Chapter 8: Marathon
“This is all your fault!” I shouted as I barged into the room, then stopped short when I found Fiera rolling on the stage floor, gripping her sides as she laughed. I climbed up onto the stage and tapped my foot as I stared at my watch. “Are you done yet?” I asked her, standing over her. She sat up, a wide smile on her face, and wiped away the tears.
“Oh, I’m sorry, that was just too funny.” she commented, picking herself up off the stage and dusting her dress off. After she had taken the skirt in her hands and flicked her wrists, not a speck of dirt remained on the white material. “There, that’s better. I’m sorry, you were saying something when you came in?”
“Well, I figured it was my turn to start things out with a yelled accusation, but obviously you weren’t in the mood to pay attention.” I crossed my arms. “So what was so funny?”
“Do I get to explain it my way, or are you going to censor my words?” Fiera said, her eyes twinkling as she grinned mischievously.
“Um…knowing what it was about, you’re going to use proper literary terms.” I said.
“Fine.” Fiera huffed. “I thought that First Worlder’s comment was absolutely hilarious.”
“Oh, so that’s why you wouldn’t let me respond.” I pouted. “That was two chapters ago!”
“Yeah, but she hadn’t read the newest chapter yet, so it wasn’t her fault.” Fiera pointed out. “Besides, a story response is more fun than just saying ‘Fiera disagreed with you.’”
“I would embellish a little more than that.” I pouted, and Fiera laughed.
“Of course you would, and no one would be able to understand your Nerdarin.” she replied.
“Blending ‘nerd’ and ‘Mandarin’ doesn’t make it a real word, Fiera,” I said, “but I’ll let it slide for now, since I know you have a nice long explanation for why you disagree.”
“I didn’t write a book explaining my subconscious motivation.” Fiera jabbed, grinning. “I just don’t think you could ever teach me anything, since I have access to your Knowledge Vaults, and I’d learn everything you did, the moment you learned it.”
“That’s my mind. Stay out of it.” I snapped, and she laughed. “It’s not funny! You have your own separate partition…”
“Apartment.” Fiera changed.
“Whatever, you still have your own mental place in my mind, but you’re a separate entity.” I finished. “And I can keep you from learning things, like the meaning of Oracle’s prophecy, which, by the way,” I glared at her, “Is your fault.”
“Point taken, but how is it my fault? She’s your character.” Fiera said defensively as she stepped forward aggressively.
“But you let her in.” I countered, taking a step forward as well and arching my spine to stand taller than Fiera. “If you hadn’t wanted to be called a Moderator, she wouldn’t have gotten in here.”
“Oh yeah? Well you’re the one who made me a Moderator.” Fiera pressed her nose up against mine, our eyes locked.
“Like I had a choice, Fiera.” I said, trying to keep my face stern, but failed and a grin shattered through before I regained control.
She stepped back and laughed and said, “Wow. You lasted longer than I thought you could.”
“You learn something new every day?” I asked hopefully. She scowled.
“No, I just underestimated you.” she clarified. “So don’t try pulling any over my head. I can torture myself with your logic patterns if need be, you know.”
“Yes, I am well aware of that fact.” I pouted. “That’s one downside to writing about characters in my head: they can figure out what I’m trying to do.”
“You’ll get used to it.” Fiera shrugged, stepping over towards the sphere projector. “By the way, you forgot to note the Thesians.”
“Thanks.” I said, frowning slightly. “But now that means they’ll be one of the people groups in here.”
“Reuse them.” Fiera said pointedly, rolling her head back over her shoulder in an upside-down way. She righted herself and spun back to face me. “And I don’t see why you’re complaining about how I treat you. I thought you liked not having to dictate characters, since it gave us more ‘realism.’” She hid a laugh behind her hand. “Realism. Right! As if we didn’t already have enough personality.” she poked at me. I frowned and she laughed.
“Just so you know, I have learned to get used to characters that live inside my head. I’ve had one since third or fourth grade, Fiera, so I’m well aware of what ‘getting used to’ it is like.” I said. She raised her arms and spun in a circle.
“You’ll just have to get used to me!” she said, watching me as she spun, the folds of her dress spinning out. She stopped and said, “Wow. Your mind is really ADD.”
“Oh, so now you drop a letter?” I teased.
“Ha ha.” she replied, and then her eyes grew wide. “Oh no. You are not going into your five-letter disorder. No. Absolutely not.”
“Too late.” I grinned, and proceeded. “I actually have Attention Deficit, Hyperactive Imagination Disorder, or ADHID. Sounds much more appealing, don’t you think?”
“I think you need to go sit in the corner until you’re ready to behave.” Fiera scrunched up her nose at the acronym.
“Well fine, maybe I will.” I retorted. “You don’t appreciate me anyway. Here I am, doing you a favor by writing this chapter (when I could be working on the Other World), and you’re busy picking on me.”
“It’s good for you.” Fiera stated, then grinned. “It’ll help you become a man, teaching you how to take a ribbing from a fictional character. A fictional character who’s a girl, I might add.” she commented, then hastily added, “No, this is a story. You are not writing your sexist language essay in here.”
