The origins of a Sharpshooter.
Chapter 1: Training among thieves.
This story begins at an unusual location. Why is it unusual, you may ask? It's because the location I speak of never stays in the same place for long. What I speak of is the Nbareh Six Square Circus. A large travelling tent of bewilderment, amazement, stunts, and crowd pleasers which jump from city to city, planet to planet, by means of a small spaceship caravan. The owners, Katlego and Cynthia have experienced some success due to negotiations, and smart advertising. However, the show's popularity has just barely begun to take off. It is here, during one of these shows, on an orbiting space station, that this story begins.
"May I have your attention!!!", a disembodied voice announces as a dim spotlight starts to brighten on a spot in the middle of the arena. The spotlight currently being the main only lightsource that is now bright enough to bring a costumed man into view. On the edges of the darkness, one can make out the form of orange black-striped beasts with white paws.
"Feast your eyes on the Fifth Square, where mysterious ancient beasts can be seen."
The expanded spotlight reveals a dark-skinned man dressed in bright flashy colors, and a top hat of similar design. He appears to have a dark-colored stick in his left hand. He continues as more lights begin to illuminate the inside of the tent, keeping the focus towards the entertainer known as Katlego and a group of rare felines.
"These beautiful animals, often threatened by extinction, thrive well at the Six Square Circus, and are here for your enjoyment. Notice their grace, beauty," the man pauses for a second before putting on a sly grin saying, "and intelligence as they perform tricks before your very eyes. Often rumored to be dangerous savages, you'll be amazed to see how wrong those rumors are. Ladies and Gentlemen. I bring you.......the Tiger!!!"
An applause is heard from the audience as the background music starts. A large square area of the circus is now fully illuminated to show what amounts to a literal playground of obstacles for which 6 Tigers now roam. Objects of all shapes sizes, ladders and all, made more visually distinct by the colored photon light sources which trace the edges of each object. The Tigers waste no time in jumping and playing around, in the square field, still reacting to some instruction from the ring leader. The stick, now seen as a photon whip clacks audible signals in the air, as Katlego makes appropriate wrist movements signifying some set number of cracks. Unheard by the audience, he also seems to speak to the individual beasts, giving certain individuals a good rub with his right hand upon approach. They then run off and perform a different trick.
This goes on for a bit before the Ring Leader brings the attention, of the audience, to spectacle now being shown in the 2nd Square area, of the arena. In it, we now see circus co-owner Cynthia, in a dazzling ballerina-style outfit. Along with several other women of human, beast, and newman type, they perform death defying stunts, balances, and tumbles on a tightrope, high above the audience.
During this time, behind the audience, underneath a set of bleachers, a small boy seems to be eyeing a small pack device sitting next to the backside of a man, who seems tentative to the show above. The boy stops for a second, looking left to right in effort to spot any guards going between the bleachers (who might look this way). Seeing the coast is clear, the boy's hand reaches forth, grabbing the device. He rotates the device in his hand, and presses a finger on the surface. Opening his other hand, a small yellow diamond materializes.
"Heh heh," the boy chuckles as he quietly puts the pack device back where he took it from. He starts to pocket the yellow object when......
"Eghrgh!" The boy exclaims, not pronouncing a word understandable by more than 50 known languages, including the single one he knows. He continues to pocket the newly acquired meseta as he turns to see a small dark-skinned girl, with long straight shoulder-length hair, in a one-piece bell-shaped dress, matching stockings, and black flat shoes. Not trying to extend a bad conversation he quickly explains.."Er...Nothing!" and runs right to the edge of the tent, slipping underneath a loosly fastened portion and runs outside.
"Wait!" shouts the girl, whose voice is somewhat drowned out by the sounds of the circus.
Outside, the boy begins counting his spoils. With his voice increasing in excitement, with each count, he says, "800, 900, 1000!!!! I got 1000!! Lucky!!!"
"Is that One Thousan Mesta?"
"Mesta? No...it's Meseta and it's all mi-----hey!!!, " the boy quickly snaps and moves defensively away from the voice he just heard. With a hushed but aggravated voice he says, "What're you doin' here!"
"Just watching stuff."
"Just watching? Well..can you watch somewhere else?"
"No. My daddy and mommy would be mad if I go too far."
"Heh! You still listen to them?....Oh! That's right, you're still just a kid."
The girl frowns at that remark. Pouting and folding her arms, she says, "I'm not just a kid."
"Just go away."
The boy sighs, "Because....you'll get me in trouble."
