hecu_marine: (augh whut)
Sergeant-Major Adrian Shephard ([personal profile] hecu_marine) wrote2014-05-13 10:31 am

(no subject)

So. A wish.

These things are tricky, and potentially dangerous. Shephard figured as much from the very start. Brimstone's not human, and he's not an alien, so he's something of a kind Shephard doesn't know. Might be Fair Folk with some kind of weird animal head action going on, he knows that happens. Might be an Egyptian god running in disguised, fuck knows that kind of thing happens at Milliways. Or demonic. It's the Bar. Demons happen just as much as gods.

Doesn't quite seem like something demonic, though. Shephard's no geek and he doesn't much know magic, but he's seen plenty of movies like The Devil and Dan'l Webster. Demons make it super, super, super easy for you to screw yourself over right from the start, from what he knows of them, assuming the deal they make you doesn't include the screwing to begin with. Trading animal teeth for wishes doesn't seem to have that kind of potential in it. Plus, Brimstone doesn't feel weird- not that Shephard knows what a demon's presence would feel like, but he's pretty sure there'd be something unusual in the local atmosphere. Something creepy, or something much too reassuring to be normal- trying too hard to pass, kind of thing. And there's not that. Brimstone just seems like a guy. One with an animal head, but a guy.

So that leaves him where he was in the first place, with a wish he bought and paid for and now he gets to use.

He's heard the joke about the man with the tiny piano player. He's read a couple of stories- not many, he's not that kind of reader, but a couple- about people who made stupid-ass wishes and got bit in the ass for it. Far as he can tell, this wish is his to fuck up. He knows what he wants- he wants to do his jobs right, all of them- but even with magic involved he really can't imagine knowing what he needs to do is gonna be that easy. And if he tries to make it that easy, it's only going to bite him in the ass. That's how these things work; the only person who ever, ever got all he needed to know to do his duty all at once was King Solomon, and that was because God Almighty was involved. Everyone else still has to work for it.

Well, the way he sees it, knowledge is knowledge. And while he's never been much of what you'd call a classroom type, he did okay in high school. Knowledge that's not in his head is still knowledge, it's just that it's up to him to get it to where he can use it. Books are probably safer than asking for all the knowledge he needs to show up in his head anyway. He's pretty sure that just asking to know what he needs to be a good captain and a good Commandant will either make his head explode or leave him with the voices of dead men constantly in his ears. Not to mention that books don't die with their owner, so getting what he needs to know in the form of books means he can pass that on to other people pretty easily.

You can't get everything you need to know out of books, but you can get enough to get by, otherwise Annapolis wouldn't have amounted to much, is how he sees it. Anyway, Bumi can fill him in on the stuff you can't write down, right?

Right. So, might as well make the damn wish, he's been working out the exact words for the last three goddamn days.

"Hey. Bead," he says, picking up the flawless garnet Brimstone gave him. "I got a wish for you."

It's not listening exactly, it's not that kind of magic object, but there's still an odd kind of feeling in the air that has him treading carefully as he reaches for the scratchpad he's been using to work out his exact words.

"'I wish for the knowledge I or anyone else in my world might need to be the best possible captain of my ship Borealis, as well as any other ship of my world's waters if that is possible, in the form of readable books in good, long-lasting condition that are written in good, clear English that I can read and understand'," he reads out loud, doing his best not to tense his shoulders.

A moment later there is an awful lot of cursing coming from his room.