“It’s not about catching. It’s about fishing.” She said putting herself in a better spot.
“Sure I did. I’m mentally divorced every monday” Elsbeth shrugged “And don’t disturb the water, you’re frightening the fishes”
“But fishing, there’s no fishing without a fish in the water” Elsbeth moved a float to another spot “I can arrange a meeting for you with my daughter, she can explain you everything. Including logic connection between fishing, fishes and no catching ’em at all”
“So you have a brain, that’s something new” Milena reached for cookies.
“So… we need to be quiet and contemplate your not catching but fishing?” Laurel seemed be bored.
“You can always hang yourself on a tree, but quietly” She smiled a bit “Drowning is out of limits”.
“You’re cruel, heartless monster” Laurel nodded
“I do my best” Elsbeth affirmed “And about divorces, your happy years passed, when we shall see the drama? When the blood spills out? Three years and nothing?”
“You know, we’re rather boring marriage, no drama, no fights, nothing interesting” Laurel answered while she knocked off some little stone.
“Don’t mistake your fantasies with me please” Laurel yawned.
“So, you’d text me?” Milena giggled
“Shhhh! Fishes!” Elsbeth hushed at us angrily.
The school. Yes. Full of monsters. A place where a little devilish military and not offsprings are testing theirs ability to destroy the world we know. To make a future we shall regret. I love this work. You feel you can make a difference. Drown some future psychopath serial-killer, help some unknown little genius… Flowers, love, hopes and blowing things off. So much possibilities…
After first two weeks of practicing “a practice” – literally doing nothing, they finally put me at “senior assistant” position. I got a promotion, right. And was not forced anymore to wear these ridiculous clothes, and – much more important, I started to meeting students.
“You wanna be crying?” Elsbeth’s daughter welcomed me first.
“You know, our last caretaker left work with big cry and ran away from the island”
“She had enough. And when Bobby asked her about anal sex…”
“No thanks, I feel filled already”
“So… about what Bobby could ask me if he already spoiled this topic?” I tried to prepare myself for this unavoidable confrontation.
“Who knows? Depends what commercial he has seen lately. Not a bright boy, you know?”
“About what you want to ask me?”
“Have you some interesting ideas for Riemann’s hypothesis?”
“Sometimes I worry about her” Elsbeth was visiting me from time to time “It’s not about this all genius stuff, mathematics, computers, hacking into databases and so on. It’s about her mind”
“She outgrow most of the world’s population two years ago. And that is a reason for my trouble. She has not a normal childhood, you know – playing in the sand, making silly things…” She sighted
“Become imbecile?” Elsbeth laughed
Time was passing so fast… I even don’t know when the summer ended. The school started to work normally, not in this “holiday mode”. And I learned a bit more about all of them.
Elsbeth was a kind of natural leader. Not only because she was eldest. And in fact she even wasn’t an actual “officer’s wife”. Her husband was higher in rank and experience NCO in the base. Very close to general Hammond’s ear. And his word was considered seriously. But Elsbeth was a kind of leader not because hers husband’s influence, but of hers own. Kind of common sense which was a real rescue sometimes. And a sense of humor which kept us alive and sane. She told me a bit about herself while visiting local park for some friendly “chess sparing”.
“You know, my story is a sad one, not so interesting ’till you find a pleasure in some dirties” She winked
“My mom was a whore, my daddy was a criminal, at last he was a criminal when they hang him a years ago. And when I grow up to thirteen I hit the street to keep money flow into home’s budget… So sad times…”
“And you believed this” She almost cried with the laughter. We sat next to the chess table and started a little match.
“OK. That was not fair” She wiped a few tears ” Seriously – I was normal girl, a stupid one, but quite normal, with normal family” She caught her breath “We weren’t rich nor poor, just like thousands of others in Anne’s Arbor.”
“Don’t get mad. It’s simple … It’s very hard to be serious when you have this serious face” She laughed again “But… If you’re still interested in my not very interesting lifeline”
“So… when I’ve been teen as other stupid girls and boys I wanted to be so adult there and now. And I was quite good in pretending that. That way I lured my husband. Imagine how surprised he was when he discovered I was sixteen when I started dating with him” She sighted “Well, he was not very bright man at this time anyway”
“It was some fighting between me and my parents of course. Bad words, spilled without a reason and reflection. Well – poor mom and daddy were really pissed off when instead going to college I was expecting. So stupid girl I was” She smiled a bit “I was so hurry to be adult and adulthood caught me up from behind. Such things happens, just as.” She looked at me “But honestly, after these seventeen years I wouldn’t change Robert for any man in the World. Even for your sweet bobby, honey” She pointed me meaningly with a pawn,
Yes, she was the leader. Despite there were a “better candidates” for this role. And I don’t mention general’s wife, oh no… It would be ridiculous. But Joan, for example. Joan Bridge, the colonel’s wife. I’ve not meet her before early autumn. Like Sarah she was often busy and also, she wasn’t a kind of “army wife”. I’ve met her a second day of my work here in Matkoosee Elementary when I still was an “assistant specialised in doing nothing”.
