A/N: ... Fuck the plot bunnies. I'm gonna do this anyway.
Yeah, so, I got this idea to do a Mass Effect self-insert through a multitude of things, with a few characters from Heavy Rain peppered in every now and then. Don't ask me why, for I don't know either. No matter what, though, things are going to go absolutely crazy with this. Especially how I get there.
I'm... lost for words on this. So I'll just get to the meat and potatoes of what's going down:
Mass Effect, it's characters, and it's setting do not belong to me. They are trademarks of EA Games and Bioware. Neither do I own any pieces mentioned. I do own myself, though; if I didn't, I'd be very afraid for society...
Right. Now with those disclaimers out of the way, let's go!
Vexations. Piece for solo piano. Music of Erik Satie. Three lines of music. Tritones in every chord. Trés lent for a tempo marking. Thirty-four chords. One bass line to be played twice after that. Eight hundred and forty repetitions of all of the material. Maximum running time of approximately eighteen to nineteen hours. In its entire perfomance history, it has never been played by a single player. Those that tried had to stop due to hallucinations.
I still can't believe I convinced myself I could do this. Those hallucinations of elves dancing on top of the piano are going to be pretty problematic, as I can well imagine.
But then again, I'm probably never going to use crack or marijuana in my life. So I might as well attempt a legal outlet. Or something.
You know what annoys me about the whole thing, though... I'm not actually a pianist. I was a violinist for a long, long time, but I ditched it when I graduated from high school. I'm now a violist and a composer. Have been ever since junior year. And instead of... well, sketching that octet piece that I want to have completely sketched out by the time the semester ends, I'm going off on a gander and... sitting in a practice room on the top floor of the conservatory on a Friday afternoon after Ear Training dictations with that single sheet of paper in front of me with those thirty-four chords. I'm gonna be in here for at least six hours. At any rate, I'm not leaving until I see some kind of hallucination.
I could be doing a lot of things right now. Sketching the aforementioned octet. Playing a bit of Heavy Rain. Going to the movies to review the Clash of the Titans remake. Surfing the net. Writing fanfiction. Getting some progress done on that viola concerto I promised for my teacher.
And at the end of the day, Satie won. Insanity ensues.
Well, if there's one thing I won't regret about this, it's that at least good ol' Jimmy D. will have a fun story to tell about the time one of his students sat in a practice room for six hours playing Vexations, especially one that wasn't a pianist. Well, technically, it's not for piano, but playing triple stops softly on a viola is just not possible unless I play pizzicato the entire time. And that's not happening, as then I have to tune everything there. And that means I won't have shit prepared. Not like these practice room pianos are much better, but I can live with the knowledge that it's the school's fault and not my own for neglecting to get these pianos tuned.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. About to play Vexations.
I bring my hands to the keyboard. I'm feeling a rush of uncertainty. Maybe I should turn back now?
No. I went through the trouble of this after doing a lot of hard work this week. I should be ready to relax a bit.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.
I press down on the keyboard. C, A, and E-flat are heard as I begin subdividing the sixteenth notes with a foot against the pedal.
And so it begins.
It's been a few hours. I can already see why these guys would be hallucinating. I haven't gotten to that stage yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm about to enter that phase myself.
It's just... Vexations apparently has this wierdly hypnotic effect on its players. I've lost all track of time, and now the seconds hand of my mind ticks according to the half notes in this piece. I no longer consciously guide my fingers to each key in the chord progression, which is insane seeing as I always have to do that if I ever play written music on a piano. I've stopped subdividing a long time ago, the rhythm now on the tips of my fingers as I press down on the keys.
It's... oddly tranquil, actually.
The only indication that I get that I've been there a long time is that the sky has darkened a bit, and with it my practice room. Shit, I should've turned on the lights before coming in.
Oh, well. I'm on repetition... which? I don't know which repetition I'm on either. I've gotta give a hand to John Cage and all those other guys he got together to do the first performance in which all 840 repetitions were done. They had concentration.