“I prefer the term ‘gender bias’, but that gets the message across.” I grinned. “But that’s just an idea for when I have next to nothing left to do, writing, reading, or otherwise.”
“Translation: it’s not going to happen.” Fiera said.
“Oh, it might. I forgot to add that it becomes a major possibility if I get really bored.” I smiled wide.
“Yeah, whatever.” Fiera said. “Oh, I heard your grandparents got their computer fixed, so it’s not pathetically slow for such a new computer.”
“Yes.” I said, my eyes lighting up excitedly. “That means it won’t isolate me into Word 2003 because it can’t access Youtube or Kongregate.”
“You haven’t even touched your Kong account this year.” Fiera crossed her arms and scolded. “And there’s only one thing you’d want to check on Youtube, which you wouldn’t need to check once you’re done, so that means I’d get you all to myself.”
“Fiera, we’ve been over this.” I said, and Fiera threw her hands up in exasperation.
“Oh for crying out loud!” she exclaimed. [“Waah,” I said, and she stuck her tongue out at me.] “I mean story-wise, or do I need to explain it in First World terms for why you’re getting so upset about that phrase.”
“I am not getting upset.” I argued. “I just think you should learn to talk properly.”
“Of course you’re not getting upset.” Fiera rolled her eyes at me. “Don’t worry. Maybe once you can start dating I’ll figure out a way to communicate with her without you knowing about it. Maybe have you talk in your sleep.”
“Very funny, you’ve gone far enough on that train of thought. Now,” I said, “About your speech.”
“Yeah, about that.” Fiera scowled at me. “See, here’s the deal. I’m me, and you’re you. [I’m not sure what that’s called, but I think the proper grammatical term is ‘DUH!’] So your personality gives you your type of speech, and mine is whatever I feel like.”
“I’m not saying you take your personality out of your speaking style.” I corrected. “But you should think a little more about what you’re going to say.”
Fiera pursed her lips and made a strangled sound as she choked on a laugh. “Oh, right. Like I’m going to do that, Seer. Of course. That makes perfect sense, since I am so totally a Perfect-country type of person.”
“Fiera, I’m being serious.” I said, and Fiera grinned.
“And I’m not?” she asked. I started to reply, then shut my mouth.
“I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of trying to figure that one out.” I said, and she slapped her forehead, holding her forehead and shaking it sadly.
“You poor Seer. Maybe someday you’ll find someone who’ll help you in life.” she said teasingly, and I scowled.
“I believe I said you went far enough down that railroad.” I scolded her, and she grinned.
“Speaking of railroads,” Fiera said, her eyes lighting up.
“Oh no you don’t. You are not dragging in any Others.” I said, and she chuckled.
“Well you already let in…oh, what’s her name? Oracle? What are some of her others?” Fiera asked, and I frowned.
“Since I want to go to sleep tonight, I’m going to tell you.” I stated sourly. “Not because I think it’s advantageous to do so.”
“Well, I’ll prove you wrong later, but go ahead.” Fiera said.
“Thank you. You’re very supportive.” I said, and Fiera made a circular motion with her hand for me to hurry it up. “Well, she started out with the name Hag, introduced herself in Acer’s Saga (although I haven’t gotten that far in that story’s transcription, what with all the changes taking place). She also has ‘the Sojourner’ as a nickname, and adopted the human name ‘Heather.’ Anything else I’ve forgotten?”
“Go check your spreadsheet.” Fiera commanded half-teasingly, and I frowned.
“You’re trying to make me sound like an uber nerd. Those things are helpful in organizing information.” I said.
Fiera scrunched up her face, whipped out a lens-less pair of sunglasses and plopped them on her face. The coke bottle shaped glasses had white tape on the bridge, which slid down Fiera’s nose when she put them on. Fiera twisted up her nose and said in a mocking, geeky tone, “The practical functionality of the database organizational tool known as a spreadsheet is most beneficial for the acquisition of new inspiration and the organization of particles of data, affectionately known as datum.”
“Your monologue was cute but inaccurate.” I informed her. She scrunched her nose disdainfully at the jab, and I grinned. “I’m a nerd, if anything. Nerds can act like geeks, and vice versa, but every intellectual is either one or the other at heart.”
“Oh really.” she folded her arms across her chest. “Explain the difference, oh great and mighty nerd. Enlighten me (as if I didn’t already know).”
I opened my mouth, and shut it. “I’m not sure if you were being sarcastic.” I finally commented.
She shrugged. “It can be taken either way.”
