May Writing Competition (Winners Announced!)



A great opportunity for writers to showcase their talent.

Moderators: Feral Female, Miles_Warren, Feral Female, Miles_Warren

May Writing Competition (Winners Announced!)

Miles_Warren
Eternal
Joined: 24 Feb 2013, 00:05

03 May 2015, 13:19 #1

Welcome to the May writing competition :guitar: Please read the rules before entering

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Mickeys_Comi ... opic=11460

Some important info for this month:

1) Entrants have until May 27th 4pm EST to submit an entry for the competition

2) Voting will then open for entrants before closing on May 29th 4pm EST

3) Voting for non-entrants will then open before closing on May 30th 4pm EST

Best of luck to all entrants

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ewkada
Inhuman
Joined: 21 Dec 2013, 01:44

03 May 2015, 20:53 #2

I am ready to place my story. With two remarks:

1. I own nothing which is not mine.
2. This story was my total disaster. Why? Because you see time in a more complex way than we do. In Polish we’ve got now three types of time: the past, the present time and the future, and to express an eventual complexity of time we use additional words. But you have so various time constructions that I find it hard to understand differences between them, not to mention, that I find it impossible to use them properly. Without my teacher I would fail miserably.

-------------------------------------------


DESPAIR

---

They appeared shortly before the dawn so unexpectedly, that the majority of Asgardians even today are not able to say, whether the beginning of this war was a dream or reality, especially as their appearance was equally unreal like that of a species that can only be dreamed of. Because who has ever met dragons with a smooth skin and ruddy, almost sweet muzzles? The Asgardians watched them with curiosity, admiration even and this way they allowed the dragons to come closer. But then the dragons opened their huge muzzles presenting this way their healthy, beautifully shaped, but strong and sharp teeth, so for the real response it was too late: it was quite hard to defeat a three-headed dragon, not to mention hundreds of such kind. Additionally new dragons kept appearing. Exactly! No one knew, where they came from, no space gate was visible, no coordination either: the dragons went on freely, tearing up every living being that stood in their way: wolves, sheep, buters, cows and also Asgardians. Chaos and despair – such was the real beginning of this war, the sight of children torn between the two dragon’s muzzles made Asgardians crazy, but also multiplied their anger and determination.

Thor understood, that the sooner the better they would have to consider a greater weapon; they weren’t ready for a war with an enemy out of nowhere, and clearly one that multiplied during the fighting. So he sent his guardians with orders to bring more of the White Oil, and then flew back to his palace and took the Tesseract and relocated to the garrison in order to coordinate the loading of their great guns onto the flying platforms. The guardians were late, so Thor flew towards their Holy Mountain. There, were the bodies of the dead Asgardians turned to ash, which was then commonly used as a fertilizer in the corn fields, in Great Bowls in front of the Eternal Lamp there had been collected Asgardian Holy Oils: the clear one, which for an unknown reason was called the White Oil - was a high energetic fuel for their machines, transporters, ships and weapons, and the other oil, the black one, which enlightened their nights and since quite recently has also been used for teleportation. And exactly there, inside the Holy Mountain Thor had to face the worst surprise he had ever had: both bowls, whose content would be enough for some generations if wisely disposed, had been emptied! Scared guardians were just about searching through the outer areas of their mountain, but Thor didn’t move, with his head being as empty as the bowls themselves – My Lord, shall we return to the battle-field? – one of the guardians broke into his numbness. Thor, still being not able to speak, confirmed by nodding his head only.

---

This time they fought in pairs, as in fact it was better to attack the dragons from both sides. Hogun and Volstagg weren’t aware, that their difference, not only in appearance but also in their fighting-style made them successful: the dragons even though provided with the three heads were only able to concentrate on one common strategy, so two enemies at once: the one silent but as quick as a khirghordurh and the second one roaring loudly while making each stroke with his old fashioned two-edged sword – all that took the third dragon’s head some time to take an action against the two and mostly that “some time” was simply too long and ended deadly for the dragon. Volstagg additionally kept an eye on the situation round about Sif – since Thor became king he felt somehow responsible for her, although he didn’t know for what reason. In consequence Hogun from time to time checked whether Fandral wasn’t seriously endangered. And all of them had to be careful while standing against the muzzles full with sharp teeth as it happened quite often that suddenly they were attacked by a new dragon not seen before nearby.

And exactly such a new dragon’s head surprised Volstagg who did not jump aside on time: the big muzzle caught him intending to crush his body. Luckily the cuirass forged and subtly plated by Krake worked well and broke, as planned by its genial maker, releasing to the outside thin but sharp spikes, that were part of the cuirass’s construction. The dragon’s head, that in the meantime was deprived of its eyes by Volstagg, didn’t even manage to take another breath: its throat had been paralyzed painfully by the spikes. Volstagg fell down several meters and the dead dragon’s head followed him. Volstagg, before he dealt with the second head, checked where Hogun was: he struggled against the third muzzle of the first dragon. The second head took Volstagg only little time – the dragon probably concentrated itself on its third head fighting Sif. Sif! Exactly! Cutting the dragon’s throat Volstagg saw Sif being caught by her pony tail and flying straight onto the huge spikes standing out of the dragon’s tail. The dragon shook her off but soon its third head fell under Volstagg’s strokes.

She was still alive, although her teeth chattered with pain. Volstagg raised Sif, then placed her on his left shoulder to make his right hand free for fighting with his sword. Hogun and Fandral in the meantime had been clearing the passage to the platforms for him. Volstagg run with full speed and thanked his ancestors for his long, strong legs. Flying already on the platform he hesitated for a while: it was only when looking downwards that he understood how wide the battle-field was, the extension of the arduous and murderous fight shocked him.

– Leave me here… I am happy dying by your side – Sif’s trembling voice helped him to recover his composure.

Angrily he shoot all remaining energized balls at the crowd of the three-headed dragons, he didn’t miss. Then he flew towards the capitol to the healing rooms.

---

There were not many injured inside. Sif had lost a lot of her blood and her body was shivering with cold because of that.

– You can get along, you’ll see Sif – Volstagg actually needed more to calm down himself than to cheer up Sif.

– Miri’s my name. I don’t want to die namelessly –

– Hush, Sif, you won’t die… -

- Miri! -

- Right, Miri – Volstagg was so worried about her, that he didn’t dare to protest her name-giving.

– I am not my father; I got so used to his name, that I named myself by his name even in my thoughts… And I always fought you equal, as a man, but after all these years I see now that instead to make a name for myself I actually lost it… this is the real cruelty of our Asgardian world –

– None of us intended to be cruel to you. I will come back, when this wartime madness is over –

– Don’t let them kill you, please… - she said it weakly - …and cut your hair –

---

Volstagg left Sif to the healers. Passing by a mirror he saw his reflection in it. He thought for a moment, then took out a knife and cut his long hair, that was tied up by an elastic band into a pony tail too.

He had barely returned to the battle-field due to the lack of the White Oil; when the platform slowed down Volstagg just left its engine running and directed it right into the dragons’ crowd; he jumped away shortly before it reached the ground.

---

Not far from Volstagg king Thor was fighting fiercely; he charged his hammer and threw out one thunderbolt after another, but the dragons had already taken over a quarter of their corn fields and were still on the move forwards; part of them started to encircle Thor. He knew, that if he doesn’t change the strategy or at least doesn’t find an alternative to Asgardian energy, they will lose… due to those stupid, simply dragons! – The Tesseract – it came suddenly into his mind – I have to get her out of their reach – A while later he was in the passage to Earth.

---

- I love you and the life, that grows inside you – Loki whispered caressing Rosie. Her smell made him dizzy.

– Me? Or maybe my body? – she asked narrowing her blue eyes.

Loki laughed – Well I can’t say, that if you were really a rose, even in full bloom, I would love you the same. Especially – he added – when you do to me such surprises like yesterday during the official banquet –

Heavy clouds appeared on the horizon and soon were growing fast while speeding up towards their tower, soon it thundered – Another storm is brewing – Rosie said shivering.

– No… - Loki riposted watching the sky carefully – It’s my brother – and he went out.

---

- War – Thor declared shortly.

– Where? I don’t feel my relatives more angry than usually – Loki started in a lighter tone.

– Loki! We are being massacred by a new kind of dragons, one fourth of Asgard can be destroyed by now. If I stay here for a longer while, you’ll finally feel your cousins… I need weapons made by humans based on our Tesseract –

Loki couldn’t believe, what he had just heard, he gasped – They won’t give them, even to you. They are afraid, Thor, they even fear us, me and Rosie; I am all the time watched by them; beautiful tower… but in fact it’s a prison; and it would be even worse if I let Rosie go out free. This world, that gave me so much, awaits its reward. What will you give them instead?

– The Tesseract – Thor said – For some time. And you will keep an eye on her and on the humans also -

– I shan’t touch the cube with bare hands, and they also, especially the Avengers… - Loki answered slowly.

Thor frowned for a while – But you can use your scepter in need –

– Well, why don’t we go back to Asgard together? - Loki suggested it searching through the window for Rosie.

– No brother, this world is not ready to defend itself against these dragons, and for the time being the Tesseract is endangered in Asgard –

Loki didn’t argue anymore with Thor, he knew, that the cube influences the king’s decisions, if not dominates him.

---

So Thor got the weapons, all of them, as he was told, what Loki didn’t believe at all. To that Loki had to agree on cooperation with scientists. Selwig was still alive, but Loki’s black breath aged him much. So it was really a great surprise for all, that they both were often seen together disputing during lunch time on one of the benches in the small orangery. With time, when someone was looking for Loki, he asked first for Selwig: the old man, although slowly moving, was still sharp-witted and had the sixth sense directed towards Loki. He became more a philosopher than a scientist, but despite numerous suggestions he didn’t write down his own ideas declaring, that the key aspects of human life had been settled many, many years ago, and his own task now is to teach Loki.

---

And Thor? He didn’t allow himself to think, that he had only one way ahead of him – in such state he came back to Asgard using all the dark energy of their Black Oil that was left in the transmitter, but this was not his greatest worry: the dragons in the meantime advanced significantly, they were not far away from the Great City, where on a hill Thor’s palace stood, which meant, that one third of Asgard had been already destroyed.

Weapons, he brought from the Earth, were helpful, but they discharged relatively fast. Luckily they managed to stop the offensive of the strange dragons, but to Thor’s surprise not for long: Thor soon realized, that again as more Asgardians died the faster the dragons multiplied themselves – each new area won by a dragon gave space for another one, appearing from not known where – Allfather – Thor begged his father – Help me… today we all need help... – and with a heavy heart he sent thunderbolts towards the dragons.

---

Unexpectedly in the sky appeared rosy colored lights: plenty of them, that soon came down firing onto the dragons heads while braking closely above the battle-field and landing among the dead bodies. This way the Hairies came to help Asgard. Their shifting claws and sharp teeth sinking into the enemies’ throats worked intensively. The battle became more bloody and fierce, but as for Asgardians it had lasted already quite long, so even the most hardened and angriest ones got tired and were slowed up. Thanks to the Hairies they again saw the chance and new hope for victory: each new dragon was attacked now from three sides and in three ways. The dragons started finally to retreat… and when killed, they weren’t replaced by new ones. This gave more strength to the allies, so they yelled happily. And this call was heard even by the Giants sitting on the Great Wall. Soon also small star fighters with Hairies inside were seen in the sky, with two of them in each machine: the first one was steering and the second one firing – it didn’t bring significant effects but disoriented the dragons: the beasts had to watch the machines with one head, while the other two fought on the ground. This way the Asgardians and the Hairies, shoulder to shoulder, systematically worked on getting rid of the dragons.

---


But being so engaged in the battle, no one noticed a small shadow flying out of the Holy Mountain; the shadow stopped for a while over the battle-field, then it headed in the direction of the king’s palace; there it stayed for some time, also unnoticed, finally it appeared again over the palace and flew back to the Holy Mountain.

Nothing happened actually, there was no unusual sound (of course if we considered sounds of the deadly battle to be typical for that time and place), and nothing particular was seen nor no new scent manifested itself. Suddenly the Eternal Lamp just… went out. And despite all efforts to light it up again, the Eternal Lamp stayed dark. No one in Asgard knows until today, how it had happened, as no one really noticed this shadow, even the Great Guard standing by the Eternal Lamp. Whoa! But all of them experienced something, they earlier weren’t aware of: that the Eternal Lamp lit up also their hearts; without its flame the Asgardians felt naked, defenseless and somewhat lonely. And then the dragons roared sensing their victory…

---

- Sif – Volstagg thought desperately. He clearly felt now, that he was bound to her somehow, so being strong himself he could also strengthen her, who lay in the healing room. But now he has lost his power and he had additionally lost his hope and self-confidence… he actually felt, how Sif became weaker and weaker… – Miri… - the true Sif’s name burst from his lips when he went round the next dragon and this unexpectedly cheered him up - For you, Miri - he whispered concentrating on dragon's heads.

---

Yellowhair was flying with Crimsonhair; they understood each other well, extraordinarily well, so that they often communicated without using words, but they hadn’t raised any children yet: they were so crazy about each other, that they hadn’t found time yet to think about applying for the insemination, what was also extraordinary and had been noted during the Great Gathering, together with the offensive of the three-headed dragons against Asgard. Yellowhair and Crimsonhair were the first ones who enlisted at the Council for this war. Yellowhair hadn’t forgotten what Thor and Loki did for her and wanted to pay off this debt taken from the brothers. The Council at the beginning hesitated, but Yellowhair was really engaged in her speech about the Asgardians, she mentioned their openness, responsibility and eagerness to help and finally, feeling still akin with Thor and Loki, she underlined her obligations resulting from her adoption – and this was, what for the Hairies turned out to be crucial to such extent that the Dragon War was finally taken seriously by them and first of all honorably.

