Saturday, September 7, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 59 - Ghostbuster

Epsilon cleaned the entire house top-to-bottom before she left.  Of course, there wasn't much to clean, as Omicron had coped with much of his anxiety through copious amounts of scrubbing and laundry, but she made the place as neat as possible.  Alpha would be stopping in from time to time to make sure nothing was wrong, but it wouldn't be fair to give her any more work than was necessary.
Epsilon's studies were much more focused, even more so than the other seniors.  She'd gotten special dispensation to take mostly individual study classes, but even the standard theory courses she supplemented with were very advanced.  The catch-up work was on her to complete during what free time she had, and her professors were more than understanding of any late work.
Because, of course, the Omega project was the university's top priority.  Whenever she wasn't in one of her many classes or frantically trying to catch up to her classmates through self-study, she was either in the lab or working on the main containment unit.  It turned out that bigger was better with this technology, so Carlton's experiment had been scaled up to a three-story contraption.  Replicating the mechanical construction was easy, but determining the necessary core composition was turning out to be much more difficult, as the original research notes had been lost.
No matter how important the work, Epsilon always headed back to her student accommodations before night fell.  She knew that she was no safer in there than outside, but it was a lot easier to block out the memories of the night she was attacked in her living room than in the lab where the attack had taken place.
She felt the ghosts to some degree almost every night.  She'd grown to associate the churning of her stomach and brief dizzy spells with the reports of ghost activity that she read about in the security blog the next morning.  Nobody else mentioned it, so the phenomenon seemed to be limited to herself; rather than expose her non-human status, she chose to keep the knowledge of her coinciding sicknesses between herself and Brendan.  She hardly ever saw him, due to the high level of classwork, but she always called him when ghost activity was high.  Just the sound of his voice calmed her, comforted her, and made it easier for her to make it through the long nights.
A breakthrough in the Omega project took place near the end of term.  Finally, a core that would engage was found!  It wasn't very efficient, but the machine spun up, which meant that it would do its job of capturing spirits.  Now the only challenges were to further refine the core and miniaturize the device to the point where it was practical.  No small task, to be sure, but having something - anything - that worked increased team morale.
The end of term, and Epsilon's graduation, came all too soon.  The piece of paper that they handed to her on the stage didn't even matter to her anymore; all she cared about was the Omega project, and solving the scientific riddles that it consisted of.
Between graduation and her inevitable trip back home, she worked almost exclusively in the labs.  Her focus was on refining the core - miniaturization was coming along nicely - and that work wasn't finished yet.  Not by a long shot.
Eventually, her lease on the apartment ran out, and certain deadlines in the contract she'd signed were looming.  She had to make her way back to Sunset Valley, whether her research was complete or not.  Reluctantly, she packed up her possessions and prepared to return home.

