Stories, The Scion Suit

Lartmann and Hambert Are Dead

A/N: …I wanted a break from serious writing...

……


Hartmann paced around the empty room, occasionally flipping a coin and studying it, before continuing on his circuit. Lambert, on the other hand, sat still in the middle of the floor, staring up at the ceiling.

“Do you …” he began, then hesitated.

“Get sick of all these tails?” Hartmann suggested. “Can’t say I do.”

Lambert gave him a flat look. “I thought you were getting heads.”

“Not from you,” Hartmann muttered in reply.

“What I meant to say was that it seems like we’re stuck in a featureless void.”

“Looks more like a room to me.”

“Do you see any doors or windows?”

“No. But there are distinct planes and vertices.”

Lambert rolled his eyes. “Alright then, a featureless cube.”

“Clearly, the answer is that when we were told we were going to be integrated into a biomechanical alien species, we were lied to. Either this room is some sort of alien prison, or we’re dead,” Hartmann replied.

“Yes. That makes sense,” Lambert mused. “But why do you have that coin?”

“It was in my pocket.”

“And why does it only ever come up heads?”

“Alien space magic. Why else?” Hartmann answered.

“Do you ever think that you and I are ultimately interchangeable?”

“We’re the variables. You represent the noble side of humanity, while I’m the cavalier aspect. Lawful good versus chaotic neutral.”

“Whatever.”

“You wanted to talk about it,” Hartmann muttered.

“Sometimes we might as well be the same person,” Hambert said darkly.

“There could be some truth to that,” Lartmann replied. “Our identities are already intermixing.

“I liked who I was,” Harbert said sulkily.

“How do you think I feel? You are a comparatively boring person,” Lamtmann pouted.

“Damn alien technology,” Hartert grumbled.

“Tell me about it,” Lambmann agreed.

“Fading …” Hartmet gasped.

“No …” Lambeann sobbed.

And together, they merged into Lartbertmann – half man, half another man.

~Fin

Quotes, The Scion Suit

Quote

Carol had never felt anything towards anyone before, and had never had a reason to be uncomfortable with that fact, either. But something about Lambert was strangely familiar, as if they were simply falling back into a relationship that had begun long ago. Somehow, she was certain that she had been to his house before, and had sat in the living room watching a movie in much the same way, only this time they were finally indulging in their feelings for each other.

It was a very odd sensation.

The Scion Suit – Multiverse Edition
About Writing, The Scion Suit

MSG Hartmann

Wow do I need to come up for some air.

If I had written Alice and the Warden at this pace, it would have been done in half the time. XD

One of the things that I’m really loving about doing TSS as a branching story is that I can more fully explore MSG Hartmann’s character. Originally, I created him with every intention of him playing a much bigger part. Then I realized that, logically, he’d be neutralized pretty quick, assuming that my military had any sort of competency. Like, if you can’t apprehend a severely injured man on your own danged base, then you guys are pretty pathetic.

My military isn’t supposed to be the best — they’re losing and desperate, after all, — but that’s a level of stupid that I wasn’t willing to go to.

I basically had to give Hartmann a cursory nod, then medically discharge him. Thank you for your service, and all that jazz.

But what if Carol had made a choice that sent the story in a totally different direction?

What if Hartmann was placed front and center, while Lambert was relegated to the sidelines? Brain damage and all?

So that’s what I wrote.

And the part that has my heart beating excitedly is that I managed to work in a survival in the woods scene. Finally, my past life has a purpose! Har de har.

Truth be told, sometimes I kick myself for how I let myself get wrangled into writing a story about the military. I’ve been researching and all that, but I don’t have the IRL experience to feel confident about what I’m writing.

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit Character Notes

Carol

  • Age: 31
  • Rank: special officer
  • Time served: *2 years cleaning the Suit*
  • Appearance: 5’4″, brown hair – just above shoulders, wears neutral t-shirts and tank tops
  • Personality: “Obedient and unambitious”, but has a petty vindictive side. Struggles with anxiety. Starts off bland, because [SPOILER].
  • Drink of choice: Moscato (sparkling white wine)
  • Other notes: Lambert mockingly calls her “commander”. The Suit recognizes her as the primary user.

Lambert

  • Age: 40
  • Rank: Captain
  • Time served: 6 years
  • Appearance: 6’0″, bulky, dark brown hair, wears dark colors when not in uniform.
  • Personality: Irritable. Has no life outside of the military. Secretive about himself.
  • Drink of choice: Whisky
  • Other notes: Was a psychiatrist before joining the military.

