Recently, from October 4 to October 9, I spent my time writing a short story based off Wildstar - specifically, the character of Malvolio Portius. (Interestingly enough, I actually managed to finish the story, unlike many others, since I had a clear goal in mind.) I've decided to sign up for Wildstar-Central so that the fans of the game will read it - even though I'm not likely to play the game myself, not having enough dedication and money for it. It's pointed out on a TV Tropes page for the game that he's probably an alcoholic, since those huge goblets of wine in "Meet the Dominion" and "Dirty Little Secrets" are rendered empty awfully quick. So in this story, I am exploring why exactly Malvolio drinks so much wine. Note, of course, that his characterization isn't spot on - his snobbery and sense of superiority seem to have ended up downplayed in this story, and his dialogue doesn't seem to be as refined as it should be. But I still consider it a big achievement. I welcome both criticism and praise - I want to hear both what I did wrong, with recommendations on how to do better, and what I did right. So feel free to comment. Forewarnings: the fanfic contains some mildly disturbing scenes (that's what you get for writing about an evil empire), as well as copious amounts of booze being consumed. If you take objection to either, you'll probably want to refrain from reading. Hopefully, Malvolio's excessive drinking doesn't break any rules of the forum. *** Malvolio Portius woke up to the loud beeping of his alarm clock. Almost a whole minute had passed as he tried to comprehend the terrible headache he was having. He groaned as he got out from under the blanket, sat up on his bed, and reached for the hangover pills on his ornate nightstand, shutting off the incessant alarm and then grabbing the medicine bottle. He absentmindedly threw a few pills into his mouth, washed them down with a glass of water, and grasped his head in frustration. "Great... just great... another day in the service of the glory that is the Dominion" - he thought to himself. Malvolio got up, sighed, and dragged his unwilling feet to the bathroom to have a shower. Throwing off his boxer shorts, he stepped into the shower and turned on the water. His headache gradually faded away, thanks both to the relaxing warmth of the water and steam and the hangover medicine taking effect. After a few minutes, he turned off the shower and switched on the hair-dryer mode, a neat little addition that meant he wouldn't have to waste time with the towels and bathrobe. He brushed his silver hair into proper triangular shape, and stretched his arms for a moment, feeling reinvigorated by the shower. Going over to the wardrobe, he opened the doors, looked at his uniform, and smiled - he knew just how awesome he looked in it. The red-white-and-blue coloring looked as impressive as ever, and the clothes were tailored perfectly to fit his form. He proceeded to dress in his usual attire - a process that took over seven minutes, but resulted in immaculate, dashing look that Malvolio prized so much. He was truly the finest representation of Dominion's might, determination, and impeccable style... and he was about to have a breakfast. Malvolio went over to the dining room of his apartment, and pressed the button on the intercom next to a small alcove in the wall. It crackled, and the person on the other side asked: "How may I serve you, sir?" "I want to have a breakfast." - Malvolio replied. "Did you get the memo when I woke up?" "Yes sir, it's already nearly done, sir." - the person on the other side replied. Malvolio went over to the sideboard, and took out a bottle of wine from a good year - Arcadia Merlot of 1621 vintage. Just as he turned around, he saw a small wormhole open in the alcove, and then closed again, leaving his breakfast behind: a plate of pressure-boiled local fish (Malvolio hoped it didn't have any long-term health effects) with the Cassian cream sauce, lemon seasoning, and a side of two cheese-and-butter baguette sandwiches. All food was one hundred percent real - as a highborn Cassian, Malvolio wouldn't settle for anything less. He took the plate over to the table, put a napkin over his chest, poured himself a goblet of wine, and started cutting the fish into small pieces, as per the dining etiquette. Adhering to it was a matter of principle for him - after all, if he didn't follow the etiquette, how much better was he than those Exile philistines? After a few minutes of deliberation, eating the breakfast and sipping the Arcadian wine, Malvolio was done with it. He put the napkin away, got up, and carried the plate back to the transporter, pressing the button to signal for return. For a moment, he returned to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He wished that the day would end right here and now so that he doesn't