At the Movies

In order to buy time for himself to study medical journals and read up on the equipment in his new lab, Doc had to find some way to occupy Thunderhorse. It is difficult to study when an alcoholic of his magnitude is pestering you to drink with him all the time.

So Doc introduced him to the movies. The screen in the living room is an enormous, parabolic high-resolution flat-screen. One cannot see the individual pixels on it even with a magnifying glass. The sound system is tremendous, as well. It's like having an I-Max in your own house.

"Moving tapestries?" Thunderhorse asks as they sit down on the plush, semicircular couch.

"Yes. People write stories, then painters draw them. Then actors perform them, and musicians play for them. It's all recorded on film, and we can watch it over and over," Doc explains.

"Film, like on milk?"

"No, a thin strip like a ribbon. The ribbon has the pictures on it, and if you shine a bright light through it, the picture appears on the wall. Move the strip past the light quickly, and the pictures change so fast it looks like they comes to life. That's how they used to do it, anyway. I'm not sure how this thing works, but the idea is the same."

Doc calls up Casablanca. They watch it together, the translator echoing every word. Doc laughs at his favorite lines and quotes the parts he knows by heart. Thunderhorse sits transfixed, hardly drinking his ale or even blinking. He's completely mezmorised by the show. He doesn't speak until the end.

"Why did he put his woman on the winged boat? Why did his friend become his enemy and then become his friend again? Where is this land, Casablanca? Do they really have bars like that? What was that instrument his slave was playing? Why did they all want that parchement? Do the Germans win the war? Where were their swords?" his questions flood the room. He hardly breaths between them.

Doc slows him down. "All in good time, my friend. We both have a lot to learn. Why don't you try asking the computer?"

Thunderhorse nods. He raises his arms to the ceiling. "Oh, mighty Computor, heed me!"

The ceiling dings at him inquisitively.

"Where is the land of Casablanca?"

The viewscreen switches to a political map of Africa from the 1930's and displays some factual information.

"See, this Computor of yours does not answer my questions."

"It's pointing it out to you on the map, see?"

"Map? What is this a map of?"

The computer responds and zooms back, displaying a globe laid out with political boundries, slowly spinning and displaying more information.

"What is this now? I do not understand these runes." The text switches from German in roman lettering to old Norse runes. Thunderhorse blinks. "These are the runes of the wizards!" He yells, averting his eyes.

"Can you read them?"

"Reading is for wizards! The runes will devour my soul were I to look upon them! This Computor is trying to kill me!"

"No, no, no. Computer, display the text as it was." The computer obeys. "Look, these runes will not devour your soul." Thunderhorse glances at them quickly. And again. Satisfied, he turns back around.

"You are right. These runes are safe. But I do not understand them."

"I guess you'll have to learn," Doc says. "Computer, do you have reading lessons on file?" It shows a long list of videos. It's going to take some time to narrow this down. "Tell you what," he says to Thunderhorse. "I'll put together a programming schedule for you."

"A what?"

"A list of things to watch. That will be your job while we're aboard this ship. After you take care of the horses each day, come in here and watch movies. They'll teach you about reading and history and anything else you want to learn. Okay?"

"Yes. This sounds like a good job. Will they teach me about the thunder slings?"

"Sure." Doc calls up A Fist Full of Dollars. "I think you'll like this one." Thunderhorse is instantly transfixed as the music kicks on and the brightly colored credits roll up.

Doc goes off to the observation deck to study a while, in peace.

1 comment:

Doc said...


Meta Comments:

I'm sorry, I totally misunderstood. In the comments for Thunderslings and Things, you asked me if there was anything I'd like to see specifically and I gave you this long list of stuff. What you meant was "is there anything about the ship I'd like to see?"

Yes, give me the grand tour. Since this is going to be my new home from now on I have to learn as much as I can. Much like Thunderhorse, maybe I need a remedial "How To Be A Time Operative" course too. I know there is a lost of history that I'll need to catch up on, as well as medicine. I want to learn about the pulse particle laser pistols and how the railgun bullpup rifle works. I want to study how the hover sentries work. I have a lot I need to learn about the world I find myself in and it is going to take quite a bit to get me up to speed.

While we are doing that, I want to order the patterns for the handgrenades and pump shotgun I asked for. I'll pay, but it would be nice if I could convince Dr. Steve that this was a "business expense" and he would pick up the tab. (Speechcraft?)

I'd like to have a nice rundown of what we have crated in the hold as far as the "Archaeological Cargo" and "Entertainment supplies" are. We might find something useful. Always good to know what you have on hand.

I've been thinking about my character and he strikes me as kind of a "Bones" McCoy ala Star Trek, a little Jonah Hex, and of course a generous portion of me. Feel free to incorperate any or none of this.

I can't think of anything else, just keep telling this wonderful story. I look forward to every installment.