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PostPosted: Wed Jun 1, '11, 8:21 pm
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Corg’s footsteps echoed loudly through the dark, abandoned corridors of the university museum. He himself was almost completely enveloped in darkness, and avoided bumping into the many glass structures protecting the museum’s contents only because he now knew the museum like the back of his hand. That, and there was the occasional red emergency light in each room and hallway to help out the interns and two security men that worked the nightshift at the museum.

Corg had enrolled in the university that year, choosing zoology as his major with a minor in Motavian history. He had struck a deal with the university that, if he worked a part-time gig at the museum, transcribing a large collection of books into the university’s online database—a hideously tedious work at that—they would handle his tuition. Corg was more than willing to make the sacrifice of nearly killing himself of boredom each night in return for a free ride at the college.

The weapons rooms with their adjoining hallways, was his favorite part of his walk to and from the room where he worked. He was utterly fascinated by the numerous weapons, swords, sabers, axes, and claws that were kept in class cases for general display. Most of them were made of one sort of metal or another, and all were distinguishable from the other by their color, hilt size, carvings on the blade, and a number of other little details that Corg found more interesting than, say, The Law of Motavian Native Relations and other things he had to study.

At length he reached the room where he worked. He slipped his ID card through a scanner and in a few moments, a low beep indicated that his card had been recognized. The door slid open with a faint whir and Corg stepped into the room.

Sitting at the table were his two female co-workers—well, sort of, they worked an earlier shift than Corg, so they were usually finishing when he was starting, which was around nine o’clock p.m.—Dee and Carmen. Dee was a short girl with long, thick black hair with dark purple roots. She wore a pair of glasses with dark black rims and rectangular lens, the sort of glasses that were the “in-thing” at the time. Not that she needed them; Dee had perfect 20/20 vision, but she always reasoned saying that she wanted the “sexy librarian” look that would snag some handsome, but intelligent boy for her. Dee was also one of Corg’s only and oldest friends, having known him since elementary school. True to form, Dee did not so much as look up when Corg stepped into the room; Dee was an incredibly dedicated worker blessed with an ability for dual-task processing that Corg envied beyond measure.

The other girl was Carmen, whom both had met that semester. Carmen wore her teal hair in layers and wore the type of clothing that one would generously refer to as “attention-grabbing”, at least in terms of coloration. Carmen hailed from another city, but studied in the same class as Corg and Dee and became friends with them on the first day of Invertebrate Biology 101 when they three had been put in a group together for an ice-breaker activity. It was also Carmen who had pulled the strings to get Corg and Dee their jobs at the museum.

“Hey girls,” Corg said genially.

Carmen, taller and perkier than Dee, immediately got up from her terminal and ran over to Corg, throwing her arms around him. “Hi Corg!”

Dee, not taking her large, almond eyes away from her work for not even a second, simply said, “Hey you!”

Corg looked at his dedicated co-worker and shook his head. Looking back at Carmen, he dipped his tongue in a pool of sarcasm and said, “Nice to see that at least one person is happy at my being here.”

“Oh stop being melodramatic, Corg,” chuckled Dee, still staring at the book next to her keyboard. “I’ve been giving you sisterly hugs since…when was it now? The fourth grade? The fact that I won’t get up at this very moment in no way signifies a change in our friendship.” She kept on typing as if there had never been an interruption.

“Well that’s nice to know,” muttered Corg. Clearing his throat, he added, “And it was the fifth grade, not the fourth.”

“I distinctly remember meeting you in the fourth grade, mister,” she said drolly, occasionally stopping her typing to adjust her glasses or turn the page in the book she was transcribing.

Corg walked over to his station and set his backpack on the ground next to his chair. He then turned on his computer and walked away from his station to get a glass of water. Carmen had already gone back to her transcribing duties.

“And no. We became friends in the fifth grade. You were afraid of me in the fourth grade.”

Dee continued typing, her little porcelain fingers racing madly across the keyboard. “Well, in my defense, everybody was afraid of you in the fourth grade. You went from being this shy loner who couldn’t run a race to save his life to being this athletic loner with a bizarre fixation on animals practically overnight. It was a bit weird. Difference was, that unlike the other kids, I was able to see a bit of good in the Corg the next year.”

“Well, we can emphasize the word bit if you want. And I’m still a loner.” Corg took a swig of his water and swished it around his mouth, as he hadn’t had time to brush his teeth after dinner that evening.

