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Pasha, an Avatar story.

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archaic:
Part 131


Spoiler: Mysterious package."Good evening, New British Museum, this is security, Bernardino Richardsen speaking, how may I help you?"
"Evnin' Dino, Chris Gillard, Department of Xeno-Augmentation."
"And how'd you spell that?"
"With two 'T's and one 'H'."
"Pass phraze?"
"The rain in spain isn't forecast to be Champagne."
The buzzer sounded, the door opened.
A few moments later Chris appeared in the Security Suite.
"Evening." Dino said to Chris.
"Evening." Chris said to Dino.
"Evening." Francis said to Chris.
"Evening." Chris said to Francis.
"Evening." Dino said to Francis.
"Evening." Francis said to Dino.
"You're both nuts." Chris, rolling his eyes.
"I blame Mark."
"Me 'n' all! 'E's a bad influence!"
"And he's not here."
"So he can't defend himself."
"Perfect." Chris sonded doubtful.
"We thought so."
"Yes, indeed we did."
"Tea." Francis, handing Chris a mug of tea "Just the way you like it!"
"In a cup."
"You know it. Oh, and there's a package turned up 'ere, just  after lunch. Addressed to someone name of 'Professor Bongalides."
"Yeah, I might've gotten a bit carried away when I was ordering."
"No kidding."
"Any luck with the power adaptor?"
"Oh, yeah, 200% success."
"Err ….. "
"I found two."
"Result!"
"Yeah, handy."
"So, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna take my tea to the maintenance bay, along with Professor Bongalides's package." Chris, taking the package, and leaving for maintenance.
"Hey, Chris, does he know you've got his Package? Francis called after him, tongue firmly in cheek.

"Evening Chris." Paul, sticking his head round the door way.
"Paul."
"In early?"
"Guilty, thought I might get a bit extra done tonight."
"So what in the package?"
"Contents."
"Contents?"
"Yep."
"What?" Paul, clearly hoping Chris might give some details as to what the contents consisted of.
"I said yep!" Chris, raising his voice slightly, and enunciating very precisely.
"No, I meant 'what', as in what are the contents."
"The things that were in the package. Before I opened it, and removed them from the packaging."
"More specifically, what was it, exactly?"
"A reusable brown cardboard box, with a resealable top, and a label on it, addressed to Professor Bongalides, New British Museum, London, England ….. "
"No, I mean, what was in the box!" Paul interrupted
"Oh, 'contents'."
"Which was what?"
"No, it wasn't 'What'."
"What?"
"No ….. It wasn't."
"It wasn't what?"
"Exactly."
"What?"
"No ….. It wasn't."
"It wasn't "what", exactly?"
"That's what I said."
"What?"
"I said 'That's what I said'." Chris, again raising his voice slightly, and, if anything, enunciating even more precisely.
"What? No, never mind, if you don't want to tell me what's in your wretched package ….. "
"Contents." Chris slipped in quietly.
" ….. that's up to you, I am so not bothered."
"Well, in that case, I shan't tell you about the LED's, then."
"Bug roff, ya pith Tekken Zod." Paul said, or at least something like that anyway.
Paul walked away. Chris smirked, he'd enjoyed himself, and spoiled the eventual surprise when he revealed the finished project.