have to go through the usual insanity of his typical working day, but knew it was futile. And so, Senior Line Administrator Malvolio Portius took the last sip of wine from his goblet and set off to his office, to do what he did best: ensuring that the Dominion's operations on planet Nexus do not collapse under their own weight. Malvolio's office was seventeen floors below his apartment, just a short elevator ride away. It was a sizeable room with a large table and a fancy chair for him to sit in, a hologaphic monitor and heavy brass keyboard alongside a wood-plated laser mouse on it, two chairs for the visitors, huge panoramic windows overlooking the parade grounds in front of the complex, a refrigerated cupboard storing his collection of wines, and many, many decorations - precious vases, ornate lamps, exotic potted plants, medals and weapons hanging off walls. And before that office, there was a waiting room for the visitors, a workplace of Malvolio's Cassian secretary, Harlene Barret. She welcomed Malvolio with a salute as he came in, to which he replied with "Yeah, yeah, pleasant to see you too." He went over to his table and crashed into his chair, readying himself for the grind of ridiculous reports, crazy-like-a-cat visitors, orders without context, pointless posturing, sabre-rattling, treachery, and incompetence. An hour and a half passed. Malvolio was chewing through paperwork, taking a sip from a goblet of wine every now and then. As he was reviewing the reports from combat zones, Malvolio heard his table intercom come online, and his secretary said: "Sir Portius? Your eleven-o-clock appointment is here." "Alright, let him in." - Malvolio said in an irritated tone of voice. He remembered very clearly that this appointment was a Chua, with some newly-invented weapon to be approved - and he hated dealing with the little buggers. They were always attempting to leave a bottle of nitroglycerin among his wine supplies, or put timed explosives in his pockets, or "accidentially" cover the entire office in sticky goop, or trip the fire alarm with a negligent flamethrower blast, or... well, you get the idea. Malvolio just hoped that this time, his office, health, and dignity wouldn't be too heavily damaged. The door opened, and the dimunitive Chua walked in, holding an oversized gun. It resembled a hybrid of a shotgun, an assault rifle, and a rocket launcher, with a wide-bore brass-coated barrel, big curved drum magazine, a set of holographic crosshairs hovering on top of it, and a lot of duct tape holding it together. Malvolio raised an eyebrow, and asked: "So... what's your name again, you little scamp?" "Name Geewitz Hak. Me bring you new weapon!" "A... new weapon. I see." - Malvolio said. "What is that thing, exactly?" "Is new grenade launcher! Work great indoors!" - Geewitz said. "Yes, but what benefits does it have compared to all the other grenade launchers the Dominion employs?" - Malvolio inquired. "Geewitz glad you asked!" - the rodential inventor replied to him, and let loose a volley of grenades from the launcher. To Malvolio's horror, not only the launcher was fully-automatic, but as soon as the grenades hit the walls, they started bouncing around the office, destroying precious vases and lamps, smashing several wine bottles and goblets he left out in the open, and nearly hitting him several times, all while beeping ominously. Any lesser man would have been paralyzed by fear, but for Malvolio, weapons being discharged in his office was routine by now, and after a few seconds, he came up with a plan. He leapt from behind his desk and to the huge, reinforced panoramic windows in the side wall of his office, and quickly got all three of them open. The grenades quickly left the office, and Malvolio breathed a sigh of relief as they exploded in the distance. After the crisis was averted, Malvolio turned to the inventor with a frown on his face. Geewitz blinked two times in confusion and asked: "You not happy with weapon? Geewitz make something wrong?" "No, I do not have any qualms." - Malvolio replied in a sarcastic tone. "This is great, just perfect! Maybe next you can invent a device that can interface with someone's brain to give them a heightened sense of self-preservation..." Geewitz gave him a confident, toothy smile and said: "Geewitz know you'd like gun. Where to put it now?" "In a titanium-reinforced safe, preferably. And keep it there untill I get it approved with the Draken for field-testing. I am sure Zuluk and his boys will love what you did with this... thing. Just please, remember to keep it away from me." As Geewitz walked out, his infernal grenade launcher in hand, Malvolio walked over to the cupboard, and took another goblet along with a bottle of expensive Starburst 1557 from it. "How provident of me" - he thought - "to keep the good stuff under lock and