"No, " the boy says, and pronounces this next part slowly, "Too rub bull".
"No I won't," the girl answers.
"Do you know what trouble means?" the boy asks. With honesty, the girl shakes her head, "No."
The boy pauses, blinking almost myopically. Then, with a newly formed grin on his face, he says, "What's your name?"
"Tinsel, like that stuff they put on christmas trees?"
"Mmm hmm. Mommy calls that shiny stuff on the tree, Tynselle too. But they don't have a last name. I do. She tells me there's only 1 Tynselle Nubreh."
"Nubreh? That's a strange name. How do you spell it?"
The little girl, known as Tynselle points up at a nice flashy sign, in front of the tent.
"You're kidding!, " exclaims the boy. Shaking her head, Tynselle answers, "Nope. I'm compwete wy suryus," priding herself out of saying those big words.
"Neh Bar eh, " the boy continues. "So your parents own the circus?" Tynselle nods.
"That's pretty cool, I guess" the boy answers.
"So, whatcha doing?" Tynselle says, bringing back an old question.
"Just taking a few things. A friend of mine said to me, if you want something bad enough... you take it. That's what everybody does."
"Yep. And don't you forget it. And trouble is what happens when anyone else sees you doing it. Even your parents. Being in trouble means you get punished. You know what being punished means?"
Solmenly Tynselle nods her head.
"And do you want to be punished?" the boy continues. Tynselle answers shaking her head, "No."
Meanwhile, that very same audience member, the boy stole from, showed up in front of the entrance of the tent, with two guards. Looking nervous, the boy said, "Heh heh. Sorry. I gotta go." and started to run off. "And don't follow me!"
Tynselle started to pursue, but remembered her parents' warning not to leave the circus. Standing there, she pondered on what just happened before slipping back inside the tent.
------- -------- ---------
Time passed, and the circus moved from planet to planet, system to system, performing shows only a few days at a time, in any one place. Over this period, more and more places started to hear of this travelling circus, the variety of acts and stunts, and the mysterious rare creatures within it. Money was picking up, at the circus, and the owners were able to afford new attractions to the circus. Games and other methods of entertainment were added as well, including better concessions.
Extra money was also put towards advertising, in which an ancient tune was remixed and licensed for the Nbarah Six Square Circus, for use in commercials and to be used within the acts introducing the circus.
This song could be heard here: http://www.amigaremix.com/listen/295
, and was distributed amongst interplanetary networks. The slogan: "Come to the Nbareh Six Square Circus. Come...into the Wonderful!"
During this time, Tynselle was still watching the show, from the point of view of the audience. Ok. Maybe I'm lying here. Moreso, from behind the audience as she was starting to acquire quite a talent for performing acts of acquisition. Sometimes Meseta. Sometimes candy, food, popcorn, and the like. Sometimes souveniors. A few plushy animals from other little girls and boys that attended the show. Even shiny things, at times.
These acts seem to go unawares, for months, until one day when Tynselle came back to her room to see her mother there. "Mom!"
"Tynselle. We need to have a talk."
Oddly surprised by her mother's sudden attention, she said "Ok."
"Where did you get these things?"
"What things?" Tynselle answered.
Grabbing a lion plushie, Cynthia presents it to her daughter saying, "This thing."
"From the circus."
"I know that Tynselle. We do make these things. But where did you get this from, in the circus."
"A girl gave it to me."
"She didn't give it to you," Cynthia exclaims, producing a holographic viewer. A second later, a motion image appears showing the entire footage of Tynselle taking the lion while the girl sat unawares, "This was taken from one of our security cameras."
Tynselle gulps saying, "Am I in......Too rub bull?"
"Yes you are. Now come here....now!"
------ ------ ------
Chapter 2: New tricks are hard to learn, or are they?
Tynselle knew punishment was coming. If everything the boy said was true, whatever happened next just couldn't be good. It's like a hollow feeling that just says, "You're doomed" inside. Tynselle couldn't do much else but cry as her mother lead her against her will. Tynselle, at this time, learned two things. Crying harder brought more punishment, and that those days, where she had those bits of freedom, were over.
Cynthia, on the other hand, knew something had to be done. How could her daughter resort to petty thievery? Her pondering brought two things to mind. One in which a more active teaching of mannerisms needs to be done, in spite of the busy circus schedule, and that she needs to keep a much more watchful eye over her. The solution came fast to her, it's time Tynselle becomes part of the circus. What a way to kill two birds with one stone. But she's still so young.
