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It's Just A Game Mods ([personal profile] itsjustthemads) wrote in [community profile] itsjustagamerp2013-04-10 05:34 pm

Experiment #40 - Truly, Madly, Viking - Chapter 8

Truly, Madly, Viking - Chapter 8
By Sandra Hill



90s Kid: *it took him a while to get here, but once he made it he found no trouble getting comfortable in the slanted room, simply sprawling out sideways in his seat. His new frog friend is sitting on his hat, looking like it’s having some difficulty staying up there.*
Aqua: *is less obviously comfortable about things (and may be wishing Float worked here) but seems to be adjusting well enough all the same*
Xion: *Has a little more difficulty considering one hand is being used to hold her kitten while she walks, but she manages. Better than having kitten claws dug into her as it tries to keep hold, at any rate.*
Aqua: Are we all ready?
90s Kid: I was born ready!
Xion: I think so. *settles kitten on her shoulder now that she’s sitting*

At last the momentous day had arrived. Maggie was taking Jorund and all his new comrades in madness on their promised field journey.

90s Kid: Road trip! Whoo! *throws his hands up in the air*
Xion: What’s a road trip? Like a day off?
Aqua: Ah... sort of, yes.
90s Kid: Only with a lot more trail mix!

Jorund had to admit to being a mite fearful. In order to get from the Rainbow Hospitium to Orcaland, the first leg of their journey, he would have to ride in one of the horseless carts he had seen nigh flying down the road from his chamber window.

90s Kid: Doc Brown, is that you?
Aqua: ...who?
90s Kid: Doc Brown! Y’know, the guy with the Delorean?

Actually, it was a huge, yellow, boxlike structure with windows and wheels, known as a bus.

“What’s wrong with a good pair of oxen to pull a cart? Or a sturdy horse?” he muttered to Mag-he,

Xion: Wait, wasn’t her name spelled right earlier?
Aqua: It was.
Xion: Then why is it misspelled here? I mean, if the author knows the right spelling?
Aqua: I really wish I knew,

who was checking names off a piece of parchment on her clipping board as the other members of the group filed up the steps of the vehicle. It was a sign of his condition that he paid no mind to Mag-he’s tight den-ham braies and short-sleeved sweat-her

90s Kid: Dude, book, I’m not stupid. I know how to read. Chya.
Xion: I think it’s more difficult to read the way the author keeps misspelling things.
Aqua: I agree.

that exposed a tiny bit of her midriff each time she lifted an arm in the air to wave someone new onto the death cart.

90s Kid: Wait, they’re dead? Awesome!
Aqua: No, they aren’t. Not unless that’s his “condition”?

Mag-he darted a quick look of concern toward him, sensing his reluctance to join the others. “There are plenty of horses in Texas, but a bus is more practical for our purposes...and safer.”

“So you say!” he muttered under his breath. It would not do to outwardly show his trepidation, especially when everyone, even Not-a-lie,

Xion: Sister to “Is-the-truth”.
Aqua: Introductions must be awkward in that family.
90s Kid: I hear she makes good cake.

the wench who was afraid of crowds, had already bounced up the steps. Not-a-lie was wearing the most unseemly garb: white boots, a cowgirl hat--Who ever heard of a cowgirl? Or bragged of being such?--and a shert and short gunna, known as a skirt, with fringes all along the edges. With that amount of skin showing, she could pass for a harem houri.

Xion: Do I want to know what a ‘harem houri” is?
Aqua: The next unit of time after a “harem half-houri.”
Xion: Oh, okay.

Dock-whore Hairy was behind a large wheel inside the bus. He was going to drive, not trusting Mag-he and her demented troop to go off on their own. Two of the guards, who were known as attendants in this world, would accompany them as well. Norse Hatch-her

Aqua: Is “nurse” really that hard of a word?
Xion: Maybe it is for him.

came, too--surprisingly feminine in a long, gauzy purple skirt and matching shert with the words, C’mon, Make My Day. On second thought, she resembled a giant plum.

