AN: This omake came about after some discussion on my Pat reon/Discord. It's just a bit of fun slice of life for Taylor and her family. For those interested, this is the song that Taylor is trying to beat all through this chapter. Holy cow, I have so much respect for people who can do this.
'[Beat Saber] Reality Check Through the Skull (Expert+)' and apparently 'Overkill' is worse...
This is Part 2 of 2, Part 1 was posted in Mutant Deviations as it is set during that fic's time period. Enjoy!
Some Battles Can't Be Won (Part 2)
Erica heard a muffled growl echo through the house. She lowered the sandwich she had been about to eat and frowned as she looked towards the main room. "What the hell?"
The growl turned into a shout of inarticulate rage a few moments later. Swiftly followed by her mom shouting, "I hit that fucking block! WHY WON'T YOU REGISTER IT!"
Erica's head smacked against the table, her sandwich forgotten. "Oh goddess, not again." Picking herself up from the kitchen island, she marched towards the living room like a woman heading to the gallows. As she got closer the sounds of music - and horribly off-beat sounds of failure - reached her. "I thought we had all agreed it was banned in this house…"
She peeked around the corner of the wall, finding what she had feared: Her mom was standing in the middle of the room, an old style VR headset firmly planted over her face, controllers in hand, and an ancient copy of Beat Sabers flashing by on the TV screen. To her surprise, Dean was sitting on the couch a few feet away, his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide.
Erica groaned. Well, that explained some of it at least. She jumped over the back of the couch, letting herself fall next to her brother. He barely reacted. "What did you do, baby brother?"
"I just…nothing…I just…"
"Uh huh. Mom never breaks out that game unless someone prompts her. Out with it, what did you do?"
"Dean, just watch, I'm going to get this this time!" Their mom said. She turned and tried to flash a reassuring grin. It just looked pained and desperate to Erica's eyes.
"Mom, really, it's okay. I just wanted to - "
"Just watch, baby, I got this. I totally got this."
"She really doesn't," Erica muttered.
"What…is this?" Dean whispered as the level started over again.
Erica sighed and wrapped an arm around her brother pulling him into her side. "Brother, this is Hell. You're watching Mom's version of Hell."
"Erica Hebert, don't you dare jinx me. I'm going to beat this goddamn thing if it's the last thing I do!"
"Mom," Erica said, rolling her eyes. "You can barely get through 'Through the Fire and Flames' with Guitar Hero. This is worse. Just…stop punishing yourself. For all of our sakes."
"I can do it! Just…just watch." The song started again and again Taylor cried out in anguish less than two minutes in.
Erica turned to Dean and gestured to the screen. "That is 'Reality Check Through the Skull'. It's basically our Mom's version of Satan. Let's give her some space and find Lisa. She…might be able to get Mom away from it. Or maybe your mother. I think Vicky was able to distract her long enough for us to hide the game last time this happened."
"I just…asked what sort of games she played back when she was a kid…"
Erica snorted and pulled Dean from the couch. "Yup, that would do it. Come on, baby brother. Leave Mom to her torment. Mom, you want me to call up RCB and cancel your meetings for the afternoon?"
"I. Got. This!" Taylor snarled. "Make sure that Becca knows that I'll make the damn meeting with the trade rep!"
"Uh huh. Whatever you say, Mom."
Dean looked at Erica with wide eyes as they retreated. "She's not going to make the meeting is she?"
"Oh she'll make it. I'm just going to have them come here instead. That Asari was a right bitch the last time I talked to her. I can't wait to see her face when she sees this." Erica paused and tapped her bottom lip, shrugging a moment later. "And hey, maybe we'll get lucky and it will knock Mom out of her obsession."
Nassana Dantius was many things. A diplomat, a businesswoman, a prime example of success in her family.
She was not a simple ambassador. Not by a long shot. Yet, she had accepted the request for a trade liaison with the Humans. It was notoriously difficult to get such an assignment with the newly discovered race and with the power that people were talking about…well it certainly wouldn't hurt to get on their good side. Besides, if her slaver bitch of a sister ever tried to blackmail her now, she'd have accomplishments to hold up against the degenerate. All Nassana would have to do was wave her agreements with Humanity in her detractors face and Dahlia Dantius' relationship to her would never matter again.
But she would have to finish the agreement first. And that, apparently, necessitated talking with their Goddess Incarnate directly. Why the Goddess had designated herself as the final approval authority for this tech trade she didn't know or care. All that mattered was that she was going to see an aspect of the Goddess in the flesh.