"So, Chris is on a wind up, or what?" Paul, evidently a little wound up.
"What?"
"Oh god, not you 'n' all!"
"Err ….. tea?"
"I think I've eared one, yeah."
Francis handed Paul a freshly made cup of tea, Dino placed the biscuits on the table.
"Right, hand over."
"Yep, Nothing happened, it's been dead all day, Professor Bongalides's package arriving was definitely the highlight of the day."
"Yeah, that's a deffo on that."
"Exciting stuff!"
"You've no idea." Dino sounded exhausted.
"I wouldn't bet on that." Paul, with the utmost sincerity, he'd had more than a few such days, which was how he'd learned his party piece, balancing a pen or pencil on his nose.
"So, laters!" Francis, standing up to leave.
"Ditto." Dino, pushing Francis toward the door.
"Well, see ya tomorrow!"
Paul sat, at the monitor wall, watched Dino and Francis walk away until they disappeared round the corner.
Paul sat, sipped his tea, and nibbled a cookie. He was most of the way into his second cookie when Pasha arrived.
"Kaltxì ma Paul."
"Err, yeah, calti ma Pasha."
"Need to work on that, Paul."
"Yeah, I don't have your gift for languages."
"All I hear around me is English. There word for that?"
"I'd say, full emersion. It's known to work well for humans to learn languages as well, so, yeah, makes sense, I guess."
"Chris still doing ìììì, errr, stuff?"
"Yep. Music?"
"Yes please."
Paul put on something tribal, Pasha approved.
Pasha leaned into the padded back to the bench, closed her eyes and smiled.
"Good?"
Pasha nodded, she remained almost completely motionless for perhaps a minute or so.
She eventually opened her eyes, opened the zipper pocket on her rebreather suitcase. She took out her pad and pen, hesitated a moment, before starting writing.
"What you writing?"
"Conversation between Candice, Beth, Jean, Carren, Gayle and Warren sì."
"Gayle?"
"Yeah, she one of team, but not working, I not understand. It not like I can just ask them to me explain."
"Have awake afterwards?"
"Yeah, wake, the not exactly party, after a funeral. Everyone tends to be real sad, tell stories about the person who's died. What they were like, what they did together, or separately. What the person was most proud of, and maybe most embarrassed about. Need to be careful abut what stories you tell. Tends to be a lot of alcohol gets drunk."
"Al co hol?"
"Yeah, alcohol, and sometimes much to much of it."
"Ììììeeerrrrr what al co hol mean?"
"Oh, right, yea, so, alcohol, well, err, it makes you drunk if you drink to much of it."
"Not understand."
"Oh boy." Paul took a deep breath, looked puzzled for a moment.
"I've got it." he went to the kitchen, and came back with a glass.
"Alcohol." he gestured to the glass, he took a sip.
"Now, the affects of alcohol." a second sip.
"Starts off very mild, so mild you can hardly tell." Paul, pretending to be slightly drunk, another sip
"Bu' ver sooooon i' ge' ver, ver obvis. Obviosis, obvi, obvioasis, obvidieo rentals, n' 'atsnotit, notitatall. Now! Uh, were was I? Oh yessss, oh yes, oh yes, I may, I may, I may, may I? I may've'adadrnkbt I'm not drnk, nont't'lldrnkyousee?"
Paul was getting into the swing of it, and doing a pretty fair impression or someone who was really quite drunk. He propped himself up on the table, and appeared to be struggling to focus. He absent mindedly tipped the contents of the glass on the floor, just as it was emptied, he brought it up to his lips, as if to take a sip, but it was empty. He looked shocked and confused at the empty glass.
"I apear to have fnshdit. I'llgo'n'getz um more."
He shuffled off toward the kitchen., he stumbeled as he got level with the doorway.
"Hey, what your game mister? You think I can't take you? I mayve 'ad a drink, but I can still 'ave you! O yes, sonny my lad, I'll 'it you so 'ard, you're great greeand chllreneneinen'll wind up in the middle next week of!"
Paul put up his fists in an extremely inexpert attempt at a boxers pose, as if ready to start a fight with the door frame.
"Oh, the silent type are you? Too good enough to talk to the likes of me are you!" Paul, unsteadily on his feet.
"Well, I'll soon wipe the face of your smile, you, you, you ….. Take that!" Paul swung a fist, completely missed the door frame, lost his balance, and fell over.
Pasha slid herself along the bench to see if he was OK.
"Did you see that? He, he, he filfthilthy swine punched me, I wasn't ready, or I'd knocked'izblkf. Filthy, ffilthy swine!" Paul, now even more intoxicated that before.
Paul struggled to stand on his feet again, but after some very uncoordinated thrashing about, finally managed it.
"You 'it me ….. but I forgive you …. " Paul fell against the doorframe " ….. Coz your my best friend, my best friend in the whole world, bstfrnd eeeeeeeeh nywned ever 'ave. There, I've said it, I love you, even if …… What were we talking about? ….. By the way, did I evrtellyou, yourmybstfrndinth whole entire wrld?" Paul hugged the door frame, partly in an expression of the truest, deepest love and admiration for his best friend in the whole world, but mostly so he didn't fall over.
"Drunk again Paul?"
"No osifer, itsonlywater, hon 'n' onenest, I'm …..  jus ver tired ….. an' emo, emo, emo-shn-ll."
"Yes, as a skunk."
"I was just trying to explain alcohol to Pasha." Paul, now miraculously stone cold sober again.
"You're not kidding anyone! We've all seen you flirting with the doorframe!" Chris, not even slightly serious.
Pasha laughed.
"Alcohol, we call it 'swoa' have too much you 'rou'. You that much, you in big trouble! At least, I guess it same thing?"

Toliman:
Read right now, txantsan! Good work :)

archaic:
Part 132


Spoiler: LEDs."So, why are you back so soon?"
"I heard what sounded like a fall, I was worried."
"Nah, it's all good, just explaining the daemon drink."
"Demonstrating?"
"Whatever."
"Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a maintenance bay to keep an eye on. Good evening Pasha."
"Good evening ma Chris."
There was a pause in the conversation which, after a while, Paul ended.
"So, yeah, that's alcohol. Err ….. Oh yeah, When someone dies, the body gets cremated, or if you're really rich, or like the king or something, you get buried. Err, they dig a hole, the body is put in a coffin, that's a special box for burying people in, put the coffin in the hole, and back fill it. Law say's it's gotta be at least 2 meters deep, but there's some law, I can't remember exactly, that say's you can't dig it more than six feet, which is less, one meter eighty I think, if I remember my school history right."
"That's silly."
"Having one law that say's you have to do something, and another that say's you can't?"
"Yeah, that."
"There's lots of 'em. It's a total mess."
"Ììììì, what law mean?"
"Oh. That's gonna be another biggie to explain!"

