Short Story: Regrouping

We regrouped at a distinctly grotty pub just across the road from the flats to take stock. Boris reluctantly got a round of drinks in while I grabbed a semi-private table in the corner furthest from the toilets. This wasn’t due to concerns about people hearing us as they went by, the toilets just smelled awful.

Dyson hovered nearby briefly. Once he saw Boris gainfully employed, he drew up a chair and sat with his back to the wall and an eye on the door. We didn’t say anything to each other until the drinks arrived. Some behaviours can survive anything, and few things are as strong as the near reverence of the approach of the first drink of a session.

The first sip of what turned out to be a piss-poor fizzy lager was still conducted in silence, and then i pushed my pint aside. Boris and Dyson were united for a moment in appreciation of their own drinks at least.

“Well, that didn’t go to plan, did it?” I said. Boris’ face flushed with what I took to be anger. Dyson was still looking confused, but then we were well outside his comfort zone here. In some ways that was good. The longer he was off balance, the longer it should take him to remember that technically I was under arrest and that therefore he should be doing something about it.

“What happened to her?” Boris said. “There’s burn marks but no body.” He prodded at the tabletop with each word, presumably for emphasis.

“My best guess?” I paused a moment to make eye contact with each of them. “Your little helper has a new home from home.”

“What?” asked Dyson. The drink seemed to have settled his nerves a bit – at least enough that he wasn’t scratching at the bloodstains on his clothing so much. “I don’t understand.”

“Boris and his girlfriend have been very naughty people, quite aside from anything criminal you may have been investigating, haven’t you?”

“We broke no law.” His accent thickened, but he did look abashed.”

“Well, that’s a matter of debate. It was an unusual weapon but the intent was pretty straightforward wasn’t it?” I was trying to rattle Boris; I was reasonably certain he’d never been the brains of the operation.

“We…” He began to answer before self preservation kicked in and he remembered who Dyers was. For his part the detective was watching us both over his pint. He seemed a lot more composed suddenly and I remembered my previous feeling that he was a lot smarter than he appeared. Judging books by their covers again, I thought.

“They’ve been using magic to eliminate rivals.” I said. Part of that was our party-crasher, who you’re still wearing bits of by the way.” I gestured to the rips and stains he was trying to conceal. Boris was looking slightly ill. “When you did that, the thing they called up got pulled back to where it started, but you weren’t expecting anything like that were you?”

“I wasn’t there, she called it herself this time as I was busy looking for you!” He sounded sulky.

“She was over-confident and didn’t wait, stepped out of the protection, so when your pet demon or whatever it is got hauled back on a spiritual bungee cord it slapped straight into her. That’s what happened!”

Dyson looked at me as if I’d grown a second head. Boris looked aghast. “Really?” He rasped.

“Well, it’s just a guess, but I’m pretty good at those, and from what I’ve seen so far you’ve both been sloppy enough to be as big a danger to yourselves as anyone else. How the hell, pardon the pun, you got this far without it blowing up is anyone’s guess.”

“We had a book.” He said quietly.

“And this is why I should have become a librarian,” I said, “it always comes down to a book.”

Games Roundup

I get bored very easily, and am always looking for some form of mental stimulation. Alongside the reading, TV, doodling, and writing, I also throw myself into games so I like to try and do a roundup every now and then on what is keeping my attention

At the moment, the bulk of my time is being spent is on the Skyrim remaster for the XBox One, and on Fallen London on any browser I care to use.

Skyrim has always been a favourite, but Lady M ran with it when we had it in the PlayStation, demolishing it while I worked on articles. Rather than retread her adventures with it so fresh out the corner of my eye, waiting for the relaunch has allowed me to take a different approach with a controller scheme I’m more familiar with. It’s therefore a comforting mass of epic entertainment that doesn’t require too much thought.
The writing of Fallen London has always attracted me, and with both Mre B and Lady G taking up the game recently it’s been fun to re-engage with it and in a more socially-based version of play. With its slow-burn play-style it fits well around everything else I’m doing.

Other games recently started but sort of in abeyance until I cycle back round to them include Titanfall 2 and Watchdogs 2; while I still have Dishonoured 2 in its packaging, and a download of Evolve that I got free as a Gold bonus the other day. Halo5 is still regularly uploaded, and it’s been a while since I played any of Overwatch or Doom, or Fallout 4, or Witcher 3, or Forza Horizons 3. You get the idea…

Oh, and I do also work and pretend to be sociable in there somewhere too.

TV Binging

We have a lot of TV shows we’re following – and so far we seem to be managing a sort of sane balance between catching shows, playing games, working, and very occasionally pretending to be sociable.

This week we’re working our way through Iron Fist. We like it. It’s an origin story about identity and choice, and has eschewed wirework wushu for its fight scenes.

Controversial, I know.

It has totally overtaken our interest in the rampant barminess of the CW Arrow/Flash/Legends/Supergirl stable. It fills a nice gap before the return of iZombie. 

I’ll think more on why I like it, but I think a big part is that more of it is well lit, breaking away from the noir streetlife of Daredevil and Luke Cage, and even the stylised colour schemes of Jessica Jones. There are scenes taking place in bright sunlight where people smile! I know, it sounds stupid to fix on that.

There’s some smart storytelling here. It’s not without flaws, but the same is true of all the Netflix Marvel shows, especially when it comes to pacing. Still, I’m enjoying it, and am rather bemused by all the hate I’ve seen in some quarters for it.