But Yellowhair didn’t shoot much in this war: the first dragon they approached with Crimsonhair was so fast, that before it fell under the Asgardian strokes, with one muzzle it tore up Crimsonhair from the cockpit and with the help of the second one it squashed and pulled her apart. Yellowhair managed only to reach for the controls before the muzzle of the next dragon caught their little plane on the wing, turned it by 180 degrees and threw it out increasing the plane’s speed.

Yellowhair needed several seconds to regain full control over the machine but then several minutes to gather her own thoughts together. The pain radiating from her mind made her tremble; madness and wild fury, that grew rapidly inside her mind were seeking for the way to get out, but to no avail: on the one hand a mental bomb, that had just exploded inside her, on the other stress and paralysis denying this exploding energy its passage out of the body, a mute scream… Only a subconscious instinct prevented Yellowhair from diving with the plane straight down. But Yellowhair didn’t return to the battle-field, she just flew on and on with her eyes fixed somewhere on the horizon and probably she wouldn’t have done anything with it, if the right wing, squashed a little by the dragon, didn’t start to creak seriously. Yellowhair had to land on the first place without trees she saw in front of her, and it was the stony courtyard of Boki’s cave. Well, saying: she landed would be an obvious exaggeration in this situation, as what Yellowhair actually did was still far from that: the wing got loose and the plane turned falling down, luckily our Hairy managed to jump out before the plane crashed on the stony ledge.

---

Boki suddenly heard something, a silent, long-lasting sound, so he took his half-elastic machete and rushed out into the courtyard, and he immediately had to jump aside as a plane not much bigger than himself crashed close to the cave’s entrance. Boki saw a yellow haired species sitting not far away and gazing mindlessly downwards to the vast Asgardian fields: Boki’s courtyard was a small stony ledge, with the Giant Mountains behind it, which were the widest and longest ones in this world, giving enough space for various animals, fierce but small in comparison to the beasts living in the Great Talan Forest in the south. Boki stopped, seeing only one haired warrior, that didn’t move at all: but a plane with two seats told him, that it was quite thoughtless to abandon his cave. To his surprise nothing bad had happened to him: downwards only, since some days, the long living Asgardians had struggled mercilessly in the battle; without any pause as if the dragons were predestined especially for a war with them.

Boki sat down carefully. The hours flew past, but Boki seemed to have turned to stone. The hairy with visible pain in her face, Boki watching her curiously - both sitting on the stony ground high above the murderous spectacle: they were different in size and kind of fur – the smaller one had yellow and soft wavy hair on almost her whole body, the other, the bigger one was given by nature a white, thick but short fur. The hairy had fair skin and a huge mouth, but her eyes and nose were small, Boki however under his white fur was black like a night without stars but had a less hairy face. Despite their visible differences Boki felt, they have the same roots and this thought made him so lively, that Boki started to circle round this Hairy, watching her from all sides, closer and braver, braver and faster, yees… Boki in fact was dancing: with each step he took all the years spent alone with the sad awareness of being the last of his kin now were passing away, and the reality, the one yellow furred, entranced him occupying all his mind and heart.

---

Yellowhair finally became aware of Boki’s presence, wondering, as if taken out of a very long and arduous dream she didn’t understand, why this white-black monkey is so happy. She looked back carefully to the crashed plane and realized, that she’s on a stony ledge without visible way down – It’ll try to eat me… - it occurred to her.

– Hungry? Want’s something to eat? To drink? – Boki asked in all the languages he remembered, as if he understood in which direction hairy’s thoughts led.

– Nooo… - Yellowhair waved with her hand to him to step aside and turned again to watch aghast the battle. Memories of recent events came back to her like waves and then went away making place for earlier ones. Everything around her seemed to be in slow motion. Finally, when she saw her second mother being pulled by Era’s green ropes, something broke in her heart: suddenly she saw the blood of Crimsonhair splashing on her yellow fur, the action speeded up and Yellowhair burst out crying heavily.

Boki, who sat at her side and shook himself while singing some tune, jumped surprised – She’s crying… tis’ good, let her trash away all the painful past; Boki had done it some hundreds of years ago already –

– How old are you then? – Yellowhair asked spontaneously, wondering about his life span.

– Well, first she should give me her name, mine is known to her already… -
Silence.

– Yellowhair is my name – the Hairy said finally with reluctance and with visible pain in her furred face.

– Boki is four hundred, this’ only a few Asgardian generations dying now, Yellowhair – Boki tried to speak soft, softest he could.

Yellowhair stopped crying, only the trembling remained.

– Boki estimates, they have no chance… these dragons are too strong – he rose and went inside to bring some food.

---

Yellowhair ate everything which was served by Boki. And then they both sat on the ledge watching the battle on the plain stretched ahead of them for miles. They were so loud in commenting, that also some Ice Giants who since their relocation from the collapsing Jotunheim have lived in the Northern Mountains one by one joined them.

---

The battle seen from above was beautiful, like a rhythmical dance of Asgardian butterflies over the flowers opening especially for them. Slowly the line of dragons retreated.

When it was too far away from them, numerous observers along with Yellowhair and Boki mounted hugebirds and flew towards the battle. Suddenly, when they all were sure about Asgard’s victory, some invisible power absorbed all the battle’s energy and the world went grey hereafter. The dragons howled for victory and rushed to counter-attack. Asgardians were clearly disoriented and weakened; robbed of their strength and their life’ power, they searched desperately for the new aggressor, but didn’t manage to find him. New dragons started to appear, the battle front extended towards southwest… And then it was this moment when Yellowhair yelled so angrily, that Boki and the Giants sitting on their hugebirds unawares answered her and hurried to attack the dragons.

---

Other Giants who were at the time curiously watching the battle from the Great Wall (and by the way keeping Asgard safe from all the wild beasts living behind this wall under the shadow of tall trees of the Great Talan Forest) looked at each other feeling uneasy. Their king raised his spear and then they also rushed for the battle.

This attack of the Giants, unintentional, totally spontaneous, allowed the united forces to win.
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

04 May 2015, 19:14 #3

What the heck-third times the charm, right? I'll throw my hat in.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

05 May 2015, 10:12 #4

Good entry, ewkada!

I'll toss my bonnet into the ring as well. i'm close to wrapping up a novella so I should be able to get to the next issue of Metal within a week or two.
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SciRob
Inhuman
Joined: 10 Apr 2010, 04:34

10 May 2015, 10:08 #5

Here's mine, which is the first chapter for something I'm working on and is set during the Arrow episode Three Ghosts during season 2.

The Ghosts
Of Oliver Queen

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the general idea you see within this one shot.

Summary: What if things had gone on a bit differently in Three Ghosts concerning Shado?

As Thea and Sin tried to figure out what to do about the freaking arrow of all things that was in Roy's leg in between panicking. They were at first not noticing the extra figure that was in the room with them watching as they went out figuring out a plan. And it was Roy who happened to notice her first. “Uhh.. Guys? I think we have a visitor.”

Thea looked at him a bit confusedly as she thinks she would have heard her door open up even while she and Sin were freaking out and all that good fun. He pointed towards her door and she and Sin looked to where he pointed. And what the two girls saw surprised them. A Chinse or Japanese looking woman with black hair was staring at them with what looked to be an amused expression on her face.

“Hello.” She decided to start off with, figuring it was the best way to go.

Thea quickly went towards the woman. “Look, I don't want to seem rude or anything. But who are you, and how did you get in here with out anyone noticing it at first?”

The woman just looked at her with a calm radiating off her. As if nothing could really even bother her at all. “I am Shado and I easily came in. Were I an enemy you would all be dead.”

Sin and Roy looked pretty nervous at that and even Thea was looking a bit that way herself if the gulp she did was any indication. “Well um.. Nice to meet you and all but I need you to leave.” Thea fired off quickly and made to try and turn the woman around to get her to leave. Not even thinking of what the consequences could be.

But to her complete suprise and shock, along with the others, she passed right through the girl and nearly fell. “W-what just happened!?” The young Queen teenager cried out.

“I could tell you, but I feel that may have been entirely rhetorical. So I will save time instead. I need to speak with Oliver. Please.” Sure she was a ghost and all now, but manners were still an important thing here thank you very much!

Thea looked at her and then at the other two a bit confused. “My brother? Why... Why would well.. You know... Want to talk with him?” While the girls Ollie had been with back in the day were quite a few, she was still pretty sure she would have remembered this one. Maybe she was after the island? Come back to haunt her brother for some reason? Which would be kind of funny if she was fully thinking straight.

“I've come as the need to speak with him is important, to warn him of something.” To warn him? Of what?

Thea thought of a tactic she might could try in this situation and briefly wished that the Ghost Whisperer was real. “Well maybe you could tell me and I could tell him?”

Shado smiled at what the girl was attempting there. “While I thank you for the offer, I feel he would not heed it and think you to be playing a cruel joke on him. Please, bring him here!” She implored once again.

Thea's eyes widened at the suddenly serious tone and the pleading that was part of it. “Okay, I'll go get him and I promise we will be right back!” Shado nodded gratefully at her and the girl took off to get her brother. Leaving the other two to stay in the room with their guest.

“Soo... Haunt places much?” Roy couldn't help but ask and got a smack on the shoulder from Sin. The action causing Shado to smile again.

It didn't take long for Thea to find her brother, as he happened to be in a nearby hallway conversing with someone else she'd never met. And his appearance highly suggested he was in need of a tailor and a barber. The two also seemed to be arguing however. “You are fool to think you fail me Oliver. You never fail.” She heard the other man say and wondered just what the heck that was about.

It seemed however that her brother wasn't about to be deterred from that. “But had I gotten out of the ropes quicker, Fyers wouldn't have been able to shoot you!” Whoa! What!? This man was shot!?

The man would have said something but then he noticed Thea. “We have guest Oliver, I will come to you again when you alone.” And to her shock, the man vanished as if he was never there.

The look on her brother's face though scared her as he was looking paler then she'd ever seen him be before. “Who... Who was that Ollie?” The question surprised the hell out of him as he certainly wasn't expecting that.

“You saw him!?” Perhaps he wasn't going nuts like he thought?

“Yeah, I did. Who was he? I thought you said you were alone on that island? Why was he shot!?” Her questions came in a rush as she couldn't quite hold back.

Oliver sucked in a breath before responding. “His name... His name was Yao Fei and he was murdered by a damned maniac.” The last part was said a bit grimly and she definitely noticed he hadn't answered the other question.

Oliver decided to get on with things however and find out what she was doing. “So what's up Speedy?”

“Huh? Oh, um could you come with me to my room for a few minutes? Its really important.” She pleaded.

Oliver stared at her and wondered what could be wrong. “Alright, let's go.” Was all he decided to say on the matter.

Thea was pretty worried now at why they seemed to be getting haunted all of a sudden. Though these ghosts seemed to be more of a thing in Oliver's direction. And as soon as she let him in to her room, the first thing Oliver noticed was Roy and that new girl he and Thea had been hanging out with lately. The same girl who liked to hang around with Sara too as a matter of fact. He also noticed the arrow he had earlier put into the kid's leg. This sight might have been funny to him if he hadn't of talked with Yao Fei's ghost. He started to think that maybe this was why she had wanted him in here. “That arrow why you needed me in here for Speedy?” He asked her with a curious look on his face despite the fact it was him who had done it in the first place!

Thea looked at him in shock as she hadn't even honestly thought about doing that. “Uhh.. Yeah sure!” Though privately wondered if he would even be able to do it.

Oliver smiled at her and a moment later with some chat involved, the arrow was safely out of her boyfriend's leg. Making her wonder how he could have been able to so calmly just do that. Something she was going to put resolve into asking about very soon. Though she did wonder where the heck Shado got off too since she was the reason he was in here in the first place! But the sudden sound of a foreign voice speaking in another language drew her attention to her brother again as she saw his face go even more paler then what it already was. Oliver turned to the voice he thought could only have been in his imagination and dreams now.

The sight before his eyes made him drop the bloody arrow in stunned disbelief. “Sh-Shado!?”

The girl smiled at him, and the smile seemed like one of warmth and affection in Thea's view. Making Thea wonder just how well these two knew one another and when they did know one another. Oliver walked towards her as if only he and her were the only two in the room now. Sin just continued to feel like the whole thing was one bizarre freak show. Roy couldn't help but find the whole thing interesting and wondered if he might be visited by a ghost too. Though he wasn't quite sure he'd be able to handle it all that well.

“You can't... You can't be here.” Oliver finally said to the ghostly woman as he held the side of her face with one hand. And one could easily see how she leaned into the touch with her eyes close and seemingly relishing in the feel of it.

“I know, but I had to come and warn you. Put down your bow, take off my father's hood, and stop fighting. Or everyone you love will die.”

Needless to say, that alarmed the other three in the room while at the same time causing them to come to a startling realization about the man before them. A realization that Thea definitely wasn't happy about, not only was her brother the Arrow, but he also put a freaking arrow in her boyfriend's knee! What an asshole! While Roy wasn't exactly happy about the whole arrow in the knee thing, finally knowing how the Arrow is was a huge thing for him. Sin just felt it made a lot of sense for why Thea's brother and Sara seemed to not have too many issues over Sara's being a vigilante like him.

