Transmigration 9: Brave New Worlds

Pan-fandom, SciFi, and Screwed-Up


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Thought We Both Could Use a Friend to Run To [Closed]
That's your plan?
i_sell_drugs wrote in trans_9
Howard forgot what it's like to walk slowly. Usually he runs, or keeps a quick pace to keep up with taller people always on the move, or jogs to work. He doesn't tend to amble, and he certainly doesn't plod.

But Orc's back now, and that, like many things, is going to have to change.

He should be happy. He really should. This is what he's wanted since showing up on this stupid flying space-wart, right?

And yet instead he feels full of static electricity. Like his body's full of twitches and impulses that go nowhere, glitches and short-circuits and bubbles in the tubes and a complete and utter impatience with the way Orc drags his feet as if walking through Elmer's glue.

And it bothers Howard that he makes sure he's out of arms reach before he gives an impatient huff and says "could you pick it up a little? My bones are fossilizing here, man."

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Orc grunted and increased his heavy shuffling walking pace despite how tedious it was. He never noticed before just how heavy it was hauling his own rocks around. Maybe he was out of shape or maybe it was always this heavy and he just had been too drunk to notice.

But it was annoying that Howard was rushing him too. It's not like the tree was going anywhere right? Yeah Orc wanted to start drinking again soon but that didn't mean he was gonna run.

After a moment of pause, not to mention hearing that displeased grunt, Howard shrugs. "Sorry. I'm just used to walking fast. We're almost there."

While crossing hydroponics they have to go over the track Howard set up. "I set that up so I could get faster. I'll show you the fruit tree next, if you're..."

Howard trails off, thinking maybe Orc wouldn't be interested anyway. Maybe Orc will be content to just have the beer tree and not explore any further. He knows Orc was depressed as hell, but he was snatched onto Stacy right after the incident with the kid. He has no idea how or if that's weighing on Orc's mind.

"And I can bring the cat down, to show you. Since we can have pets here and all."

"A cat?" That struck Orc as kind of funny. Howard keeping a cat after having watched the beloved family pets of their hometown get eaten out of desperation.

It really was an interesting place if he could be bothered to think about it more then a minute. But the more he thought about it the more ridiculous things seemed to get. Aliens, mutants, living spaceships made of snot, and beer that grows on trees.

"Yeah. I named her Emergency Rations." And that's part of the point of having the cat, Howard thinks. That, and the fact that just seeing them reminds you that you aren't in harsh times.

They reach the tree and Howard flops down on the grass, worrying that if Orc does the same it'll leave a small crater. "Here you go, man. Don't know the brands. Don't figure you care, right?"

Orc came to a lumbering stop and stared up at the tree. It absolutely was covered in bottles. It was more then he could believe. Reaching up with his thick rock covered paws he plucked on from the branches examining it as if this might be the most elaborate practical joke anyone's ever played on him.

"Nope." Orc never had really cared much for one brand over another. His pallet was not that defined. He just wanted the after effects. The bottle cap...and the top of the bottle came off easily with a crack and he dropped the broken bit in the crass pouring the bottle into his gaping maw.

It was beer. Honest to god fresh cold beer. Orc almost started crying, so delighted that it didn't bother him that he missed some of it and it ran down his chin and chest.

Then again he never really cared that much when he spilled. He reached for the next one without hesitation abandoning his empty in the grass.

Howard curls his knees up to his chest and watches with some bemusement as Orc takes apart part of the tree. Bemusement, and a bit of a sinking sensation in his chest.

Just like old times, right?

He grabs the broken, empty bottle from the grass and starts making a pile beside him. "Not too fast, alright? You been in Stacy a long time. I got no idea where your tolerance is at these days."

"I'm fine." he responded gruffly already reaching for another one and repeating the process, the familiar and comfortable process. Already he was starting to relax even though the beer hadn't taken effect yet. Just being comfortable and knowing that soon all those nagging emotions and thoughts would be washed away was enough for him to feel better.

If the Beer never ran out this might not be a bad place to try and resume drinking himself to death. He didn't even stand out as much because the ship was packed with freaks. Mostly human freaks unfortunately.

"No, seriously, man, slow down," Howard says, a bit more insistently, and with a suddenly nervous keen to his voice. He's not sure how to react if he can't keep Orc's drinking at least somewhat in check - before, there was a matter of supply, and the fact that he was the one responsible for procuring the booze. But it's suddenly occurring to him what a mistake it was to provide Orc with a way to get alcohol that doesn't rely on Howard.

He feels a chill. "Really, man. Sit down. Give it a minute."

And stepping again out of striking range, "you remember what happened last time you got too sloshed, right?"

He gave an visible twitch when Howard reminded him of that incident that Orc needed no reminder of. The little twitch was enough to shatter to bottled and spill it's remaining contents and shards of dark colored glass onto Orc's chest. The beer slid along his rocky frame and dripped into the grass.

Orc remembered all too well what had happened, it was those sorts of things he was drinking to forget.

"Sit down, man." Howard's voice is a little too calm, forcedly gentle. "Sit down and talk to me about it, okay?"

Because Howard needs to know it was an accident. He's been hoping, but he needs to know.

"Nothin' to talk about." He grunted reaching up to take a third beer. But he did sit down, so hard the tree shook, bottles making gentle noises as they tapped against the branches.

All he could think about now was that body on the ground. The kid who had been looking for help only to get killed in a simple act of carelessness.

"Sure there is." He starts gathering up the glass on the ground in his hands and putting it in a pile with the bottles. He'll get rid of it later. "It was an accident, right? I mean, that's what it looked like, but you were pretty far gone by the time I got there..."

