Vincent’s Holiday – WWA short story

WWA-based one-shot.

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With a dull ‘clunk’ the dart touched the ground of the flight bay and its pilot jumped lithely out of the narrow cockpit.

My other way of traveling would have been faster but still, flying a dart is fun – and it doesn’t startle the others as much, Vincent mused as he headed for the rec room, expecting to find some company there.

Curiously he stopped and listened as a grinding noise approached him fast, growing thunderously loud behind the nearest corner and following his instincts Vincent flattened himself against the wall – not one second too early as it turned out, for Fred rushed past him on a skateboard, sending Vincent’s hair and coat streaming in his wake.

“Sorry about that,” Fred hollered back at Vincent.

“It’s okay,” Vincent muttered, well aware that Fred was already beyond hearing range.

It was exactly this Vincent sought here: new impressions, new stories and a change from his everyday life on Kenny’s hive. Not that he didn’t like it there; it had become almost a home for him and he had also found friends, but he was glad to exchange the quiet and order for a few days of the bustling, controlled chaos that was Boris’s hive.

Passing the entrance of the meditation room he shuddered involuntarily. Beautiful as this room might be, meditating was something he certainly didn’t want to do in a hurry – the last time he had meditated hadn’t exactly been a pleasant experience.

Vincent nodded in greeting at Hector and Dave who were carrying a wooden crate containing a mushroom-shaped bowl of sorts towards the museum. The crate bore the label “Contemporary Ceremonial Chalice, Copelandia”.

The museum – now that I would like to visit while I’m here, Vincent thought as he followed the steady murmur of voices that brought him to the rec room.

As he entered the noise was ear-splitting – at least for him because he wasn’t used to this at all. Inside the rec room was a wild chaos of Wraith and worshippers, all chatting happily with each other. Some were sharing various human foods, even sipping Kenny’s coffee which made him proud to be a part of the coffee empire.

A gentle tug on his coat made Vincent look down – and further down, to the little Wraithling who tried to hide behind him.

“Not tell me here, Uncle!” the toddler urged him.

Kit! That was his name. Scanning the room Vincent saw a worshipper coming his way, crouching down every couple of steps and peering under tables and behind sofas.

Ah, so this is a game, he thought. “Don’t worry, Kit,” he whispered in an appropriate conspiratorial tone and covered Kit with the tails of his coat. “I won’t tell her you’re here.”

The worshipper searching for Kit looked familiar and after rummaging in his memory Vincent found her name: DS. That meant one or both of her Wraith couldn’t be far. And indeed Tommy was here, absorbed in gazing at a computer screen nearby. Apparently he was reading something called ‘wikipedia’ from the earth internet.

On the other side of the room Vincent recognised Rhys who nodded at him before turning his attention back to his conversation with Spike who also nodded a greeting. Next to Spike sat a worshipper Vincent hadn’t seen before. The affectionate way she looked at Spike showed clearly she belonged to him. When she noticed Vincent she gave him a little wave and a smile.

I will probably be introduced to her sooner or later, he thought.

Apart from her the other faces in the room were all familiar. Jimmy, Neo and Gawain were gathered around a table and Jimmy was eating something that uncannily resembled a rodent impaled on a piece of wood. At the neighboring table Boris and Ciannwn were immersed in their conversation.

“Hi Vincent! Long time no see.” Turning around he saw DS giving him a bright smile and he smiled back.

“DS. Yes, it’s been some time. I see the hive is well and prospering.”

“Indeed. We have even accquired a few new Wraith and worshippers while you were away.” There was a cheeky glint in her eyes and her smile broadened as she continued, “Who knows, one of the new worshippers might be interested in you.”

The idea of meeting new Wraith and worshippers appealed to him; he was open-minded and enjoyed socialising with others. And even if it wasn’t his highest priority – if one of the females showed indeed interest in him, that would be a welcome bonus.

“Actually, that would be nice but it’s not why I came here in the first place…” his voice drifted off as he watched DS who apparently didn’t listen to him, for she stalked a sofa nearby and pounced on it, emitting a triumphant cry and sweeping away some cushions. Shaking her head with exaggerated vigour she returned to Vincent.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, I’m still listening but I’m also looking for Kit. You didn’t see him by any chance?”

Wearing his most indifferent wraithy expression he replied with sincerity, “Well, I did glimpse him very shortly when I came in but I haven’t seen him since then.”

Suddenly the Kit-shaped bulge under his coat erupted in a giggling fit and DS folded her arms across her chest, raising an inquiring eyebrow. Vincent shrugged and offered an apologetic smile.

“You may want to refine your technique and patience when playing hide and seek, young Wraith,” he told Kit as the toddler stuck his head out, shoving the coat away like a heavy curtain.

“Now Auntie hide?” Kit asked eagerly.

DS grinned. “Sure. But I need some time to find a good hiding place. Maybe Uncle Vincent will count to twenty for you and then you can come and seek me.”

“Not an easy task but I’m confident Kit and I can manage it,” Vincent said while picking Kit up and turning around to face the door with him – then turning around again because Kit still watched the fleeing figure of DS. “Now Kit, don’t look, that’s unfair. Don’t you think Auntie DS deserves a chance? After all she’s up against the impeccable senses and abilities of an aspiring young hunter.”

