Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 58 - Decision Points

(Music time!)

Even before she opened her eyes, she recognized the familiar feel of her dream library.  That was good, as she had a lot to talk to her familiar about.  She pushed her head off of the downstairs table as she opened her eyes, her expression of relief changing to confusion as she looked around the room.  This wasn't right at all.
The room, lit by several candles, was hardly bigger than her bedroom back home, a far cry from the vast, dark library that she'd first dreamed as a child.  And yet, it felt like her library.
A panicked feeling knotted in her stomach.  The last time she'd dreamed it, it had been all wrong.  Had her injury broken it somehow?
A familiar voice came from behind her.  "Epsilon.  Don't be afraid."
Despite the familiarity, she was still startled as she turned, relaxing only once she fully recognized the speaker.
"Shadow.  You scared me.  What is this place?  What happened to my library?"
"Nothing.  It just changed, you know it can do that."  He stepped from the shadowy corner, moving towards her.
"Yes, but those were little things, like a carpet or a table.  This isn't even the same place, just look at it!"
"It is the same place.  Major changes like this are rare, but they can happen, usually as a result of trauma."
She nodded.  That night had certainly been traumatic enough.  "That makes sense.  It's just strange, being someplace that's so familiar, and yet so strange.  Oh, I almost forgot.  Thank you for taking care of Omicron, when I wasn't there."
Gregory inclined his head to her.  "I couldn't very well leave him there.  He never would have thought of the catacombs on his own.  I'm just glad I was right, that the spirits there would take care of him.  You might want to have a word with him about forgetting me down there, though."
Epsilon's jaw dropped, then she nervously giggled, quickly stifling the sound.  "He never mentioned that!  That's so like him, though.  I'm sorry."
"Don't be.  I got back safely on my own.  Now, what's troubling you?  You never dream unless you're troubled about something."
She opened her mouth to protest, then shut it, realizing what he said was true.  And something was troubling her.  "If I could help people who were in trouble, with the attacks and everything, do I have to do it?  Even if it means abandoning the dreams I've had since I was a kid?"
Gregory stroked his beard.  "Well, you don't have to do anything, assuming of course nobody's holding a knife to your throat."
Epsilon sighed.  "You know what I meant.  Do I have to, ethically?  I don't want to, I really don't, but then I think about it and that just feels selfish.  What if I could make a difference?  If somebody dies because I didn't help, is that blood on my hands?"
"It sounds to me like you already know the answer to that."
As usual, he was right.  She knew she could help.  What the businessman had said, that she had a "brilliant mind," was true.  She could comprehend the research, and move it forward.  And it would be wrong not to, in a way, but didn't her own desires matter at all?  Wasn't there an entire school of philosophy that said that sacrificing one for the good of many was morally wrong?  She didn't know, philosophy had never been her thing.  All she knew was that it felt selfish.
"Think on it," Gregory said, interrupting her thoughts.  "I can't help you with this.  You have to decide on your own what you want to do.  Whatever you decide, I'll support you."
"I know."  She smiled weakly.  "Thanks."
He smiled back, waving her compliment away with a hand, then glanced to the right.  "That's a curious painting.  Do you know that woman?"
Epsilon looked over.  "No I've never-" she stopped, frowning.  That wasn't true, the woman in the painting was incredibly familiar.  But why?  Epsilon was sure that she'd never seen her before.  "Wait."  She stepped over for a closer look.
"I don't know," she said finally.  "I don't know who she is, and I don't think I've ever seen her before, but I feel like I know her.  I don't understand it."
"Her portrait appeared in your dream realm, that doesn't happen by chance.  Or, I should say, I've never heard of it happening by chance.  I suppose there is a first time for everything."
"It's unlikely.  I just wish I could remember."
The room fell silent as they regarded the solitary portrait.  Who was the woman, and why had it appeared now?