Still staring at the book beside her as if her life depended on it, Dee addressed his comment, “You are a good listener, Corg. And for people like Carmen, whose problems never seem to cease, that’s a valuable quality.”

“I don’t have problems. I have life episodes,” argued Carmen, sticking out her tongue at Dee, who didn’t notice.
Corg sighed as he filled up his cup again at the automatic dispenser. “You two may like that I’m a good listener, but the other girls never seem to notice it. Look at me, I’m 18 and I’ve never had a girlfriend. Hell, had it not been for Dee, I never would’ve been to a school dance…ever.”

Dee shot a quick glance up at Corg with her large brown eyes and then returned to her typing. Smiling to herself, she simply observed, “Yeah. Unfortunately, your reputation from elementary school just happened to follow you to high school. That’s all. But we’re in new territory now. Things can change. Don’t sweat it, Corgie.”

Corg walked glumly over to the corner of the room where the boxes of old books were. His shift wouldn’t begin for another five minutes, the same time when Carmen and Dee would finish theirs. He browsed through the titles, looking for something interesting transcribe today; he had finished last transcription the previous day. He picked up a book titled Reflections in an Unblinking Eye and started thumbing through it.

“So girls, find anything interesting today?” he asked, looking over the cover at the two girls, who were still typing.

“Dee got one that’s a real eybrow lifter,” chimed in Carmen, her voice laced with pep.

“Oh yeah?”

Dee, still staring at her work, nodded and spoke. “Uh huh. I got a book written by some conspiracy theorist. The premise of the book is that the whole story of Alis Landale is actually some sort of legend elaborated by the government to manipulate the people.”

Corg snorted when he heard that. “What a whack job.”

Carmen giggled. “Tsk. Tsk. You’re ruining my virgin ears, Corg.”

Corg, his eyes fixed on a piece of text about the theoretical android uprising in front of him, didn’t look up, but said, ironically, “Considering the nature of the gossip you and Dee feed me on a daily basis, I’d say that your virgin ears were done away with a long time ago.”

Dee looked up from her work and exchanged shifty glances with Carmen. “It has worked, we have corrupted the boy,” she said in a mock sinister monotone.

Corg walked over to his terminal and noticed that the monitor hadn’t switched on yet. “What the heck? Gaa! Stupid wires and cords are tangled up again. Everyone is using wireless technology and here were are, working with crappy powers supplies and crouching under tables to sort these stupid things out. You get the impression that the university doesn’t really give a flying leap off a tall building about this project, do they?”

Corg knelt down and crawled beneath his workspace. He started fiddling with the wires and cords, some of which had come unplugged and now were about as orderly as sphaghetti.

“This is going to take a while,” he muttered.

“Well, it’s not like they actually care about us. I’m pretty convinced that they created this project just to get some more money from the government,” said Dee with a dry cynicism.
“Yeah,” squealed Carmen. “Does anybody really believe that the preservation of some alleged literary classic about a Palman who has an affair with a Motavian is going to make a difference in the education of our generation?”

“Thanks, Carmen,” scolded Corg in a monotone. “If I dream about an interracial affair a between a Palman and Motavian, I’m going to blame you.”

At that moment, Dee placed a bookmark in the book she had been transcribing and closed it. “Welps, I’m done for the day.”

***
TWIMP! TWIMP!

Two balls of eerie greenish light shot forth from the barrel of the short, goateed man’s gun, racing almost silently through the air. In a very small fraction of a second, the balls of energy had struck their targets, two security guards sitting plopped in front of a console full of screens receiving images from the numerous security cameras spread throughout the museum. The guards convulsed violently for a few seconds before collapsing in a heap, their heads crashing violently against the console they had been staring into.

Two other men, one being a clean-shaven blonde man over six-and-half feet tall and a shorter, blue-haired man with what his buddies referred to as a “adult movie star” mustache slipped quietly into the room and removed the guards from their chairs, tying them up and dragging them into a corner.

A fourth man, whose spiky orange hair clashed violently with his purple fur vest and pants, observed the activity. “The weapon was set on stun, right?” He asked the man with goatee, his voice trembling with anxiety.

The gunman nodded. “Of course. Our client said that he didn’t want any dead bodies if we could avoid it. Don’t worry, they’ll be out for four hours at least.”

“Hey boss,” called out the bigger man in his tuba-like voice. “There are two girls in the museum still.”