key." Another hour passed. Malvolio was pleasantly surprised by Starburst's warming effect. He poured himself another goblet of it and slowly sipped the lovely, lovely wine. The reports from the archaeological dig in the swamplands looked alarming - nine workers and two scientists have vanished in the last week alone - but Malvolio found that the part of him that cared was safely drowned in alcohol. He forwarded the report to the ICI, hoping that the Mechari would take it over from him, and flipped over to the next document. It was a top-priority requisition sheet for two crates of pineapples and seventeen metres of rubber hose. Malvolio groaned, thinking that some Chua must have hacked the system again to cut in front of the metaphorical line, when suddenly- "Sir Portius?" - the intercom called him. "There's a visitor in here, and-" "Visitor? I do not have any appointments for this time of day, miss Barret." "Unfortunately, sir, he's a Draken, and I'm afraid he won't take no for an answer." "Alright, alright..." - Malvolio sighed. "Just let him in. I'll try to give him whatever is that he wants." The doors opened, and a Draken warrior walked in, holding a blood-splattered dagger in one hand and dragging a bloodied corpse of a human Exile behind him with the other, leaving bloodstains all over the carpet. Malvolio facepalmed, then turned to the Draken and asked: "What in the hell do you think you're doing, mister?!" "I'm not a "mister" to you." - the Draken replied. "Name's Kondor. I'm here to claim the bounty on this man." As he said that, he held up the corpse by its hair, its blank eyes staring at Malvolio and blood dripping from its mouth. Malvolio momentarily felt nauseous, but shrugged it off - he's seen worse in his service to the Dominion. "Do you think that maybe, just maybe, dragging a bloody corpse into my office might not have been the brightest idea you've had in your life?" - Malvolio said with irritation. "Umm... no?" - Kondor said, before staring confusedly at some point of the ceiling and picking his nose. Malvolio pinched the bridge of his nose for a few seconds, and sighed. This was getting ridiculous, and he wasn't even through the first half of his workday. He gathered up all the patience he could, and spoke, slowly and deliberately: "Alright. You say that you are here to claim the bounty. Which one is it?" "The bounty is for a man named Daniel Jackson. Spellslinger, a lot of rare guns and Exile intel on him. 5000 gold for the kill, and another 2500 for bringing the intel back. I hope you have the payment ready and at hand." "Actually," - Malvolio said - "I am going to write you a cheque confirming the kill, and you can go to the Accounting to cash it." "A cheque?!" - Kondor shouted. "You dare insult me with a cheque?!" "Sorry, old chap, but that's how it works." - Malvolio replied. "I am not authorized to handle the bounties, and perhaps you should have double-checked who is before dragging this dead body into my office. And speaking of that, could you please take it someplace appropriate? Like a morgue, or something similar perhaps?" Kondor sniffed, growled, and then said: "Alright. Just gimme the damn cheque." Malvolio quickly whipped out a proper form, rapidly filled it in with his antique fountain pen, and handed it to the Draken. The hunter stuffed it in his pocket, and dragged the Exile's corpse back out of the office. Malvolio groaned in frustration, pushed the button on the intercom, and said: "Miss Barret? Could you please send someone in to clean up in here? The carpet is an ungodly mess of blood and entrails." "I'll send the janitor in right away, sir." "Thank you. Oh me oh my, sometimes it feels so great when someone just does what they're told." - said Malvolio. He emptied the rest of Starburst 1557 bottle into his goblet and drank it all up in a single gulp. The clock struck two, and Malvolio interrupted for dinner. The amount of bureaucratic busywork he had to do didn't grow any smaller in these thirty minutes, but Malvolio figured that he owed himself a short break from the rollercoaster of insanity that was his job. The dinner was a deluxe medium-rare steak served with a heaping side of fresh vegetable salad sprinkled with feta cheese. Malvolio always dined in his office, so his silver cutlery was always at hand. He savoured every moment, because each of those moments meant not going back to his administrative duties. The steak with wine was most delicious, and it saddened him that like all good things, it eventually had to end. Reluctantly, Malvolio sent away the empty dish along with his forks and knives to be cleaned, and after a short bathroom break, returned to his work. The freshly-opened bottle of Blackvine 1592 was standing on his table, and every now and then - especially when he read an especially facepalm-worthy report - he would take a sip from