Nassana was not a religious woman. She hadn't even believed in the Goddess before Humanity's arrival on the scene. Then she had seen the holos of what they could do, she had seen the Goddess' own actions when the Council visited the Sol system. She had seen and she had understood. The Goddess was very real, and she was very powerful. And she was still approachable enough to take visitors.
Meaning that Nassana had a chance to improve her standing with damn near everyone by getting the ear of a Goddess.
"Again, I apologize for the change of venue," Director Costa-Brown said for the third time as they approached the massive household near the lake. "I still haven't got an explanation for why we've shifted locations."
"It's really not a problem." Nassana took this as a good sign indeed. If they were visiting the Goddess at home, she stood an even higher chance of completing her goal. Nassana's mouth watered as she thought of the things that she could do. If she was able to manage to seduce the notoriously promiscuous Goddess…why that would open so. Many. Doors. She'd be set for life by the simple implication of it! Her family would never be able to touch her works again!
"This is the Hebert Household. Please watch your step and don't touch anything. Some of the family can be a bit…particular about their things."
"That's perfectly understandable. My family is rather touchy about their own items as well." Research, political assets, new technology, slaves…Her family could probably do with a bit of pruning honestly.
The door to the residence had barely closed behind them when a cry of rage echoed from the next room. Nassana's eyes widened and her hand drifted to the pistol concealed behind her back under her robes. Was this a setup after all?
"Oh for…" Director Costa-Brown muttered. She flipped out her communicator and tapped away on it for a moment before speaking again. "Erica! You said that your mother was in residence; you never mentioned she was indisposed!"
Nassana leaned ever so slightly closer, just enough to hear the other side of the conversation.
"Dean got her going with Beat Saber again. I didn't feel like spending half the day trying to pry her away. Good luck getting her to focus enough to finish the deal!"
"Erica, there will be consequences for this."
"Nah, Dantius is a bitch, she deserves to be a bit waylaid. Besides, I already called Lisa and I think she sent one of our Moms over to help out. Have fun Aunty Brown!"
"Don't hang up on me young lady or I will - " The line cut off and Nassana had to suppress a snicker. It appeared that children were the same no matter the culture. She couldn't even fault the girl for her description - she was right after all.
"Shall we?" Nassana asked, inclining her head towards the grumbling.
Director Costa-Brown sighed and nodded. "Might as well get this over with. It's not like she's going to come up for air before you leave."
This trade agreement would be so, much, simpler. If the Goddess was distracted then she would…she would…Nassana swallowed hard, her hands clenched into fists and her eyes widened. "Wh-What is that?"
The blocks were flashing by so quickly as to be barely noticeable before they vanished in a blaze of light. There were obstacles that came out of nowhere that forced the Goddess to duck and bob and weave and yet near instantly the invisible blades lashed out at the holo display again and again and the blocks vanished with a swell of the beat. A beat that almost immediately went off rhythm and crashed with an electronic screech and a red scroll of letters proclaiming failure.
"This stupid fucking game," the Goddess muttered, swiping the device on her head off.
"You know, you almost had it that time," Emissary Clements-Hebert said, smiling as she stepped up to the Goddess and hugged her. Then she took the control devices. "Talk to your people. I'll play one round and then we can put it away, okay?"
The Goddess looked to Nassana and Director Costa-Brown, nodded once, then turned back to the Emissary. "They can wait another two minutes. I want to see again how you get through that last part. I swear I had it. There has to be a damn trick."
"I keep telling you, Taylor, you flick, not swipe. One round. Just one. Deal?"
The lights and the blocks started up again and Nassana's horror grew as time elongated. Emissary Clements-Hebert had no enhancements outside of survivability. She was, for all intents and purposes, a baseline Human. A Human who was surpassing the Goddess. The numbers for the score ticked ever upwards and the music swelled louder and louder.
Finally as the crescendo hit the peak, everything ground to a halt with neon letters flashing on the screen. 'Level Cleared'.
"I just…I don't get it. How can you do that so easily?" the Goddess muttered. "I've been trying to pass this damn thing for decades now…"
"Taylor…maybe it's time to just admit that there are some battles you just can't win?"
Nassana found it hard to breathe and she couldn't hear Director Costa-Brown murmuring beside her. The Goddess could crack a planet if she wished. Nassana had seen that footage. And yet she was being outdone by a baseline Human.
The stories from Nassana's childhood were wrong. It wasn't a Devi hiding under the bed or Palven in the closet. It was a Human.
What in the Goddess' name had been unleashed on this galaxy?