brenna aubrey

Girl Geek — Chapter 10

Chapter 10

“Fifteen Questions: What’s Your Gameology?” –posted on the blog of Girl Geek on XXX

So, there’s a meme that’s been floating around the Gamer sites and I’ve been tagged to join in the fun. Why not? Girl Geek is always game for a little fun (see what I did there?)

Without further ado…

Girl Geek answers Fifteen Questions:

  1. What is your gamer tag?  Um. It’s GirlGeek. Yeah? Shouldn’t surprise anyone!

 

  1. PC or Console?  I don’t even own a console. Okay so my PC is a rusty bucket of bolts BUT I’m able to play my favorite games with everything adjusted on the lowest possible graphic display and sound settings. I’m hoping to upgrade soon, but money’s tight! At least I can still blog on it, right?

 

  1. Keyboard or Gamepad?   Keyboard. I’m not fancy!

 

  1. Single player or Multi player?     Multi-player though I do love some single player games. But I love the camaraderie of working toward a goal together. I like meeting new people through my games, too. I’ve made some amazing friends through my newest obsession, Dragon Epoch.

 

  1. What was the first game you have ever played?  Final Fantasy—I couldn’t even tell you which number it was.

 

  1. Hardest game you have ever played?   Any first-person shooter (FPS) game. ‘Cause I suck at them. I never did want to shoot anyone, anyway. I’d rather zap them with my lightning bolts or fireballs instead!

 

  1. What is your favorite game of all time?   Dragon Age: Origins. Because Alistair.

 

  1. What game is currently your favorite?   Dragon Epoch is the game that has eaten my life. And I love every second of it, pet peeves and all!

 

  1. Favorite video game genre?   MMORPG or pretty much any role-playing game.

 

  1. Favorite video game character?   It’s a toss-up between Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, because she’s badass. But Alistair, from Dragon Age, is dreamy and perfect. He may be pixels but ladies, he’s the perfect man.

 

  1. Which video game character do you hate most?   Wirt the Peg Leg Boy from Diablo. Because really, why oh why do we keep trusting that little turkey who’s been fleecing the heroes of Tristram for years?

 

  1. What gaming systems do you currently have?   My PC, such as it is, is all I need. I’m a PC gamer and proud. I’ll leave the console gaming to others.

 

  1. How long have you been gaming?   I started gaming my sophomore year in high school when I was out for part of the year due to illness. My BFF introduced me to gaming. He came to live with my family not long after that and we were co-dependent video game addicts together. We tried out everything there is to try, but, like I said, I love RPGs over FPS while my BFF is not as discerning. Basically, if it has pixels and beeps, he loves it.

 

  1. How long was your longest gaming session?   Uhhh do I want to come clean about something like this? I have done an overnighter on a MMO. That was recently, actually. Except we weren’t really playing. We were chatting and interacting in the game. It was all very innocent. He was helping me through some very hard times.

 

  1. What game have you clocked the most time on?   Hard to say? The old record was Final Fantasy but I think Dragon Epoch has now taken the lead. It’s my ultimate addiction. What can I say? Want to read my true confession? I’ve never actually typed /played on DE because I’m scared to see exactly how much of my life this game has sucked up. Scared, I tell you. I do not want to see

*You have been playing for 1 year 5 months 18 days and 4 hours.

Yeah, nope. Don’t wanna know! Ignorance is bliss and all that!

So there’s my meme. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. As always, leave your Q’s and A’s in the comments, but don’t razz me about that /played or I’ll delete your ass.

 

***

Bryan and Heath broke up. Just like that. No warning.

Well I mean, the warning was simply that they had a crappy relationship, but there was no big fight or eruption that caused it to happen.

One weekend Heath drove up to Anza with me to help my mom with some issues on the ranch and when he got back, his condo was cleaned out. The little turd hadn’t even left a note. Just took his shit (and then some) and left like the cowardly child he was.

And Heath was devastated.

Cue Mia with her broom and dustpan to swoop in and clean up the shattered pieces. I always did suck at housework.