90s Kid: She never was the same after that accident at the Wonka factory.
Xion: Wonka?
90s Kid: The candy man. *gives Xion a weird look. Seriously did you even have a childhood?*
Xion: *Does her best imiitation of Axel’s raised eyebrow. 90’s Kid, you don’t want to know*

Bracing himself, Jorund forced himself to go up the steps, feeling much as if he were walking the plank.

Xion: Oh, is Captain Hook here?
Aqua: I really hope not.
Xion: Yeah, he wasn’t very nice.

Breathing a sigh of relief at passing that hurdle, he glanced down the rows of seats, many of which were empty, since their group numbered only twelve--their original therapy group and a few others.

“Stop touching my fringe,” Not-a-lie snapped to her seat-partner.

Hair-vee ducked his head sheepishly. “I was just counting them for you.”

Xion: Does he think he’s the Count?
90s Kid: *bad Count impression* One! One sexual harrassment! Ah ah ah ah!
Xion: ....

“Well, I don’t need you to count them,” she grumbled. “And why do you have to sit next to me? There are plenty of other seats. You’re crowding me.” Not-a-lie’s waspish demeanor was belied by her shivering body. This outing must be an ordeal for a person with her unique anxieties.

Aqua: Then why bring her along?
Xion: Maybe road trips are more like missions--you HAVE to go.
Aqua: I don’t think so...

Hair-vee got up and stared longingly toward the empty seat next to Rosalyn, the mousy woman who worked all day long with books--a lie-bear-ian,

Xion: If she were a real bear, that might be interesting.
90s Kid: Queen Elinor, no!

which was amazing, really. In Jorund’s world, books were a rare commodity; in this world, they were as plentiful as grass.

90s Kid: Haha, as if anybody reads books anymore. ...wait.
Aqua: *levels a glare at him*
90s Kid: *oblivious*

Rosalyn gave Hair-vee a glare that was as forbidding as a berserker with a battle-ax guarding a castle wall. All of the men had been trying to get on Rosalyn’s good side ever since she’d announced her extraordinary longing for sexual activity.

90s Kid: Ooh! Ooh! Ooh pick me!
Xion: *facepalm*
Aqua: *leans over and slaps him*
90s Kid: Ow! Dude, again?!

Rosalyn’s word-shert spelled out, Read My Lips. He tried to read her lips, to no avail. Apparently he was only capable of reading whale’s minds.

Aqua: That doesn’t sound very useful.
Xion: Speaking whale, one the other hand...

Jorund began to walk down the aisle

90s Kid: *whistles Here Comes the Bride*

when his gaze snagged on Furr-red Burns-tine. He stopped dead in his tracks. The man had gone too far this time. Much too far!

Last week, at group therapy, Furr-red had arrived in the garb of a caveman. Cavemen were apparently the ancestors of all human beings, though Jorund could hardly credit that. Jorund’s Viking forbears had never looked like that rendition of early man--of that he was certain. Furr-red had worn naught but a beaver skin, which turned out to be one of Norse Hender-son’s winter outer-garbs--a coat--wrapped around one shoulder like a Roman toga. When he bent over, everyone got a good view of his bare, flabby buttocks...not a pretty sight.

Xion: Not pretty to read about, either.

And he’d carried a huge club, which Mag-he had immediately confiscated, claiming that it was the trunk of a newly planted crab apple tree from their back courtyard.

Today Furr-red was impersonating his idea of what a Viking warrior would look like. It was insulting, to say the least. On his head was a long, blond wig that Jorund could swear he’d seen on a scullery maid’s head just yestereve. On his upper arms were two makeshift braclets formed from strips of tinfoil, a product used in modern kitchens to save food.

Aqua: I think we know what tinfoil is.

He wore tight sweating braies on bottom and a loose black T-shert with the sleeves and neckline ripped off, the whole cinched at the waist by a wide, brown leather belt.

“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” Jorund demanded.

90s Kid: *as Fred* I don’t know, was I in this story before?
Aqua: I don’t... remember a Fred?
Xion: Me neither.

Furr-red cowered back into his seat near the window. He was nigh whimpering when he replied, “Fred the Viking.”

Jorund shook his head from side to side. The man meant no harm, he decided. Still, under his breath, he commented, “More like Furr-red the Idiot.”

