Thursday, June 6, 2019

Microstory 1119: Norberto Pastore

Norberto Arcangelo Pastore was always eager to please, always underappreciated, and always willing to do the jobs that no one else wanted. He just kept trying, but he was uncoordinated, and socially awkward. Every day came with the same or similar challenges, but he simply could not figure them out. He was at a disadvantage from the start, though, because his parents were so much worse. They were masters at cultural appropriation, which is why he possessed three Italian names, without having so much as one drop of Italian blood in his body. Upon their marriage, they actually both changed their surname, to reflect some misguided belief that their lives would be better if others thought of them as foreign. Don’t try to understand it. They adopted vaguely transatlantic accents, and made up stories about their heritage. Why they did this is anyone’s guess, but they were clearly mentally unstable; a fact which presented itself in a number of ways as Norberto was growing up. They never mistreated, or abused, him. They were always around, and liked to help, but they were incompetent, and it almost would have been better if he had raised himself. They contradicted and disregarded his school assignments. He desperately tried to receive high marks, but was unable to with all of his parents’ meddling. In the end, he had to realize that he was better off alone, and cut ties with them when he finally graduated from high school at the age of 20. He didn’t go to college, and suffered through many low-paying jobs of menial labor, all the while looking for at least one new parental figure. He felt like he found it when he started working for a woman named Volpsidia Raske. She was developing a cutting edge biotechnology company, using her psychic powers to engineer creatures that would be capable of her gifts. He became staunchly loyal, and possibly unhealthily attached to her. She did not accept his attempts to make her his surrogate mother—only partially because he wasn’t much younger than her—but she also didn’t explicitly reject them. She appreciated having someone around who would always do whatever she wanted, and he conflated that with true love, because his fragile mind couldn’t survive without it. He finally found someone who knew what she was doing, and that was enough.

The true test of his dedication came when he was sent on a deep undercover mission, for which he was barely qualified. A probationary member of one of the New Gangs of Kansas City named Krakken reportedly discovered one of Volpsidia’s lab experiments out in the wild. She had not been made aware that the animal had even escaped, so she had to fire a team of five scientists for their inadequacy. By the time Norberto managed to get close enough to meet this Krakken, it appeared that he had long ago forfeited the animal, though he did not say where. So Norberto was forced to join his gang as well, and prove himself with street graffiti. As luck would have it, he was not the worst artist in the world, and was able to fake his way into the tagger gang without much question. He was never going to be in charge, but hopefully he would at least get close enough to Krakken to find out where he had left the animal. After all, they were the two newest members, so they had that much in common. Unfortunately, Norberto—known to the other taggers as Noobo—continued to struggle with his social skills, and spent far too much time with them than he should have. He only managed to find the animal when someone from the tracer gang happened to show up at their headquarters with it, looking for some assistance. Norberto uncharacteristically shrewdly stole the creature, and evaded capture for a fairly long time. The tracer was able to steal it back, but it was probably for the best. A rival company to Volpsidia’s was interested in the creation as well, and Norberto might not have been able to keep it from their grasp, whereas the tracer had years of training to help him protect it. The animal would wind up in the hands of the FBI, but under control of a mysterious and secret religious cult. Now was the time for him to come out of his shell, and redeem himself for all of his mistakes. He had to team up with the enemy to get the animal back, and Norberto would be given the chance to become an unlikely hero.

No comments :

Post a Comment