Tempo Trigger Chapter 19
The Big Game
Schala gasped in awe is she took in the high vaulted roof of the basketball court. It curved upward somewhat, and had to be at least fifty feet tall at the highest point. She was really enjoying seeing all these new types of structures, and was getting tired of Lion's constant indifference to the whole experience. To drive the point home, Lion stifled a yawn from where he was standing beside her. She turned her attention from the roof to the bleachers, and grew nervous as she saw the hundreds of other teenagers in attendance. Her initial reaction was to be worried about how she was dressed, given the fact that multiple layers of robes didn't exactly seem to be a popular style around here. She changed her mind when two people dressed almost entirely in black leather and chains brushed past her. She just looked oddly conservative, they looked like freaks.
Still, she wished she had someone from this time to "hang out" with. Tempo had said something about having a date with Silva and left earlier, and now Sowell and the rest of the band had gone to get set up. "Well, what are you two doing here?" Schala turned around to see Silva standing behind them. "Lion, I would have thought you would have gone back to your own time, and Schala, I don't even know what's up with you."
Lion shrugged. "I couldn't take the Ranger with me yet, so I decided to wait."
Schala smiled a little. "You don't even want to know."
Silva just shook her head at them. "Well, the fact that you two are still here kind of reassures me that I didn't go nuts. I don't see any of my friends around here yet, so let's go find some seats."
Tempo always became angry when he walked through the halls near the gym. He and Rena had spent so much time making out in the corners around here that he couldn't go by without feeling an ache for her rise up in his chest. As he got close to the side entrance to court, he saw a bunch of Soultech people standing around, talking. Probably parents there to watch their kids play in the game. He didn't notice as they all seemed to be in a hurry to get out of his way, which is why he got extremely annoyed when one of them didn't, and he bumped into the man. "Watch it, you old geezer." He said offhand, then walked inside and around to the locker room.
"Why you insolent young-" The man began to gesture at him.
"Uh, sir?" One of the men put a hand on his shoulder. "You may want to rethink that. That was Selena's son."
Lord Nagar looked at the man with surprise. "Selena's son? He can't be that old already."
"No mistake sir, that was Tempo."
A distant look appeared in Nagar's eyes. "The burden he must carry... I should go apologize to him." He started to walk toward the locker room.
The man restrained him again. "He wouldn't appreciate it now sir. Let him calm down from whatever made him mad."
Lord Nagar sighed. "After what happened to his mother, I doubt he'll ever calm down."
Schala was quite intrigued by this sport known as "basketball." She still hadn't quite figured out all the rules, but it looked like a lot of fun. She was also intrigued by the fact that perhaps one fourth of the teenagers, at most, were actually paying attention to the game. The rest were talking to each other, chomping down snacks, or making out in some of the secluded areas. It was nothing more than a huge gossip and hormone fest, and since Schala didn't have much of either at the moment, she felt kind of left out.
That is, until Silva started talking to her. Apparently, she had already gotten so used to being back in her normal environment that she had forgotten Schala wasn't one of her friends. "There goes Tiffany." She pointed to a girl walking along the bottom of the bleachers. "You'll never guess what she... Oh, sorry." She trailed off as she looked up and realized that she was talking to Schala.
"What?" Schala asked.
"Nothing. Nothing you'd be interested in anyway."
"Why not?" Schala folded her arms.
"Well, no offense, but you seem like one of those people who would grow extremely offended at the slightest mention of sex." Silva shrugged.
"Why would you think that?"
"It's just that... with those robes, you look like you're planning on staying a virgin until you're thirty."
Schala leaned back in her seat, smiling now, although she still felt odd having this type of conversation. "You're fourteen years off."
"Forty four?" Silva couldn't help that one.
"Sixteen." Schala responded calmly, turning back to watch the game.
"You're not bullshittin' me?" Schala shook her head. "You were really sixteen your first time?"
"First and only time, basically." Schala nodded, looking a bit sad now.
Silva now leaned back, and turned to watch the game as well. "Wow. You sure don't look it."
"Well, I was a different person then." Schala said simply.
"In what way?" Silva pried.
"I'd rather not go into that yet." Schala shook her head. "I feel like I should tell Tempo before anyone else anyway."
"Why?" Silva looked a little angry now. "He won't care."
