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Lt. Blackwell - Interlude

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((Starbase 118- Galaxy Invaders Archaic Arcade))

((During one of Wyn’s sneak outs >.>))


Rue knew when it was time to give someone space - especially when they snuck out of their room despite being on medical leave. 


Wyn’s recovery had been rough at first, just as he had forewarned, and yet got better with each passing day. Doctor Jos had also explained things to her in a calm, easy manner that had ultimately made her feel a good deal better about the entire process.


Ergo, the fact Wyn was up and about wasn’t a huge shock to her. It was if anything, proof that Jos’s skill was to be respected, and that Wyn was made of tougher stuff than he let on.


Thus, when he decided to go out and about, so did she. 


The commercial sector was still an area that Rue was working on visiting piece by piece, and she gravitated towards San Francisco as it reminded her so much of Portland, while being different enough that she truly did feel like she was getting out and being a bit of a tourist.


There was a place she had heard about and had wanted to go multiple times, and just hadn’t gotten the time - well, now was a good moment.


Galaxy Invaders Archaic Arcade.


She smiled as she got to the entrance and walked inside - rows and rows upon old style arcade cases where there for the asking. True, she could have just replicated something, or gone to a holodeck, but there was something unique about the experience. And it was the sort of thing her father would have loved.


She walked along the various games, perusing the options - most were from earth, though there were a few arcade cabinets as well, from a post WWIII emergence of the games that occurred after earthlings started traveling and populating other places. There were families and what Rue guessed to be antiquers playing the games.


One was a father and daughter duo, and she caught herself stopping to watch - they were playing Donkey Kong, a game she was familiar with, even though it had frustrated her as a child. It had been one of the first 20th century mementos her father had let her play, and she recalled that her tiny hands just did not want to work the buttons correctly to have the little sprite jump, and ended with him smooshed by the giant gorilla. Her brother was a bit better, but he was always more attracted to driving games,that allowed a player to simulate driving a car.


For her of course, it was flying games. Surprisingly, her favorite was not a space flying game, but an old World War 2 Pilot game that featured the option of picking different strikers to attack enemy bombers, targets and other planes. It always seemed to Rue that it was a very grim subject to make a game for, but then again it was so ridiculous in terms of the graphics and style that it was hard to imagine the dark realities of ancient warfare.

She managed to find one of the flying games that wasn’t taken up - it was an ace pilot combat simulator, and she was eager to give it a try. The first few passes were …disasters. While she figured out the actual joy stick and controls quickly, it was leagues away from flying a shuttle in space, and her instincts were completely off. She laughed as she ended up crashing the fictional plane into a field of cows, and then directly into a house.


Wryly, she thought that perhaps she would have done better at her goal of defeating the enemy if she simply pretended to be a pilot on their side.


After a few tries, she got the hang of it and completed a level, but not further, and moved on to another section that featured more console games. She was in luck that one of the couches with a television and game set up was free, and so she plopped down to see what was on offer. 

After a few minutes she quickly identified that it was an old platformer about a whip holding hero fighting dracula.


She started to give it a go, finding that the controls were easy enough to figure out, though again she laughed at what the designers thought made sense - such as hiding roasted meat in walls for the sprite to use as power ups.


As she started to move through the level fighting nightmare creatures, she felt a small weight beside her, and glanced quick enough to notice a little boy sitting beside her. Wide brown eyes, round face with freckles, framed by sandy blond hair, in a blue and black outfit.


“Hello there, did you want to try?” ::Rue looked to the little boy, offering the controller::


He gave a very shy shake of his head, and she quirked a brow, and then looked back to the screen and started to continue.


“Where are your parents? Are you on you own?” 


“ No.” ::He said in a little voice, which she guessed put him at about nine or ten. Eleven if she was generous::


“And…where are your parents?”


He pointed, over his shoulder, two a couple who were watching a little girl play a very exacting puzzle game, and obviously the quiet boy had stepped away. Rue was not thrilled with their observation skills, but after a moment, she expected they would notice, and so she kept moving her character forward through the rigorous level…grimacing when the character met his demise at the hands of a savage looking ghost.


“...Annnnd that was bad”


“You jumped too soon” the little voice responded.


“Truth “ She agreed and offered the controller again. “Care to show me how it’s done?”

He finally took it and started the level over -and she realized very quickly she was outmatched. The boy was a prodigy - he had reflexes she envied and she found herself watching intensely as he moved through the level with an ease that she found absolutely humbling, given the space between their years.


“Oh! Watch out! Werewolf!” she waved towards the screen.


“I know! I know” He yelped in response, barely escaping the claws of a beast. 


Rue felt her heart beating faster as she snorted at the sight of the hero narrowly missing falling down a hole, dodging a dangerous enemy, and finally getting a weapon upgrade. 


She had barely notice how much time had past when a voice called over


“Aiden! Time to go!” a little girl with red pigtails shouted to them. 


Aiden, the little sandy haired boy, looked over and jumped up, giving Rue the controller. The excitement of the battle suddenly gone, he reverted back to a shy smile as he stood.


“Um, thanks” and he was off.


Rue took the controller and blinked as he suddenly dashed off, and then looked back to the screen to realize that the hero was on the last boss…and after a valiant, and admittedly hilariously clumsy try - she died. 


She couldn’t help but sheepishly facepalm, but she was smiling, as her little adventure reminded her well of similar times with her own father, when he would inevitably claim he couldn’t beat the level, and needed her help to do it. She’d always thought he was simply pretending…and now she wondered if she’d amazed him with her hyper reflexes just as aiden did her.


It was a musing thought she had all through the rest of the afternoon as she meandered her way back towards the living spaces of the base. 


Lt. Prudence Blackwell


Starbase 118



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