Oliver looked at Shado with a slight look of disbelief on his face, wondering how she could possibly ask him to do that. “I wear that hood to honor your father, to honor you.” He finally said with a tone full of convinction.

Shado could only look at him with tears welling up in her eyes. “If you want to honor me, you'll do as I've asked. Something is coming and I fear you will not survive it. So please, stop while you can.” She implored to him, making the other three damned worried about what it is that could be coming. Thea especially didn't want to lose her brother to anything life threatening.

Deciding to take a chance before leaving to her resting place. She gave Oliver a kiss on his lips, causing the two to savor it. “Its time I returned to my resting place Oliver. Remember my warning, and please heed it. And know that I will always love you and that you need not burden yourself with guilt over what happened to me. It was not your fault and I could never blame you for it.” Oliver could only watch as she stepped away from him while he held on her to hand. And with one last look around the room before finally looking at him again with a sad smile on her face. She vanished, nearly making Oliver want to fall to his knees.

“I... I didn't even get to say it back...” Was all he could say, making Thea's heart break for him.

But before she or anyone else could say anything, a loud blood curdling scream could be heard through out the Queen home. Taking Oliver out of his state of shock and heading quickly towards the door with Thea following closely behind as she told Sin and Roy to stay where they were for the time being. Leaving those two to wonder what was going on as the Queen siblings rushed to find out where the scream had come from and who could have caused it.
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

11 May 2015, 10:36 #6

Great entry, SciRob!

I'll be posting my next issue of Metal right directly. =)
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

11 May 2015, 10:37 #7

Heavy Metal - Issue # 15 - Caught Somewhere in Time (Iron Maiden)

In the last chapter Alex's curiosity got the better of him (a typical Stark flaw) and he ended up being transported back in time.
I own nothing that isn`t mine.

*~*~*

I wandered the streets of New York, impressed by how the vibe of the city was just the same in 1946 as it was in my time. Of course, things were considerably cheaper. I slipped into a corner deli after a couple of hours spent scoping out the similarities/differences of the Big Apple. After I had ordered a Reuben, because you did not do NYC and not eat something with corned beef in it, I took stock of what I had in my possession. It wasn`t much I noted sadly after the waitress, a beefy woman with dark hair swept up on top of her head, placed my Coke in front of me. Her nametag said she was Margaret. Margaret stared at me bizarrely then ambled off to whisper with the other customers, so I spread out my treasures on the table in front of me.

I had in my possession one cell phone, which was junk in 1946. Trust me, I had walked ten city blocks with my phone over my head looking for bars. Not a one did I find. I should have known better but I had to try. So, one phone, one MP3, a backpack filled with textbooks, four pencils, one package of chewy caramel candies, my wallet which contained a hundred dollar bill, my student ID, a black AM EX, a Chase Manhattan debit card, and a condom. My father insisted I always carry one just in case my hormones overrode my senses. I have to give props to the old man. For as promiscuous as he was during his day, he took extreme precautions not to litter the world with offspring. I respected that. Enough about horny fathers and kids with a dusty condom in their wallet, what else did I have to work with?
Add one penknife. That dude on that old MacGyver show my father likes would be so proud of me having a Swiss Army knife in my possession. And last but not least, was the small impenetrable box which held my SNAP`s. My backpack was not exactly Nick Fury`s tool box, not that I know about that of course.

I glanced up to see Margaret coming toward me carrying my Reuben. I swept all the futuristic contraptions into my backpack and gave her my winning Stark smile. She was not impressed. The plate was placed in front of me as if I were a rabid dingo.

"This looks great, thanks." I poured on the charm. She looked down her nose at me, sniffed, and then flung my bill onto the table. My eyebrows knitted at the rude behavior but my hunger overcame my need to ask what had twisted her bloomers. Did women wear bloomers in 1946? Hell, did men? What exactly were bloomers? I knew nothing about this time except what I had gleaned from the wistful stories Steve Rogers would spin every once in awhile at Avenger parties. I had never paid attention because . . . who cares. Now I was wishing I had. Maybe if I knew someone who knew Steve I could go to them and see if they could help in some way.

I began cutting up the corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on rye bread. The Russian dressing used to top off the hot sandwich was beyond tasty as were the French fries. As I wolfed down my lunch, I mulled over my options for possible assistance. I knew of three people who might, and I emphasize might , not call the men in the white suits if I mentioned Captain America, ice, or Bill Gates: Jarvis, Peggy Carter, and my grandfather, Howard Stark.

I immediately ruled out Jarvis and my grandfather. It would be too dangerous to meet them in the past. What if I said something that made Howard change just one aspect of his life? Like say, for instance, marrying my grandmother Maria? My father, and me, would cease to exist because we would never be born. I swallowed and sipped my Coke, my sight darting from one patron to another. No. It was imperative that I avoid anything having to do with grandpa. So, that left Peggy Carter. Where did I find one woman in a city the size of New York? I couldn`t just walk up to people and ask where the secret offices of S.H.I.E.L.D. were located. Was it even S.H.I.E.L.D. back then? Now, I mean. This whole time travel stuff was starting to make my head spin. I cut off another bite of the sandwich. Maybe I just needed to find a room for the night, hunker down, and figure out what to do. A person would need to be Einstein to figure . . .

I stopped chewing. Einstein. He was still alive, wasn't he? If anyone could help me figure out time travel, it would be him. His theory of special relativity had been applied to time travel conceptions for as long as I could remember. Hell, some of my professors at Caltech preached Einstein and Steven Hawking`s work with space and time warps even now. I threw aside my fork and pulled out my phone. A quick Google check and I could find out if Einstein were still alive and where he lived. If it were relatively close, I could just hop a train and—

Shit. No Google. I exhaled dramatically. Several diners turned to look at me suspiciously. I lowered my gaze. That meant I would have to find the library. How archaic. I finished eating quickly, the undercurrent of distrust aimed at me, and my weird clothes I had to assume, was beginning to make me fidgety. My mother used that word a lot. Fidgety. It`s so Midwestern. I would have like nothing better than to hear her talking about farmers, tractors, and the beauty of Iowa in the summer right about now. After I finished my Coke and sandwich, I grabbed my backpack, slid my arms into it, and then walked to the register, my sight on the tips of my skater shoes. Not wanting to make Margaret any more ill at ease about me, I handed her the check and the hundred. I suspected she would not be happy about having to make change. My lunch had been less than a buck.

"What kind of hokey money is this?" Margaret asked loudly. I looked up from my shoes.

"It`s a hundred," I replied in confusion.

"This isn`t a real hundred," she snapped. I looked around. Suspicious eyes lingered on me. "What is this shiny blue line? Are you some sort of German spy hiding out in our country making fake money?"

The tension level increased tenfold. "No! That blue line is a security feature so you can tell real ones from fake ones. I'm just teenager, you know." Again, I tried to work that old Stark charm.

"You're not just a teenager. You`re some sort of spy dressed up in weird foreign clothes and waving around fake money," she said. I eyed her waving my only cash around as she spoke. "Marty, go see if you can find Bert making his rounds. We'll keep this rotten Kraut spy here until the cops show up."

Yeah. No. Cops could not be involved. It would the white coat guys for sure if the police showed up. All I had wanted to do was go to the library and find Albert Einstein. I lunged for the bill. Margaret shrieked as if a tiger was leaping at her. I grabbed my cash, spun, and ran out the door. I heard yelling and shouting behind me. Probably all the men in the diner were in hot pursuit. I threw a look over my left shoulder as I bounced off and into pedestrians. Yep. The deli door stood open and about ten irate men in stupid clothes broiled out of the eatery.

"I have got to learn not to touch experiments," I muttered to myself as I skidded around the corner, my backpack slapping my spine. I ran as fast as I could, given the sidewalk congestion. People hurled expletives at me. I mumbled apologies as I ran past them. Some woman slapped at me when I bounced off her backside. I spun around from that encounter, tripped into a guy selling papers, and was shoved rudely backward. My sneaker slid off the curb. I windmilled my arms to try to regain my balance but it didn`t keep me from smacking into the front bumper of a big black car. My left leg buckled and I went down in a heap. I reached out to try to grab that big metal bumper but missed. Forehead met metal. The world got crazy bright and then turned amazingly dark.

I came around a few minutes later inside a car. It was moving and moving fast. Someone was dabbing at my forehead with something soft. The world was off-kilter so I closed my eyes and inhaled slowly through my nose. My head rested on something firm, like a lap perhaps. I hissed in pain when the next dab occurred. My hand lashed out blindly.

"Looks like he's awake," a man said. I blinked to clear the cobwebs. "Take it easy, lad. We're taking you to the hospital. You got a nasty bump on the head and your leg is buggered up as well." Oh. Okay, a doctor would be nice. My head and leg did hurt. Maybe they could do me a solid and give me some Tylenol and a cat scan. I was going to have a permanent brain bruise if I kept this up. "Take the next left, Jarvis. That will get us to Bellevue Hospital more quickly."

"Very good, Mister Stark."

I sat up so quickly my sandwich almost reappeared. A man who looked so much like my father it was scary stared at me with eyes the exact color as mine. I scrabbled over my grandfather and stuck my head out of the window just in time. There was a moment when I considered leaping out of the car but figured that would not end well. I collapsed back into the seat beside my grandfather. My brain was numb, my mouth gross, and my stomach once again empty.

"Here, take a drink." I took the tall glass from Howard, my hand shaking wickedly. I drank until the glass was empty. It gave me time to think. "Now, if you'll tell me your name we can notify your parents about the accident when we get to the hospital." God, he looked like dad. He even articulated his words in the same way my father did. Or, I guess, my father had my grandfather`s affectations. I held out the glass for more water. Howard, or should I call him Pappy, refilled the glass from a tall thermos filled with ice water. I gave the inside of the limo a long look. "So, your name?" Howard asked again, when the glass emptied for the second time.

I was staring at the back of Jarvis' head. I met the manservant's eye in the rearview. My gut cramped tightly. "Alexander Steven Sta . . . Stevens. Alexander Stevens, Mr. Stark."

"Ah, so you know who I am," Howard smiled then sat back, arms folded over his dark gray suit jacket. Always dressed for success just like my dad. "Stevens, you said. The name doesn`t ring a bell but you look incredibly familiar. Could I know your parents?" I looked back at Jarvis. Man, he was so young. My mind was officially blown.

"Possibly," I squeaked as Jarvis' astute eyes narrowed. I stopped looking at him and fixed my attention on my grandfather. "I think a trip to the hospital isn't necessary. I feel fine now. Maybe just let me off at the next corner."

My grandfather`s brow furrowed. Wow. If you slapped a goatee on the man, he was Tony Stark. My mind was slipping cogs left and right. Perhaps I would skip any facial hair when I could grow something beside a couple wisps on my upper lip.

"We can't simply toss you out on the curb like a rolled up newspaper. You're injured."

"But my parents are super poor. Like uber poor. So poor we can`t even afford internet poor." I blinked stupidly at my grandfather who was staring at me as if I had started speaking in tongues. Probably to him I had. Internet? WTF. Keep that to yourself, you dumb ass. Prime directive and all that sort of Trek stuff, Stark. "I'll be good if I can just rest for a bit."

"Well, if you're sure that you don`t require hospitalization, why don`t we take you to my penthouse where you can rest until I can reach your parents."

Damn it, the man was stubborn. Why didn`t he just boot me out and go along his merry way? There had to be a broad with great gams waiting for him somewhere, right?

"My parents are dead." Ack. That tasted worse on my tongue than the regurgitated corned beef.

"But you just said that your parents were dirt poor." Howard leveled a knowing look at me. I ran my tongue over my mossy teeth. A toothbrush and some Crest would be nice.

"I hit my head yesterday too," I said weakly then tapped my right temple.

"That would explain a great deal. Just close your eyes and rest, Alexander. We'll be at the penthouse in no time. If Jarvis doesn`t run over any more strangely dressed street urchins, that is. Then we can ring up your parents and they can come fetch you. How does that sound, young man?"

He smiled as he reached for a bottle of something a bit stronger than water from the small bar at his left. I sat in silence as he poured a few inches of an amber liquid into a crystal tumbler then took a long pull. I had never seen an adult drink in front of me so openly. There was no booze at all in our house, not even light beer or wine coolers. The Stark house was as dry as a popcorn fart. Thank Hunter Parker for that witty. I bet Hunter would have at least fifteen ideas about how to get out of this mess. Wish he were here.

"Just ducky, Mr. Stark. Should you be drinking so early in the day?"

"It`s five pm somewhere, young Alex," Howard replied then lifted his glass to me.




To be continued . . .
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SciRob
Inhuman
Joined: 10 Apr 2010, 04:34

12 May 2015, 06:40 #8

Thanks! And that somewhere in time bit there reminds me of a Kamelot song.
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Miles_Warren
Eternal
Joined: 24 Feb 2013, 00:05

12 May 2015, 06:49 #9

Sweet. Three entries already. Excellent job guys [Mickey's Indeed]
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

13 May 2015, 18:03 #10

Here's number four, then!

A/N: Mikey always seems to pretty much write himself, so once I got going, it was easy to get him to cooperate. He like the attention, LOL! Also, it may seem he's been less his usual self lately in this, and that's intentional. The boy is growing up, and learning that like the Stones said, you can't always get what you want. Anywho, enjoy! (And sorry for the long title- I wanted to make sure I had the whole thing in there.)