“M’kay, Uncle,” Kit murmured, and Vincent began to count, still trying to keep the impatient toddler from wiggling his way down from Vincent’s arm.

“… Nineteen… Twenty!” With relief he put Kit down and watched him scoot off. Upon straightening up Vincent met Rhys’s eye; the other Wraith was observing him attentively – probably had been doing so all the time while Vincent had talked to DS.

He had heard Rhys was known for his possessive and unpredictable nature so he thought it best to clarify matters right from the start – Vincent always approached potential problems with a straightforward attitude.

I have no intentions of trespassing on your territory, he aimed the telepathic message at Rhys who widened his eyes for a second as he received it, looking astonished. I always respect another Wraith’s claim on a worshipper.

Having recovered from his surprise about Vincent’s telepathic contact, Rhys replied, It’s okay, she was only talking to you. I’m just overly jealous sometimes, sorry. It’s good to see you around again, Vincent.

For me it feels good to be around again and see you all too, Vincent agreed and turned towards Boris’s table.

Mouldy leftovers. I hate to communicate telepathically, he growled to himself. It tends to make the other Wraith nervous and wary, he thought as he walked over to Boris, greeting the commander and his worshipper politely before informing Boris he intended to stay for a while and was available to do any tasks on the hive that might occur.

*****

Now that felt weird, Rhys thought with a shudder. The brief contact with Vincent’s mind had given him the creeps – not something he experienced often. He couldn’t even put his finger on it but something about Vincent’s mind had felt unusual; exceptionally solid and tangible but fleeting and unsteady as well. He gave Vincent’s telepathic presence a closer look and decided he needed help. Not turning around he mentally reached out for Tommy.

Hey!

No reaction, apparently Tommy was too absorbed, so he tried it again. This time he used the proven method that always got him Tommy’s attention.

Hey! Fluffy!

An indignated growl came back over the telepathic link, followed by a resigned sigh. What is it? I hope it’s not one of your unbearable ‘knock, knock’ jokes again.

Rolling his eyes, Rhys tried to stay calm. No. Believe it or not, this time it’s important.

Like the time you told me to go outside quickly because you had seen a unicorn for the zoo? When I returned – unsurprisingly without unicorn – you had snatched DS and disappeared with her somewhere for two days.

Rhys winced at the memory of DS’s reprimand when she found out he had tricked Tommy like that – but up till then it had been fun. No, nothing like that. Did you notice Vincent?

Tommy hesitated shortly. I was concentrating on this rather fascinating article about the European wren troglodytes troglodytes… so no – I didn’t notice him. But I can see him over there at Boris’s table.

Try to scan his mind, Rhys instructed him bluntly.

What? Don’t you think that would be rude? Tommy turned around in his seat to stare at Rhys. He was interrupted by Kit who sneaked under the terminal’s desk and put a finger to his lips. “Shhhhh, Uncle Tommy.”

Distractedly Tommy nodded before turning back to Rhys. Would you care to explain why I should intrude into a friend’s mind?

Oh, just for once! Simply do what I ask of you, it won’t hurt him.

After a final scowl and a guilty glance around Tommy closed his eyes – only to open them again a moment later, looking confused.

That’s weird, he mused in Rhys’s head. I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of his thoughts, as if his mind was heavily shielded – I couldn’t even try to scan his mind. On the first look everything seems normal though; I can clearly feel his telepathic presence, like everyone else’s. But the strange thing is, Vincent’s presence is stronger in comparison.

Exactly, Rhys replied with grim satisfaction. That’s very unusual. I wonder what kind of technology he uses for this. And why.

DS crawled on the floor between them and pretended to not see Kit who was mere inches from her and giggling silently.

He wouldn’t spy on us or do any harm, would he? Tommy asked worriedly. He always seemed to be a decent guy and Kenny trusts him.

I agree. I don’t think he’s a spy but I would like to have a little chat with him about any mind-shielding technology he might have. Maybe he can share it with us, Rhys managed to ponder before yelping out loud. A squealing toddler had just jumped onto his lap, not minding where he put his little feet, thus hitting a sensitive area. To complete the assault, DS jumped onto the sofa and began to tickle Rhys before he had the time to gather his senses.

“No! Stop it! Have mercy!” he exclaimed in fake despair.

DS stopped to grin at him for a second. “No mercy for our enemies, remember?” She winked at him and tickled him even more – now with the aid of Kit – until Rhys was forced to use his wraithy strength to keep both away at arm’s length.

“I could use some help here!” Rhys cried out, drawing the attention of Spike and his worshipper to him, both grinning. “Take those demons from hell away from me!”

“Oh, I don’t know, they suit you well,” Tommy stated with a faint smile on his lips. “And they’re having so much fun – it would be mean to spoil it.”

A scowl was the last thing Tommy saw before Rhys fell off the sofa, buried underneath a toddler and a worshipper who were laughing their heads off.

*****

From the other side of the room Vincent observed the little uneven fight with interest, and smiled. His stay here would certainly be entertaining.

 

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