“Actually I’m your fiance’s boss, in the manner of speaking”
“I thought captain Nix is his boss”
“Nix is his military boss, basically. When he comes into labs, he prays exclusively to me” She laughed a bit.
So, she wasn’t an “ordinary army wife”. In fact – she was a part of real base personnel. That part which matters. At first I felt a bit confused and embarrassed, you know – one of mothers of kids you look after in the school shows herself suddenly as an important person. A small town advantages. Heh.
“And… Well… So… what’s the difference?” I asked when I’ve found the words.
“It’s not very complicated” She smiled a bit to me “In military code he answers before Nix, just like she before my husband. In the labs he is my subordinate as I’m subordinate to general. And it works really in a simple way – ’till base would be attacked by some giant Godzilla or mozzarella”
“…right, where I was – next to the meal. Sign I’m hungry. Anyway – ’till there something really military happens, he is just a part of my staff, as many others. Nix mostly takes care about families’ normal safety, daily routines, sharpening knifes, punching the bags, stroking the guns, you know – such things.”
“And.. about non-normal safety?”
“We have there two squad of spec ops, as far as I know, nobody tells about this much anyway.” She looked at me “But, taking into account you simple knocked out one of them I’m not feeling safe anymore” She giggles.
Seemed I became a local celebrity of some kind.
“I though there are regulations against such … relationships” I stared at her somewhat intrigued
“Maybe if they did not cut our budget by sixty-five percent, it would really matters. There’s not so big market for scientists at some level of quality for these budget wages, you know?”
While Josh already returned from his delegacy with other men, he also often had a night shifts. And a whole house was on my head. As there was much to do, anyway.
The bedroom. At these times we had not enough money to change this old bed. So… I just painted it and bough some new beddings.
And I bought a few new things. Small ones. Just for feeling comfortable. Almost whole house seems to look less weird. Except this second room which worked as “storage” at these times. There supposed to be a nursery… well… maybe. Some day.
And bathroom. Buying a new shower has cut our finances to real small scale. But this old was a disaster, really. I felt more dirty than before after using it. I installed a new with a little help of Laurel who proved herself as quite handy. I could ask for a base mechanics assistance but I did not want something like “shower also working fine as machine gun” stuff in my house. Or worse.
“Indeed” He seemed to agree in this matter.
“And I’m dirty”
“I like some dirty”
And he was so nice, he helped me to wash my back.
However, while his abilities in shower duty and other were remarkable, not mentioning really good pastrami, dumplings and veggie chops he was able to make, his pancakes’ proficiency sucks badly. Breakfast often were mine.
“You’ve been officially called terrorist. General mentioned you for the news. Two times.
“Great. I should feel honored?”
“And how!” He nodded with appreciation “Hammond don’t like these all BS. He said once he is too old to believe in it and too young to believe in UFO. Old-fashioned man. He believes in guns, professionals and family. In that particular order.”
“Anyway. In such case, don’t worry they definitely put your interrogation on me” He comforted me.
“Great. So I won’t meet some sexy, sadistic interrogators?”
“Doubtful. They’re fed up your email anyway. Disappointed?”
“Anyway, hows your study?” He asked me ’bout these courses I was given by command.
“Good. Honestly, general want to meet you. In person” He smiled a bit from above the pancake.
“So… he desire to interrogate me personally?”
“You know, he was kind of my caretaker for a quite while” Josh laughed a bit “Sometimes, I think he treat me like part a family. Such position sometimes put me higher and sometimes lower in his eyes. Anyway, our families knows each other from the ages”
“Don’t stress yourself. Its nothing special”
I sighted quietly. Truth to be told, Josh’s family wasn’t very exited by me as addition. As far as I know anything about this. I’ve met his mother a few times and she was rather … cold. And his father. I saw him once. One time. Exactly. A long time ago. And since he started to live in hospital because of his cancer – I’ve never met him again. It may look strange, but I almost did not know his family or friends except these from base. Everything passed so fast.
Seemed another “test” was underway.
Endnote: This particular chapter was much longer before I cut it in half. Producing so long ones is rather bad practice. I need also admit than Big Mud activity kicked me a little too 😉
Also this chapter is the first taken mostly from actual gaming not mostly planned scenes. I supposed Nathalie finally will meet Joan but not yet. Game decided. Also invitation for a party from general came the same way.
Natasha’s (Elsbeth daughter) question refers to a little mathematical problem described briefly there. She has a genius traits in-game and her face looks mostly exactly that way. She has also “No sense of humor” trait 😀 Poor kid. Or… poor the others.
Josh has the third level in cooking (you know, he was single for some time and canteen food is only for the bravest) but he really failed to make some pancakes in-game severally. Maybe a kind of “pancake curse”. Funny fact is, pancakes are his favourite meal. On the other hand, constant company of Elsbeth woke up in Nathalie a wish to learn fishing… Short confessions (or rumours ’bout other “girls”, also theirs families shall show soon in one way or another).
Still these beginning chapters are focused around Nathalie, and obviously written from her point of view but slowly her fiancée become more visible in the next chapters.