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Love Is Shell Chapter 26
Michelangelo's Journal Pt. 9: I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)



The first thing I did after I left the construction site was head straight for Channel Six. It was the middle of the day, so I figured that's where she'd be. It didn't take me long to figure out that I'd never get there on foot- I was winded after only a half-dozen blocks, which was weird, because normally I can do a roof-top run over half of lower Manhattan and not get done in. So I took the subway, and let me tell ya', that was a real eye-opening experience. Man, and I thought WE were weird. Some of the folks I saw while ridin' the train made US look pretty damn normal! I mean, seriously; there was this one dude who looked like the secret love-child of Weird Al and Tiny Tim- woof, talk about freaky. And the old bag-lady with the plastic silver tiara on her nappy hair and this tiny dog in her lap mumbling to herself made me wonder if I was the only sane one in the whole car. Yeah, now that I think about it, maybe we're not the strangest individuals in this crazy berg after all.

As soon as I got to the station, I made a dash for Irma's desk. I figured she'd know where Orlene was. I was hopin' I could catch her there, but if she was out with April doin' a report, at least Irma could clue me in. She looked up at me with those big owl-eyes from behind her glasses when I came up, blinking at me with this odd look like I was someplace I wasn't supposed to be. Maybe she just didn't want to talk right then.

"Hey, Irma, could you tell me where Orlene is? Is she here? 'Cause I REALLY need to talk to her!" I asked her, tryin' to make it sound important.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not allowed to give out that information. You'll need to leave your name and a contact number, and I'll give her your message." Great- she was bein' all business-like. But I didn't have time for that crap. I had to find her FAST, 'cause I only had ONE day. Didn't want to waste any time.

I decided to turn on the charm. "C'mon, PLEASE, Irma?! This is really IMPORTANT! I don't have a lot of time, and I need to see her, like- NOW! Pretty please?!" I gave her my best "puppy-face" look- y'know, the kind of sweet, cute face that puppies give ya' when they get in trouble? Nobody can resist me when I pour on the "cute and innocent" act.

"Sorry, kid- you'll have to leave a message like everyone else. It's a safety rule. How do I know you're not some creepy stalker? And that's Miss Langenstein, to you." Well, that's Irma for ya'. Figures she'd be such a stickler for the rulebook. But did she haf'ta call me "kid"? Then I realized she didn't even seem to know who I was. Oops.

"A stalker?! Irma, it's ME- Mikey! Y'know, I had ya' spike the punch bowl at Raph's party?! I sent ya' some of those flowers and that little surfer figurine, and the pupp- er, I mean…." Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. I figured I might as well come clean on the dog while I was at it. "I was your, uh, 'Hang-ten Honeybunch', remember?" The phone started ringin' right then.

She did a double-take that reminded me of a Saturday morning cartoon; y'know, eyes buggin' out, jaw hangin' down to the floor- the works. She had one hand on the phone to answer it, but she froze when she realized who she was talkin' to. She stared at me like I was some kind of alien, and I just grinned at her.

"M-M- MIKEY?!" She stuttered, and I nodded.

"Yup! It's me! Like the new look? So like, could ya' PLEASE tell me where she is? I only have this chasis for one day, and I want to take it out on a road-test. Tell me where I can find her, and I'll make you one of my chocolate soufflés!" I figured a little bribery couldn't hurt- after all, if there's one thing I know, it's how to use somebody's biggest weakness against 'em. Irma's is sweets. I saw her eyes light up, and I knew I had her.

Then her eyes narrowed and she stared at me suspiciously. She picked up the phone and said "Hold, please," without even lookin' down, pushed a button, and continued givin' me the fish-eye routine. "How do I know you're really you?" She asked. "Prove you're the REAL Michelangelo, and I might tell you!"

"I knew about the punch bowl, didn't I? You want me to tell you what the note that came with the puppy said? Sorry to disappoint ya' like that, by the way. We weren't exactly in our right minds then." I told her. Man, that sounded really lame, like maybe someone would have to be out of their minds to go ga-ga over her. I decided to try again. "I mean, we were under the influence of that love-potion stuff Tin-face snuck into our pizza. Besides, it's not like it's the first time I've done this!"

She raised one brow and stared me down. She's kinda' pretty, when you look past the giant pink square glasses and turtle-neck sweater, the penny loafers under a long skirt, and the boring ponytail. Hmmm, a little work, and she could be a real hottie. "This wouldn't have anything to do with mutagen cookies, would it?" She shot at me. Damn it. April must've told her about that. I shook my head.

"Uh, not exactly, dudette. This won't make me blow up like those almost did. But I've only got one day, and I don't wanna' waste time huntin' for her when I could be out takin' advantage of the 'new me'!" Okay, I know Irma's kinda' mistrustful sometimes when it comes to men, but geez!

"Okay, I'll tell you, but don't forget- you owe me a chocolate souffle!" She reminded me.

"No problemo, little lady! Oh, and I'll make it TWO if you keep quiet about seein' me here!" I figured I'd better cover all my bases in case the three "Musketurtles" decided to try trackin' me down. No sense in lettin' 'em know what I was up to.

"Ooh, you've got a deal!" Heh, I knew that would get her. She told me where April and Orlene were reporting on the latest murder by the "Invisible Pusher"- man, somebody needs to catch that guy- and I hoofed it to the nearest subway station, hopped another train full of weirdos, and then ran four blocks to get to where they were, which was at a different line.

When I found 'em, they were just wrappin' up and gettin' ready to leave. They didn't recognize me at first- not even April, which is weird, since she's seen me like this before- but as soon as they knew who I was, Orlene looked like she was about to faint from shock. Or maybe she was just overwhelmed by the perfection that is yours truly. Or not….

Couldn't help noticin' that she couldn't take her eyes off me, though. And she started shakin' when I caught her. Guess I must've made an impression. I wanted to plant one on her right then and there, but she was already havin' trouble breathin', so I didn't want to make her pass out.

By the time I dragged her away from there, I could tell April was gettin' antsy about how I got like this. Didn't wanna' torpedo the whole thing by explainin' it, either. I left April with a quick warning not to tell the guys I'd been there, and then we took off to go enjoy some serious fun.

Everything felt strange and new; all the noise, smells, and the light left me feelin' a little dizzy. Or maybe it was just 'cause my balance felt a little off. I kept forgettin' I didn't have all that extra weight in the back to accommodate. Mostly, it was the noise and the smells. But I couldn't tell where it was all comin' from, or even what some of it was- the smells and sounds were all jumbled together, and less clear than I was used to. I mean, normally, I could smell or hear stuff from farther away, or even a lot fainter, but now those darn weak human senses were throwin' me off, and it was gettin' to be a real pain.

She must've noticed it, too, 'cause she called me out over it. So I told her what was up with my senses bein' out of whack, and that's when I realized how hungry I was. Now, it was kind of weird, 'cause I'd had some left-over pizza as an early lunch right before I went to see Krang. Orlene pointed out that a warm-blooded body uses more energy, and I guess that makes sense, but it was just one more thing to deal with. Bummer.

So we headed to this little Italian place a few blocks away, and right away I realized I was dressed all wrong for the place, 'cause half the people in there started lookin' at me funny. At first I thought maybe they'd caught on to the minor detail that I was really a turtle runnin' around in a human skin, but that'd be really nutzo. Once I figured out they were just starin' 'cause I was too casual, I didn't feel quite so nervous, but I guess havin' spent my whole life havin' to hide from people was makin' me a little paranoid.

I spent the whole time we were in there mostly just tryin' to figure out how to use the utensils with more fingers than I'm used to havin'. Lem'me tell ya', five are a lot harder to keep track of than three. And then there was the minor issue of- um, well, before we left, I suddenly realized I hadn't been to the bathroom since before breakfast. When I went into the men's room to take care of it, things got kinda' awkward when I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to use the urinal thingie, or just sit on the pot like we normally do. I wasn't even really sure which one I needed to do, 'cause the plumbing downstairs was all moved around. Finally just said to heck with it and opted for the toilet- and it's a good thing, too, 'cause I ended up havin' to do both. Man, this stuff's a lot more complicated when ya' got more pipes to worry about. Still almost made a mess in there when I had a problem keepin' my wang from aimin' up instead of down into the bowl. Sheesh. Humans are so weird….

Everything was good for a while after that, but then somethin' just HAD to go and break up my mojo. We were walkin' along on Centre Street in Chinatown, talkin' and jokin' around, when somethin' happened that seriously weirded me out. I'd just asked her what kind of Asian cuisine she liked- 'cause I always like talkin' about food, and she's about the only one who listens- and she said, "I love all kinds, but I was always either eat too much, or end up hungry again after an hour or so."

"Yeah, guess that's why Godzilla always trashes Tokyo- he's just in a bad mood 'cause there's nothin' but Japanese to ea-" That's when I saw 'em. It was at one of those little open-air meat-shops, y'know, basically just a stall with a bunch of butchered meat hangin' on hooks or laid out for display. It was awful, like lookin' at a murder scene, only the victims were gonna' be turned into dinner! There were five turtles on a table right in the front layin' on their backs with their plastrons cut off. I stumbled over to 'em, suddenly feelin' sick to my stomach. One of 'em was a girl, and she was even still egg-laden, which was really horrible, when ya' think about it. And they all had the little red patches over their ears. Sliders, just like us. I thought of all those babies that would never hatch, and it just made me want to cry.

I just stood there for a few seconds, and then I touched the head of the dead momma turtle, and made a mental apology. I felt sad, seein' 'em like that. It just seemed so- wrong. She asked if I was okay, and I just croaked out somethin' about wonderin' why anyone would do that, and that it could've been us. I mean what if we'd been bought just so somebody could turn us into soup one day? Guess that sort of makes us lucky, in a way. Instead of spendin' our lives in a glass tank, and maybe set loose in a pond, or endin' up as somebody's dinner, we got to be mutated instead. Yeah, totally sure the universe has a warped sense of humor.

Things got really weird when the old guy runnin' the stall came over and asked if we wanted one of 'em for soup, and I kind of went off on him. Maybe I shouldn't have, but how would ya' feel if ya' saw one of your reletives all cut up like that?! I got in his face, and then he got really scared and backed up like he saw a ghost. Then he started talkin' in Japanese, and I nearly wigged out when he called me a kappa. What?!

He started spoutin' off stuff about how eyes don't lie, and said he knew what I was. He even wanted to give me a cucumber as a peace offering! So I had to set him straight and give him the Cliff Notes version of what I really am, which was kinda' awkward, and then he just laughed and seemed to think the whole thing was amusing. At least he took down the dead turtles, which was a relief, 'cause lookin' at 'em was makin' me feel nauseous. Like, horror movie slasher victim stuff. Talk about weird.

Then everything went straight into "Twilight Zone" territory when he sent us to a curio shop down the street to talk to some other dude. The place looked like nobody had set foot inside for years. Reminded me of the one in Gremlins- y'know, where the dad bought Gizmo? Some of the stuff in there was REALLY weird. Like, there were little brass figures of monkeys dancing or banging cymbals. Yeah, I know, Beastie Boys was my first thought, too. There was even this antique black lacquered cabinet- y'know, the kind ya' keep the good china in? Except the shelves of this one had all kinds of stuff in it, like jars of pickled sharks and squid, silver geisha hair combs, chopsticks, incense burners that looked like Chinese dragons, and even a real monkey's foot. I even saw a turtle-shell bowl and pipe, and I wasn't too happy about it, but I figured I'd already made enough fuss at the meat stand earlier. Anyway, the place had the kind of stuff ya' see in scary movies about witches and other weird supernatural stuff.

And to top it off, the little old dude runnin' the place was a dead ringer for the creepy ghost sorcerer from Big Trouble in Little China. Why do we keep runnin' into every type of weirdo in existence? I swear it must be some kind of curse. Leo would probably say it's the law of metaphysical attraction, or somethin'. In other words, like attracts like.

So, anyway, the dude read our fortunes in the leaves at the bottom of our tea cups- never cared much for tea, but whatever- and that's when I decided I'd had enough of the mystic demon crap. I dunno', somethin' about that whole thing just creeped me out. He hit WAY too close to home with some of that stuff, and it made me real uncomfortable. Especially the bit about the secret and how I might have to make a sacrifice. See, ever since I made the deal with Krang, I'd been thinkin' a lot about whether or not I should change back after the day was over. I'd been leanin' towards NOT.

But some of the stuff Mr. Takeda said hit a nerve, and it made me wonder if I was just bein' selfish. I had to get out of there before it got too heavy. I hate when shit gets complicated. Life's hard enough already without adding' more crap to the mix. If it was up to me, the hardest choice anyone would ever have to make would be what to make for dinner. Yeah, that's me- Mr. Simplicity.

Well, we spent the next few hours just goin' out to see the city, and doin' touristy stuff. I had suggested goin' out to see the Statue of Liberty, and on the way I had her take a picture of me on that big bull statue down on Wall Street, but then a mounted cop came over and told us to stop messin' around on the statue. We split before he could decide to ask for our ID's, since I didn't have any. If I ever wanted to STAY human, I made a mental note to get some made up. Maybe Donnie could come up with some for me- y'know, once he finally got over bein' pissed at me.

Once we got out to the island and made our way up to the top of Lady Liberty, the view was so amazing I started thinkin' about how romantic it was to be up there watchin' all the boats in the harbor goin' by, and the sun gettin' low and makin' the water sparkle. It reminded me that sunset wasn't far away. Sunsets were always my favorite time of day, mostly 'cause it was the time when we could finally start thinkin' about gettin' out of the sewers and goin' topside. Sunset is when the shadows start gettin' deep enough for us to hide. But now, it was just really romantic, and it made me wish the date could last forever.