Something that I've long since lost as my mind wanders around. I haven't seen any elves atop the piano yet, but I'm beginning to feel a haze over my mind as I go about doing each repetition of the chord progression. The darkness doesn't help at all.
Nodding almost drunkenly, I continue playing.
The hallucinations begin to kick in. Now I'm seeing... turians? Dancing atop the piano?
Fuck me. I knew I'd be hallucinating something, but turians? Holy shit!
Hey, wait, now they're molding into origami figures. What the hell?
Slowly, a whole series of other hallucinations are beginning to pile up. I can barely describe them all at once.
From somewhere far away, I can hear an out of tune bar piano playing a very bizarre polka. I begin hearing a baritone voice screaming out about how all of the people there should dance and stink and how they would all go to the devil. I began to hear the blasting of trumpets. The sounds of thrusters picking up. Banging on a tam-tam. A fusillade of oboes, English horns, and... is that a Heckelphone? Piccolos and clarinets shooting up, to be cut off by the sound of a slapstick. Origami figures being folded. Trucks swerving to dodge an unintended target. The sound of Sturge's admonishing to his students of lesser intelligence. The murmur of a crowd. Applause. Kirby's Dream Land. My variations on it. Chaos. Varèse. The Second Viennese School. Ravel. Tchaikovsky. Behind all of this new noise, the sound of Satie is beginning to slowly fade away.
Time doesn't have a meaning anymore. Now my heart beats to the rhythm I began subdividing at the beginning, going perilously slow as it beats away. Somewhere, I can feel my fingers pressing against the keyboard, but just so that they barely register. I see all sorts of swirling colors, dim shades of blue, turquoise, and gray all beginning to overcome me. I feel... really fucking odd.
And yet... it all feels calm.
And then, something else happens. I begin to feel myself fade from existence. Now, I'm playing on the air, the sound of Satie's chord progression drowned out by all of the other sounds that began to accumulate. The dancing... turian... origami... things... whatever they are... were hovering in front of my vision as the colors began to swirl around it more loudly. I felt myself get laid down on the ground. The sounds get louder. The colors more dim. The dancing objects slow down and begin to fade from existence.
I don't know what's happening, but I don't care anymore. And as the objects fade back into my mind, I lose all sensation in my body, like I'm floating in a pool of water.
I feel myself lay down, and abruptly the sound cuts off, with only a squealing of violins at the top of their registers to cue me in on what has happened. The objects nearly blind me, and then they fade out into existence as black rules over all.
When sensation returns, I feel myself lying with my back on a hard surface. I'm still swimming in black, but now... I've got a headache too. Like something else forced itself into my brain.
Ah, well. That was a pretty big acid trip I took there with Vexations. Hot damn. I don't think that's something I would want to experience again. Ah, well. It'll make for an interesting story to my friends how I began seeing a video game race when I hallucinated. Now that would be something to hear reactions to, especially from my professors given that I don't seem like the type that would play video games.
But first, I have to get out of here...
... Is it me, or is it a little hot in here? I thought I left the window slightly open... I guess the fact that I have my more formal-ish grey jacket on doesn't help matters at all, especially wearing my long sleeved blue shirt from Gap. I swear, Boston weather is way too cold for my own good. I'd have to get that taken care of...
...as soon as I decided to finally move.
Putting a hand on my pants, I move to hoist myself up. That doesn't work so well, so I put my hands on the--
Cold metal floor? But the conservatory's practice rooms have a tile floor! And even if I was dragged out, I would expect to feel something like concrete, or grass, or, hell, maybe even being in a seated position against a wall in a police station somewhere. Where was there a place in Boston where there was a cold metal floor?
Hell if I know. Unless that Best Buy knows something I don't... Hm...
Ah, well, I can always check that later.
In the meantime, I realized it would help if I would open my eyes a little bit. I probably just fell off the piano stool so maybe I just need to see that I fell from that onto--
Okay, what the fuck is going on here? I lost consciousness in a practice room.
What the fuck am I doing in an alleyway with walls made of metal? Is this some kind of sick practical joke? Who--? Where--?
Oh, damn it. I just realized I don't know how the hell I'm gonna go back to my apartment. My food is gonna spoil! And where... Where the hell am I?