Over a few years, Tynselle was set to a vigorous schedule of circus training, nearly each day. In general, she got to know the animals as well as the various circus trainers that worked there. They taught her tumbling, balance, while she also continued with formal education. Fortunately the new funds of the circus easily covered the expense, no thanks in no small part to a man named "Stints: The Legendary Sharpshooter." His new addition to the show, also brought the attention of practiced Ranged hobbyists as his reputation for accuracy, in a human, was unequalled. The new broader appeal of the circus was paying off.
Now for the bad news. The bad news was that Tynselle just didn't seem to have the knack to do just about any circus performance taught her save for bits of tumbling. She lacked the balance to tightrope walk. She lacked the stuff required to be a clown. Each new trick, she seemed to stumble through. Everything seemed tough for her. Nothing was 'clicking'.
One day, Cynthia came to her husband, Katlego, with the news. They both talked it out as to what to do next with Tynselle, even though her activites were keeping her out of trouble. With some talk, they decided to see if "Stints" could train her. Cynthia was definitely against the idea of putting any kind of weaponry in her daughter's hands, but Katlego felt that under watchful eyes, nothing bad could happen.
"Besides, the ammo wont be lethal. If it doesn't work out for her, then we just move her onto something else, with no loss," Katlego continued.
"You talk to him, then, " Cynthia answered, not looking completely convinced.
Aboard a parked spacecraft, Stints was relaxing listening to an old audio chip. The label, on the player reading, "Country". Most likely the word simply reflected the style of music that was playing. The door to the ship opens. Stints answers saying, "Katlego. What brings ya? Tryin' to ask me to stay? You know what my answer's gonna be."
"I know. Still nothing will convince you to stay out of retirement?"
Taking a quick swig out of his beverage, Stints answers, "Nope..... But thanks for asking. Heh heh." The old sharpshooter smiled with a glint in his eye.
"Listen. I have a favor to ask. I know you'll be leaving soon, but I need..."
"I reckon you need help with ya daughter."
"I figured. Considering you took her to everyone else."
"I was thinking... perhaps.. you can see if she has the knack for your kind of talents."
"I don't teach."
"Please. I'll even give you a little extra for your trouble."
"A little extra? How much we talkin' about?"
----- ----- -----
Chapter 3: Of Glasses and Guns.
Cynthia and Katlego both brought Tynselle to Stints. They arranged to bring her alone, to a tent, for training. Tynselle didn't seem all too excited to come. It seemed like she was being pushed from Nanny to Nanny with abandon, lately. It didn't help that it seemed that she hardly had time to get emotionally attached before she's introduced to somebody else.
"Howdy Tynselle," the old man said, from his seat. Tynselle didn't answer, focusing her gaze downward.
"Tynselle," Cynthia snapped, "Answer him."
"Ha----Howdy," Tynselle solemnly answered back.
"Nice ta meet ya. And don't you worry, we'll work that confidence up in ya yet, " the old man said, "Don't you worry yourselves, none. We'll be just fine."
"Thank you, " Cynthia answered. Katlego gave a nod, and the two parents left their daughter in Stint's hands.
After they left, Stints looked at the down-trodden girl saying, "Ok. Now that they're gone. Let's have a little fun shall we?"
------ ------ ------
To think that much time has past since, would be a gross overstatement. It's been barely past one day when Stints arrived at Cynthia and Katlego's ship.
"Come with me. Y'all definitely need to see this, " Stints said with a grin.
"Is there a problem with Tynselle, " Cynthia exclaimed.
The old man smirked, "Problem? Naw. Not a problem. Just come with me, things'll explain themselves."
Katlego and Cynthia arrived at the tent with Stints. They found Tynselle looking over a selection of guns lying on the floor. Cynthia turned to Stints fuming saying, "You left her alone with those things?!"
"Now now. Don't get yourself worked up. They ain't gonna fire unless I make them fire. They're old guns, need to be reloaded first. No auto-generators in those puppies. Now come with me."
Breathing a sigh of relief, both parents followed. Sitting them down, Stints went over to Tynselle and the array of guns. He pulled out a powerful Photon Charger from his pack and all the weapons on the ground, glowed for a fleeting moment. He walks over to a nearby podium switch and presses a button. Various targets high and low appeared inside an area in the tent.
"Ok, Tynselle. I want ya to pick up one of those handguns there."
"Ok. Fire at that target up there, you see it?"
"Go ahead. Shoot it."