Funny thing was, I couldn't work up the nerve to tell her what I really wanted to do, and it just seemed kinda' crass anyway. Besides, bein' so close to her all day was makin' it hard to think straight, if ya' know what I mean. I was kinda' worried she might notice that I was already pitchin' a tent, and it was startin' to get mondo uncomfortable. Good thing I didn't have to worry about it gettin' squished inside my shell like that. Talk about pain- ever try foldin' a woody in half? Yeah, that's what that's like.

We finally decided to go check out some of the street artists and musicians over at Columbus circle and down Eighth Avenue, and we listened to this one guy for a bit Afterward I suggested a carriage ride in Central Park. Probably should've told her about my moohla stash sooner, but I only had about forty bucks on me, so I had to be careful how I spent it, 'cause we don't get much of it down in the sewer. Contrary to what some (brothers) might think, I CAN be responsible when I need to be. But there's usually not much point in botherin' when I got three brothers who are all way more anxious to show how responsible they are, and TWO of 'em are usually fallin' all over themselves tryin' to out-do each other on who's the more "adult". I guess it's no wonder Sensei never worried too much about me- he always had his hands full just tryin' to keep Leo and Raph off each other's backs! Compared to those two, I'm pretty low-maintanence.

Somethin' really strange happened while we were on the carriage ride, and it totally made me wonder if I wasn't just havin' the BEST dream of my life. I mean, it was like kismet or somethin'. The moon was full, the stars were out- well, there aren't many stars to see in the city, but I saw a few- and there we were, just cuddled together in the back seat of the carriage, and then I saw it.

We turned a bend on the path, and I saw the turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle up ahead. We were on the far side of the pond from the Castle, with trees linin' the path, and there was a park bench under a big tree down near the water. The moon was comin' up over the trees, reflected in the water, and all of a sudden, I realized it was exactly like the picture I drew, and there we were- right next to the spot I'd dreamed about.

I jumped up, and told the driver to stop, and I got out of the carriage and had her follow me down to the bench, and I just stood there for a minute and stared, feelin' a bit of deja' vu. Then I took her hand, and we sat down on the bench, and- well, I couldn't believe we were really there, and that everything was just like I'd seen it in that dream. Okay, maybe not EXACTLY; I wasn't quite wearin' the same clothes, but STILL….

When we finally got back in the carriage, we decided to go find a place to stay for the night. Obviously, her place was out, since I knew my bros would be startin' to wonder where we were by then, and that would be the FIRST place they'd look. April or Casey's pads were likewise nixed, 'cause I knew they'd check there, too. So I suggested a hotel, preferably one with a pool. In case we decided to go for a late-night dip.

When we got to the hotel room, everything sort of got awkward. For one thing, I realized how nervous I really was, now that we were alone in a room together. I mean, it was the main reason I was even doin' this! So, I kinda' overplayed things a little, and she called me out on it. Okay, so I'm NOT exactly Don Juan. Sort of proved it, too, once the clothes came off. NOT my best moment, by a long shot. Actually, it was sort of, um- nothing to write home about. I mean, ya' hear all this stuff about how it's supposed to curl your toes, or feel the earth move, or how it's like fireworks goin' off, but…. It wasn't any of those things, and I felt kinda', I dunno'- like I was missin' somethin'. Or maybe I did somethin' wrong. Pretty sure she noticed it too. That was the worst part. I felt like I let her down, 'cause it was just sort of- there. She said I just needed a little practice, but I knew she was just tryin' to make me feel better.

I wanted to try again right away, but she said we should eat first, so we got some Italian take-out, and had dinner in the room, wearin' just the new kimonos we bought. Never knew a girl could look so sexy in one of those. We started feedin' each other, and I decided to play around a little and do that whole spegetti string thing from Lady and the Tramp, and…. Well, we didn't make it all the way through dinner, that's for sure. And that's when I thought of that show I saw on Animal Planet a few days ago, about some of the world's biggest reptiles, and it had some stuff about those giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands, and sea turtles, too. Made me think about how we're all still animals on the inside, no matter how civilized we think we are. So I figured I might as well act like it, and get really primitive. Guess it worked, 'cause DAAAAMN!

Anyway, we didn't get much sleep that night, for obvious reasons. But it wasn't all fun and games, though. We had a serious talk about whether or not I was gonna' change back when the day was up. And I finally realized somethin'. I'd been so busy thinkin' about what I WANTED, that I forgot about what it would mean for my bros. Total bummer. Guess the guys were right, and all my dreams really WERE for nothin'. Life really sucks sometimes.

I told her about somethin' that happened when we were little, and about how I used to pretend we were cursed by a witch or somethin' like in the stories he used to read to us before bed. I hadn't thought about all that stuff in years, but now…. Well, I didn't used to think about a LOT of things. Maybe that's what growin' up is- when ya' start to think about somethin' besides what you WANT, and instead ya' start to think about stuff you NEED. Like how sometimes ya' have to put away all the stuff ya' played with when ya' were little, 'cause you're just too old for it and ya' have to do grown-up stuff. Maybe it's time to retire all my action figures and comics for good. Maybe it's time to man up and be responsible and- is that what it feels like to be an adult? To decide that it's time to put away your hopes and dreams, and just- move on? But to what?

I couldn't even come up with an answer for that one, but I figured it really didn't matter anymore, since I knew what I had to do. I had to get Krang to change me back, and then just try to find some way to live with the fact that I was gonna' spend the rest of my life stuck in a hole where the sun never shines and there's nothin' but the sound of leaky pipes and the sound of subway cars over your head to keep ya' company in the middle of the night. That is, if he didn't just decide to kill me when I went back.

I kept comin' back to that, and no matter how I tried to work it in my head, it came down to one thing. I was selfish and reckless. And stupid. I'd messed up big time, that's for sure. What if Krang didn't change me back? What would I tell the guys then? I was so sure I was right, that I never even considered that maybe I'd forgotten about how it would affect THEM. I felt like I was lettin' 'em down, leavin' 'em behind to go do my own thing, when it SHOULD have been ALL of us doin' this. I mean, what good was a life in the sun anyway, if I couldn't even share it with my own bros? So I told her I was goin' back.

Then she kinda' freaked when I slipped about Krang bein' involved, and I had to confess about the whole thing a lot sooner than I planned on. Damn- NOT what I had in mind for how to break the news. But I guess it all worked out in the end, 'cause we went for three more rounds of nookie before the night was over and we finally fell asleep tangled up together. Heh, ninja stamina trainin' turns out to be a real plus in the bedroom- who knew?
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

15 May 2015, 09:44 #11

Great entry, Ducks!
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

16 May 2015, 23:51 #12

Thanks! It was a toss up between this one, and my new one-shot with Leo, but that one has a few spoilers for the main tale, and I wanted to avoid that. Might use it next month, though. Go check it out, folks, it's short, but romantic! And it also hints at a few things to come for our boy Mike....
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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Mister_Oz
Superpowered Human
Mister_Oz
Superpowered Human
Joined: 07 Dec 2011, 15:23

20 May 2015, 14:03 #13

I Own Nothing Which Is Not Mine

Spangle #29: Damsel in this Dress

There's me; a Captain America t-shirted and leggings wearing mini thing pummeling the Konk Monster with all my might like he's King Kong (in retrospect I get a chuckle thinking he's King Konk) when he plucks me from his shoulders and throws me through the air into a free fall until hitting the earth in front of a cadre of Bottom Cleaners.

I'm in deep doo doo.

"Look! A damsel in distress!" one of them says.

"Well, I'm hardly a damsel in distress," I inform them upon turning to face them, "But I could use the help."

"Then by very definition you're..."

"Alright, alright," I acquiesce against better judgement and offer my arm so that the lead one can hoist my sorry muddy bottom from the moist ground.

"As such, M'lady, it is our duty forth and with to avast ye to yon Castle Burfeld where you will be dealt with in a swift and decisive manner," the Lead Bottom Cleaner addressed.

"Since you fell out of the sky," one of his associates from the back added garnering a round of guffaws from the otherwise steadfast crew.

"That'd be great!" I replied but my smile of hope quickly faded when the Lead Bottom Cleaner clarified himself.

"It is obvious by your dress that you aren't from around the Good," he explained, "As you were on the ground, despite what condition thouest be in, it falls to us to remove your stain from this pristine setting."

A few of his good men thus scooped me up under my arms to carry me away.

"Hey! I'm fully capable of making it to the castle on my own, thank you very much," I made them aware while trying to break their grasp. No dice.

"From where we stand that does not appear so. We witnessed you fall from yon sky. Thou are naught be trusted. And stop squirming."

"But I'm headed to the castle anyways. I'm told the King could help me get home."

"Cuz that and a pair of sparkling ruby evening shoes works every time," that same smart aleck muttered from the rear, receiving more laughs from his mates.

"Enough!" the Lead Bottom Cleaner commanded and addressed his crew and I, "We are hence and forth making haste to Castle Burfeld with our charge to dispose of this mouthly harlot who challenges the rigid socialities and mocks the very law drawn up to prevent such behavior."

"It's oppression like this that breeds discontent," I countered and immediately took a very strong backhand to my face.

"Bind and gag the rubbish. Make haste. I wish to be done with this load and troll a quieter corner of the lush," the Lead Bottom Cleaner instructed. His charges wasted no time, painfully cramming so many wads of cotton into my mouth that it induced my gag reflexes. My hands were tied behind me and my ankles were bound together with twine. When the Lead Bottom Cleaner gave the word to go forth, my feet were yanked out from under me henceforth dragging me on my back through the mud. The slick earth caked in my hair and slimed up my back ruining my poor clothes as all the while I kept wanting to throw up. They'd stopped when I let out a muffled yell on account of my arms breaking.

"Jester's Grief," the Lead Bottom Cleaner mumbled examining the situation upon standing over me. I shot them the maddest glare I could muster though it was pointless. We all knew I was too broken to fight. With a sigh he instructed his men, "Load her carefully onto the cart face down making sure she can breathe. Arkster, look at that rut you created. It stretches back beyond what thine eye can see. The Myriad Seedlings won't take kindly to that and will likely commence a revolt. Be ready for anything; ground, tree – air."

I knew he added that last one on account of me.

"Roll forth," he deadpanned, feeling the crushing burden of leadership, then mumbled more for himself, "There goes the quit."

It wasn't the best ride, getting rumbled along on my stomach on top of a pile of what could be considered garbage. It was a stinky mound of everything picked up from the greenery as the Bottom Cleaner crew came upon it. Some of the items might get a new lease on life by being repurposed, such as a ceramic mug and a metal framed lantern, but there was also the rotten apple cores, orange rinds and some kind of sludge which emanated an awful odor. Somehow, though, I managed to pass out en route as the next I knew I was in what I assumed was the castle; big stone walls, hard stone floor, very imposing. I stood up from my bedding of hay to greet whomever the approaching voices I then heard belonged to.

"So you say she's AAAAAHHhhhhhh!!!!" a graying man in a plush dark olive green robe had been saying upon entering the chamber, except apparently seeing me made him startle, "What kind of sorcery is this? You said the female would be unconscious for hours."

"Hello? Female's right here," I reminded them.

"What manner – how could – what kind of creature shrugs off such grievous injuries?" the flowing robed man asked of the other, one who resembled a Bottom Cleaner but anything could have been possible. I just wanted to be done with this whole nightmare and curled up on my couch at Konk's – well, my – house. That's more I have to deal with when the time comes...Then Robe Man told the armored one, "Go get the Queen."

"There's no need," a husky female voice came from the hallway and in walked a woman draped in black and red cloth, shiny black boots whose exceedingly high heels clicked on the hard floor as she slowly approached, with a glistening crown set on her raven haired head, "The Queen is here. What have you got?"

Robe Man began explaining how he found me unexpectedly awake and his lips kept moving but my ears no longer heard what he was saying. I was too busy turning my insides out by vomiting on the chamber floor at the evil queen's feet.

"Is something the matter with this one?" I heard the Queen ask between retches. Then her boot was in my face and she was using the toe to direct my face up to look at them; her and Robe Man.

"You're Melissa Masters," I whispered, my throat constricted.

"It's Queen Masters, peasant. And you're going to lick my boots clean."

"Your Highness, if I may," Robe Man sheepishly addressed, kneading his hands. He must've felt if he kept them busy she wouldn't break them on him.

"You may, Doctor Core."

"Perhaps you'll wish to let the – puh peasant as you say recover before you exact her chore duty. Lest she make it worse."

"You are wise council, Doctor. Thank you. You are dismissed."

With that, Queen Masters followed the doctor out of the chamber.

I was feeling only slightly better when the Queen and the Doctor returned; only just beginning to pick myself up from the hard, cold floor of the castle, having passed out upon their previous departure.

I hate these predicaments. Why couldn't I just get a common burglar again?

The Queen had made good on her earlier promise, standing with her right leg extended directly under my nose. I could practically see my reflection in the shiny black leather.

"Lucky for you, a groveling townsman owed me his services. Did a sparkling job, did he not?" Queen Masters asked while I slowly looked up to meet her stare.

"I just want to get home," I said meekly, "I was told the King..."

"The King sees no one," Queen Masters said firmly, "Who told you this? Was it the Doctor?" She whirled on her stilettoes to look the robed Doctor in the eyes. He fervently shook his head, sweating with fear.