Hartmann

  • Age: 35
  • Rank: Master Sergeant
  • Time served: 18 years
  • Appearance: 5’11”, angular, sandy blonde hair
  • Personality: Joined the military for the action, loves being recognized for his accomplishments.
  • Drink of choice: hard liquor for getting drunk/showing off
  • Other notes: Brain damaged by the Suit

Holmes

  • Age: 21
  • Rank: Corporal
  • Time served: 3 years
  • Appearance: 5’10”, lanky
  • Personality: Young, likes to tease, but takes his job seriously and follows his orders very well.
  • Drink of choice: Anything lawl
  • Other notes: Has a girlfriend, planning on getting married after his service is up.

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit VN edition

I’ve been converting The Scion Suit into a script for an interactive fiction game, and I’m amazed at how well it’s translating over into second-person narration. It’s almost like I wrote the story for this purpose without realizing it…

I don’t remember laying it on so thick with the Carol/Lambert pairing, but apparently I did. Lambert’s seriously got the hots for Carol, but she’s too obsessed with the Suit to realize it, lol.

I wasn’t actually planning on starting this project right away, since I know full well that I’m committing myself to months and months of work here, but my husband can be so persuasive. He immediately jumped on getting me set up with Twine and Vim, supplied me with documentation, and appealed to my teenager years when I played with HTML for fun.

Tangent: Bit funny, really, but the only reason why I didn’t go down the web designer path is because one person flaked out and left me feeling stranded. I would have eventually quit to raise babies and write anyway, but it could have possibly spared me from developing a great deal of cynicism.

Let’s not kid ourselves: we’re here for the deep undercurrents of cynicism and alienation.

Back to our regular schedule …

It’s fun to type up things like:
<<Lambert “I yell at you so much because I secretly want to bed you, but I know I shouldn’t.”>>
”How do you reply:”
[[I love you too! -> Ooo_la_la]]
[[Who are you again? -> OUCH]]

Look at me! I’m programing! I AM SO SMART! LAWL.

Anyway

While I’m playing it safe and basic on the technical side of things, I’m feeling ambitious in terms of branching “what ifs” for the story. The whole point is to provide tons and tons of avenues to explore.

Including this:

Unfortunately, this isn’t the sort of thing that I can really share as I work on it, so you’re going to have to wait until I’m ready to publish the game. I know, I’m disappointed too.

The Scion Suit

The Scions – 1

Don’t get excited.

Seriously.

I wrote this section because of insomnia, but for the time being I have no intention of continuing the story for at least several months.

Like I said, I wrote this because I couldn’t sleep, so it definitely could use plenty of refinement. But for the moment, I’m busy with preparing for Christmas/managing kids that are growing exponentially excited every single day, so I don’t really have the brain power at the moment.

Without further ado,


The Scions

Lambert had opened the curtains of the cabin to let in the morning sun, only to discover that a Suit was casting its shadow across his window. He gave himself a moment to let the sight sink into his mind, knowing that it meant Carol had come through for him, and that the Aurigans had accepted his proposal of joining them. Although there had been no other communication, this new Suit was obviously meant for him to climb aboard and pilot back to meet them, wherever they were hidden. His retrieval was nowhere near as grand as Carol’s had been, but it was still happening.

He realized that he was laughing. When he had first seen that mouse of a woman, flustered and nervous as she sat alone in that tiny interrogation room, he hadn’t the slightest inkling that she would one day take him to the stars – literally. The best that he had hoped for out of the acquaintanceship was a promotion in the military.

Instead, Carol had cost him his position as captain. Her following absence had made her encroach increasingly into his thoughts, until he had found himself drunk and alone in his hunting lodge, and she had unexpectedly flashed back into his life. The Suit outside was proof that they would be reunited again, and much sooner than he had hoped for.

Lambert thought about whether or not he should put any lingering affairs in order, or if he should simply disappear without a trace. He had no family, and had ranked everyone he had known as either ‘subordinate’ or ‘superior’ rather than by any metric of friendship. The material items in his life would not miss him.

He walked silently to the bathroom, where he showered to rinse away the sluggishness of a hangover, then very carefully shaved the stubble that had grown over the past few days of apathy and booze. Finally he dressed smartly in civilian clothes, choosing a well-pressed navy button-up shirt and slacks. After giving himself a thorough examination in the mirror, he went outside and hesitated as he breathed in the fresh morning air, marveling at how real and vivid nature around him felt now that he was leaving it forever.

Then he climbed into the Suit.

