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> Mini-story: "Memory", Mini-story: "Memory"
Brent Dax
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 10:01 AM
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Memory by Brent Dax

This is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a speculative mini-story, in that it involves MT characters several years in the future (perhaps five), but doesn’t follow a storyline Fred would ever possibly take. I was told that this probably wouldn’t be welcome in CW, so I’m posting it here.

Warning: This story involves grave bodily injury to one major character. It is not described graphically, but if you don’t want to read about such things, please don’t read this.

--

It was a typically rainy day in London when Largo stood in Heathrow Airport, with a pack slung over his back and satisfaction in his eyes. This had been a successful trip, but he needed to return home—his students could rarely stand more than a couple days of substitutes, after all. His gaming career gave him prestige, but it barely covered hardware and travel expenses, let alone food and shelter. They were called “professional gamers”, but in reality they were nearly amateur, and all of them needed other jobs to feed themselves.

Still, the job had some serious perks. He got games for free, either from the Elite Gaming League to practice with or from companies trying to get a good review from a world champion. And the fans were great—he’d chatted with three fans from a group calling themselves the “United Fangirls of Largo-sama” before the flight. He probably wouldn’t see them on the plane, though—he had long since collected enough flyer miles to travel first class, and on a flight this long he appreciated the extra legroom.

It was somewhat surprising that they even recognized him, though. Though he had retained his l33t personality in public and with his students, time had mellowed him significantly, and when not in the spotlight, he was much more reserved than he had once been. Courtesy of Piro, he mused. It was amazing that one event could change a person so much.

He hated waiting, so as usual he didn’t get on the plane until the attendant said that it was the final call. There were only three people in line, so the wait was short and the security checks brief. A quick trip down the jetway, a nod to the (r4ck3d) flight attendant, and he found his seat.

And was surprised to see who was sitting next to him.

--
He was running on a catwalk, looking disparately for a body to frag. Every second he wasted was a second when she could score the final pint, claiming victory in the London Gaming Tournament. Finally, he heard it—footsteps on the level below. He quietly crept to the edge of the catwalk and spotted her.

Quickly, he jumped down and put a proximity mine on her. His eyes left his screen, finding hers in the real world as they widened in shock.

Their eyes held in the few seconds before the mine blew up.

--

“Fancy seeing you here,” Miho said as a familiar face came into view.

Largo took off his backpack and put it under the seat. “Only so many flights to Tokyo, I guess,” he said, taking his seat. The flight attendant started droning on about the safety procedures, but both gamers had flown enough to ignore the lecture.

<I haven’t talked to him since . . . time flies.>

After a moment of awkward silence, Largo spoke up. “Sorry about . . .”

“The proxy mine?” Miho finished. “Don’t apologize for your frags—I sure don’t. Besides,” she said with amusement in her eyes, “that mine was pretty clever.”

Silence reigned again for a few moments, but this time it was Miho who broke it. “So, what have you been doing between tournaments?”

“Same old. English teaching at Shiritsu Daitou. How about you?”

“I’ve been expanding Evil Corp. We opened our first U.S. Cave of Evil three weeks ago—it’s been doing quite well so far. No crossbow attacks yet.” This time, the amusement reached past her eyes and into her face, her lips twitching upwards slightly. “Why did you attack the CoE in Tokyo, anyway? It took two days to clean up the blood.” Around them, the plane rattled with the forces of takeoff, but neither of them really noticed.

Largo sighed. “I honestly thought that the place was full of zombies. I really didn’t have any idea what was a zombie and what wasn’t. I’ve learned it since then.”

Miho’s eyes shifted to the window, and to the wet runway rushing by beyond. The plane had long since left the ground when Largo spoke again.

“Why did you claim to be queen of the zombies?”

It was now Miho’s turn to sigh, her expression shifting to guilt. “I . . . it was amusing. I thought you were playing a game with me, and it was fun to play along. I didn’t realize that you were serious about it until . . .” she trailed off.

“. . . yeah. I . . .”

“That’s another thing you shouldn’t apologize for, Largo.” The guilty look deepened. “I led you to that. It was my mistake.”

Largo merely gave an unconvinced nod, and the conversation lapsed again into an uncomfortable silence. Miho unconsciously started playing with her hair, pulling the ribbon out of the right side and then threading it through again.

--
“You shall not stop me from defeating you!” he yelled.

“You have no idea, ‘Great Teacher Largo’, how close I am to you . . . how easy that defeat would be . . .”

--

The plane broke through the clouds, red sunlight flooding through the window on Miho’s right. Now that they were above the clouds, it was clear that sunset was rapidly approaching. Cloud cover obscured the ocean far below.

A flight attendant asked them for drink orders. «White Zin,» Miho ordered, «please.»

The flight attendant handed Miho her drink and glanced to Largo. “And you?”

«Sapporo, in a glass. Thanks.» The attendant hid her surprise well as she found the drink.

As the attendant walked to the next aisle, Miho finally broke. «When did you learn Japanese?»

«I started four years ago,» he replied. «Piro taught me . . . he had a free year or so, I guess . . . »

Unsurprisingly, the conversation lapsed again into guilty expressions.