the goblet filled with it. Eventually, the time reached five in the afternoon, and Malvolio's intercom once again went online. Ms. Barret said: "Sir Portius, your five-o-clock visitor in here. And she doesn't look happy." "Let her in." - Malvolio said. "I'm sure I can handle this." The doors opened, and the visitor - an administrator under Malvolio's command named Adriana Valentine - walked in. Malvolio glanced at her, another highborn Cassian like himself, and said: "Ah, lady Valentine, always nice to see you..." "I'm not here for pleasantries, sir Portius." - she said. "Recently, an order has been given by you to deploy a squadron of submarines... to the savannahs of Deradune. Now the boats are stuck there after the orbital drop, and the crews can't leave because otherwise the Exiles will inevitably show up and loot the boats. Why, exactly, did you do it?" - she intoned. Suddenly, Malvolio remembered with clarity why he did that. He was more drunk than usually - must have been a hard day for him, that one - and thought it would be funny to give that order, just for the mischief value. He froze for a moment as Adriana continued to drill into him with her gaze. "I, um... don't remember." - he said, trying to feign ignorance. "You don't remember?! What the hell were you thinking when you did that? Were you drunk again?!" - Adriana yelled, grabbing Malvolio by the collar and dragging his face towards hers. "I, uh, I..." - Malvolio blurted out, his ability to lie impaired by all the alcohol he consumed earlier - "I, no, I was just... distracted with, um, other matters." "Don't lie to me, Portius!" - Adriana shouted. - "You were more smashed than the Star of Dominus, and messed up my operations because of your alcoholism!" "Watch it, lady!" - Malvolio growled back. "If you had to deal with all those psychopaths every walking day, you'd be drowning your sorrows in wine too!" "I don't care!" - Adriana replied. "A real Cassian doesn't drink himself into a stupor just because something didn't go his way! And you should know that! By Eldan, you're such a colossal failure!" "A failure?!" - Malvolio exploded. "You don't know half of it! Trying to make sure this Eldanforsaken operation doesn't fall apart around us is like explaining the genealogy of the Portius family to a Rowsdower! If it weren't for my leadership, you would have been target practice for the Granok or a lab rat for the Mordesh by now!" "No I wouldn't be, you drunken idiot!" - Adriana retorted. "If I was put in charge, we'd crush all that Exile scum long ago! Screw you... I'm outta here!" As she said that, she stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her. Tired and frustrated, Malvolio sank into his chair, reached over for the bottle of the Blackvine 1592, and poured himself another goblet of it. Finally, the day was drawing to a close. The sun slowly descended towards the horizon, bathing Malvolio in light - his windows were oriented towards the west. He hoped that the endless flow of madness that was his job will soon be over - but he was yet to encounter one last burst of it for today. As Malvolio was reading through production reports from the Dominion's steel mills, Ms. Barret asked him over the intercom: "Sir Portius? Agent Voxine is here. She says she needs to meet with you." "Oh, just let her in." - Malvolio intoned. "Whatever she wants, it can't be that bad." "Right away, sir." - Ms. Barret replied. The doors opened, and Malvolio heard Agent Voxine shout: "Move, you pathetic excuse of a rebel!" He raised his eyes and saw Voxine's prisoner who she was threatening with a blaster poking into his back. His hands were cuffed behind his back, and his head was covered by a sack, presumably so that he doesn't see any Imperial secrets while being led to interrogation. He was wearing a tattered sleeveless Stalker garb, liberally riddled with bloodstains and scorchmarks. Agent Voxine pushed him towards the table, making him fall on the floor - at this point Malvolio noticed his fluffy tail - and then lifted the sack from his head, revealing him to be a young Aurin with purplish-magenta-colored hair and cat ears, one black eye, and a large blood trail coming down from his nose. He got up and shouted: "I'll never tell you anything, you planet-killing jerks! I don't care what you do to me!" Agent Voxine lifted his chin by her fingers, and said: "Yes you will, my dear. We have ways of making you talk... isn't that right, Portius?" "Just do whatever you want," - Malvolio said, waving his hand dismissively - "I don't give a damn anymore." "Come on, Portius, don't be so apathetic!" - Agent Voxine said, slamming the prisoner's head into Malvolio's table several times. She then grabbed a letter opener and slowly dragged it across the Aurin's arm, drawing blood. "Surely that'll get your blood running just as well as it does his!" - she