"N-no. It wasn't the Doctor," I confirmed.
"Those wretched Bottom Cleaners then. I knew they were do-not-gooders..."

"No, Your Majesty," I informed.

"One of those horrible wild creatures then, with their festering scabs and shrivelly wrinkles. Beady little eyes and fangs with blood sloughing off of..."

The Doctor's own gag reflex was giving him warning and he put his hand over his mouth.

"Your Highness, isn't there any way I can get help in returning to my home?" I pleaded. It caught her attention.

"Well of course there is. As with any other serf of the Kingdom. Once your servitude has been deemed in balance and you owe no debt you will be escorted back to the Good and your cottage under the auspices your family will not again become indebted to the Crown," Queen Masters explained.

"B-buh. B-but your Highness, if I may," the jittery Doctor broached, "By all examinations yon female hails from far beyond lush Good."

My skin crawled. Had Masters' people done anything to me while I was unconscious? Did they experiment like I think Hydra might have? Had Robe Doctor Jitters rearrange my biology as S.H.I.E.L.D. had? What if I wasn't super strong or quick to heal any longer? What if hypnotic suggestions were planted in my subconscious? Could I really just be meek old Ree Reynolds again?

"Is that true?" Queen Masters asked me, her eyes boring into my brain as if seeking the truth.

"I don't know where I am. But your land – Kingdom – is nothing like where I'm from," I answered.

"Your speech says as much," the Queen acknowledged, "You're hardly feudal. Nor do you address me in the manner as such residents of the land."

"I mean no disrespect, Your Highness," I offered and genuflected, though I was super uncomfortable doing so in light of how other Masters I'd encountered had treated me. This one, if in fact they were all different and this wasn't just some mind-fuck, seemed to be along those lines as well.

"Perhaps not. But in your ignorance you have and until such time as you can begin to show me some respect, there's not any way you're ever gaining audience with the good King."

"Does that make you the evil Queen?" I blurted out of frustration. She whipped back around to face me with a malicious smile.

"Lock the peasant girl downstairs!"

Armored knights straight out of old Hollywood movies clanked forward from the darkened hallways and I was once again being snatched up against my will with my muddy sneakers being dragged along the cut stone floor as we trailed behind Masters' cackling laugh (think Margaret Hamilton in "The Wizard of Oz").

Playing along was only worsening my situation. Luckily, I could feel my energy coming back to me. When we reached the prison cell in the castle's dungeon I yanked on the knight's arm on my right setting him off balance. Before he could react, I did the same with Left Knight, so that he'd bump into Right Knight. They both sprawled to the floor in a ruckus rattling as if pots and pans were crashing to the floor from a cupboard.

Not wasting time on a superhero quip at their expense, I climbed over their body pile and dashed for the hallway, straight into Evil Queenie Masters.

"You're not going to escape," she informed grabbing for me. I tried to sweep kick her feet from under her, but she managed to kick me away before I could make contact so I dropped back a couple of steps. Masters strutted towards me.

"If you help me get home, I'm out of your hair forever," I offered, gasping.

"Honey, you can be just as easily out of my hair forgotten down here."

I lunged at her, intending to knock her over as I did the knights who were noisily getting back to their feet. She knocked me off to the side quite easily.

"Do I look like a damsel in this dress?" the Evil Queenie asked rhetorically, "If so you're much more ignorant than I'd originally given you credit for."

"Why won't you help me? Are you truly that awful a person?" I snatched an unlit torch from its bracket on the wall and clubbed her over the shoulder as she was reaching into her boot for something. I broke free from our battle and slammed the metal gate closed, locking the knights in the prison cell. Masters grabbed my arm, spinning me to face her and I felt a piercing sensation just below my rib that took my breath away.

"Good riddance to bad rubbish," Queen Masters said and I fell to the floor, praying my healing factor still worked right.
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

21 May 2015, 09:53 #14

Great entry, MO!
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Joined: 03 Oct 2013, 20:56

23 May 2015, 15:33 #15

Sorry, the following entry is so long...
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Joined: 03 Oct 2013, 20:56

23 May 2015, 15:35 #16

Marvel Star Wars: Guardians of the Galaxy

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…


Chapter One

The Sorrok is probably one of the stupidest, ugliest and most obnoxious species of bird in the galaxy. Okay, it’s probably too stupid to be intentionally obnoxious, but it comes off that way due to how ugly it looks, how clumsy it acts and especially due to its awful mating call…something that’s what I’d describe as a cross between a human baby throwing a loud temper tantrum and rusty metal scraping on metal.

It’s also probably the worst choice of things I’d want to hear first thing in the morning. What was I thinking when I chose that as one of the sound options for my alarm clock?

“Ah, blast it! Come on!”

I rolled over in my bunk and tried burying my head under my pillow for about a minute before I finally realized it wasn’t going to rescue my ears from the unrelenting screeching.

“Aaagh…alarm off!”

The awful noise continued. For some reason, my half-asleep brain manufactured an image of one of the two-meter tall birds standing over my bed purposely assaulting me with its mating call…just to tick me off. I took my pillow and flung it at the imaginary bird..to no avail of course.

“Stupid alarm! Off!”

As the conscious world began stealing my sleep from me, I realized that I must have set the wrong alarm settings the night before.

- One, I somehow chose the wrong alarm tone.
- Two, I must have deactivated its voice activated controls.

I was going to have to pull myself out of bed, walk over and smash the thing against the wall, ending its miserable electronic life. Of course, the alarm wasn’t a droid. It didn’t have any real form of AI, but that morning I had the paranoid thought that someone must have snuck a droid brain into my alarm clock and told it to make me want to kill it.

“Okay, I’m up!”

I rolled out of bed and walked toward the source of the blasted noise ready to strangle the alarm and rip it apart. That thought was interrupted when my bare unprotected big toe impacted against something hard.

“Aw! Ow! Blast it!”

It was the droid in the alarm! It had to be. It purposely put something in the middle of the floor as a trap! The aggravating bird call was just to lure me out of bed. The droid must die!

By the time I stumbled over to the alarm, something in my head reminded me about the footlocker I forgot to stow underneath my bunk. Okay, it wasn’t my alarm’s fault. I fumbled with the dumb thing in the dark and finally found a button and pressed it…over and over again. While it wasn’t the one to turn off the alarm, it ended the Sorrok bird’s screechy wail. Replacing it was one of the other options for an alarm. This one was holographic. Its soft red and blue light dimly illuminated my otherwise dark room.

”Narruna ge-atta. Seeru alee-neah-taaaah.”

I really don’t know what that means but it was sung by the holo of a trio of three Miak girls with some of the best voices I’ve ever heard. The holo was life-sized and positioned so they were standing and bending over my bed where I would have been sleeping, swaying their shapely hips back and forth as they sang. Boy, that certainly beat the “Screechy Sorrok” bird audio alarm, but I was out of bed and not getting the intentional perspective the brilliant alarm designer intended.

”Narruna ge-atta. Seeru alee-neah-taaaah.”

Still, from the perspective I had, standing next to the alarm on the other side of my cabin, my eyes still had a pretty good motive to stay open.

”Quill! Are you awake!?”

Eeeagh! No, that wasn’t part of the alarm, even though the voice was definitely female. It was coming from the overhead comm and not very melodic. Why I didn’t disable the overhead comm in my cabin years ago, I don’t know…

“I’m awake,” I replied rubbing my nose right underneath my eyes.

”Do you realize what time it is?”

“Yes…”

I thought about it for a moment. What time did I set the alarm for? I hadn’t actually looked at a chrono yet.

“No.”

“We are going to drop out of hyperspace any minute now.”

Okay, I guess I really didn’t pay enough attention when I set my alarm.

“Yeah, okay. I’ll be out in a minute, Remora,” I told the owner of the voice. “Lights.”

My cabin lights responded to my voice (despite a yawn) and activated revealing my messy cabin to my still waking eyes. With the added illumination, the holo of the Miak girls singing over my empty bunk looked washed out. I could see the “sleep” button on my alarm clock though.

“Oh, well. See ya tomorrow morning, girls,” I said with a grin and turned off my alarm. I then went to my dresser and pulled out and put on the day’s clothes – a tan shirt and a pair of brown synth-leather trousers. I then pulled on my boots grabbed my gun belt and blaster and went to my cabin door. When it opened, Remora was standing just outside of it. She looked angry… but I really couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t look angry.

“You have no sense of importance, Quill.”

Remora was a blue skinned Twi’lek. That morning she was wearing black leather coveralls and her own gun belt. She wasn’t your typical Twi’lek, though with subdermal implants subtly visible through the skin in her face and her bare arms. Still, I’ve seen homely Twil’lek girls, fat Twi’lek girls, hideous Twi’lek girls and gorgeous Twi’lek girls. Remora, despite her implants, was very well stationed in that last category, but I didn’t have the guts to say it…mostly outta fear she’d gut me if I did. I’ve seen the results of what happened to a few different scumbags that tried to make their moves on her. Let’s just say her retalitory moves are just a little more quicker, lacked any sense of romance…and were a lot more painful.

And, no, I’m not calling myself a scumbag or comparing myself to them. I was just…ah, nevermind…

Twi’leks were somewhat common in parts of the Wilderness, especially this side of the Kessel Ridge. They had been ferried across the Ridge by the few Hutts that had migrated across it with the intentions of building their own criminal empires here away from the influence of the more powerful gangsters that controlled the part of the Galaxy called “the Outer Rim”. When they came here, I guess they didn’t realize what and who they had to deal with.

It wasn’t very often that anyone made their way across the Kessel Ridge, what with the string of black holes, active magnetars and the turbulent nebulae that would have to be navigated through. If you plan to cross the Ridge with a bad navicomputer catelog, you better make sure your affairs are in order in whatever place you call home before you leave. I’ve heard plenty of stories about pilots – including a few seasoned spacers who tried to make their way across the Kessel Ridge– and never were heard from again. It’s not to say, people don’t ever make it across. There are plenty of smuggling routes including the infamous “Kessel Run” but they’re either patrolled by pirates or even the Imperials. I’ll get back to that in a bit.

“Sleep is important. Breakfast is important,” I replied to Remora’s comment about me not having a “sense of importance”. “Right now, I’m tired and a good hearty breakfast to get me invigorated in very important.”

She glared at me for a moment then spun on a heel and I followed her toward the main cabin.

“You don’t have time for food. We’re almost at our destination. Besides, the rest of us have eaten already.”

“Well, I think I still have time for a little something,” I said as entered the main cabin. I was a little irritated that they ate without me already. “Maybe a grit-cake or even a glass of jagga juice.”

She didn’t look at me but muttered something as she shook her head, causing her “lekku” to wobble back and forth. To anyone paying attention, lekku are like head tentacles. Twi’leks of both sexes have them, but they definitely look better on the women of their species. I still don’t know what purpose they have, but in a way they always seemed like some sort of hair substitutes to me…as weird as that sounds.

Remora continued up toward the front of my ship (the Milano…more on her later), but in the back of the main cabin, Drax was sitting on a chair, calibrating his vibro-axe. Yeah, just in case you might have missed it, Remora said “us” as in “me, her and the three other members of the ship’s crew”. Drax was big, even for a Gamorrean. I don’t mean, “big” as in “big belly” (and I’ve seen plenty of Gamorreans that look like they had severe eating disorders). What I mean is, he had biceps that were bigger around than my head. Gamorreans were as mean and tough as they come, but while physically strong, they weren’t necessarily very muscular. The Hutts had brought them along on their endeavors as well as Twi’leks to serve as bodyguards and indentured muscle. One problem was that they tended to get lazy and overeat from what I’ve heard. After not too many years, they lose their usefulness due to getting too much out of shape. Not Drax, though. Unlike just about every other Gammorrean I’ve encountered, Drax was built like a heavy-lifter droid. And, he was far from being lazy. That’s probably what made him such an effective killer.

Just before I originally met him, I had heard that he had been one of a Hutt’s main bodyguards. For some reason, the Hutt had Drax’s wife and children killed. I’m guessing the Hutt had gotten mad at Drax for some reason and took it out on his family. The next thing I heard was that Drax made his way back to the Hutt’s palace and single handedly took his vengeance out on the Hutt and just about every other one of his henchmen present. That number ranges from thirty to two hundred and fifty depending on who tells the story to you. I never had really asked him if the story was true or not. I haven’t seen any indication that anyone had put a bounty on him. You’d think that if someone attacked a Hutt, the Hutt would retaliate and send bounty hunters after him. Of course, if the Hutt’s dead along with most of his hired guns, who’d retaliate? In the fights I’ve been in since he’s been a member of my crew, he’s proven to be pretty dangerous, especially if he’s got a blade in his hand.

“Good morning?”

He looked up at me and eyed me even as he ran a calibration cube along the vibro-axe’s blade. Sometimes when I’d greet him, Drax would respond with a grunt. Other times, he’d just ignore me. I guessed by the way he was looking at me, he wasn’t happy with how long I slept either. I could have stopped and tried to explain how humans required a certain number of hours of rest, but that probably would have been like explaining the benefits of a vegetarian diet to a Rancor. I continued toward the front of the ship and the steps that led to the cockpit.