Tynselle squeezes the trigger, firing a shot that clearly misses the target. Firing again, more shots miss their mark with a few landing on the edge of the target. Tynselle releases a few grunts of disappointment. "Don't worry, Tynselle, " Stints said, "We'll work on that later."
Cynthia and Katlego sit uneasy as they see this display. Stints continues saying, "Ok. Now you pick up that other handgun, like you did before. The matching one." Giving a wink in the direction of Tynselle's parents. Stints says, "Now go for all those targets. I don't want to see a single one untouched, you hear?"
"Ok," Tynselle answers as she slowly brings up two guns to point at her first target. She makes a few shots, each one hitting their mark. She switches targets and begins to unload photons into the next target, two shots each. As she continues, Stints goes to the control panel and brings up more targets, some of them moving. More shots hit their mark, and some shots resulting in bullseyes. Tynselle begins to pick up speed as each and every last target gets riddled with photons. No shots went wild, during this time.
"Woo hoo!!!, " exclaimed Stints, "It's High Noon in Tynselle-town!!!!" After the last target is hit, Tynselle stops and lowers her guns.
"Amazing," Katlego exclaims. "How did you do it?"
"I told ya, I don't teach. Ask them twin gunnies she's holding."
"Twin gunnies?" Cynthia asked. "You must be joking."
"Nope. I think she's taken a liking to them, or vice versa. She's a natural."
------ ------ ------
Weeks past as Tynselle continued her training under Stint's direction. There, she also underwent more training in tumbling and balance with a *new* kind of method. One that required her to keep her guns with her. Stints also took the time to have Tynselle give her parents, periodic performances, to she how she improved.
And improve she did. Not only was she learning to shoot well at an alarming rate, her acts of acrobatics improved. She also seemed to talk with quite a bit of confidence, over time. When Cynthia asked Stint about his methods and why they worked, he answered, "You see. It's like glasses for the near-sighted. What we old foggies like to call 'Correctional Vision'. Let's just say the guns are a 'correctional attachment'. I figure, she'll eventually be able to to do the other stuff, without the guns; but for right now, they'll just have to be her type of 'glasses', so to speak.
Chapter 4: The growth of a circus star.
It wasn't long afterwards that Stints finally retired from the circus. Tynselle didn't take the departure too lightly, though. Her best friend was leaving her. Still, Tynselle got her chance to debut as a new *sharpshooter* act. Her combination of acrobatic stunts and precise aiming began to gain a reputation. It didn't take long for the audience to warm up to her. From her opening line, "Get ready for circus performer, and Sharpshooter Extraordinaire!!......Tynselle!!!" she rocketed onto the scene and dazzled audiences. The Nbareh circus wasn't missing a beat, even though it lost one of it's star performers. Apparently a new one was taking steam.
Her new career was taking her places, over the years. To various districts, and planets, she gained a bit of a fanclub, especially as she donned her new look.
"P-pink hair?!" Cynthia exclaimed, "And what's with those pigtails?"
"Yeah mom! It's all the rage, right now. Besides, we're circus freaks, remember? It'll look right at home."
"She does have a point, honey," Katlego answered.
"Shush! And don't encourage her. We're not freaks."
"Ok, we're not, but see. Dad likes it. Aww come on."
Cynthia looks her daughter over...then with a smile she says, "Ok. Though I'm not sure I can get used to it."
A few more years pass in which the circus began to slow down in frequency. Not because of decreased demand, mind you. It was done if only to promote other entertainment avenues. Other contracts formed making the circus a bit more seasonal to fit things in. Things such as doing various product promotions plus actual rest and relaxation. It was during one of these periods Tynselle gained a fascination with the Guardians. They're like Guns for hire, but they really get to help people. Tynselle was no longer satisfied of just using her guns for show, but to also make a name for herself as something bigger. Maybe a cult hero of sorts. Plus. The extra pay is just too hard to miss. More money to afford the great things in life. More clothes to buy for herself and of course, more guns!!!!!
This time, her parents were immediately understanding and they gave her leave to give the Guardians a shot. Besides, inbetween her work as a Guardian, she can still perform at the circus; and if she's a successful Guardian, the possible increased profit could go through the roof. Well, at least, that's what Katlego said, earning a good punch, in the side, from his wife.
"Ow! That hurt!"
"You deserve it."
"Come on....you know my name means 'success' for a reason." [Note]
And that's how Tynselle got started as a guardian in training. The rest is a story still being told.
[Note] Katlego means 'success' in Tswana. An African Bantu language.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Akaimizu on 2007-01-07 11:55 ]</font>