Author Topic: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)  (Read 3361 times)

Offline Allronix

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"The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:26:01 PM »
"The Middle of the Night"
By Allronix
Space Quest
Rating: PG-13 (language)

Summary: "No, I don't talk to anyone about these. As I said earlier, most people don't credit me with the capability to have survived these. Even if they do, they credit it to blind luck. This mop-toting slob COULDN'T be capable of those kind of feats. And they're sure I'm not aware enough to appreciate the horror. Fools never are."

Note: If you're expecting a typical SQ comedy, this isn't it.  As always, Roger and his friends and foes belong to the Two Guys From Andromeda, whoever owns the rights from Sierra On-Line.




2100 DeepShip time

Man, I'm beat. They had a party in 8-Rear and guess who has to clean it up. You guessed it. You think it wouldn't be too much to ask people not to leave their tables looking like a Labion Terror Beast ate there.

Apparently, it is. Oh, and the astro-heads backed up again. And Kielbasa just HAS to use that litter box rather than a john like everyone else...

Oh, yeah. Screw what I think. Most folks on this jockstrap in the sky wouldn't credit me with that. I'm just the d*mn janitor. So, pardon me if I'm not going to bother to change out of my coveralls and just collapse in the rack here.

****


2300 DeepShip time


The smell of smoke and ozone filled the air with the clank of boots and the screams, drowned out by the alarm klaxons. Thinking it was just a weird dream brought on by one too many chilidogs, Roger opened the janitor's closet where he had been napping.

Holy hand grenades! It wasn't a dream. Research droids spun around in a tizzy, the ship lurched and shook and the too-cheery voice counted down to self-destruct. In the confusion, he only barely registered the copious blood on the walls, and the message "SARIENS" someone wrote with a combination of blood and their own intestines.

A data cartridge he'd been tipped off to by Professor Vohaul - the good professor Vohaul - was the only thing he could use against the guys shooting up the ship. He had been in too much shock to really comprehend until later that he was the only survivor.

He was down on the lower decks. Come on, only a few more feet to the shuttle and safety.

Clank, clank, clank...heavy boots coming nearer and nearer. Oh, s**t! No place to hide this time.

ZOT!

The shot hit him right in the gut - slow, painful death while admiring the charred remains of what had once been vital organs. The Sarian stormtrooper grabbed the data cartridge and took a moment to admire the handiwork before marching away.



****

...Sweating and shaking, I wake up. Oh, the "Arcada incident." Well, that happened years ago. Barely a footnote in the history logs now. "All hands were lost," it reads. Hey, I was there. I'm the only one who survived it, but I am here.

Wonder if anyone would notice if I wasn't?

Forget it. Need to sleep.


****


0100 DeepShip time


The remains of the Goliath's crew had their guns pointed at him. Every single one of them was hideously disfigured and driven crazy by the toxic sludge their ship had been illegally transporting. Projectiles of toxic waste whizzed past him, leaving a trail of foul-smelling globs on the deck.

He ducked and ran, faking left and darting right down the hall, heart pounding. The corridors seemed as warped as their crew, covered with the sludge and the rapidly melting remains of what might have been crew members at some point.

Roger grabbed his communicator. "Cliffy! Beam me aboard!"

Static.

"Cliffy, darn it!"

The best feeling in the world was when the transporter grabbed him. The slight buzz induced by the transport only added to his relief. He was back on the Eureka, safe for the moment.

"Man, Cliffy, cut it a little closer next time!"

Cliffy turned around. "Won't be a 'next time,' Captain."

Roger jumped back a few feet. Too late. Half of Cliffy's face looked ready to fall off. Oozing sores covered his face and arms. Worse, he seemed to enjoy this new fashion statement.

"Apprehend. Mission accomplished." WD-40, the killer she-bot, grabbed him from behind.

"Good to have you back, sir," Droole, the trigger-happy helmsman, now looked like something out of a Pollock Jackson paining, a shuffling blob of orange and green. He came in with Flo, who didn't look so hot herself. She was a shade of gold-green that wouldn't be found in a self-respecting paint kit, with angry dark yellow boils completing the ugly picture.

No...no bleeping way...

"Good to have you back." Her voice was the same, that clear alto honed by years of diplomatic service, now purring low and seductive.

"Not you...No." Roger struggled fruitlessly against WD-40's grip.

"I thought you'd be happy to see me." She was out of stasis, approaching him slowly. Her hands did not have the boils and blisters. She cupped his cheek and pressed herself to him, close as lovers.

"It's all right. Just accept it. Fate, remember?"

He shuddered as she tilted her head and moved to kiss him. Even under the horrible boils and the other evil-looking effects of the biohazardous slime, he could see the beauty that once had been.

He was screwed. Only thing he could do now was accept a literal kiss of death.

"Beatrice, don't..."



***


"BEATRICE!"

Heart's pounding, place is dark...Oh. Just my converted cargo-hold quarters. The toxic waste is cleaned up, StarCon survived and busted me back down to janitor. That sucked. I knew I was hosed the moment I walked in court. I know I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm not that stupid. I already knew that Xenon would rather not acknowledge a janitor saved their butts from the Sarians, so why give a zero a hero's credit a second time?

I fully expected Beatrice to dump me like a wet rag, but she hasn't yet. Go figure. I'm really glad though. She's the best thing to come out of all this.