I told him to pack his laptop, some clothes and bring his sleeping bag over to my place so we could camp out. I couldn’t keep a good eye on him where he was. When he hesitated, I insisted. Actually I drove over there and packed his bag myself.

With slumped shoulders, he resigned himself to his fate. He was going to stay under my watchful eye until I was satisfied that he’d be okay.

We spent a lot of that week gaming in between my classes and studying for finals. Only a few more weeks and I’d be on my last semester of school with no classes. I’d also be starting my new job at the hospital as a nurse’s assistant.

So while I had the time (such as it was), I babysat Heath’s broken heart.

“Guess what I read on the Dragon Epoch forums this morning?” he asked toward the end of that week of our campout.

“What? Were you trolling forums instead of getting your work done?”

He gave me a sheepish grin. “They’re my most understanding and patient client. They’ll wait. A little while, at least.”

I took a deep breath and raised my brows but didn’t reply. He seemed to be in much better spirits today and I didn’t want to say anything to throw him off of that.

“So you didn’t guess…and you probably won’t so I’m just going to tell you.”

I shrugged. “Please do.”

“There was a mysterious post on the forums this morning providing inside info that a ‘secret quest’ is being implemented into the game.”

I stared at him, uncomprehending. “A secret quest? What do you mean?”

“Well no one really knows. Just that we’re supposed to be talking to all the NPCs and there’s going to be a storyline involving the Princess Alloreah’ala—however you pronounce it. Some kind of mystery to solve and it will involve even finding the clues.”

Something about this new piece of information struck a chord and I and I frowned, remembering a conversation I’d had with my gaming group months ago…

I’d love it if there was a secret quest…Like something hidden in the game underneath the obvious quests. Maybe we’d have look for clues or speak to NPCs in order to get a hint that leads us on a secret quest chain.

What Heath had just described to me sounded exactly like what I’d been talking about!

How weird.

Contrary to FallenOne’s prompting, I had not entered the idea into the virtual suggestion box.

Maybe he had?

Weird. Did he take credit for it, too? Did it really matter? It’s not like these ideas and suggestions were accredited to anyone. When I really thought about it, I was just happy to see my idea become a reality—or at least a virtual reality.

The possibilities were exciting!  I couldn’t wait to see what the game had done with the idea, if in fact it was more than just a rumor.

We’d just have to see!

 

***

 

A few weeks later, I had completed my new job training at the hospital. It was exciting to be working in a hospital, finally, and giving myself a taste of what actually working in the medical field would be like.

It was interesting and tedious, long and exhilarating. And I was thankful that I was aiming to become a doctor rather than working in the long run as a nurse’s assistant. Because though their tasks were necessary and vital to the workings of a hospital, they got only a fraction of the respect they deserved!

“I’m here to get my bloodwork done, like the doctor requested,” said an elderly female patient who was sitting at my station when I arrived for a shift one morning.

“Okay, ma’am,” I replied. “Can you tell me which doctor requested it?”

She looked at me like I’d just jabbed her in the ribs, hard, her eyes widening. “Oh I don’t know deary. He was tall. And thin.”

A tall, thin man. I wasn’t even familiar with the greater number of doctors who worked in this department yet but that fit about half the descriptions of the ones I did know.

“Er, and what type of bloodwork?”

She stared at me blankly. I waited. And waited. When no answer to my question was forthcoming, I readjusted my tablet against my hip. “What is your name, ma’am?”

“Smith,” she replied. “Elizabeth Smith.”

Oh well, shit. Could she have a more common name?

I typed her name into the system. Four Elizabeth Smiths appeared. However, I still had the means to discern which one I wanted.

“What’s your date of birth, ma’am?”

“Well. That’s kind of a rude question to ask, isn’t it? Of a lady my age?”

It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes. “Uh. I need to be able to find you in the system.”

She glared at me suspiciously. “Hmm. Well. I was born on June 13th.”

“Year?”

Her brows went up. “Isn’t that enough to go on?”

