A Stunning Return To Form
July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
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I am tired and all I want to do is watch Avatar The Last Airbender and play Mechwarrior Online.
But instead, I wrote something that I think you’ll enjoy instead!
Remember, I’m back to my original plan: when I finish a little project, you go ahead and comment on it. If you do so, you’ll be entered into a draw to decide my next project. I get more practice, and you get a little story/essay/thing that’s all your own. Easy-peezy!
This week it’s a one-shot. I really couldn’t decide on a game that had an ending I didn’t like (that wasn’t Mass Effect 3, which Dave vetoed), so I went with something else: I modified an ending to a game I did like! Bastion, in this case. One of the challenges was that endings don’t start at the end. So if I wanted to change the ending, I would have had to change half the game. I…wasn’t able to do that this week, but Bastion gave me the chance to slip something cool in. I’ll say I don’t think the ending would have been better if this scene was in it, but I still think it’s cool.
Remember! Comment on this (or anything else I’ve written ever), and you might be the one to decide my next story!
Kind of a funny idea, really, when you think about it. We’d been scrabbling hard just to stay alive that the idea we had choices to make never applied to us. Thank the gods the Kid didn’t think much, though. He always had a goal to move towards, and that kept him going when he needed it. “Rebuild the Bastion”, “Power up the Bastion”, “Rescue Zia”. He didn’t even make these choices. He knew they were things that had to be done and did them.
But he really didn’t have a choice, did he? Less he wanted to live in the world the Calamity made, forever, and I don’t think that he wanted to do that.
I know I didn’t.
But here’s the funny thing about choice: you have to make one. We were lucky, luckier than we deserved, even to have to think about making a choice like that. The expression on the Kid’s face when I told him we could use the Bastion to rewind time, to undo the Calamity. To go back to what was before…well, before. It looked like I had told him that rain was actually booze and we had a flood headed our way.
Going back in time though? That ain’t a decision anyone gets to make. Sure, we all wish we could go back and “fix” the “mistakes” we made. Problem is that most of ’em aren’t mistakes and we just don’t realize it until later. So if we go back before the Calamity, who knows what we’ve stopped? What we might miss out on?
And I see it in the Kid’s eyes when we sit around the fire, swapping Mender Mead and thinking about tomorrow. I see it when he looks at Zia, hell, I see it when he looks at Zulf, that sad bastard. A girl and a friend, something he’d never thought he’d get back on the Rippling Walls, much less the Wild. Hard for someone as lonely as the Kid to go back to having nothing. He doesn’t want to leave them. I know this. But he’s gotta.
Because I saw it in his eyes when he first came to the Bastion, shivering like a Squirt in a storm. He’d seen ’em. All the bodies, or what was left of ’em after the Calamity. Just pieces, really. But that piece used to be a friend, or at least a fella good for a song or two at the Sole Regret. He’s been given the chance to give those people back their lives. Hell, and why not? They didn’t cause the Calamity, and as far as any of us know, the only reason the Kid didn’t join them folks is sheer luck. Why not give them a second chance, just like he got? It would only be fair, wouldn’t it?
So what’s he gonna do?
I asked myself that question too many times because I kept getting the answer I didn’t want. I want the Kid to take what the Calamity gave him and get out of here. Leave Caelondia and everything it was behind. There ain’t nothing for him here but ghosts.
But ghosts don’t die easy. I know it, and he knows it. I hear it in his screams when he thinks we’re asleep. Names. Always names. I don’t know who they are, don’t care much. Except that you can hear the Kid’s heart break every night, especially when he finds a new one. A new statue. A new name to scream.
I know he won’t leave easily, but I’m scared he can’t. I’m scared that as much as he’s got a heart for Zia and a friend in Zulf, I’m scared that he’s a better man than I am and he’ll want to give those people their lives back. Give ’em a second chance, like he got. And I can’t blame him for that. Life…might not have been any better back there, but who knows? Maybe we’ll get smart and we won’t blow ourselves into the sky. Again.
There’s hope. That’s what I tell myself. No matter what, there’s hope, and I’m too biased. I’ll let the Kid choose.
But that choice he’s going to make? That ain’t a choice for men. Or Kids. I don’t believe in them, but in a way, I pity the gods. This is the sort of choice that they would have to face, not us. You can’t be human and make a choice like this. We’re not built for it.
Or at least I’m not.
See, I know all about the little “thing” Venn thought up. All about it. It didn’t misfire when it caused the Calamity. It worked exactly as planned. Not as expected, true, but just as planned. They didn’t plan for what happened, and I’m not entirely sure what did happen, but so long as the Mancers think blowing the Ura to Heaven and back is a good idea, we’ll keep wrecking the world. I know it for a fact. And we’ll be back here, one day, and I’ll be writing this letter again while the Kid’s screaming out a name and Zia’s trying to calm him down.
That’s what the Kid doesn’t see for the ghosts. That’s what they hide from him, every night when he’s lying there, screaming. In truth, he doesn’t have a choice. It’s only an illusion. He can take what he’s got, or he can go back and do the same damn thing over again.
And this time, maybe the Kid won’t survive.
Tomorrow, the Kid’s gonna pick. He’s gonna make a choice, and I’m going to be right there beside him. If he chooses to blow the joint and live in this world, I’ll pull the switch right then and there and I’ll be happy for him.
But if he wants to go back?
I’m real sorry Kid, real sorry that it’ll have to end this way. But it has to. We can’t go back. I know I don’t look like much of a fighter, and I’m not, but if I’m the only thing standing between you making the biggest mistake of your life, then I’ll gladly do it. I didn’t want to fight you, and I didn’t think I would have to, but we can’t go back, and this is the only way I see to stop you. I can’t sabotage the Bastion, and I’m not strong enough to flip the switch and fly out of here. If you want to go back, it’s going to be me or you. Which, we both know, means you.
Don’t feel bad if you do it though, because if you kill me, I won’t be around long enough to haunt you.
Choice, huh? It might have sounded like I was saying I didn’t have any, like it was all on you, Kid. Nah. I got a choice too, and I just made it.
See you again, I hope.
– Found in Ruck’s Journal, in an envelope marked “For The Kid If He Kills Me”