"Maybe not." Schala shrugged. "But he's already asked me about this once, and I wouldn't tell him at the time." They sat in silence for a few moments. "Anyway, what were you going to say before?"
Suddenly, Silva looked like they had never had any kind of a disagreement. "Oh yeah, you'll never guess what Tiffany had pierced."
"What?..." Silva gestured for Schala to lean closer. She did, and Silva whispered something in her ear. "No way!" Schala had to smile at the absurdity of what she was saying. "I didn't think it was even possible to pierce there."
"I didn't either." Silva smiled. "But I heard that some other people heard her bragging about it to her friends."
"Besides, why would she want to? Now she can't..."
"Well, she had it done fairly far down. I think she was hoping to create a tighter..."
"For three seconds maybe." Schala laughed. "Then it's just going to rip..."
They both looked at each other, then cringed in their seats. "Ow!..."
Lion finally opened one eye from where he had been leaning back, dozing. "I wouldn't want to be that guy. Except for those first three seconds, maybe." They looked at him with surprise. "You know, it's amazing the conversations you can have without finishing your sentences."
"What would you know about this anyway?" Silva asked him.
He finally sat up, opening both eyes. "A lot more than you'd think, I'm willing to bet."
"Yeah right." She laughed again. "How old are you anyway, green man? I'd guess sixteen at most."
"Sorry, that's classified information." Lion shook his head.
"I bet it's fifteen then." Silva continued to grin.
"No, I mean it really is classified information. I don't know how old I am." Lion told her with a totally straight face.
"Oh." Her grin disappeared, and she leaned back in her seat. Their attention was brought back to the game as the buzzer for halftime sounded. Silva immediately smiled again. "Tempo should be out here in just a few minutes."
Schala was curious about something. "Hey, doesn't the school have its own band?"
"Yes." Silva nodded. "But they started feeling so outclassed whenever Tempo performed during halftime that they stopped coming around when he's here."
"He's that good?" Lion asked.
"Better. You haven't heard him play yet?" They shook their heads. "Then you're in for a treat."
Tempo idly twirled a drumstick in his fingers as the guys got ready to haul their equipment out into the gym. "Do you guys ever wonder how long we're going to keep this up?" He asked casually.
"As long as we can, man." Sowell grimaced as he hefted up an amp.
"What, when we're thirty five with three kids each, we're still going to be playing at the high school? I don't think so." Tempo twirled the stick faster.
"Well, at least until we graduate." One of the seniors in the group said.
"Well I know that." Tempo continued to twirl with an even rhythm. "But basketball season doesn't last forever. We should give something like a "farewell performance" sometime."
"What're you saying?" Sowell turned to give him a dirty look.
"Just a thought." Tempo shrugged. Then he stopped twirling the stick and picked up the bass drum of the set. "C'mon, let's go rock their world."
The lights dimmed as the band came out to the middle of the gym floor. Silva chuckled a little to herself. "What's up?" Schala asked.
"Oh, they just used to turn the lights off, because they didn't want to spend the extra money buying the type of bulbs that could dim. But one time, Sowell tripped over the drum set and dropped one of the amps on the floor, and it left a pretty good dent that wasn't easy to fix." Silva looked like she was about to say more, but then the lights brightened somewhat, and she kept silent. Schala noticed that for pretty much the first time all night, most of the other teenagers in the audience were quiet too.
Sowell turned the amp on, a soft hum filled the gym. Then he quietly began to pick at his guitar. The sound that resulted seemed a little odd, but Schala sat back and observed. It was probably due to the electricity. She couldn't quite figure out why all the others were so enthralled with this though. From what she had seen, the sounds Sowell was producing weren't anywhere near enough to get them going.
Then, she was suddenly hit with a wall of sound that nearly blasted her out of her seat. Some of the lights shut off, and flashing colors raced over the gym floor. Sowell now looked like he was punching his guitar hard, and the other guys went to work on their instruments with equal vigor. Most importantly, Tempo had started pounding away on his drums, of which he had at least six surrounding him, as well as eight cymbals. She shouted in surprise, but no one heard her. Now everyone was jumping up, doing some twisted dance to this stuff, which involved thrashing their heads around more than anything else.