"Morning." Chris's voice, from the kitchen.
"Morning?"
"Midnight plus thirty seconds, it is now morning. It's now tomorrow 'n' all."
As Chris spoke, there was the sound of drawer opening, the sound of rummaging around and then it closing.
"Thursday! Poker night!"
"Mmm, 'n' no Mark mucking around."
There was a metallic sound, almost as if someone was using a can opener.
"I know, I know, I know, but, it's always livelier when he's here."
"Well, that's one way of putting it."
"Don't agree?"
Chris sighed
"No, I guess you're right. He does bring a certain anarchic je ne sais quoi."
"So, tinned soup for lunch?"
"However did you guess?"
"I'm a medium."
"It says so in the back of your shirt?"
The microwave fired up.
"OK, it's an old gag."
"Old? I should think it's probably precambrian!"
"Well, this is a museum."
"True." Chris admitted "What've you got for lunch?"
"Sandwiches, and a salad. What flavour soup you got?"
"Oxtail with spirulina, and croutons."
"Exotic."
"Basically, it's beef with stuff plus crunchy bits."
"Crunchy bits, still sounds exotic, well, more exotic than slightly limp salad, at any rate. 'Sgot spirulina in, mind you."
"You do know you can just buy 'em, 'n' add 'em to stuff, right?"
"Hmm, might get some 'n' add 'em to my salad. Just to keep it fresh."
"Shake things up a bit."
"Exactly. How's it going in maintenance?"
"Meh. Hows it going here?"
"Well, the museum hasn't burned down ….. "
"Generally a good sign."
" ….. Mmm, no signs of robbery, break in, no accidental breakages, and no one's crashed into the building. At least not yet, but then the night's still young, so, maybe later."
"So, quiet, then."
"You know, it could almost be boring."
"But I am here to keep you entertained?" Pasha inquired.
"Err, well, I wouldn't've put it in those words, but ….. err ….. kinda? I guess? I mea, it ain't boring with you around, that's for sure."
"So, what Chris making?"
"A mess, knowing 'im."
"What he making, when he making mess?"
"Ask Chris, I think 'e's the one to explain that one."
"Chris being, ììììììììì, what word?"
"Devious? Shifty? ….. err ….. Evasive? Slippery? Opaque? Stonewalling?"
"Ìììììììììì ….. you look up on viewscreen."
"Guilty, it's, well, it's, you see, we have 'em so we don't need to remember everything. As long as you know how to work one, you can find out pretty much anything."
"Show me?"
Paul took a deep breath.
"What the hell, in for a cent, in for a euro."
Paul slid his viewscreen across the table to Pasha.
"It's a touch screen, what you do is ….. like this." Paul began.

Toliman:
Read, txantsan. Good work :)

