Challenge #02360-F170: The Chances... Are a Million to OnesteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction8 months ago (edited)


Trip of a Lifetime, all the places they wanted to see, Jahn Average (choose sex) finds themselves the only "non-fan" in a Sci fi Fantasy group. They don't know the jokes, they wear the wrong clothes and why is everyone going to Grover's Mill. -- Anon Guest

There comes a moment when one realises that, at least metaphorically speaking, one has entered the wrong bus. "...and now we're - BANNED FROM ARGO, EV'RY OOOONNNNEEE..."

Pen had passed that point, but the sing-along was the final straw. Pen had wanted to independently tour some historical American Revolution sites, and this was actually the bus that claimed to take her there. She'd checked five times already. Yes, this was the historic sites tour bus. There just also happened to be a convention happening nearby that brought all the weirdoes out from the wainscotting.

"Our proper, cool first officer was drugged with something green/ and hauled into an alley where he suffered things obscene..." Well, one thing was for sure. They sure as sugar weren't shriners. Shriners did not have weird, semi-uniforms in three prime colours. There were a few in there who wore a fez, but the rest of the outfit did not match the general shriner aesthetic. There were people with... Pen hesitated to call it 'makeup' when it both covered their entire face and necks, and was decidedly more involved than blush and eyeshadow. There were people in armour. There were people in historical dress. There were people in... sort of... harness things.

And one who was wearing a T-shirt that referred to something, somehow, that was welcomed by the rest of the group. It featured seven birds, a geometric pattern made of four equilateral triangles and a bounding rectangle, and some kind of space jellyfish. They were the only one Pen felt safe enough to sit nearby. They were doughy and pale and gave off a kind of nerd vibe, but the safe variety of nerd vibe. Well. Safer than the rest of the occupants of the bus.

Pen took a risk, and tapped their arm. "You'll warn me, right? If they get dangerous?"

"Dangerous? Naw, we're never dangerous. A little loopy, now and then, but not dangerous."

The rest of them certainly seemed dangerous. No sane person would be doing what they were doing. No sane person in Pen's experience ever had, so she assumed they never would. Up until this trip, she had assumed that most of the rest of the world was like her and all the freaks and weirdoes stayed in their mother's basements, never seeing the light of day.

"I dunno," Pen confessed. "I don't really... know... about them."

"They're just enthusiastic. Promise," said Jellyfish-bird shirt. "You have something you're enthusiastic about, right?"

"I mean. Yeah. I absolutely love early revolutionary history."

"Okay. Cool. So... you'd be fine if it was a bus full of re-enactors in full uniform and with plastic guns?"

"Well, yeah. I would. 'Cause I'd know what was going on."

"What's going on is a science fiction convention," Jellyfish-bird shirt had a pamphlet, full of people wearing similar clothing, but photographed professionally. "We're enthusiastic about imagined futures and similar things. They're the stories we love. You love stories about the true past. It's... we're different, but we're not that different."

One of the people in a fez apparently knew everything there was to know about Grover's Mill, including an actual battle that had happened there. They had been willing to share it all too, as an impromptu tour guide. Filling in the gaps as to why it was important to these very strange strangers.

In a way, it was history, too. It was their story of assorted stories. The story of a radio play based on a novel by an Englishman who wrote about the future in the long-ago past. The story of how this place was selected over so many others. The story of the people who nodded in the direction of this particular place and that particular story in subsequent works.

All part of the tapestry of cause and effect.

They were very strange people, Pen knew, but they had some things in common. A love for something far bigger than they could hope to be.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / breaker213]

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