Just then he noticed Steve, who was motioning him toward the back of the bus. He headed in that direction, passing other Rainbow comrades along the way, including Chuck the Duck.

Xion: Is he related to Donald?
90s Kid: Or Howard?
Aqua: Maybe?

That was who he assumed Chuck was today, since he was quack-quack-quacking to no one in particular. Just as long as he didn’t drop any bodily “gifts” in the bus, Jorund could care less what animal he chose to be this day or any other. Chuck’s message-shert said, Out of My Mind. Be Back in Five Minutes.

Mag-he sat down in the front seat, directly behind Dock-whore Hairy. The doors swished shut. And they were off. Well, he assumed they were off.

90s Kid: They’re all off alright, man.

At first the bus lurched and stopped, lurched and stopped, lurched and stopped till Dock-whore Hairy got the feel of driving a bus. Holy Thor! Not only am I riding in a most dangerous horseless cart, but I am putting my life in the hands of an incompetent driver. ‘Tis comparable to going aviking with my sister Katla at the rudder.

90s Kid: Hahaha, it’s funny because women can’t drive!
Aqua: *return of the glare*
Xion: *adds a glare of her own.*
90s Kid: ....well it’s not like I really think like that!

But they were riding smoothly now. Jorund let out a pent-up breath, although he held on to the seat in front of him as they traveled at an excessive speed out onto the road.

“What’s the problem?” Steve asked, staring at Jorund’s white knuckles and his face, which was, no doubt, white as well.

Aqua: I’m pretty sure horses can move faster than a bus that’s only just getting started.
Xion: I guess so, but I’ve never ridden one...

“Must we travel so fast? What is the hurry?” he complained.

“Huh?” Steve responded. “We’re only going twenty miles on hour on this entrance ramp. Wait till we get on the highway. The speed limit there is sixty-five.”

“I cannot wait,” Jorund said dryly.

Steve was frowning as he studied his rigid demeanor. “You’ve never ridden on a bus before?”

“I’ve never ridden on anything that moved without animal power...unless it was a ship on the open seas, driven by the winds and the hard rowing of well-muscled men.”

Xion: Like a pirate? Maybe Captain Hook will show up later.
Aqua: I don’t think Captain Hook did much rowing.

Steve shrugged his shoulders sadly. “Man, you are as screwed up as the rest of us.”

“Nay, I am not,” Jorund declared. “What you all cannot accept is that I really am a Viking, come here from the tenth century.”

Xion: The truth is stranger than fiction. *nods*

Instead of arguing, as he usually did, Steve asked skeptically, “Why?”

Jorund relaxed back into the seat. As long as he didn’t look out the windows and see the landscape passing in a blur, he could almost forget where he was. He pondered Steve’s question. “I do not know. I am hoping some answers will come to me today.”

Aqua: I think we’d all like answers, at this point.

“At Boot Scootin’ Cowboy? In a music hall? Hell, I know a lot of guys who think they can find answers in a bottle of booze--I did for more years than I can count--but I can guarantee that even a glass of beer will be off-limits to us today.”

“I did not mean that music place. I was referring to the killer-whale place.”

“Do you still think that a killer whale is the key to your being here in Galveston?” Steve and all the others in his group therapy had laughed this week when he’d told them the tale of his arrival atop Thora’s back, bare-arsed and raging mad. Steve wasn’t laughing now.

Xion: Neither are the readers.
Aqua: Well... maybe if he wasn’t mad....

“I know it.” Jorund snorted with disgust. “If I can find her, I’m certain that this puzzle will become clear.” Leastaways, he hoped that was the case. He thought of something else. “Mayhap you will get some answers yourself when we visit that war praise-wall.”

It was Steve who turned stiff then. “I am not getting off this bus when we get to that freakin’ wall. I swear, I’m not. I know Dr. McBride has all these piss-poor ideas about making a big breakthrough with me, but it isn’t gonna happen there...or anywhere else, for that matter.” He turned away and stared morosely out the window. In an undertone, he murmured, for his own benefit only, “I don’t see enough of ‘Nam in my dreams. I gotta see it on a damn wall, too?”