Brendan, of course, accompanied her home.  He'd been picked up as a technology specialist by the military, but didn't have to report for basic training for about a week.  He intended to make good use of that time.
"So, you're really going to go work for them?" They stood in the front room, the late summer sunlight illuminating the house through the front-facing windows.
"Well, I don't really have a choice."
"Of course you have a choice.  It's just easier to go along with it."
She nodded.  "It is.  And I think I should, at least for now.  There's still so much good I could do.  You'll be using one of the rifles, right?"
He nodded.  "I haven't seen it yet, but I know we'll be trained on it.  I know you've done good work, thanks."
Epsilon shrugged.  "It's my job.  But you're welcome.  I guess I should go put my stuff in my room."
She turned to walk through the kitchen, but paused as Brendan spoke.  "Wait.  Isn't the master bedroom through there?"
She turned, shrugging.  "I guess.  But that's not my bedroom.  That's Dad's..." she trailed off, realizing how silly that sounded.
"Right.  And he's gone.  You're the head of the house now, so it's your room."
"I know, but it just feels so strange to think about sleeping there.  It's so...him!"
"It can't be that bad.  Let's go see it."  He took Epsilon's hand, leading her into the bedroom.
"Wow, okay, I take that back.  Your father was clearly not an interior designer."  Noticing Epsilon's look, he quickly added to those statements.  "But we can work with it!  You're not really a green sort of girl, but that's fine, we can wallpaper over the paint.  Everything's very sleek and modern, also not really your sort of thing, but I saw a furniture store on the way into town, so that's easy to fix.  Well, depending on the state of your bank account."
"There's plenty," she said flatly.  "Money isn't an object."
"What did your father do, anyway?"  Brendan looked at her curiously, a frown tugging at the corner of his mouth.
"I don't know, and I don't want to know.  I don't think it was anything honest, and not knowing the particulars is fine with me."
Remodeling the room helped to distract Epsilon and Brendan from their impending future apart.  Reclining on the bed after a long day of finishing up the work, they looked around, satisfied.
"This is so perfect," Epsilon said, smiling to her boyfriend.  "Thanks.  You knew exactly what I needed."
"I always do.  Come on, let's make dinner."
After dinner, they retired to the bedroom.
"I can't believe you're leaving tomorrow," Epsilon said, hugging her knees as she looked down to Brendan, reclined on the bed.
"We both knew it was coming.  I just can't believe I ended up here, running off to basic training tomorrow.  I was majoring in technology to get a nice, cushy job.  But times change."
She nodded.  "They do.  And we do what we have to do, otherwise who would we be?"
Brendan nodded, reaching up to stroke her hand.  "Exactly.  I couldn't live with myself if I just sat by and did nothing.  If something happened to you, because I was afraid to step forward and provide a defense..." he trailed off.  There was no need to finish that sentence.
Epsilon let go of her knees and stretched out, leaning over Brendan, who rolled over onto his back to accommodate her new position.  "I still don't want you to go," she said softly, looking into his eyes.
"Me either.  Do your job, Eps.  Make those guns, and find ways to make them even better, so I can fight these ghosts.  I'll come back to you, whenever I have leave.  I promise."
"I know," she said, leaning down to kiss him, savoring the feel of his lips against hers.
"Eps?" he whispered as she started to pull away.
"What?" she whispered back, pausing so that her lips hovered within an inch of his own.
"Give me something I'll remember, until I see you again."
She did.  And then they slept.

After Brendan left for basic training, Epsilon called and confirmed her employment.  She would be testing the new gun models, by night, on whatever spirits manifested around Sunset Valley.  The small town wasn't a hotspot of hostile ghost activity, so it was the perfect place to test new technologies before deploying them to the military.
The gun she was using was clumsier than the standard anti-ghost rifle, but more effective - in theory.  If it proved so, then then design would be whittled down to something that the military could easily use, but Epsilon had to prove the function first.
The beam deployed as expected, though there was some instability.  A good whack to the side of the gun got it going again, but that was unacceptable.  Brendan could be relying on it to work every time, so the technology had to be perfected before the gun could be issued.  Work was still required.
After a long night of testing, Epsilon arrived back home.  She got ready for bed and then slipped under the covers as the sun rose, closing her eyes tightly to block out the intrusive rays.
A few hours after dawn, a man knocked at the door.  Epsilon, exhausted from her nighttime exertions, continued to sleep.  The man knocked louder, attracting the attention of Shadow.
The cat lept upon the bed, mewing softly as he padded over towards Epsilon.  Pawing at her face, he mewed insistently until she opened her eyes.
"Shadow?  What?"
His duty done, the cat jumped off of the bed, leaving Epsilon alone and confused, until the next knock sounded.  Who could be knocking at the door so early in the morning?  She swung her feet to the floor and stood, walking to the front room.
An old man was visible through the glass-paned front doors, so Epsilon opened them.
"Hello?  Can I help you?"
As she spoke, she noticed the man's eyes.  They were wild, seeming to almost glow in the early-morning light.  She felt that this meant something, but precisely what it was evaded her.
"Yes, Miss Woods.  You can."

~ * ~

Who ya gonna call?

Mystery man at the door!  I wonder who it is?  For a generation where I promised to give you guys answers, I'm sure asking a lot of questions. :P

See!  See!  Brendan isn't dead OR pregnant.  You silly people.  I love you guys. <3

Pay no mind to the weird graphical glitches on Epsilon during her university stay.  For some reason, music waves(like from the stereo) were emanating from her stomach.  I tried to take pictures in between glitches in the matrix, but a few pictures are still distorted.

Next chapter won't be until next weekend at the earliest, probably later.  I have to do real-life research before I can write it, because I'm way too perfectionist to just make stuff up - I have to make stuff up based on actual facts!  So yes, it's not the sets or the pictures that are holding me up, it's the google time.  Bear with me, please.


  1. Ooh, an old man with wild glowing eyes... I'm guessing a werewolf, perhaps Lane or someone connected with him? He looks kind of familiar...