Shaking this off, I blinked and looked down at myself. Darting a hand through my pockets, I make sure I had all my essentials. Okay, I have them all. Good.
Looking around, I realize that my back pack is just a short ways off. Good; at least I won't be losing any of my sketches. Why did I bring them with me anyway? Maybe I was anticipating sketching stuff in the movie theater before I ultimately set my mind on Vexations? Eh, whatever.
I stood up, and then suddenly I made one realization far too many.
I was hungry. I was thirsty. And I didn't know where the hell I was. Just perfect. I come out of the equivalent of a combined LSD/alchohol/crack/marijuana trip, and I'm off like this.
Well... Wait. Now that I think about it, I don't remember anything being said about Vexations hallucinations being that bad... If that's the case...
Shit. I should get out of this alley.
I move forward, slinging my backpack over my shoulders. It's... oddly futuristic. Like I've been dropped off somewhere. Uh... this is really wierd. Did I black out and wind up in some interactive exhibit?
Ah, well. I get to the alleyway, where hopefully things will be--holy shit!
What...? Turians? Salarians? Futuristic outfits? Asari? Omni tools? Vid advertisements? Khalisa al-Jilani? Not in standard TV definition?????
... Apparently, I had an acid trip so bad I... I don't know... What the fuck...? How...? When...? Who...? Where...?
Why? What the fuck is going on?
I retreated into the alleyway. This is some kind of lucid dream. It has to be. There's no way I've wound up... here, of all places. Or maybe it's the after... no, I won't involve a pun involving some club, even if it's not where I think I am right now.
It's gotta be a dream. And yet...
Well, there's only one way to find out. I'm going to slap myself. And that's exactly what I do, feeling the harsh sting against my own face as I slapped myself as hard as I could.
Toto, I really, really, really don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
Okay, so somehow, by playing Satie's Vexations, I have found myself teleported to the Mass Effect universe after a wierd kind of acid trip that would have made Raoul Duke lose both his dignity (from screaming like a little girl) and that fucking cigar.
This... is a bit hard to swallow. I had to sit back in the alley for a second, walking back and seeing pretty much the same thing every time I did. And every time I looked, I had to slap myself. This sure as hell isn't some kind of fucked up lucid dream. I still have that feeling that something else is in my head, but it's no longer hurting it. In fact... I've been able to overhear a few things. In English. So it's probably one of those translator things. How I got that, I have no fucking clue.
It's been a half hour since I woke up here. I have no idea how the hell I got here, and I don't have very good memory of the Citadel, such that if I tried to walk around I would not know where the hell I was. I've realized too I have no food, no water, and no credits. And if I do use my money in my wallet, I doubt I can get it converted into enough credits for it to be worth anything. Hell, I don't even know if there's a currency exchange on where I am!
Which... is the Citadel, apparently. I'm just outside of some bar, so I'll just sit here and see what happens.
You know... since this is the Mass Effect universe, I might as well try and find out where Commander Shepard is. Wherever... he or she is, I get the feeling I might get purpose. I mean, I have very little lead in my pencils, I don't have my viola, and I'm pretty sure that there isn't a whole lot of paper in this universe. I think. I'm a little out of shape, I can't really run all too far without needing to pause to catch my breath, and I've never handled a firearm in my life, but I've got agility and flexibility, and I do have some Tae Kwon Do experience on me. If I could only start getting back in shape and get used to the concept of recoil, I imagine I'd be of some use on her mission, especially when people start dropping like flies once the suicide mission at the end of Mass Effect 2 comes along. We'll have to see.
For now, though, I guess I should hang out around this area. The club is still called Chora's Den, after all. I'm probably still in Mass Effect 1.
Vexations. Piece for solo piano. Music of Erik Satie. Three lines of music. Tritones in every chord. In its entire perfomance history, it has never been played by a single player. Those that tried had to stop due to hallucinations.
Or, in my case, because they get teleported to other universes for daring to do so in a practice room on the top floor of the conservatory.
Welcome to my newly fucked up life.