Schala wasn't sure what to make of it at first. It was so strange, and so loud. It was obvious that Sowell was belting out lyrics at the top of his lungs, occasionally being joined by one of the other guys, but she couldn't even come close to understand what they were saying. But by the time they were done, she had to admit that she liked it. It wasn't until the sound of the song died away that she realized just how loud the instruments were. Everyone burst into applause. "Wow!" Schala exclaimed. "That was amazing! It was like an electric org-"
"I know." Silva laughed. "Although that's an interesting way to put it. And that was just the warm up."
Then, Sowell shouted up from the floor. "What do you guys wanna hear?!"
The reply from the audience was nearly unanimous. "Faster, faster!!"
Sowell pretended to look angry. "Let Tempo have all the glory huh? All right." He stepped back, and began plucking at his guitar again. Tempo started in on the drums, but he was playing fairly soft, and just beating out basic eighth notes. Then they stopped playing, and looked up at the audience.
"Faster!!" They all shouted. Now Sowell began pouring on the sound again, and Tempo stepped up to sixteenth notes. Two of the other guys joined in as well. The audience began to rock along with them now. Again, they stopped playing, and looked up at them. "Faster!!" Came the enthusiastic reply. Now they resumed playing just like before, but with a much faster beat. Schala thought Tempo was beginning to show signs of strain, but she soon found that she was dead wrong. "Faster!!" The shout came again without even waiting for the music to stop. Tempo grinned, and then immediately doubled his speed, going to thirty second notes.
"Wow!" Schala shouted to comment to Silva. "He's pretty impressive."
"He's only at mid range right now." Silva grinned. The audience allowed them to play like that for maybe fifteen seconds at max, then shouted again. Tempo grimaced this time, but rather than just speeding up, he doubled again, switching to sixty fourth notes. The drum set sounded like a machine gun. "Well, now he's pretty much at maximum. I've heard him carry the sixty fourth notes a bit faster than this, but not for very long."
After a few seconds of playing that way, Tempo began to show signs of wear and tear. His beat didn't falter, but his grimace grew worse and worse. The sticks began to slip in his hands because of the sweat pouring out of him, and every time he hit the cymbals, small chunks of wood flew off. Then, the audience shouted again. Tempo looked up uneasily, and quickly shook his head. "You can do it Tempo!!" They shouted at him. He grinned, but shook his head again.
Schala wondered if he actually could, but she thought hard at him. 'Enough of this self doubt! You can do anything! So c'mon, faster!!!' She could swear she saw a green flash in his eyes.
Tempo struggled to be heard over the noise he was making, especially since he didn't have a microphone. "Yes... I... can!!!" He roared, then, amazingly, doubled his speed one more time.
"One hundred twenty eighth notes." Silva gasped. "I never would have thought it possible." The rest of the band barely managed to keep playing as they stared at him in amazement. The song didn't really have a normal ending. It ended when Tempo's sticks fell apart in his hands, a layer of sawdust and splinters covering him, and sticking because of the sweat. He sat there for a few moments, a wild look in his eyes, his arms still partially flailing.
The audience burst into deafening cheers. Tempo slowly got up and bowed low, then sat back down in his seat. He reached into his shirt, and pulled out two more drumsticks. "Always carry a spare." He grinned.
Now most of the teens had managed to organize a chant. "Tempo!! Tempo!!"
Sowell walked over to him. "Well, I don't think you'll ever be able to top that. You were planning on this being the "farewell performance," weren't you?"
"Actually, no." Tempo shrugged. "Just gave the people what they wanted. And I'm going to top that performance right now."
"What do you mean?" Sowell suddenly became worried.
"Look at them." He pointed at the cheering mob of fans, and laughed. "Right now, I'm their hero. There'll never be a better time."
"Time for what?" Sowell narrowed his eyes.
Tempo turned to the rest of the band. "Gentlemen, I've been hiding it for six months, but no more." He quickly whipped some sheets of music out of his shirt, and handed it to them. "It's time to admit that I miss her. It's time... for the Song of Death."
"You can't take back, the one mistake, that still lives on, after life it takes." - The Offspring
Nanaki: For those of you plain didn't understand the rather immature, and yes, perhaps disgusting, insinuation in this chapter, or those of you who may have been offended by it, I have this to say: You should have waited for the "tame version." Remember that the next time you get curious about a Content Warning chapter.
Go To Chapter 20 -- Content Warning!!
Go To Chapter 20 (Tame Version)
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