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bright_ephemera
11.06.2012 , 12:27 PM | #44
Flashback 4: Apropos of nothing, brotherly competition

Crosspost from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread. No game spoilers. This one is from guest Kirsk Savins (alias Kirsk Volheis)'s POV and it's set while Vierce is still working with Jorgan on Coruscant.


I'm not saying my big brother is better than me at everything, because he isn't. He's terrible with women and with letting go of things. And with anger management. And he keeps loaning me credits. I'll pay him back someday, but everybody agrees he's still an idiot to do it.

I know, he's the shining commander of Havoc Squad. He's good at it, too. All do-goodery. I know he's taller, tougher, better-looking, at least prior to the incident involving a fit of angst and an Imperial explosives shipment. Maybe people trust him more. Maybe he's the one who earns respect. Maybe he can do the tough-guy hard decisions.

But I can at least rest knowing that I'm better at bumper ball.

The arcade downtown, and later the resistance base outside town too, had a rotating inventory of bumper ball machines. We would spend our whole allowances side by side, slamming buttons, then switching off. Vierce would always methodically study each one, playing over and over to map the tricks and rewards. Then I would step in and whip him. Hey, even before I got the cybernetics in, machines loved me.

Fast forward. Vierce called me out of the blue a little ways after he joined Havoc Squad. And the first words out of his mouth were "Seven hundred and sixteen million on Mynock Patrol."

"Like hell," I said. Mynock Patrol was just about the hardest machine we ever had. It was dark, disorienting, with this voiceover in which comic-book caped crusader Mynock kept calling creepy cryptic crap. Vierce was terrible at it.

"I saved the high score," he said, waving a datacard.

"You sliced it."

"No, sir. You're the slicer. I earned this one."

"Where did you find another arcade with Mynock Patrol?"

"Little place by the Senate Building here on Coruscant."

"I'm going. And I'm blowing your initials off that high-score list."

He laughed a bit, then looked off holo. "Blast. I have to run, Kirsk." Then, with one of his ultra-rare wide smiles, heavy on the smugness this time, "Just remember who beat you."

The second he vanished I went for the bridge and changed course: to Coruscant.

Because if Vierce held the high score at bumper ball, my entire childhood was a lie.
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