Largo eventually reached into his bag, pulling out a laptop and a pair of headphones. He slipped on the headphones and listened to some music.

Miho turned away, looking out the window and trying to hide the tears.

--
Miho was perched atop a stone wall, observing the scene, when Piro finally found Largo.

“Largo, I got my last paycheck. Put down that crossbow and let’s go.”

“I cannot go yet. I have not defeated the 3v1l 0n3.”

--

Largo’s attention snapped back to reality as the flight attendant appeared. He slipped the headphones off when she asked for their food orders. Miho seemed to hastily wipe her face before turning to the attendant and ordering sushi; Largo asked for filet mignon. The two ate their dinners in silence.

The silence continued after the meal was cleared. Miho turned her eyes back to the window, which by now held only a pitch-black sky. She didn’t notice Largo staring at the side of her face.

They stayed in this position until the attendants dimmed the lights for night. Both gamers retrieved their pillows and blankets and leaned their chairs back to sleep. Once she was laying down, Miho once again turned towards the wall, closing her eyes and searching for oblivion.

Largo lay down facing the ceiling, and the two fell into an uneasy sleep.

--
“Largo . . . there is no ‘evil one’. Miho may be creepy, but she’s not evil.”

“But she . . . how do you know the name of the 3vi1 0n3?”

“She’s Ping’s friend, I’ve met her before,” Piro explained. “She’s strange, but I don’t think she’s evil.”

Largo seemed to stop short at that statement.

‘. . . how close I am . . .’

His eyes narrowed. “Of course you would say that—3v1l m1n10n!”

--

“Miho . . .”

She was sound asleep, and actually, so was he—otherwise he would have figured out why he was so warm.

“For what it’s worth . . . it wasn’t your fault either.”

--
“Largo?” Piro’s eyes widened as Largo brought his crossbow to bear. “Largo!?” He started running as Largo pulled the trigger. The bolt whizzed over his shoulder, but Piro kept running, down the block and into the street.

The bus hit Piro with a sickening
crack.

“Piro!” Largo yelled.
“Piro!” Miho yelled.

--

Miho’s eyes snapped open in the darkened cabin, ending the nightmare. <Not a nightmare—a memory.> One that had haunted her for years, and would probably continue for years more.

As she returned to her senses, she wanted to sit up. But it was so warm, and she was tired . . .. Instead, she snuggled closer to the seat heater and went back to sleep.

It never occurred to her that there was no seat heater.

--


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Buttnose
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 10:14 AM
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wow... wasn't expecting Him to be the one who got hurt... damn. Damn good story. Damn good. Excellent maturing of the characters. wow.
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Ike Bart
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 11:15 AM
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Great story, even if it doesn't involve Kimiko or Erika. I almost always enjoy reading stories that involve Miho and Largo or just Miho without Largo. I never expected Piro to be the victim of the accident.
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Derian Hatcheter
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:15 PM
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That's very good. Kinda somber; the mood is very well established, and I think you treated the characters properly. And your right, it's not likely that Fred will take the story down that route.

Which is why we do fanfics.
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Caduceuskun
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:22 PM
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That was excellent. Much better than my attempts so far. Nice job!

Though you kinda ruined it for me, telling me it was Piro who got hurt ahead of time.

Edit: Yeah, I told you there wouldn't be a problem here. happy.gif
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McFinnigan
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:33 PM
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Very very nice. *applause*

And now archived.

McF
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nathanbp
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:43 PM
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Wow, awesome story. Favorite line: “Of course you would say that—3v1l m1n10n!”
In reply to:

Caduceuskun: Though you kinda ruined it for me, telling me it was Piro who got hurt ahead of time


How'd you know it was Piro? Could have been anyone, except Largo (I wouldn't expect a warning for Largo being harmed).
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Shoka
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:43 PM
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Well done. *applause*
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digitalsprite
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 01:54 PM
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nice story

good work

happy.gif

*claps hands*
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Brent Dax
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 03:53 PM
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In reply to:

How'd you know it was Piro? Could have been anyone, except Largo (I wouldn't expect a warning for Largo being harmed).


Because I PMed him last night, asking if doing something like this would cause a flame war. He thought it wouldn't, and apparently he was right. :^)

Thanks for all the complements. I didn't think it was that good...but then I'm probably too close to it to tell.
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Derian Hatcheter
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 04:02 PM
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In reply to:

Because I PMed him last night, asking if doing something like this would cause a flame war. He thought it wouldn't, and apparently he was right. :^)



I think everybody's too shocked by a Largo who's grounded in reality to start flaming.
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JAFanboy
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 05:39 PM
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In reply to:

I think everybody's too shocked by a Largo who's grounded in reality to start flaming


Roger that!

Some of the little details are off (unless first class gets a LOT better in 5 years, that is...) but it was a great story. Thanks for sharing.
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Sabyr
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 05:51 PM
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Very nice. Some interesting character development.

Largo must have been practising too, to finally be that good at games.