archaic:
Part 133


Spoiler: Under cover."Morning Chris, still at it I see?" Kyle, breezily.
"Well, I'm not waiting out there for Mark, it's too bleedin' cold for silly buggers." Dino said, with considerable feeling.
"Nearly done." Chris, mildly exhausted.
"Really?"
"Mmm. Just wiring up the colour and brightness control doohickey for the LEDs"
"Pretty colors."
"Still fine tuning it. Here, you're in early?"
"Yeah, went to bed a bit earlier than normal, I just wasn't feeling it. Then went to the loo a bit after one A M. And couldn't get back to sleep. So, in the end, I gave up, and came to work. I like the pattern you got there, looks about right."
"Cheers. The kettle's there, cups, tea, it's granules I'm afraid"
"Oh well."
"Yeah, it's still miles better than the machine though."
"What isn't?"
"Being stabbed repeatedly by a maniac with a garden fork?"
"When you say 'Being stabbed repeatedly by a maniac with a garden fork' Do you mean the maniac is using a garden fork to stab me? Or I am being stabbed by an unspecified third party, while the maniac with the garden fork is coincidentally in close proximity, but is not directly involved in stabbing me?"
"Err, over thinking much?" Chris, kinda o O.
"Any whitener?" Kyle, changing the subject.
"Bugger, forgot that."
"I'll tippy toe, back in a mo' ….. " Kyle, conspiratorially " ….. Engage stealth mode!" he added in his best superhero voice.
Chris rolled is eyes as Kyle left. Which he did, heroically. At least it was in Kyle's mind. The pull on the cape was an imaginative touch, but then it was an imaginary cape.
He returned a few minutes later, clutching the whitener.
"Ever worry ….. " Dino began.
"I've been spending too much time working with Mark?" Kyle finished.
"Yeah."
"Meh ….. And in other news, mission accomplished!" Kyle flourished the whitener like a trophy.
"Very heroic. Pasha undisturbed?"
"Wide awake and practicing her writing."
Chris looked a little crest fallen.
"Well, in that case, I'm going for a nice sit down, I can watch the monitors too. In case any other damn fool decides to turn up at  zero dark twenty nine."
Dino stomped off, projecting a feeling of cold. Chris went back to his project, Kyle threw a cup of te together, and found himself fishing for the tea bag. After a some fruitless trawling with the spoon, he remembered that it was made with instant tea granules. He felt rather foolish, and hoped Chris was too busy to have noticed. Chris wan't, but he said nothing, possibly because he was too nice, or possibly because he couldn't think of anything sharp and pithy to say.
"One whitened tea, I won't do Mark's, coz he'll be on time."
"Not stoopid early?"
"Hour and, err ….. " Kyle consulted his viewscreen " ….. fifty six minutes."
"Plus chat, a whitener run, and that's two hours."
"Good as, yeah, alright, stoopid early, but with extenuating circumstances."
"Do I hear 'Diminished Responsibility'?"
"You know it!"
"Hmm."
"Hmm?"
"Mmm."
"Issues?"
"Err ….. " Chris referred to his viewscreen "Hmm, that doesn't look to good." he sounded concerned "Oh, hang on."
he fiddled with his vague heap of components, glanced back at the screen, before continueing "Bingo." he said as the LEDs all came on to a soft uniform glow "Remind you of anything?"
"No, not a thing. Apart from the bleedin' obvious! Obviously."
"Needs a bit of tidying."
"And the 'Understatement Of The Year' award, goes to Chris 'Professor Bongalides' Gillard, for his committed hard work and unwaveringly dedicated razor blade focused attention to every single possible detail, in untidying the maintenance shop."
"Just gimme twenty minutes."
"And your time starts ….. now!"
"Maybe half an hour."
"Whatever."
"Why don't you go talk to Pasha?"
"And help her with her English home work?"
"What ever floats your boat."
"Water?"
"And the 'Wise Ass Of The Year' award, goes to ….. "
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm going! I'm going!" Dino, as he left.
" ….. Bernardino Richardsen, for not making Mark a cup of tea, in case he's on time." Chris called after him.

"Well. Here it is."
"Wow! A slightly tattered rug! Out of lost property too. You shouldn't have, but, how ever did you know?" Dino, with an impressive level sarcasm.
Chris gave him a dirty look.
"Pasha, something became available, from some hells ancient lost property, I've done my best to resurrect it, and spruce it up a bit ….. and, well, here it is ….. what I've been working on for the last couple of nights. I hope it's OK."
Chris pulled the rug away.
Pasha looked amazed, stunned, shocked even.
"For me?" she whispered.
"Wouldn't've bothered with the LEDs 'n' the paint, for anyone else!"
Tears ran down Pasha's face, pooling a little at the lowest point of her rebreather's face mask.
It was a while before she felt up to lifting it to wipe her own face.
She took a deep breath, slid to the end of the bench, stood on her good leg, and took it.
"There's no nervous system, so you won't get sensations, but, it should make walking a little easier. Probably take a bit of getting used to. And as you get taller, there's an adjuster, but it's only a hundred and ten mil of adjustment, that'll need some reworking, at some point, further down the line. I hope it's comfortable, it's based on that scan, plus a bit of guess work, if I'm honest."
Pasha looked at the prosthetic leg, it's cyan with darker stripes, it's light blue LEDs that mimicked the patterns of 
Bioluminescent spots on her other leg.
"It's a mirror of your other leg. Well, more or less."
"It OK, Na'vi spots are not perfect mirror image, left to right. Similar, but not exactly same."
"Are the toes OK?"
"Yes, toes good, four, right number, gap in right place also."
"Yeah, I had to swap them around, as it arrived, it was the wrong leg, but the toes are obviously designed to be put either way round so it can be assembled to be either a left leg or a right leg, I just left out a toe, and made up a spacer on their 3D printer. Now, from what I understand, they take a little while to get used too."
Pasha slid her stump into the 3D printed socket. A 3D printed socket, that Chris had ordered in the name of Professor Bongalides.
"I understand you'll have some discomfort to start with."
Pasha looked up at Chris for a moment, before very cautiously put her weight on it. She looked down at it, took a deep breath, and, holding on to the edge of the table with one hand, took her first step.

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