"I killed that kid..." Orc mumbled as if he were far away, reliving that moment in his mind. "Just like Betty..."

No not just like Betty. Betty had been an accident too but different somehow hadn't it? What was the difference between the two accidents? Was there one? Not in gods eyes Orc knew that much. He was going to hell for those deaths no matter why they happened.

Clumsy fingers snapped off the neck of his next beer.

"Hey, from now on let me open those for you. Less broken glass," Howard says, trying in some small way to take control again. He scoops more of the shards up.
 
"But it was still an accident, right? I mean, that's the important thing, that you didn't mean it."

Orc had been doing well enough so far, but he knew Howard was right. They'd done this dance before and on more then a few occasions Orc had spat out broken glass.

"Doesn't matter." he was a murderer and he knew what happened to murderers. "Just...none of it matters anymore." He tried to slug back this beer as well but his aim was off and some of it spattered onto his face just below his eye where the last patch of skin he had had once resided. He had cast away that scrap of humanity what felt like only a day ago.

Howard holds his breath for a minute, trying to think that through. On one hand, Orc's right. It doesn't matter. This is and always has been the chance for a fresh start, and even if Howard didn't grab it with both hands once he arrived, he can't deny he's reinvented himself a little. Orc could do the same.

And yet it's not as if they can just put it behind them. Howard knows, from the nightmares and the paranoia and the oppressing, overwhelming sense of horror just around the corner, that the FAYZ will never be erased from them. It's like a brand they'll wear, even if sometimes only they and Diana can see it.

Even if no one else ever finds out about that kid, Orc will know. And he'll wear that tattoo too.

Howard reaches a hand up and rests it on Orc's shoulder in a quiet gesture of comfort. "Yeah. You're right. Doesn't matter."

"It's over now." He muttered his shoulders sagging. He had gone from a rock wall to a pile of rubble in just a few minutes and a few beers. Even the beers he had slammed on an empty stomach couldn't be blamed for the depression creeping in.

"It was all a waste of time."

Howard gives Orc's shoulder a squeeze. Maybe Orc can feel it beneath all the stone. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn't matter.

It was a mistake to bring him here. Even if he'd been single-mindedly focused on getting booze beforehand, this was a mistake.

"We've got time here. We don't got to make it a waste. Things'll get better."

It sounds so hollow, partially because he's trying to convince himself too.

"How?" And that was the question wasn't it? But somewhere...in those beady little eyes now directed at Howard was a tiny, tiny barely noticeable flicker of hope that maybe Howard knew something Orc didn't about things. Or maybe Howard just imagined it.

That little bit of hope would have been lost on just about anyone but Howard, but he's known Orc a long time. They've been through a lot together. They've put each through through a lot.

"Time." He sighs. "Lots of time. Lots of time to ourselves with Drake screaming at us from the basement or having to eat cockroaches or just not having anyone to talk to but each other. Time with people who've lived a little longer than us and know a little more than us."

He tries an awkward smile. It falls a bit flat. "And saving the universes is probably pretty good for us karma-wise. Not saying it'll make up for things, but..."

"Karma huh?" He wasn't sure any amount of Karam was going to save him from the pits of hell waiting for his ugly ass to go tumbling down.

"So we just wait." That was what he took away from the "Time" comment.

"Yeah. We wait and it'll get better bit by bit. Promise." He wonders how much water one of his promises holds with Orc these days. "Besides, at least I got company now, right?"

It seemed like a pretty flimsy promise to Orc. Howard couldn't possibly know things were gonna get any better. He just wanted Orc to feel better. Orc sighed and hit the tree behind him with his fist hoping to shake down another bottle. He wasn't so lucky.

"Yeah I'm here." He conceded.

Howard stands up, scrambles a little bit up the tree and gets him one. He holds it out to Orc, and then, before Orc can take it, pulls it back.

"Orc, do I lie to you?"

He's not going to pass the bottle over until he gets an answer.

It actually took a moment as Orc muddled through his memories. Like all thought based actions, it took longer when he was drinking and depressed.

"No, you never have." he decided, at least he didn't think Howard had. If he had Orc either couldn't remember or had totally believed him.

Howard has, many times. Never in ways to hurt Orc, always looking out for Orc's interests, but honesty isn't his strong suit. But he'll let Orc stay mistaken.

"So when I say things get better, why would I be lying?"

That was a pretty good question...at least to Orc. "I unno." He confessed feeling foolish which put an edge to his voice. He didn't like feeling as though he wasn't seeing something obvious. But the way Howard was talking it seemed like he should have obviously known all along there was no reason for Howard to lie.

Howard can tell from Orc's voice that he stepped out of line. He hands the bottle over to Orc with a sigh. He realizes that at the moment, he doesn't want to. Orc's going to be wasted as soon as all that booze hits his head.

"I'm honest with you, man. That's all I'm saying."

"Yeah." Was as much as Orc was going to agree with this entire discussion. The beer was already taking effect which meant he was relaxing, not as frustrated as he would have been. Howard had gotten him this far he supposed. The next bottle disappeared like all the others beer vanishing into Orc's stomach in just a gulp and a half.

"I'll find you a job, too. Something to do to keep you busy. And, um, you can come live in the Warehouse with me. There's lots of heavy stuff to drag around, right?"

And yes, Howard will be a little insulted if Orc doesn't want to help him. After all he's done.

"Work." He mumbled begrudgingly. Work was alright it was better then being bored, but he didn't much care for it one way or the other. Still work meant beer. And Beer meant not having too think about any of the things he was trying to avoid.

"Yeah, that sounds good." He wasn't about to thank Howard, but agreeing with him was a start.

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