The interior whirred to life after the door closed, and a computer voice chimed, “User detected: Welcome Guest. Run autopilot program ‘Return home?

“Yes,” Lambert answered, his throat tight. He hated the way the Suit squeezed when it adjusted itself to the user, and had passed over his chance to pilot the original to avoid the repeated sensation of claustrophobia. In retrospect, after it became apparent that unintended side-effects had damaged MSG Hartmann’s brain, it had been a fortuitous decision for him personally. He wondered how the Aurigans would deal with that complication once he joined them – he wasn’t going to spend a second longer than necessary inside the Suit until he knew the answer.

There was a jerk as the jets kicked on and the Suit flew upwards, higher and higher than Lambert had ever imagined himself traveling before. It was surreal to watch the curve of the Earth grow wider and deeper, until it took his breath away to realize that he was now viewing a complete circle. And still, the Suit traveled onward.

As the Earth grew smaller behind him, the moon grew larger before him, and he unconsciously noted the rocks and hills of the surface before the Suit zipped him out of the light and into darkness. There, on the far side of the moon, the Aurigan ship was waiting.

Lambert half expected to discover a hodgepodge gathering of alien ships lurking unseen in the shadow of the moon, all of them secretly observing the nearby Earthlings as they swapped stories and goods with each other. In contrast to his imagination, the single ship was a lonesome sight. However, although the angle was different, he recognized it as the one that had hovered above base, the one that Carol had been sent to investigate then never returned from. He would later learn that it was a simple research vessel, a common and unassuming ship for the Aurigans, but it was impressively larger than any aircraft that existed on Earth.

As his Suit approached the ship, doors opened and he entered into what looked like a cargo bay. When his feet touched the floor, the Suit relinquished control back to him, and left him free to move about on his own. As he flexed, trying to feel natural inside a giant mechanical body, it struck him that his muscles were stiff and sore. A quick check of the Suit’s chronometer revealed the journey had taken close to five Earth hours, and a strange jolt jumped through him. He hadn’t been remotely aware of that much time passing, and wondered how on it had been possible. Had the Suit messed with his brain?

A door on the far end of the room opened, and two more Suits entered, slowly coming toward him. In many ways they were visually identical, and if they had been standing still he would have never been able to guess at who could have been piloting them. But one of them moved with a body language that Lambert would recognize and know on his death bed.

Carol had come to greet him.

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit – Behind the scenes

I know, everyone is all like, “Oh my god, she’s beating a dead horse! The story wasn’t that good.”

But ha ha! I intend on turning this horse into GLUE! The only escape is to stop reading my blog, bwahahahahahahaha!

Actually, I’ve had a really crazy week, and now I’m coming down sick/loopy from the stress. Hoo-rah!

ANYwho, some of my personal notes on The Scion Suit:

20190926_121210397160519410447894.jpg

20190926_1216053380433230943461363.jpg

I changed a few things for the final version, but you can probably see how things evolved.

Not pictured: Research into military rankings and culture. This was the hardest part for me; I didn’t want to be blatantly wrong, but the only personal experience I have is a handful of conversations with a couple of ex-military guys. I’m not actually sure if Lambert would have had his own office as a captain.

Also not pictured: Lots of brainstorming with my husband. He’s my number one source of inspiration, meaning he comes up with the ideas and I steal them. Just kidding. He knows how to get my juices going. Lol.

Why did I choose that particular prompt?

My method is to sort by ‘new’ then keep scrolling until I find something that stands out to me, and ignore popularity altogether, because I’m an arteest and not an attention whore. I picked that prompt because it reminded me of a reoccurring dream that I’ve had several times over the past few years, and I very nearly wrote the dream as my response. However, I very quickly decided that the dream deserved the time and attention that I put into my novels, and opted to come up with an entirely new story instead. The dream was still a major influence.

Then the prompt got popular. Whoopsie.

So there you go.

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit – Side Quest

Author’s Note: Someone said that this story needed side quests, so here you go. #NoOneWillUnderstandMySenseOfHumor

I am currently trying to write a novel while maintaining a real life, so this will be it for awhile.

Takes place between parts 6 and 7

Alternately titled: In Which Carol and Lambert Wash Laundry, Eat Dinner, and Do Not Have Sex.

Scion Suit

Carol returned to her room to discover that she didn’t have any more clean clothes. She had been training with Lambert, and had stripped out of her sweaty t-shirt as soon as the door had closed behind her. It was then, standing half-naked in front of her closet, that she realized she had nothing else to wear.

