disappointment away?”
The princess would have been scared at his casual disrespect, if not for the battalion waiting for her in orbit. Despite Von Schmidt’s boasts, her warship, the New Liberty, was still a force to be reckoned with in this system.
“I am stuck here until my ship refuels, but don’t expect me to partake in your ungodly entertainments, Von Schmidt. Rest assured,” she added quietly, “my father will not be pleased with your threats and insolence.”
“That is most lamentable. Let me introduce you to some of my finest friends.”
The two passed through the prismatic portal and found themselves on an observation deck overlooking a banquet hall of white marble and red cloth. About a dozen officially dressed guests and twice as many servants dressed in equally formal costumes. There were no drones in the room; all functions were performed by identical young men with handsome and unthreatening features.
In the center of the room there was a large fountain depicting a ragged man in crude hides cutting the throat of a beautiful young man. What gushed from the disturbingly realistic wound was not water, but red wine. The border of the fountain pool was a grotesquely humanized snake that looked at the murder with detached amusement. Some of the guests helped themselves to the wine with long, sword-like spoons. Others appeared to be as disquieted by this sacrilegious presentation as the Princess.
However, the fountain was of little concern at the moment. It seemed a more fruitful endeavor to become acquainted with the other guests.