Actually quite a logical development of these two characters. Miho into business and Largo into a "serious" teacher. And still running with the love/hate thing, blurring the line between reality and the gaming universe. There is no doubt that Largo is extremely intelligent, just prone to distraction and delusion.

Sabyr says: "Two thumbs up".
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ph00tbag
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 06:03 PM
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Very nice Dax. The characters were very well in character. It was very haunting.

I think the most haunting part is how you pushed Largo's insanity as far as possible. If he is manic depressive, which I honestly think he might be, then it is entirely possible that it eventually leads to homocidal tendencies aimed at close ones. Somehow, it seems most likely for Largo to go that far.

It definately phr34ked me out. Very nice work.
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Micaroo
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 07:01 PM
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That was extremely well-written. When I read the short warning at the top, I expected something out of character, and kind of stupid. But this blew me away, really. If MT wasn't going the route it's going, I could picture this plot happening. That is when you can tel;l you're reading a good story .

I would actually like to see a follow-up to this, and definitely more stories out of you.
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Ooklah
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 08:18 PM
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wow, that is awesome. *saves*

I think... I need more...story. yes. more story..
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w15d0m
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 08:36 PM
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*looks astonished*

Though I'm not a expert writer (not even close to a writer really) I have to say that it is absolutely incredible. You have carved deep into MT characters, kept their nature (Miho's mystery and Largo's l33TN355) though made them even deeper and more interesting (even more), mature and something that's over bare words.

The structure of the story made me stare at my screen whilst scrolling down and finding more data to complete the time gap.

As other have said: hope to read more 'bout it.
Excelent job... just *sigh* perfect.

[FPM]
YOU HAVE KILLED THE BOSS!!!!!!!!
CURSE YOU.
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR ULTIMATE SUFFERING.

*Blades a Katana*
*grins*

w15d0m ready to strike. Just waiting for the order.
[/FPM]
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Brent Dax
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 08:46 PM
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In reply to:

YOU HAVE KILLED THE BOSS!!!!!!!!
CURSE YOU.
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR ULTIMATE SUFFERING.


I was expecting this. ;^)

Note this line:
In reply to:

«Piro taught me . . . he had a free year or so, I guess . . . »


Piro survived, albeit with a lengthy hospital stay.
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Marak
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 09:35 PM
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Nice job on the short story! Not at all what I was expecting when I popped open the thread, but in this case that's a good thing!
I love the maturity you gave to Largo and Miho, and the fact that you didn't try to stretch the limits of the story by contriving ways to toss in other characters.
Also intruiging was the role reversal - intentional or not, it adds something. To see Largo and Miho suffering from long-term Emotional Damage whilst poor "off-camera" Piro takes some major Physical Damage... very interesting.
The implied cuddling at the end was also a very nice touch.

...so, when do we get more? I need my fix, man!

Edit: whoops, missed a couple of typos...
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Psieye
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 10:44 PM
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Indeed. An excellent story as others have said - I can't find anything wrong with it. That's no easy accomplishment!

For all those wanting more story/MT fanfics, give me time to read up on a few more threads and to research Largo and Miho's speech mannerisms and I'll post something I wrote whilst endlessly waiting
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H3llbl4d3
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 10:58 PM
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Finally I get a chance to read this...and just...wow, I am impressed. Excellent story Dax, I would have never expected Piro to be the one to get injured.
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fatangel
Posted: Mar 25 2003, 10:59 PM
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fatangel sat there, staring at the screen, reading Brent Dax's story. Silently, a single drop of tear fell from his chin onto his shirt.

The warmth of the tear faded and soaked through his shirt. A cold feeling made fatangel look at his shirt.

fatangel thinking to himself : "What is this?... A tear?... Am I crying?"

fatangel turned on his MP3 player, sang along, and continued to read...

=======================================================

[clapping through out]

have fun... and keep the "art" coming

fatangel
[Music Lover]
["Project : MegaTokyo" - Official Music Director]
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Vorlon010
Posted: Mar 26 2003, 01:08 AM
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In reply to:

"What is this?... A tear?... Am I crying?"




yes mr. Barton

Great writing, lots of mood and atmosphere
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McFinnigan
Posted: Mar 26 2003, 01:26 AM
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There's no place like NERV...
There's no place like NERV...
There's no place like NERV...

(;

McF
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Lost_Esper
Posted: Mar 26 2003, 03:01 AM
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Oi, I know it has been said many times (and i dont know how old it is, but i got here now and so it is once again new) this is great work. The style in which you have written it shows that there is true talent in you for this sort of thing. I have read many works from "acclaimed" authors only to throw them down. Your work is something far superior to that of the common writer. I love the way you imply things rather than to just flat-out say them. I believe this adds a large portion as to why this story is superior. Also you did right on Largo's insanity... he is quite crazy (i think that is what gives him his charm as a character though) however it is inevitable that the longer he lived that reality the more real it would become until something such as this happened. Good work, and i look forward to seeing more (here it comes the part nobody wants to hear) seeing more work of this calibur (or higher). Keep it up, you have a gift... so use it, or loose it. happy.gif

-Me
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