Just to the side of the steps was the next member of the Milano’s crew: Rocket. Talk about an odd character. He’s what’s known as an “Ewok” – a furry arboreal type of creature native to a planet or moon called “Endor”. I’d never found any planet named Endor on any star charts, though. I learned about Rocket’s heritage from this old codger of a spacer a few years back and just after Rocket and I crossed paths. I don’t know - the spacer seemed pretty senile, but he explained that Ewoks were these primitive tribal creatures whose greatest technological accomplishments were tree swings and slingshots. That didn’t make any sense, though. Rocket’s a whiz at building and repairing things, especially blasters, pellet poppers, rocket launchers, thermal detonators and just about anything that’s both mechanical and lethal you can think of.

At the time I first met him, Rocket was a bounty hunter – a furry, short little bounty hunter. I’m telling you, he doesn’t come off as being dangerous or intimidating until he opens his mouth.

“Maybe I outta kill you right now, Quill.”

See what I mean?

“It would probably save the rest of our lives,” Rocket continued to grumble as he was tooling with his favorite blaster rifle. “I could find a buyer for this boat o’yers, split the profits between the rest of us and find a less dangerous line of work…like Gundark wrestling.”

“You are a load of laughs, Furball,” I responded, trying to hide the irritation at the suggestion he’d sell my ship. “Maybe I ought to gut you, have you stuffed and sell your lousy stuffed hide to some little girl for ten credits.”

“I am Groot.”

Oh, that brings me to the last member of my ship’s crew: Groot. He was calmly sitting behind Rocket not doing much of anything until I made the comment about gutting Rocket. Of course I wouldn’t. It’s just talk.

And, talking about oddballs, Groot takes the cake. I really don’t know what he is or where he came from, but he’s basically a walking and talking two and a half meter tall tree. He’s been a friend and partner to Rocket since the Ewok had been a kid, from what Rocket told me. Makes sense, though – an arboreal creature befriending a creature that looks like a tree.

“I am Groot.”

And as far as talking, that’s the only three words that come out of his mouth. Yeah, he’s not the resident conversationalist on the Milano. Rocket’s explained to me that Groot talks in some sort of “rapid high frequency rattle” that most sentients can’t hear. Groot’s managed to develop audible verbal skills but anything that he says sounds like “I am Groot”. Rocket, from what he’s told me, can hear and understand the underlying speech behind every “I am Groot” the walking tree says. Other than his three word speeches, Groot just kinda hangs around with Rocket. He’s pretty handy with lifting heavy loads and getting the jars off of the top shelf, but in a hand to hand fight, he’s lethal.

Getting back to the first encounter I had with Rocket, I ended up bailing him out of a mess he found himself in. A pack of these two-bit pirates had rifled his transport full of holes. He managed to put it down on this world called Keitra. I was there delivering a package I was hired to transport. I was running alone back then and a ten thousand credit paycheck for moving a box I could hold under one of my arms across fifteen lightyears was a job I wasn’t going to turn down. It turns out they guy I was delivering the box to had an old beef with these same pirates. One thing led to another and I found myself on one side of an overturned table exchanging blaster fire and verbal insults with those idiots. Rocket and Groot were next to me. Rocket had this pellet popper that uses mini chemical explosives to propel rounds of metal and ceramic at a rate of twenty rounds per second. Unfortunately, he didn’t have that many rounds. Groot acted like a human shield, except that he’s not human. You’d think a guy made out of wood wouldn’t hold up under blaster fire, but despite having flecks of his wooden hide shredded off of him, he kept providing Rocket with something to shoot around until his ammo belt ran dry.
Fortunately, those so-called pirates couldn’t shoot worth anything, but one of them managed to lob a thermal detonator that ended up bouncing off of a wall, rolling across a table and out a window where it happened to land right where I had parked the Milano. My girl’s got pretty good armor, but sitting there with its deflector screens down and with an open lift-jet vent wasn’t a very good combination of circumstances. After two hours of exchanging blaster fire with the inbred goon squad, along comes their reinforcements. We had only one blaster amongst the three of us. Yeah, the old spacer bailed…without paying me my money, but not before revealing what was inside the box – this expensive looking tiara thing and necklace. There had to have been about a half a mil’s worth of precious stones amongst the two of them. To this day, I keep thinking I should have opened that box.

Rocket, Groot and I ended up having to run. The pirates and their reinforcements followed us, but fortunately they weren’t too bright. We ended up making them think we had run into this gorge. They went in and we doubled back. Rocket, the genius he is, managed to jury-rig the lift jet on the Milano and we hightailed it out of there, but not before I opened the ship’s rear cargo doors and dropped a spare fuel cell onto the hull of the reinforcements’ transport…right in front of a bypass vent. The Milano had a hard time climbing due to the damage and it gave the pirates enough time to get back to their ships. The Milano was about ten kilometers up when they fired up their engines and the transport sucked in that fuel cell. The explosion took out both transports and that old spacer’s Harper DX freighter. Serves him right for stiffing me on my fee!

Back to my original story…

The Milano’s destination proximity alarm sounded about the time I made it up the stairs to its cockpit.

“See?” I asked Remora who was standing next to the captain’s chair. “Perfect timing.”

I moved past her, sat down in the pilot’s chair and pushed forward on the hyperdrive’s lever. Through the ship’s canopy, the big blue swirl of hyperspace decelerated into a sea of stars and there, dead ahead of us, was a full blown Kree Star Destroyer.

“Blast it, Quill! This was a trap! What have you gotten us into?” Remora screamed into the back of my head. I tell you, if she didn’t think I was deaf before doing that, you’d figure she’d guess I was afterwards.

“It’s not a trap,” I explained to her trying to dig the ringing out of one of my ears with my finger. “I told you we were delivering that crate to an Imperial captain. Considering the one hundred thousand credit fee we’re getting for this job, do you think this “captain” would be commanding a garbage scow?”

Remora’s screaming got the other’s attention pretty quickly and they joined us in the Milano’s cockpit. The next thing you know, I’ve got all four of them giving me the eye.

“A hundred thousand?” I asked them incredulously. “Come on! Do you think this would b a cake walk? Yeah, sure: ‘Go to Rikellam. Meet with the shady Tripur guy in the back alley. Pick up the crate. Make a jump to the middle of nowhere. Hand the crate to a half asleep garbage scow captain. Garbage scow captain hands us a hundred thousand credits, smiles and tells us to have a nice day. We leave and split the earnings.’ Did you really think it would be that easy?”

“I didn’t think we’d be dead,” Rocket said, his furry arms crossed across his chest. “Of all the lame brained schemes of yours, Quill, this would have to be the most lame brained of them all.”

“I am Groot.”

I looked at the walking tree guy. He was looking over my shoulder and pointing. Yeah, I kinda figured what he was pointing at since the general direction his spindly, wooden finger was toward the last position the Kree Star Destroyer had been.

I turned, and sure enough, the ship had dispatched three pairs of TIE fighters which were closing in on us.

“I say we pitch Quill overboard and run,” Rocket said to the others. “The Kree pick him up, torture him, interrogate him and whatever, but in the meantime we get away with our lives.”

I turned and was about to give the little Ewok ingrate a sizeable piece of my mind when the comm alert chimed. I grinned at them.

“Oh, I wonder who that could be?” I asked with a grin as I turned back around and hit the comm.

”This is Captain Hrall of the Kree Star Destroyer Hailstorm. Repond at once.”

I quickly did, of course. I was confident, but not stupid.

“Hello, this is Captain Petr Quill of the M-Wing class modified system patrol ship Milano. Greetings.”

“ ‘Captain?’ “ Drax asked with this whimsically puzzled look on his face. I gave him the ‘shut up, or you’ll get us blasted to atoms’ gesture.

“Do you have my package?” the voice on the comm asked.

“Absolutely,” I responded. “Do you have our money?”

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have been so upfront about the credits. Hey, this was a business deal. So what if we had a massive piece of Imperial hardware pointing a few dozen turbolasers at us? A deal is a deal. The fact that the guy took his time to respond was just a little unnerving to me. I didn’t let the others see it, though.

”I have,” the voice on the comm responded…finally. I heard four sighs of relief behind me. ”The fighters I have dispatched to you shall now escort you aboard the Hailstorm. Deactivate your weapons and shields as a show of good faith.

“Not a good idea,” Remora whispered in my ear. Oh, come on! Did she really think that ear would pick up a whisper after she had practically just screamed in it?

“Don’t worry about it,” I whispered back to her. “I’ve got things under control.”

The TIE fighters flew by the Milano and swung around. I quickly accelerated her and caught up with them and we headed toward the Hailstorm.

You might have some questions about these Kree and the fact that they had their own versions of star destroyers, TIE fighters, etc, etc. Well, beyond the Kessel Ridge, there’s this “Galactic Empire.” One dude by the name of “Emperor Doom” pretty much runs the whole show in the majority of the galaxy. His Empire has a massive fleet and his cronies run just about every planetary system. Several decades ago, either Doom or one of his predecessors decided he or she was going to expand their Empire to this side of the Kessel Ridge. Whoever it was knew that the Kree were the dominant force here, so the Emperor sent some ambassadors, probably some bribes, promises, etc. to the Kree Clan leaders. The Kree bought into the plan, figuring that it would give them the ability to put the Wilderness completely under their collective thumbs. The Galactic Emperor then supplied the Kree with a bunch of weapons: Star Destroyers and TIE fighters were the most obvious Imperial weapons they sent.

TIE fighters are pretty simple. They have this central spherical cockpit with a hexagonal stellar panel array on either side of the cockpit and are powered by twin ion engines (hence the name: Twin Ion Engines, but you probably already caught that). The crazy thing is, these fighters don’t generate their own defensive shields. You’d think that if you want to have an effective armada, they’d be able to protect themselves. But, as time has proven, they’re pretty effective. I’ve seen them in action and they’re pretty maneuverable. They also tend to run in packs. Sic a dozen of these on any starship, and its like unleashing a dozen hungry mynocks on a helpless droid.

The Imperial Regulars on the other side of the Kessel Ridge have their Star Destroyers. They look like these huge gray wedges with dozens of high grade turbolaser batteries and these superstructures that stick out of the rear of their top hulls. I’ve never seen one outside of a holo, but I know they’re all kinds of lethal. I think the Empire kinda welched on their deal with the Kree when they told them they’d give them a fleet of these warships. Instead of bringing a bunch of them over the Kessel Ridge, they supplied them with these kinda second hand modular cheep versions. I’ve seen some of them in their factory version in a Kree convoy once. They look like someone tied some huge boxy cargo containers together. Very unimpressive. You have to hand it to the Kree though. They took these cargo container looking things, stripped off their hand me down gun batteries and retrofitted the hulls with improved armor in the form of these huge wing-like plates and these homemade turbolaser cannons. These guns might not be as powerful as what I’ve heard the Regular Imperial Destroyers have, but they added a lot more of them. The end product are these monstrous ships that look either like dark gray skulls or skeletal monsters that are as lethal as they look.

And there we found ourselves being ushered over to one.

“Maybe we can run,” Rocket spoke up. He was usually this bundle of bravado hidden inside of a fur coat. I could tell he was getting pretty nervous.

I turned to him and shot him a grin. “A hundred thousand credits? Do you think they want to kill us? Why? We’re nobody. That captain wants what we’ve got in that crate. He’s not going to do anything to us.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Remora was nervous. She wasn’t one to run from a fight, but she wasn’t suicidal either. As if what we were doing was suicidal! I kept thinking that my fellow crew members who were supposed to be so tough were all of the sudden turning into these little cowards. Drax, however, had this grin forming on his tusked face. He liked overwhelming odds. He was holding his vibro-axe like he was eager to whop off some Kree Imperial heads.

“No weapons,” I said kinda sheepishly as we approached the Star Destroyer’s belly hangar. I turned to keep my eyes focused on our trajectory and avoided eye contact with them.

“What?” Remora asked angrily.

“We…are supposed to present the crate to the ship’s captain and the only thing we are supposed to bring aboard his ship is the crate,” I explained to them. “If they see any blasters or blades, the deal’s off. I’m thinking they’ll probably smoke us as well. Makes sense, doesn’t it?”

I turned and gave my fellow crew members a smile to make them feel better. The only one that didn’t seem to mind was Groot, but he’s basically a living weapon and rarely carried any extra firepower himself. Rocket was nearly inseparable from his blasters. Remora usually carried her pistols and her “laser daggers” (I don’t have time her to explain those in detail). Drax was fond of his blades. Sure he’d use a blaster if the occasion called for it, but he preferred up close and personal head-whopping combat encounters. You could tell by how he was looking at his vibro-axe right after I told them. It’s almost like I told him he’d never see it again.

I didn’t have any time to reassure any of them. We were entering the hangar and through an atmospheric shield toward the front of it, I could see a couple hundred white-armored storm troopers all lined up and waiting for us. At the front of them was this dude wearing a gray uniform with a pair of droids standing next to him watching us as we approached.

I set the Milano down about fifteen meters in front of him. I think he probably was relieved that the Milano doesn’t have any landing gear to put a scratch on his polished deck. Instead it has anti-gravity repulsors, just like any M-Wing class system patrol ship. I inherited mine from the Ravagers, a friendly gang of mercenaries and cutthroats that I’m semi-officially still a member of. The Ravagers basically stole these custom made patrol ships from this royal family that basically controlled these five systems. They hired this professional engineer guy to design and manufacture a few thousand of them to patrol their systems. He had a few hundred of them built and ready to ship when that royal family decided to renege on the deal. The engineer “accidentally” took a longer route right through Ravager controlled territory and made a stop at this asteroid belt around Cyyveen that coincidentally was the location of a Ravager trading post called the Bazaar. I don’t know what happened to the engineer or his people, but the Ravagers took possession of the entire lot of M-Wings.

