Cameo 2

IN GAME: 9-22-3200
REALITY: 9-22-2016

A behemoth of a man wakes up. Muscles ripple underneath his heavily scarred skin. Blue and black tattoos meander across his back and arms. He coughs, hacks up a glob of phlegm, and spits it into a crumpled water bottle nearby. Groaning, he pushes himself to a sitting position. He rubs his crusty eyes and tries to will away the dull, throbbing pain behind his eyes. He grabs a steel flask on the bedside table and takes a swig before pulling himself to his feet and wading through the piles of beer bottles, empty chip bags, heroin needles, and a vast assortment of other implements for general debauchery. The two women on the bed stir softly as he gets up. The digital clock on the bedside table says 15:33.

An hour later, the man is extremely late for a 4 o’clock appointment with his agent. He’s wearing khaki shorts, a Hawaiian t-shirt, dark sunglasses, and a pained grimace. His agent is wearing a suit.

“Good God Benjamin, where have you been!? I’ve been waiting half an hour for you. Do you know how close to the edge your career is? I’ve got 12 lawyers chowing down on my ass, I’ve got the director for that stupid TV show says you were a no-show for the session last night, I’ve got a this reporter that wants to interview you tonight and I’ve left a dozen phone calls on your phone, what, something something ramble blather,” his agent went on. Maximum Fatality stops listening to him after a while and stares into space while sipping his drink. It’ll pass soon enough. This life, day by day, is like water running through his fingers, like all these years on Beta Draconis were but a particularly surreal dream. Like that one painter, yeah, Salvadore Dali. Maximum Fatality knows a lot about painters. It’s not something very many people know about him.

His thoughts wander further out, and briefly, he’s back on that spaceship on that fateful day…

“Are you even listening to me!? Hey! Hey! Benjamin!” His agent is snapping his fingers in Maximum Fatality’s face. Briefly, the ex-Murderball champion considers grabbing his agent’s hand and breaking every bone in an iron grip, but instead he sighs and takes off his sunglasses, rubbing bloodshot eyes and fixing his weary gaze on the man across the table.

Later that night, he stumbles his way through an interview while moderately buzzed. He probably makes an embarrassment of himself but he gets fucked up that night with his friends, like last night, and like the night before that, and like every night; he doesn’t even remember any more. But just before dawn, when everyone is asleep again, he wakes up. Most of the drugs have already made their way through his system. He disentangles himself from the usual pile of limbs, and, naked, he makes his way to the roof of his penthouse. The stars are fading and the second moon is setting. On one end of the horizon, the rich blue-black darkness is bleached to light azure shades. In a few minutes, the flat grey cirrus whisps bleed scarlet red.

Maximum Fatality looks at the other end of the sky to the last few fading stars. He remembers then, remembers the desperate flight of the escape pod and his smoldering anger against Admiral Guinevere. He clutches a bracelet with string old and frayed, from which hangs five wooden charms: one of an oak leaf, one of an elm leaf, one of a maple leaf, one of a hickory leaf, and one of a sword.

This world is like water to him. It means so little. He belongs to the stars, and when the time is right, he will go back.

He was a bandit, once.

He was a Prince.

He looks at the last few fading stars. Soon, he will return.


Cameo 2

The Sword and the Star Arcosion