I glanced down at the four Elizabeth Smiths. Not a one of them had the birthday June 13th.

“Uhh. Yeah, you don’t match with any of the others. Are you sure you’re in the right place?”

Underneath her thick makeup, she flushed beet red. “Well of course! I’m not senile.”

I blinked. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to imply that. But…you’re not showing up in my system under Elizabeth Smith and in order to find you by your birthdate, I need the year, too.”

This went on for ten minutes before I finally convinced her to give me her “real” birth year and not the one she gave out “in her social circle” that was five years later. She was under her second husband’s name, not her maiden name.

Oh brother.

Once I did find the right account, I saw that she had seven different doctors—and no order for blood labs. I had to call each and every one of their offices to ask.

Oh God, spare me from the madness!

I vowed to remember what it felt like, so that once I was a doctor, I would know what the nurses and their assistants went through and treat them with respect.

Returning home one night after a particularly trying time in the ER with a drunk man (who was vomiting everywhere and calling me every name in the book), I took the hottest shower imaginable. Of course, hottest imaginable at my house only lasted all of three minutes, with my hot water situation. I sobbed in the shower.

Then I logged on.

 

Five minutes later, Fallen’s private message magically flashed on my screen.

 

FallenOne: Hey. How’s the new job?

Eloisa: Don’t ask me that question tonight. Because tonight the answer is, “It sucks beyond words.”

Him: Oh, hey. I’m so sorry. That bad?

Me: Worse.

 

Tears started welling up in my eyes and I ordered myself to stop that nonsense. I’d only allowed myself that brief collapse of emotion in the shower.

 

Me: Just feeling a bit down and flat tonight.

 

Especially after paying as many of mom’s bills as I could and realizing my savings account had hit zero much faster than I’d expected. And she still had those mortgage notices…I’d checked that same folder the last time I’d been back to the ranch and they were accumulating—and still coming! She hadn’t been able to pay the mortgage in almost six months. They’d evict her soon. Worry twisted in my gut.

 

Me: Life sucks.

Him: I’m sorry. Can I do anything to cheer you up?

Me: I doubt it.

Him: How about mass pixel murder?

Me: … tempting, but no…

Him: I’m sorry. Want to talk it out?

Me: I’m not sure I even have the energy for that. You ever have those times in your life where nothing goes right? Everything is looking dim and dark and there’s not much hope…

Him: Now you’ve got me worried. Is this about the test again? Are you torturing yourself about that?

Me: It’s about *everything… not just the test.

Him: You should just take it again, you know. Take it and take it and take it again. Failure is just a way of learning. And with each attempt at the test, you learn more and you do better.

Me: I’m just feeling like too much of a failure to even consider it. But really, it’s so much more than just that damn test. That test is just a fraction of my worries…

Him: I’m here for you. I’m your friend. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

Me: I will. I promise. I know I just logged on but I’m actually really exhausted. I think I’m just going to collapse.

Him: Okay. But check in with me tomorrow, please? I don’t want to have to worry about you all day.

Me: Okay. I promise J

Him: Sleep well.

Me: Bye.

 

I was drifting off even before my head hit the pillow, but my mind was racing even as slumber took me. Strangely the last thing I thought of before nodding off was that weird scene of the female elf in her shiny lingerie armor standing on the platform of the town square in the game while she auctioned off cyber chat to the highest bidder.

If only it was that easy in real life…

I woke up with the idea fully formed in my brain, ready to be realized. I ran to my computer, opened the word processing program and began to type furiously.

Oh, this was a wild idea. An insane idea. I could never carry this out. I would never carry this out. But it was so insane and I couldn’t not write it down. It was just spitballing…right?

And so I typed as fast as my fingers would allow me.

 

I will shock most of you, I think, by stating that at the nearly unthinkable age of twenty-two, I still possess an intact hymen. No I won’t answer any question about why this is. Yes, I am heterosexual.  NO, I won’t go out on a date with you…

 

And on I typed, not even knowing if or when I’d show this to another soul. But I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop.

 

[To Be Continued … ]

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