When Epsilon knocked on the door to Alpha's house, she found it to be ajar.  Worried, she pushed it open, and was greeted by the sight of one of her nieces waving up to her from the living room floor.  She stepped over and picked up the toddler.  "Hey, Marsha.  What's going on?  Where's your mommy?"  Of course, she didn't know how to talk yet, so she couldn't answer that question.  Epsilon tickled her, prompting the little girl to giggle happily.
"I'm up here!"  Alpha's voice came from upstairs, and Epsilon watched as she came down.
"The door was ajar," she said, pointing to it.  "Probably a bad idea, with toddlers and all."
"Oh, my god."  Alpha frowned.  "I swear I'm going to kill Allen.  He keeps doing that!  I'll break up with him if he doesn't get it together, and learn to shut the door when he leaves."
Epsilon put Marsha down on the floor, then greeted her half-sister with a hug.
"I was so worried when I heard about what happened to you," Alpha said, releasing Epsilon.  "But Omicron let me know as soon as you called from the hospital.  I'm glad you were okay."
"Me too," Epsilon said.  "But it's everybody else that I'm worried about."
"What do you mean?"
"Let's say, hypothetically, that I had a job offer.  Something that could save lives.  Am I selfish for declining that offer, and pursuing my own goals instead?"
Alpha thought about it for a long moment.  "What kind of offer?"
"The technology that saved my life.  I have a chance to work with it, and develop it.  The girl whose project it was died that night, but there's at least one company that's willing to fund the research, and I've been offered a position on the team.  But it would mean abandoning medical school, everything I've been working towards since high school started."
"And yet," Alpha prompted, looking into her sister's eyes.
"...and yet," Epsilon finished for her, "it could save lives.  So I don't know what to do."
"You said selfish.  Are you worried about turning into Dad?"
Epsilon nodded.  "A little.  I know I'm not like him, not inside, but that was always his thing.  He put himself over everybody else, even his children.  Hell, he pretty much left you to raise Omicron and me, sacrificing your own future."
"My future wasn't sacrificed," Alpha said, gesturing around the room.  "I've got it here.  I don't regret anything, and don't think that you owe me one just because I helped to raise you.  Everything has worked out in my life, even Niki and Marsha.  I didn't necessarily want to be a mom so fast, especially a single mom after Mason died, but it got me out of the military, with the best timing possible.  They've been calling in the reserves, I don't know if you heard.  But since I have the twins, I don't have to report."
Epsilon nodded.  "That's a bit of luck, then."
"I know.  I don't really know what to say for your situation, other than don't be Dad.  If you feel that you have to do this in order to not follow in his footsteps, then maybe you should.  You know your own feelings better than I do.  Do whatever feels right."

Back home, Epsilon stood in the empty kitchen, staring at her phone.  To call, or not to call?  Shadow and Epsilon were both right - she knew what she should do.  She just had to work up the nerve to do it.  Before she had a chance to second-guess herself, she punched in the number, holding the phone to her ear.
"Hi, this is Epsilon Woods, calling for Mr. Olivers.  Oh, sorry, should I call back later?  Alright, a message is fine.  Tell him I'll do it."

~ * ~

So, about the library.  I accidentally deleted the save that had the library set in it, and didn't want to reconstruct it because it wouldn't look right.  So I just started over.  Gregory had to be remade as well - I thought I'd had him saved in the CAS library, but that was actually Shadow the cat, not Shadow the wizard.  So I did the best I could, please just ignore minor inconsistencies.  And yes, the change is plot-relevant, because I WILL make the best of my mistakes damn it!

New library, new song.  A little more heavy mystery and a little less childish wonder suits grown-up Epsilon and the new library.  Check out that guy's youtube channel if you like the new song, I've enjoyed writing to a couple of his compositions since I discovered it.  Song titles are a bit over the top(I think english isn't his first language), but the music's beautiful.