    1. We've seen this man before, but that's all I'm going to say until next chapter!

  2. LOL! I couldn't see and graphical glitches, so you must've times it well. Maybe... Maybe Eps is pregnant and this child will be a musician? ;)

    Anyway... So... Her career is ghostbuster? Or will that change again next chapter? First it was doctor, then scientist... I don't know what to believe anymore! Which way is up? What's gravity?
    (Yes, I've seen you've revealed that roll now, btw)

    I get the feeling she's rolled single. Hence Brendan having to fight.. I mean, poor Brendan! Having to go away to fight! What a brave man! I hope his efforts help and he comes home alright.
    And I hope Eps can get this gun down. Seems like it'll be very important.

    Should I recognise the *ahem* guy with weird eyes...?
    I have a feeling we may have seen him before? Maybe?

    I'd like to add, if you're googling about werewolves and ghost hunters, you won't get very far... Sorry to burst your bubble. ;)

    Also, can I just say how much this chapter made me love you? There were points in it where I just suddenly went "Oh my God... How does she do it?" as in, your story all makes sense! You secretly add info in other chapters, generations from when you'll need it, and then tie it all in in style! Wish I had that skill :p I just make it up as I go along. Hahaa!


    1. Haha. Oh man that would be the last thing Epsi needs right now(btw that's not a typo, Omicron, Alpha and I say Epsi, and Brendan says Eps, because he wants to be confusing). So glad that she's NOT pregnant. ;)

      Yeah her career has been up in the air. It's ghost hunter, though, so she'll be sticking with it for a while this time.

      Well, none of my other rolls have been straightforward this generation, so why would the marital status be? It might be, though! You'll just have to wait and seeeee what happens!
      Yes, a gun that can(hopefully) be miniaturized and held for personal defense. Seems pretty important to get right to me, mostly so that I can move on from having ghosts be the biggest bad at some point in the future generations without having to come up with a way to actually solve the problem.

      That's not what I'm googling about! I'm actually reading about the stuff that was buried with mummies in Egyptian tombs, the Book of the Dead and all the other stuff that was supposed to help them along in the afterlife. The rng threw me an opportunity curveball, and since it aligned with a topic I was going to explore later anyway I just adjusted my generation timeline a bit and ran with it.

      I would love to take credit for this, but the first two generations were pretty lousy in terms of long-range plot planning. This sequence of chapters is pretty much the culmination of the last half of generation 2, which is why it seems so impressive, and I'm also starting to pick up all the abandoned plot threads from generation 1/early 2 and tie them off the best I can as well. I am accomplishing this through a rather large and messy timeline - I don't recommend the experience. If just making things up as you go works for you, then stick with it! I just ended up making a big mess that I now have to clean up, lol!

  3. Maybe Brendan wasn't pregnant before, but they just had woohoo, so...yeah. =P Sorry, I'm being silly...

    You made a really impressive story for the ghost hunter career! I was thinking Freelance Scientist. But, way cool! I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens.

    About the weird stomach emanations...Fergus got those once from drinking a particular kind of coffee from the cafe...there was a moodlet that came with it, which I ended up right clicking so I could take pictures.

    1. Silly person. :P

      The role in the actual story is going to be sort of a hybrid between freelance scientist and ghost hunter, but she won't be making any money off of the former. I was intending her to be a much more athletic character, but she sort of got away from me a bit.

      That's a possibility! I can't remember if she drank coffee at the cafe, but I know she drank sodas from the machine around her classes. I didn't check for strange moodlets, so if it happens again I'll check that!

  4. Hehe, my cats try to wake me up much the same way.

    That was a very sweet moment between Brendan and Eps before he left for basic training, and it's sweet (but of course practical) that their respective work in turn helps each other.

    LOL, stereo waves from her stomach? I didn't notice, but looking back I think I see it in one of the photos. Maybe the result of one of her lab experiments, or maybe she just ate a stereo when you weren't looking :D

    1. Yes, it is! Brendan and Epsilon make me "aww" so much. We need more happy times with them, not so much time apart! :(

      Haha it is university after all, she might just have been very hungry between classes when I forgot to buy a soda for her!

  5. Great chapter.

    Interesting ending. Mysterious man pops up with eyes aglow, I wonder who it could be. Great story around the ghost hunter career, creative.

    1. Thanks! Now all I have to do is make the career work again. My game is bugged and Epsilon can't go to any of the jobs anymore because I can't see them on the map. :(