said. "Nope." - Malvolio replied, followed with a hiccup. "Still don't care." "Aw, Portius, help me out - just a little!" - Voxine said. "I've been trying to break this guy for two hours, and he simply won't cooperate!" "I honestly do not know what you could do." - Malvolio said, gathering up all available effort to suggest something worthwhile. "Have you tried drugging him, perhaps? Always seems to work for me..." - he added, muttering under his breath. "I would," - Voxine replied with regret in her voice - "but we're all out of truth serum, and the new supplies will only get here next week." "No, I mean..." - Malvolio said with a pause - "...I mean, why not get him drunk? That'll certainly make him more... receptive." The prisoner spat in the direction of Malvolio, which he dodged, and Agent Voxine hit him on the head with her blaster. Undaunted, he shouted at Malvolio: "If you think alcohol will make me tell you something, you're in for a deep disappointment, you Dominion scum!" "That's what they all say, old chap..." - Malvolio said almost wistfully - "...that's what they all say." He turned to Agent Voxine and asked: "Could you please get him out of my office now? I think I am getting annoyed just by looking at him..." Agent Voxine nodded, put the sack back on Aurin's head in a swift motion, and intoned: "Get moving, you worthless slime!" She pushed him out of the office at blasterpoint, leaving Malvolio alone with the remaining Blackvine 1592. The last thirty minutes of Malvolio's work were uneventful. He put the three empty wine bottles in the trash and went out of his office. The work day was finally over - hard to believe, but it was. He glanced at his secretary as he was walking past her to see if she was doing any better than him, and got on the elevator to his apartment. As he entered it, he felt like he threw a whole mountain of responsibility off his shoulders. He took off his work uniform and carefully hung it up in the wardrobe, then put on his dressing gown and crashed onto the sofa, goblet of wine in hand - this time, the Arcadian Merlot he started the day with. He turned on his favourite film, a black-and-white high society drama by Alexander Stauffenberg called "The Intrigues and Machinations of Ferdinand Hall", and just soaked in the atmosphere, with several helpings of wine along the way. The Merlot bottle was soon empty, and he took to another one, labeled "Red River of Cassus 1608". He drank it from his goblet along with the supper - a delicious cherry pie with a side of bitter chocolate. Malvolio relaxed and downed a few more goblets of wine. The film was still long from over, being a three-hour epic. He got up a few times to go to the kitchen or bathroom, but mostly stayed at the screen - no matter how many times he saw this film, it never got any less interesting. It seemed to him that he was finally free of all that his work entailed, at least for now. But suddenly, a little before ten in the evening, he heard a loud, angry knock on the door. He got up, went up to the door, and as he opened it, a single sentence escaped his lips: "Oh Eldan, you can't be serious." Geewitz Hak, Agent Voxine, Kondor, and Adriana Valentine were all standing on his doorstep and looked really pissed-off indeed. Agent Voxine pointed at Geewitz and said: "This idiotic furball fired a grenade indoors, and it blew my prisoner into bloody chunks before I could extract any information!" "Geewitz not to blame! Trigger assembly faulty!" - Geewitz retorted. Kondor interjected, growling angrily: "I spent five hours in Accounting without killing a single damn thing, and they tried to pay me off with two crates of pineapples and seventeen metres of rubber hose!" Adriana joined in, saying in an angry tone: "The submarines are still stuck in Deradune, you know! I don't have the authorization to organize the recall! When are you going to do something about it, eh? Eh?!" Malvolio was dumbstruck with the sheer tenacity of his visitors. For a few seconds, he just looked over the four... and then quickly, decisively slammed the door shut right in their faces. They started shouting and banging on it again, but Malvolio just shouted "Not listening!" back at them, and continued to down goblet after goblet of wine. His visitors left in about fifteen minutes after realizing the futility of banging on his door, and soon enough, Malvolio's vision got blurry and his mind started to wander. He staggered to the bedroom, threw off his dressing gown, and fell into the comfy embrace of his bed. He dragged the blanket over himself and mumbled "O alcohol, what a lifesaver thou art", completely oblivious to the fact that tomorrow the madness of his work will come back again, along with another nasty hangover. At this point, gently floating in the wine-induced euphoria, he was simply too relaxed and too happy to care.