Alpha's kids are adorable, even if she has a bit of a problem with getting knocked up and then staging shotgun weddings(she has another kid on the way in my game).  I hope Epsilon's smarter than that.  This being a legacy, though, birth control is naturally less than effective. ;)

I would just like to say that I have four different plot lines working their way out this generation(yes, four - I worked it out during a particularly simplistic example that the professor spent way too long on during my mathematical modeling class today).  Two are sort of the same plot, but as seen by two different groups of people, therefore requiring two plots worth of screen time.  Expect this generation to be long and complicated, but I figure you guys are overdue for some answers, and I can't just keep spawning antagonists.  At some point, I have to take at least a few of them down.  I'm not sure yet if this generation will be that point, but it's at least setting the groundwork for the eventual victory.


  1. Alpha gives good advice; she's asking this question of others, but you get the sense that she's asking for confirmation, or a nudge in the right direction.

    Way to go for taking the punches and rolling with 'em. Still sucks about losing the library, but the story moves on.

    Will she figure out who the woman in the portrait is soon?

    1. Yes, I think you're right. She knew inside herself what she should do, she just didn't like it.

      Yes, it does. Not in the exact way I'd imagined it going before, but hey, this new twist has potential!

      I don't know about soon. Eventually? Yes. This generation? Probably. Soon? Not likely. :p

  2. She's doing it! Woo! Can't wait to see how that works!

    We're getting answers this gen? WOOO!!! :D You know I'll be happy with that, and don't worry about long generations, mines shaping up to be humongous... And four plot lines? FOUR?!

    Love how you wrote in the library change, can't wait to see what that and the mysterious portrait is all about!

    As Misty said above, Epsilon knew what she was going to do from the start, but wanted confirmation from Alpha and Shadow to prove to herself she was doing the right thing by abandoning her own dreams. Either way she'll be saving lives.

    1. Well two of the plot lines are kind of the same-ish, but they're charted out as two separate lines because that's how I started writing it. So it's sort of like three and a half. But yes, we've got the regular producing-an-heir plotline, the zomg-ghosts plotline, the library-portrait plotline, and the mystery plotline that you don't know about yet. ;)

      You'll find out at some point eventually! This generation probably. I only have a very rough outline at this point, and it's only for the next 2~ weeks in the game, so I'm not exactly sure where everything will fall into place yet. I have to make sure to leave room for the inevitable monkey wrenches the game will throw at me!

      I think that Epsilon was also hoping that one of them would give her a good reason not to abandon her current studies. But they didn't really, so...yeah. We'll have to wait and see if it was a good choice or not!

  3. Interesting, I hope Epsilon doesn't find that her good intentions to save people are taken advantage of by this businessman...

    Also, I can't wait to find out who the woman in the painting is and what relevance she has to Epsilon

    1. Yes, he's definitely out to make a profit. Will he put that above the work of saving lives? That remains to be seen. It wouldn't sit well with Epsilon at all, though.

      Yes, yes, eventually! :p

  4. When I first read this chapter I thought I'm missing something, then I realized i missed a chapter and went back and read it. :P After reading it this chapter made much better sense lol. Silly me.

    Anywho, Can't wait to see how Epsilon does in this new career!

    1. Oh no! Glad you figured out your mistake. I hope nothing was too spoiled for you!

      Yes! You might be able to guess already what career it will be. I'm excited to play it, it'll be much more entertaining for the story than James's rabbithole criminal empire.

  5. You handled the loss of your original library set really well. It makes sense that her mental trauma would effect her mental landscape.

    Like Ali, I worry that Epsi altruism in taking on this project will get used for less altruistic purposes. Hopefully it won't make her bitter if it does.

    1. Thanks! It was a conveniently timed set existence failure, you've got that part right.

      She'd hate it if it did. Unfortunately, I think that she might have inherited some of James's tendency towards bitterness along with his intellect, so this generation might get a bit gloomy unless she can keep someone around who can pull her out of it, like Brendan! :D