“Fine. Well then, here’s the difference.” I continued. “A geek would be someone who thinks up the concepts behind items such as those on ThinkGeek.com. Nerds would be the ones consulted for any problems the designers ran into getting the idea off the paper.” I tapped my chin thoughtfully. [“You tapped your thin choughtfully?” Fiera snickered after I fixed the error. “Be quiet! I’m talking all my byself.” I snapped, and she grinned.] “Anyway, nerds are actually better defined as the group of intellectuals that reads encyclopaedia and dictionaries for fun. They like learning and just knowing things. Geeks are the ADD version of an intellectual. They’re the ones quoting long segments of their favorite sci-fi series (especially those that learn Klingon), and bringing concepts from their favorite cult fiction series into the real world, such as a Star Trek pizza cutter.”
“And what about the crossovers, hybrids, and borderlines?” Fiera asked. “What do you do with a nerd that fits the criteria for a geek?”
“That would be a nerd at heart that is a card carrier for both organizations.” I said, and Fiera frowned.
“There are organizations?”
“Well, some are emporiums, some are societies, there are a few corporations, and then there are the secret underground societies…” I rattled off, and Fiera sighed dramatically.
“A simple yes or no would do.” she said. “And yes, I do get aggravated, whether that’s technically correct or not.”
“Fine, go right ahead and be wrong.” I teased.
“And we’re already at four pages.” Fiera pouted, stamping her foot.
“So?” I asked. “What’s wrong with that?”
“That means that the Count will have to wait until the next chapter, and then you’ll be itching to go back to Nick’s story after that, so it’ll be nigh on forever before we get a chance to just sit and chat.” Fiera explained.
“Fiera, we have never sat down and chatted.” I told her, grinning. “Like right now, we’re both standing up. But we have chatted.”
Fiera stifled another laugh, and it sounded like she’d sneezed.
“Bless you.” I said, and she rolled her eyes at me.
“You know very well what that was, mister.” she said. “And your pronouns have been semi-descent tonight. How many did you fix this time?”
“Grand total? Probably five, including that last one.” I said, shrugging. “It’s kinda gotten a little old.”
“I would expect, especially with all the typing you do.” She stared at me accusingly. “And I can tell you’re about to ditch me to go typing in your Other World. Well that’s just fine. See what I care. You might come back and I won’t talk to you, but that’s okay with me.”
“Fiera, the best threat you have is the one you can’t keep.” I told her. “I doubt you could keep silent for one page, let alone an entire chapter.”
“Oh yeah? Well watch this.” And she clamped her mouth shut.
“Hey Nick! Fiera said she’s not going to talk for an entire chapter!” I called out, and Nick appeared from back stage.
“Really?” he said, wiping his grimy hands on a work rag.
“Yeah. Say, did you get the final repairs done?” I asked.
“Yep. Just finished.”
“Great. I was thinking, maybe we should work something out, just the two of us. You know, since Fiera’s leaving.” I said, grinning out of Fiera’s line of sight.
“Oh really?” he winked as we walked away from her.
“Yeah. See, since Fiera’s not going to be involved anymore, I thought we might want to just cut the Second World out completely, focus entirely on your story.” I said, and glanced over at Fiera. She humphed and spun away, her nose held high in the air. “All right, new approach. Since Fiera won’t be using the Second World anymore, I’ll just have to show you how to run her new toy.”
“All right, that’s enough. Nick, you go on back to your story world.” Fiera said, spinning on her heel and striding right back over.
“That didn’t last long.” I muttered, chuckling under my breath.
“What new toy?” Nick asked, and Fiera twisted him around towards the sheet and pushed him in that direction.
“Never you mind.” Fiera said firmly.
“But…” Nick protested, and Fiera cut him off.
“I said don’t worry about it!” Fiera said, like a reprimanding older sister as she pushed him towards the sheet. “Now go back into your Third World, and I’ll come get you when you’re needed. Now go.” He frowned but entered the sheet, disappearing from view. “Yes, I know why you did that, but I felt that, for security reasons, I should keep that device to myself.”
“You’re such a wonderfully generous person, Fiera.” I said, and she shrugged.
“You said yourself you didn’t want him knowing about it yet.” she pointed out as she walked back towards the projector. “Speaking of which, you still haven’t thought of a name for it yet, have you?” she said, more statement than question.
“No, I haven’t.” I sighed, walking behind her. “But when I do I’ll be sure to let you know.”
“Name it now, and not some temporary placeholder.” she demanded. “And nothing worthless just because you want to appease me.”
“You make it sound like I’m paying you tribute as a conquered nation.” I commented dryly. “Look, I’m tired, and I’ve spent a lot of time on this already. I still have to figure out which Thread to work on, as well as try to get some more reading done tonight before it gets too late. Why don’t I get back with you tomorrow?”
“As if.” Fiera scolded, crossing her arms. “You’ll end up being busy the entire day, and too tired to even try to type tomorrow night. Just let me know when you get it figured out.”
“All right. Good night, Fiera.” I said, closing out the document and saving the file. [“Hey! I don’t get to respond?” Fiera demanded. “Fine, reply.” I told her. “Well then, bad night to you too.” Fiera said, huffing. “Fiera, I’m tired. Will you please just say what you want to say?” I asked, and she frowned. “Fine. Good night, mister bossy.” “Good night, Fiera.” I saved the addition, and closed down the file.]