The spiky-haired man pushed his way into the security room and stared at the screen. Squinting his eyes at the images of the two girls in a room together, he snorted. “Interns. From the looks of it, they’re already on their way out. We’ll go wait on the floor and, as soon as they leave, we’ll get started.”

The other three men nodded in agreement. The man with the blue mustache pulled out his gun and set it on “STUN”.

“What are you doing? I said we’re going to wait,” reprimanded the orange-haired man.

“I know, boss. But as they say, ‘Chance favors the prepared mind.’”

“Well, from the looks of it, said the man with the goatee, those girls are the only others in the museum. Come, let’s get down to the main floor and check out the place.”

Quietly, the four men stole out of the security room and slithered down the stairs and onto the main floor of the museum, disappearing into the dark shadows that enveloped the establishment.

***

“There, that does it,” declared Corg dryly as he finished untangling the last of the cords and plugging them into their correct socket. “Your apathy cannot defeat me, foul university!”

Wriggling himself out of the space underneath his workspace, Corg was met by Dee, who embraced him warmly as he got up.

Smiling, she said, “Happy now, Corg?”

“Quite so,” he said in usual dry, but pleased tone.

Carmen was already near the door with her backpack on. “So Corgie, do you have any plans for the weekend?”

Corg shook his head as he bent over his keyboard and typed his password into the system. “Nope. No tests. No papers. Nothing to do. I think I’ll just put in some extra hours here to pass off the time.”

“Why don’t you go to a club with us?” asked Carmen cheerfully.

Corg looked up at her and pursed his lips. Turning his head to his diminutive friend Dee, he observed, “Uh, Dee, you’ve seen me dance before. Tell Carmen how much of a bad idea it is.”

Wagging her finger, Dee said, “Relax. Ninety percent of the people there are already going to be drunk or high. I don’t think they’ll notice your dancing.”

“Ah ha! But you forget one thing, my dear friend. Any girl that I might be interested in, and that’s assuming I even had the courage to ask one to dance, would certainly be from that other ten percent, and she would be exposed to my dancing uninhibited.”

Carmen scratched her chin a little. “How about a group date. I bet Dee or I could set you up with—“

“—Mieu” interrupted Dee, slyly.

Corg’s palms began sweating. Dee had invoked the Mieu. “Mieu” was the nickname of a student at the university, Misty Eunizelle Stanton. Misty had studied at the same high school as Dee and Corg and was something of a childhood crush of his, even though he had never made it known to anyone, including Dee. Unfortunately, because of the fact that he started sweating almost every time he came close to her, Dee was able to deduce the truth pretty early on and would occasionally tease Corg about it, despite his claims that he didn’t like her. Of course he did, and Corg had often reasoned to himself that Mieu Stanton was the only girl who could truly make red hair look sexy—Corg generally was attracted to girls with beryl or lime green hair.

“Ha! You were right, Dee! He does get clammy at the mention of Mieu!” Carmen laughed. “Oh c’mon, Corg. It’ll be fun. We can even coach you on how to court her.”

As much as he wanted to consent to the deal, Corg found himself saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Dang it, Corg,” said Dee impatiently. “Do yourself a favor for once in your life. Live. Don’t you have that innate desire to feel the loving contact of a woman that’s not a platonic hug from Carmen or I?”

Dee had a point.

“W-w-well,” stammered Corg. “Contrary to popular belief, and to what my dancing may attest to, I’m not made of stone. But why would anybody want me?”

“Corgie dear,” answered Carmen lovingly. “You’re smart, you have a good future ahead of you, you’re affectionate with us, and by god I know there’s a hopeless romantic waiting beneath that stiff exterior. You just gotta give it a chance.”

“Carmen,” said Dee looking at the time on her touchpad. “We need to go. The others will be waiting for us at the restaurant.” Looking up at Corg as she reached the door, she said, “Corg, think about it. You’ve always been good to me—and Carmen—let us be good to you.”

On that note, Carmen slid her ID card through the reader. The door slid open, revealing a museum that was no practically pitch black. The two girls disappeared into the darkness and soon the door closed again, leaving Corg alone.

***
The four armed men watched from the all-concealing shadows of the museum corridors as the two girls left the room and headed quickly toward the exit. Although they kept their weapons ready, it was pretty apparent that the girls had no more business at the museum and were going to leave as quickly as possible. The men waited patiently, quietly, and remained as stiff as statues until they heard the echo of the whirring of the mechanical door, signaling that it was shut. The men then poured out of the shadows, ready to execute their plans for the night.
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