The smell of her shirt, now that it had been removed from her body, was too unappealing to put back on. She turned to the boxes that she had never gotten around to unpacking, and dug around until she found something that she could wear. A few months ago, perhaps out of some unconscious impulse to prove that she wasn’t actually a boring and lonely sort of person, she had purchased a red satin pushup bra that she had promptly become embarrassed of and never wore. A little more digging produced an old white tank top.

Carol dressed, stuffed her dirty laundry in a big bag, then banged on her door. “Holmes!” she yelled. “Let me out! I need to talk to the captain!”

There was a click as the door unlocked, and Holmes stepped back as she barged through, his nose wrinkling up as the bag passed by him. “Whew-ee! Are you planning on pranking him with a dead cat? Where’d you get it from? Mind if I watch?”

She gave him her best ‘I wish you death’ stare. “No. I just want to talk to him.”

Carol trotted down the hallway, and managed to remember every single turn to get to Lambert’s office without getting lost. She let herself in without knocking, and found Lambert studying over his little notebook at his desk.

He glanced at her, flipped another page, then looked up again, this time openly staring. “Commander!” he barked. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Captain, I need to wash my laundry,” she replied, uncertain over why he seemed especially irritated to see her.

“You don’t need to bother me about that! That’s what Holmes is for.” Lambert kept staring. He attempted once to return his focus to his notebook, but his eyes wouldn’t stray from Carol. It was making her uncomfortable.

“Well, you see, sir…” She shifted uneasily. “Holmes is… normal.”

“What has that got to do with anything?” Lambert was on his feet now. Still staring.

“I’m scared to wash my clothes under the watchful gaze of someone who… I don’t know.” Carol looked down, losing her train of thought as her face grew hot with shame. “I feel safer around you,” she muttered, more to herself. Clearly she had made a mistake in coming there, and even she didn’t know why she had thought that only Lambert could help her.

“Commander,” he growled, skirting around his desk to come towards her. “You don’t have any clean clothes at all?”

“No, sir,” Carol answered. She couldn’t look at him, even when he towered over her and glared down.

“And that’s all?”

His question surprised her. She couldn’t guess what he was thinking, or why he was acting so weird. Maybe she had caught him at a particularly bad time. “That’s all, sir.”

Lambert’s jaw tightened, and he looked down at her for a moment longer. Then, as if tearing himself away, he stepped over to a cabinet and pulled a navy t-shirt out of one of the drawers. “Put this on, commander,” he said gruffly. “You look like you’re working a street corner.”

“What?!” Carol looked down at herself, and blushed heavily at the realization that her bra could be seen clearly through the clingy old fabric of her tank top. She suspected that from Lambert’s perspective above her, he had gotten an eyeful of cleavage as well.

She snatched the t-shirt away from him and quickly pulled it on. It was obviously one of his spares, and she was dwarfed in it. He kept staring at her anyway.

“Give me an hour to complete my paperwork,” he said. “Then we’ll go to my house.”

“I thought there was a laundromat on base, or something,” Carol sat down in one of the chairs, feeling tiny in Lambert’s shirt. At least she didn’t look like a hooker anymore, she thought.

“My clothes need washing as well,” Lambert murmured, moving back to his desk. “And I hate those cheap-ass machines. We’re going to my house.”

“I’m not so sure I want to go to your house,” Carol protested; especially after the way he had looked at her.

“Then get Holmes to take you to the laundromat.” Lambert waved his hand. “Now shut up so I can think.”

“Sorry, sir.”

Lambert kept glancing up at her, then back down, then up again. Finally, after ten minutes, he practically bellowed, “For fuck’s sake Carol, cut it out!”

“I’m not doing anything!” she exclaimed. She had been very careful to sit still and not fidget or make any noise, so she didn’t know what he had yelled at her for. Lambert was behaving very strangely.

He shoved papers into a folder and slammed it shut, then stood. “We’re going. Now!” He had switched into full-blown captain mode, and Carol jumped in response.

“Yes sir!” she yipped.

She had a hard time keeping up with the fast pace he set as they moved out to the parking lot to Lambert’s car. She barely had enough time to toss her bag of laundry into the backseat before climbing into the passenger side, pulling the door closed as Lambert began driving. She didn’t understand what had gotten him into such a foul mood – more so than usual, anyway.

They didn’t speak at all as they left the base. Carol stared out at the scenery as buildings gave way to trees, and she wondered how far out of town Lambert lived. She had a hard time imagining him doing anything that wasn’t centered around the military, so it was an odd glimpse into his private life to realize that his house was so far out of the way. Forty-five minutes passed before they pulled into a driveway.