The hairs rose on the back of Jorund’s neck then. In the distance, he could see a large sign that said, WELCOME TO ORCALAND. And beyond that was the water inlet that led out to Galveston Bay and the seas beyond.

Would this be the day he returned to the past?

Aqua: If only....



Maggie found Joe, finally.

90s Kid: Woah, woah! Perspective screw! *flails slightly and falls out of his chair, frog jumping onto the back of his seat to keep from getting squashed*
Xion: And who’s Joe?
Aqua: I... think he’s the one we’ve been following so far?

He was sitting on a small promontory near the outer rim of the inlet, arms resting on bended knees, gazing out beyond the bay. Of course, he had defied all rules by wandering away from their group, which was still watching the Gonzo show back in the arena.

90s Kid: He’d just finished eating a tire to the tune of Flight of the Bumblebee. *trying to climb back into his seat*

“Joe?” she inquired softly.

At first he didn’t seem to hear her. Even though his lips were moving, no words came out. It was as if he were speaking some silent language. Then he turned. Maggie’s heart almost broke at the bleakness in his gray eyes.

“She’s not there,” he told her.

“Who’s not there?” Maggie dropped down to the ground beside Joe and put a hand on his shoulder in concern.

“Thora.”

“The killer whale?”

He nodded. “Much as I’ve tried to communicate with her, there is no response.”

“You...you talk to orcas?”

Xion: It’s the only kind of whale he knows how to speak.
Aqua: That’s awfully specialized.

“Not all orcas...leastaways, I don’t think I can talk to them all--just my own personal pain-in-the-arse killer whale, Thora.”

This was not good news. After all the progress Joe had made, believing that he could talk to an ocean mammal could be chalked up to additional delusions, along with his time-travel and VIking claims.

“Does the whale talk back to you?”

“Yea, it does. In my head.”

Oh, God.

He slanted a glance her way. “You think I’m demented, don’t you?”

“Of course not?”

“You are a poor liar, Dock-whore Muck-bride.”

Xion:....That’s not a nice thing to call her, she’s just trying to help.
Aqua: Doesn’t she have anything to say about how he’s butchering English?
Xion: And not even all English, just a few words.

“Well, anyhow, it’s not the end of the world that you didn’t have a chat with Thora today,” she said brightly. “Let’s view it in a positive light.”

“For the love of all the gods, spare me,” he replied with a groan. “You are going to start the sigh-colic-just blathering again, aren’t you?”

She raised her chin, affronted. “I don’t know what you mean.”

He exhaled with a loud woosh. “All those words and phrases that mean nothing: ‘I see. How do you feel about that? What do you think?’ Never do you answer a question directly, but always turn it back on your pay-shuns.

90s Kid: ...dude. Really dude? You don’t even know the word patients? Or patience which sounds the same?
Aqua: It certainly doesn’t look like it. Although given that he doesn’t seem to know “Doctor” either, maybe it’s not *that* bad?
90s Kid: This guy is the most unradical viking ever. School is for losers and all, but that’s just bogus.

‘Tis enough to drive a sane man mad, I tell you.”

She began to ask him how he felt about that, then stopped herself short. He was right. She did have a tendency to spout psychobabble, when the philosophy behind Rainbow was to avoid the therapist-as-robot approach.

Aqua: I guess that might be a good idea.
Xion: Depends on how it works out.
Aqua: Would you want a robot for that?
Xion. Nope.
90s Kid: I would! That’d be awesome!

Psychologists no longer needed to hide personal emotions and reactions or remain silent and unmoved in the client relationship. At Rainbow, a therapist was supposed to be free to be oneself, while remaining objective at the same time. “What I started to say about putting a positive light on this event is that maybe this is a sign--I know you are big on signs--that it’s time to put aside the past and move forward.”

“To heal myself?”

Aqua: I’m not sure he needs healing, at this point.
Xion: No, he needs a...what was it called...TARDIS?
90s Kid: Or the freakin’ Delorean! Doc Brown, I’m telling ya!

“Yes!” she said enthusiastically.

He shook his head. “There is no bright side in this catastrophe today...and, yea, it is a catastrophe. Look at this from my perspective, m’lady. There is no winter chill in the air here, but winter has already begun in other parts of your country.

