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Perfection

May 26, 2009

I had so much momentum on the Murdock story–actually thought that I might finish it tonight–and then managed to completely lose my grasp on the whole bloody thing.

I’m frustrated, and irritated, and sick of not finishing my stupid stories, and largely unhappy with my own writing, and so I decided to post this.

It’s one of a quartet of stories that I wrote a few years ago, when I was playing with meta-narratives and character studies–each of the pilots had one–but I don’t think I ever put them up on Go Rogue, and I seriously doubt I had them here. I like the other three, but this one was my favorite (writing Tycho always seems to come easily).

Title: Perfection (Idiot’s Array 1 of 4)
Format:
Short (600 words)
Fandom: Star Wars/Rogue Squadron
Warnings: none
Summary: Memory is a difficult thing, all the more so because it is beyond our control.
Disclaimer: Am not GL; am not LFL; make no pretense of ownership, legal or otherwise.

PERFECTION

There were seven hundred and thirty six squares on his ceiling.  They were arranged into sets of four tiles, then patterned into four panels of forty-six sets.  There were one hundred and eighty four sets of four tiles in the four panels on his ceiling.  He knew this.

He also knew that it was twenty-three steps from his quarters to the end of the corridor, and a further sixteen steps to the main lift.  If you asked, he would be able to tell you that the ship’s catering units ran a three-week cycle alternating thirty-one base cuisines.  (Although he would not mention that it was actually only twenty-nine. There were several derivative styles that had resulted from cross-settling of the Core worlds.)

He didn’t consider this unusual.  He didn’t try to know these things, and he didn’t often think about the things that he knew.  They were just a part of him, like his hair color, his height, and the inevitable twitch that began in his right ankle when he was unusually tired.

He was tired tonight, and he contemplated the ceiling as an alternative to frowning at his increasingly recalcitrant ankle.

It wasn’t the knowing things that bothered him.  He liked to know them.  The things he didn’t know were less reassuring, and if he occasionally stared into the darkness at night as a result, it was perhaps unsurprising.

He had hurt his ankle once–he couldn’t remember precisely when it had happened.  He had been vacationing, with his family, in the wild.  He had fallen, the ankle twisted in a vine.

A very fierce spring storm had come up just as he arrived back at the cabin, and they couldn’t get out.  He’d immobilized the ankle in an old-fashioned splint and waited.

They had argued during the wait, but he couldn’t remember what about.  And he wasn’t entirely certain if a right or a left-hand turn led to town.  And he never did find out what had lurked in the depths of the gully where he had fallen.  But that was an insignificant thing.

He couldn’t remember the tiles on the walls of his rooms as a child.  He knew that they were green–soft and mossy-green and cool to the touch.  He knew they intersected with a deep, rich, burgundy-red carpet that kept the marks of the furniture that sat on it.  The tiles, though, had a pattern, too, and he couldn’t quite make out what it had been.

There were six specific sets of tiles he knew from permanent quarters.  He didn’t notice the tiles in temporary quarters unless he was tired.  Drawing on memory, he could count at least ten sets of quarters that he considered permanent.  He remembered six sets in twelve years.  That was only half temporally, but almost two-thirds as a percentage of the total.  He was willing to accept that.

He knew that an attack from a force twenty-six to thirty-four percent stronger than his unit would yield a thirteen percent casualty rate, or one point five six casualties per twelve pilots.

He knew that a converting the squadron from Alpha to Gamma configuration would reduce the casualty rate to six percent.  He knew that Gamma configuration required three weeks for form submission, two weeks for transfer and quartermaster releases, and one week of administrative leave from other assignments.

His ankle twitched again, and his foot slid against the chill of the bulkhead.  He jumped.

He knew that his alarm would signal him in six standard hours.

He closed his eyes, breathed deeply, and refused to know.

He dreamed of the gully, and the vine, and the thunder-ridden rain.

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