Geez, Wilco. You're a mess. Maybe sticking to being a mop jockey is better for you. Hard to have nightmares about sticky floors or mildew.

I get up, wash my face, strip down to my shorts, and attempt sleep again.

No, I don't talk to anyone about these. As I said earlier, most people don't credit me with the capability to have survived these. Even if they do, they credit it to blind luck. This mop-toting slob COULDN'T be capable of those kind of feats. And they're sure I'm not aware enough to appreciate the horror. Fools never are.

And I let them think it. Won't do any good to correct them. Sometimes, I can even be that idiot. It beats the alternative.

I take a datapad and slide in the latest issue of "Popular Tektronics." That ought to divert me enough to finally get some sleep.

That's when I get a look at the cover story.

XENON SUPERCOMPUTER PROJECT

The most ambitious project in the history of the Earnon Galaxy, this project will centralize all of Xenon's primary functions. It is also thought to be immune to viruses and tampering - the perfect machine, according to Head Researcher Professor Kenneth Lloyd.

I throw it aside as if it was about to blow. I'm scared out of my limited wits - worse than the Arcada, worse than the Goliath. Worse than anything. The hair is standing up at the back of my neck and I only have the vaguest idea why.

I kill the lights and try to calm down, but I get a fuzzy image playing in my head - a man that's a couple years younger than I was when I got sent to the Arcada. He's got a small projector.


He held a picture of Beatrice, wearing the winged crown and toga of traditional Xenonian wedding attire. "She...was beautiful...We had to go back to find the only one who had defeated Vohaul..." he told Roger. "Look, I can't explain."



That dream's the worst. It was the first time I saw Bea. That guy said he was our son, even said I got married to her. D*mned if I know why Bea would go for it. I can't even place what she sees in me, even if I can't complain.

That was the happiest dream...and the worst nightmare. All around us, Xenon was ashes, and I know I had something to do with it. Problem is I can't remember how or why, and that I won't be able to stop it until it's too late for most of everyone. And even then, the kid made it pretty clear that Bea and I weren't among those who made it.

I get a bad feeling about this. I'm not smart enough to put it into words, but something makes sense in a bad way. There's one nightmare that I won't wake up from.

And something tells me it just started.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2010, 04:31:43 PM by Allronix »
Old Adventure Gamers never die - they've always saved first.

Offline kindofdoon

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Re: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 11:04:19 PM »
I'm not familiar with Space Quest, actually.

Daniel Dichter, Production/PR
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Offline waltzdancing

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Re: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 12:08:46 AM »
*GASPS* You have to go to youtube to see it. I love that series, been stuck on Game #3 for 2 years now. It is a great series.

Offline Allronix

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Re: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 03:07:48 AM »
It's the snarkier, slightly raunchier, sci-fi cousin of King's Quest. The alleged "hero" is a janitor that can't be accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. He only survives an alien attack because he was using the broom closet for an on-the-clock nap, for example. He spends the first three games or so bumbling from one disaster to the next.

The fourth game, though, took a really dark twist. As Roger's headed home from Space Quest 3, he stops to get a drink, but his bragging gets the attention of some mooks working for his nemesis, Vohaul. As said mooks are about to shoot him dead, a pair of soldiers intervene and pull him out of the fire. One of them opens up a time rift and shoves Roger through. Roger lands in a distant future where his enemy has taken over his home planet, and the level is first-class nightmare fuel, even with Gary "Space Ghost" Owens laying down the sarcasm a meter thick.

Some time travel and close shaves later, Roger goes back to the hellhole Vohaul's made of the planet and manages to put the megalomaniac on a disk, then toss the disk down an industrial shaft, reuniting with the soldier that saved his life back at the bar. Turns out the soldier is his future son. After explaining what happened, and showing Roger a picture of his future wife, Junior sends Roger back to his home time-frame.  However the dialogue strongly implied that Roger and Beatrice die well before  they see their kid grow up or are able to stop the rather horrific fate of their home planet.

The fifth game, Roger gets a little proactive and enlists in the Star Confederation Academy. Again, he sucks at class work, but a computer glitch gives him a perfect score on his aptitude test. He's assigned to captain a garbage scow, the SCS Eureka. The three-person crew is surly, it's implied they stuffed their last captain out an airlock, but they turn out to be talented...if unmotivated. Meanwhile, the "golden boy" of the Fleet has been taking bribes from a crooked biotech company to dump mutagenic waste on sparsely-inhabited planets that no one will "miss." Beatrice, the representative for those planets, is getting the runaround and brush-off from Confederacy brass over it, and is kinda ticked. The toxic waste ends up mutating Quirk and his whole crew.  The Eureka manages to gather evidence of the conspiracy, cure the survivors, and blow the mutated menace to atoms.

Only for Roger to come home to a kangaroo court and get busted back down to janitor...again. Now, seeing as the Admiral in charge of the "tribunal" turned out to be rather chummy with the game's antagonist? Could be coincidence, probably was written as coincidence...still doesn't pass the sniff test.
Old Adventure Gamers never die - they've always saved first.

Offline kindofdoon

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Re: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 12:56:29 PM »
Sounds sort of like Douglas Adams.

Daniel Dichter, Production/PR
daniel.dichter@postudios.com

Offline snabbott

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Re: "The Middle of the Night" (Space Quest)
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 01:09:44 PM »
The alleged "hero" is a janitor that can't be accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer.

SQ1: "This knife wouldn't cut hot margarine!" XD

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