Xion: Winter is coming.
Aqua: Well, at least the Starks will be prepared.

On the seas I need to travel, the air will be frigid--too cold for sailing on an open longship till springtime. Have you ever tried to row a boat with ice on the oars? Have you ever stood for hours at a time in weather so wet and cold that every hair on your body turns to icicles, even the chest hairs. Of course you haven’t. Can you not see that I must communicate with Thora soon, or be forced to wait many months to leave this land?”

“Is that such a bad thing?”

“Yea, it is the worst of all things. My brother Rolf is in danger.

90s Kid: He lost his piano in the Atlantic.
Xion: Poor Rolf.

Every day might count in my completing his rescue.”

Maggie thought about all his impossible words. “Assuming I believe everything that you’ve said, Joe, it seems to me that there must be a good reason why you were sent to this land...and this time.”

Aqua: I’m not so sure about that.
Xion: If he’d had the star shard, now...
Aqua: It would be better than waiting for a whale, anyway.

She nearly choked on that last part. “If you’re going to accept that the Fates--or the gods...or even a killer whale--are determining your destiny, then you also have to accept that coming to Galveston was preordained.”

He followed her words with interest. “I have considered all these things, and I agree that it was no mistake that landed me on these shores. But sometimes man can influence his destiny. In fact, does not your Christian religion have a saying that God helps those who help themselves?”

Maggie had to laugh at Joe’s quick mind. She wished she knew who or what he really was. Aside from being a gorgeous specimen of manhood, he was intelligent and strong and a born leader. What did he do for a living? Was he a career military man? A construction worker?

90s Kid: Batman?
Xion: I think he’d rather be Thor.
90s Kid: How about Badrock?
Aqua: Who?
90s Kid: Yabba dabba DOOM, man! *because that totally answers her question*

An adventurer, or an extreme exercise fanatic...like the father of her two children, who had a perfectly good career as a resident physician but had to jump out of airplanes, as well? There should be a clue in all she knew of Joe, but the answer eluded her.

“Well, enough of this for today,” she said, standing and brushing the dirt off the rump of her jeans--a maneuver that Joe watched with decided masculine interest, despite his desolation over his predicament.

Xion: ....Boys. *facepalms again*
90s Kid: *pokerface*

“We have to get back to the orca show. It should be over soon.”

Aqua: Which is more than we can say about this story.
Xion: But I think this chapter will be finished, soon.
Aqua: Good.

As they were strolling in front of the bleachers toward the Rainbow group, which was watching the show avidly, Joe remarked, “I just wish that damned killer whale would get back here and rescue me, so I can rescue my brother.”

Just then Gonzo swam up and flicked his huge tail fins, causing a wave of water to cover Joe from head to toe. So much for communicating with killer whales! Or maybe Gonzo was communicating, after all, in response to Joe’s deprecating comment about whales. Sort of an orca version of “Screw you, Viking!”

90s Kid: So...they’re givin’ me the finger whenever I go to Seaworld?
Aqua: I... guess?
Xion: Maybe it depends on the person? Anyway, I think we can go now...
Aqua: We’ll have to be careful about it though.
Xion: Oh?
Aqua: Because of the slanting?
90s Kid: Pshaw, no worries dudette! It’ll be a piece of...hang on. *tries to sit up but apparently can’t* I think I’m stuck.
Xion: *sighs, stands carefully, offers him a hand* What’s a dudette, anyway?
90s Kid: *takes her hand, tries to pull himself up* It’s like a dude, but more...ette. Y’kno-whooooah! *overbalances and falls forward as he pops out of his seat*
Xion: *right, that explanation makes perfect sense...then her eyes widen as she realizes he’s overbalanced. She tries to get out of the way, but isn’t in time, and they wind up in a heap on the floor. Except for the kitten that had managed to jump from her shoulder onto the back of a nearby seat*
Aqua: *sighs* Are you alright?
90s Kid: Yup! Yup we’re good! Ow...*meanwhile his froggie friend hops away, not caring*
Xion: I’m fine. *starts to pull herself up. When she’s standing, she retrieves her kitten, who looks amused.*

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