Lambert’s house was old but well-kept, and surprisingly large for a bachelor who never had the time to go home. He must have paid someone to maintain the lawn and garden. Inside was organized but dusty, and held pieces of a life that he would have liked but never got around too – like Carol with her red bra. There was an expensive entertainment system and comfy chairs in the living room, and a gorgeous kitchen with an ornate shelf dedicated to fancy cookbooks. None of it looked used.

That was why Carol felt drawn to Lambert, and why she trusted him over Holmes even though he continually berated her. They were both hopelessly one-dimensional.

He pointed his thumb towards the laundry room, then went out to his car to retrieve his own dirty clothes from the trunk. His machine was a front-loader, and the only thing in the house that bore any signs of use. It had more buttons on it than Carol was familiar with.

All of her clothes were neutral tones, so she didn’t feel bad about shoving them in one load, but she couldn’t figure out what to do from there. The detergent wasn’t kept anywhere obvious, and she wasn’t technologically savvy enough to figure out how to configure the machine to simply wash without anything fancy. Carol felt herself slipping into a sense of paralyzation as she became overwhelmed.

Wordlessly, Lambert came up behind her and popped a pod into the machine, then pushed a button to turn it on. He was staring at her again, and she was growing tired of his gaze.

“Thank you, sir,” she mumbled, crossing her arms and hunching in an effort to shrink away.

“How old are you, commander?” he asked.

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” Carol snipped back. She could tell that he wasn’t going to say something flattering, and she didn’t want to give him any ammunition to use against her.

“You’ve obviously been an adult for long enough, so why on Earth does a laundry machine make you freeze up? How did someone like you survive alone?”

“I did just fine!” Carol was annoyed, especially because she couldn’t remember the answer herself. After using the Suit and losing all her personal freedom, she was forgetting what it was like to walk around alone, and she was becoming increasingly anxious outside of her giant mechanical body. It was unfair that Lambert judged her whole life based on the recent changes that she had undergone, and she hated him for it. His eyes narrowed, growing increasingly intense. Carol double checked herself, and couldn’t find anything provocative in the baggy t-shirt she was borrowing. Maybe he was high; it was a well known fact that soldiers used all manner of substances to cope with their jobs, and maybe she had caught him after he had taken a hit of something good.

“Wash my stuff too, and help yourself to the TV or whatever.” Lambert dismissed her, and retreated to the kitchen. A minute later she could hear beeps from the microwave, and imagined that he was preparing a frozen dinner for himself. Her stomach rumbled at the thought of food, and she wished that she could have something too, but she didn’t imagine that Lambert was the sort who would share a meal with a subordinate. The long drive back made her heart drop.

Thirty minutes later, she reluctantly went after him to ask for help with turning on the dryer, and found him cooking in the kitchen.

“Sit down, commander, it’s almost ready,” he said, motioning to the kitchen table that had been set for two. “Don’t get excited, all the ingredients were either frozen or canned.”

“What is it?” Carol asked, picking a chair. The situation was surreal.

“Spaghetti. No comments, just eat it.” He brought a pot over and scooped out a big heap of noodles and sauce mixed with ground beef, then did the same for himself. The spaghetti tasted heavily of basil and peppercorn, but was otherwise better than the food they served in the canteen.

They ate in an awkward silence.

When they were through, Lambert helped with the laundry then turned on an old movie, settling down as they waited. Carol sat in the other chair and only half looked at the screen, feeling very aware of him lounging so he could watch her at the same time. The machines couldn’t work fast enough for her liking.

Finally, once everything was washed, dried, and folded, they made the long drive back to base, and Lambert escorted her to her room. Before she closed the door behind her, Carol asked, “Would you like your shirt back?”

“Keep it,” he growled, then stormed away.

Carol was never going to figure him out.

Next

The Scion Suit

The Scion Suit – Outtakes

Scion Suit

“CAROL” the space alien announced. “YOU ARE ONE OF US!”

“Oh my god!” Carol gasped. “I never saw this coming!”

“YOU WILL RETURN HOME WITH US, AND LIVE IN HARMONY IN THE SUIT FOREVER. IT IS YOUR TRUE BODY.”

“I knew it!” Carol declared happily.

“YOU WERE SENT TO EARTH AND IMPLANTED IN A LITTLE GIRL. THE REAL YOU IS A CHIP THAT MELDED WITH YOUR HOST BODY. PEACE AND HARMONY FOOOOREEEEVEEERRRRRRR!!!!”

So, the spaceship returned home, and Carol was finally true to herself. The end.