Being a member of the Ravagers since I was adopted by them as a kid, they gave me my own M-Wing which I named the Milano. Its blue, its gold, its sleek, its fast, its maneuverable, its heavily armored, its well shielded, its powerful, it’s beautiful, it’s got a slew of surprises and its mine. The Milano is my girl and my obsession. It’s got two main cannons mounted under its wingtips that are have power ratings you’d normally find on turbolaser mounts on typical frigates. The tail-cannons are rated just below them and anyone stupid enough to try and sneak up on her would be blown to atoms before they had time to scream. I also retrofitted the Milano with another couple pairs of pop-out guns on either side of her fuselage. One set is a couple of scatter guns with a fire rate of a thousand shots per minute. Sure, they aren’t that powerful, but at a fire rate that high, I’ve reduced armor plating to confetti and have seen grown men reduced to whimpering children in 0.6 seconds. The other pair of guns are these quad cannons. They’re higher powered, but with a slower fire rate. They provide the punch that the scatter guns lack. They also come with a pair of ion cannons that are useful in chipping away at the shields and systems of the Milano’s opponents.

At that moment, though, I couldn’t use any of my baby’s arsenal. Shoot! I didn’t want to! As scary as this Kree captain and his goon squad were, he had a 100k paycheck ready for me and mine.

As I lowered one of the Milano’s gang planks to the hangar deck I got up and hung my gunbelt over the back of my seat with a smile, hoping it would put some backbone back into my supposedly tough crewmates.

“Well, let’s deliver the package, pick up our credits and get out of here,” I said. The others reluctantly followed me.

“I am Groot?”

“Maybe he does have a brain tumor,” Rocket muttered, obviously answering a question from his tall wooden friend about my cognition and rationality. I turned to Groot.

“Keep your mouth shut on this one,” I told him sternly. “Sure, Rocket might seem to be the only one that can understand you, but our client’s got a pair of droids with him. If one of them is a protocol droid, he might be able to understand you.”

Groot nodded. “I am Groot.”

I looked at the others. “In fact, let me do all of the talking…just to be safe.”

I went over to a storage bin and unlatched the straps that were holding the crate the captain was waiting for. Groot came over and lifted it over his shoulder. Silently, he and the others followed me as we walked down the gang plank and approached the captain.

It turned out that Captain Hrall wasn’t exactly a Kree. The Kree are notoriously tough and looked pretty much like humans except that they had dark blue skin, black irises and black hair. Hrall had eyes that were completely blood red, meaning he was a Chiss. Chiss were like this offshoot of the Kree race. Somewhere I read they might have come about from genetic experiments or crossbreeding with another sentient species. I don’t really know, but I heard plenty of rumors up to that point that while the Kree were tough opponents to fight in a battle, the Chiss were brilliant strategists and tough opponents in an overall war.

“Greetings, exalted Captain,” I said with a bow. Yeah, I kinda felt dopey saying and doing that, but I was doing my best to be diplomatic and stuff. And, to be honest, I was nervous. “I present to you…the crate you were asking for.”

When I looked up, I could tell the Chiss captain though I was some sort of noob. I turned and motioned to Groot and he brought the crate over and put it down between Hrall and me.

For a moment, I thought Capt. Hrall didn’t think it was the right crate. He kept looking at it like it was the wrong color or size or something. He then motioned to the droid to his left. It was tall – almost as tall as Groot, but thinner with an almost tubular head and long, gangly arms. It walked up and waved one of its hands over the crate. Evidently, it had sensors built in. The guy obviously didn’t trust us or the one that we picked the crate up from. At that thought, I really started getting nervous. What if the guy we picked the crate up from had pulled a fast one on us?

The droid looked at the Chiss and nodded. I think I started breathing again. I really wished the captain would say something though. He and his stormtroopers were completely silent ever since we set down. It’s hard to know what people are thinking if they have are wearing Pazzak faces and are as quiet as rocks.

The Chiss then put his hand on top of this plate on the crate. It must have been embedded with sensors that recognized his palm print. The thing clicked and opened up. I had imagined the there was some sort of weapon inside or some advanced thing-a-mabob. Instead, it turns out, there was this…jeweled necklace and tiara thing.

No. No way.

I didn’t get a close enough look at the ones I brought to the codger on Keitra but the ones I was now looking at looked too much like the very same ones. I turned to give Rocket a questioning stare, but by the way his mouth was hanging open and by the size his eyes had grown, he was obviously thinking the exact same thing.

The Chiss captain picked up the tiara and necklace hand handed it to the same tall droid. It lowered its head and this telescopic optical sensor thing extended out and the droid examined them more closely.

“Confirmed,” the droid said and it was the first thing I heard from anyone on the ship.

This big, satisfactory smile grew across the Chiss captain’s face. I suddenly has this warm fuzzy feeling inside me that felt like I was about to be buried in a pile of warm fuzzy credit chips.

“Two pieces of the Royal Jewels of the House of Storm collection,” Capt. Hrall reported. “Most rare and highly valuable artifacts of a culture long dead for millennia. They will make a suitable gift for my wife for our anniversary.”

An anniversary gift? Yeah, this was all for some guy that wanted to give his bride of so many years a fancy present. How ironic, but who cares. It had a big payday attached to it.

“Well, congratulations to the captain and his wife,” I said with a big grin.

“Thank you,” Capt. Hrall generously answered. “And now for the matter of payment.”

Finally!

“Yes?” I asked, trying to hide my eagerness.

“One hundred thousand was the agreed upon terms,” Capt. Hrall said. “Unfortunately, there is a trade tariff of forty thousand credits. There is also the matter of Kree taxation, and considering the value of these items, the rate would be sixty percent which would reduce the amount to twenty-four thousand.”

My mouth dropped open. Twenty-four thousand?! The Kree crooks!

Hrall then smiled at me. It wasn’t a “hey, I was just kidding” smile, but more like a “I’m a spider and you’ve fallen into my trap, little fly” type of smile.

“And, seeing you’re a Ravager and scum, I will take your remaining credits as your bribe to keep me from imprisoning you and your companions and impounding your ship.”

“I am Groot.”

Oh, come on! He had to say something!

I looked at the other droid. Sure enough, it was a protocol droid. For a moment, I thought it was going to lean over and spill the beans about what Groot actually said. Fortunately, the Chiss raised a demeaning eyebrow at Groot. He then glared at me.

“Interesting companions you have chosen, Ravager. Now how much longer shall you take of my time and occupy my ship’s hangar?”

I looked back at him and then at his troopers. My hand curled into a fist and I was about to unload a verbal assault that the galaxy had never witnessed before. Instead, Remora stepped in and saved the day.

“Our apologies,” she said with a smile and grabbed my arm. “We’re leaving.”

She pulled and fortunately I had the sense to walk with her and the others back to the Milano. We entered and she practically ran up to the cockpit and activated the ship’s engines.

“What was that!?” Rocket yelled falling back against one of the ship’s walls. “Quill, were those pieces of jewelry what I thought they were?”

“I don’t know,” I grumbled and walked back to the cockpit. Drax followed me. I didn’t look at him, but I think he was equally ticked off that we had been stiffed out of the hundred thousand credits owed us.

Remora had retracted the gang plank and had already begun exiting the hangar by the time I reached the pilot’s chair.

“Get out,” I grumbled. “I’ll take it from here.”

She looked up me silently and nodded before getting up. I sat down and noticed that the same six TIE fighters were following us away from the Hailstorm.

Rocket made his way to the navicomputer. “Let’s get out of here. Where to, Quill?”

“Neessham,” I answered. It was this little out of the way world. Quiet. Peaceful. Remote. I accelerated the Milano in the general direction. The TIE fighters kept pace with her. Hrall was making sure we were leaving and evidently wanted to keep us intimidated.

“Coordinates set,” Rocket announced.

“Wait, where’s the Bazaar?” I asked Rocket, eyeing one of the TIEs escorting us. He did a quick check of a holo map.

“Right behind us,” Rocket replied. I leaned over and took a look at the holo map and the stars around the Milano through the viewports.

“Set those coordinates,” I said angrily. “I change my mind.”

“But, we’d have to turn around and…” Rocket began to explain.

“Just do it!” I yelled angrily. Remora sat down next to me. I could tell she could see I was angry and had concern in her eyes that I was about to do something stupid. Boy, she knew me pretty well.

“Set,” Rocket said and then ran to one of the seats behind me in the cockpit.

I suddenly nosed the Milano up and hit the lift thrusters, braking her hard and hard enough that the TIE fighters screamed right past us. By the time they had turned to try and catch up to us, the Milano was heading right for the Hailstorm. I did minor course corrections so that the nav cue projected on the cockpit’s viewport was positioned right in front of the Star Destroyer’s superstructure.

“Say goodbye to our friends,” I said with a grin and before anyone could protest, I hit the hyperdrive. Everyone on the Hailstorm’s bridge must have messed their shorts at the maneuver.

For a few moments, we silently watched as the blue swirl of hyperspace passed around us. Quietly, I turned and looked at the others. They all had this “have you lost your mind”, open mouthed expression on their faces. I couldn’t help to grin.

Drax shook his head. “That was completely reckless and insane. I knew there was a reason why I liked you so much, Quill!”

He laughed and laughed hard, getting up and slapping me on my back. Remora smiled as well. It was a rare sight, but it was a relief. Rocket rubbed his furry face and tried to hide his smile.

“I am Groot.”

Groot gave me this big toothy grin and rubbed his smaller friend’s hooded head.

“You said it, Groot,” I replied, not caring what he said. “Well, I know you guys already ate, but breakfast at the Bazaar’s on me.”

Boy! I love my job!
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darktruth
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Joined: 08 Dec 2011, 13:45

23 May 2015, 18:16 #17

Obelisk-

Ökay. where are we now?" Sara asks as she glances about her at the stalls that lined the rather small alley they stood with, the stalls cobbled together from scrap pieces of just about everything. Each stall had various items laid out upon tables, from jewellery to electronic items, and was smanned by someone who looked like they'd seen far better days. "Or should I say..."
"Do not ask 'when are we'!" Baldwin warns as he turns to point a finger at her. "But to answer both questions, this is Chicago about seventy years into your own future. Or one of the futures. Divergent time-lines and all that."
"Okay," Sara mutters and she moves quickly to side-step an incredibly overweight man that waddles down the alley with no sign of slowing for anyone. A putrid stench follows in his wake. "So why are we here?"
"Need a new Quantum Scanner," he replies. "If you recall I tossed my old one during the whole kajira... thing. Haven't had time to get a new one yet."

Sara cocks an eyebrow at him. "You're a time-traveller who hasn't had time?"
He shrugs as looks about the stalls. "I'm a complicated man. Point is, this is the best place in any time-line to get one. They're cheap with a five-year warranty. That's assuming I can remember where she is, of course. And that she isn't dead. I'm sure I got the date right."
Sara chews her lip as she gives him a look over. "How often does that happen? You go to see someone only to find they're already dead?"

He pauses in mid-search and turns his gaze to her. She still finds his face so difficult to read, but for the first time she almost thinks she can see fear in those eyes.
"Not as often as you'd think," he replies. "More often than I care for."
"Has it ever happened to anyone you really care about?"
"Constantly. Can you smell peppermint?"

She blinks at him. "What?"
"Peppermint," he replies as he sniffs at the air. "She always has a thick fog of peppermint in the air around her stall. Easiest way to find her."
Sara takes a tentative sniff of the air. "I-I think so."
"Which way?"
She points down the alley. "I think. I could be wrong."

Baldwin takes her by the arm and gently leads her along as they weave through the people that browse the stalls.
At one point her eye is drawn towards a very beautiful looking necklace made of what she assumes to be silver and fashioned to resemble a bird in flight, but Baldwin continues to pull her along.
As they move the smell of peppermint certainly does grow stronger and stronger, until finally they round a corner and almost run directly into a stall unlike all the others.

This one was clearly not simly thrown together, but meticulously contrsucted. It was also at least three times the size of any other stall.
The woman that attended it was also completely unlike the other sellers, most of whom were missing some piece of themselves whether it be an ear or a limb. She was completely together and dressed in a perfectly pressed dark-blue suit, her black hair cut short and slicked back. Sara guesses she couldn't be older than thirty.
One could almost be forgiven for thinking her a man, if it were not for her strikingly beautiful and feminine face, and generous breasts that were evident even within the suit-and-tie.

"Now, here's a man I haven't seen in a good while," the woman smiles a smile that makes even Sara's legs feel a little weak. "And that is the greatest crime anyone could commit."
"I've been busy," Baldwin replies as he moves forward and places a soft, and brief kiss upon her lips. "Doing many great and quite manly things, saving a few damsels and even more damsels-of-a-male-persuasion."
The woman's eyes move to Sara. "And would this be one of the damsels?"
"Certainly not," Baldwn smiles widely. "This is Doctor Sara Smythe. Sara, I'd like to introduce you to Celine Stark. Granddaughter of the great Tony Stark."

Sara blinks at her. "Its... um, it's a pleasure."
Celine smiles again and Sara is afraid she'll topple over where she stands. Then Celine crosses her arms and turns a very serious gaze to Baldwin. "So then, what name are you going by now?"
He licks his lips as he glances between the two women. "Err, Baldwin."
"I give you points for the rhyme," she mutters. "But this really has to stop. How long do you think you can run from everything?"
He scratches nervously at the back of his neck. "I'm a man with a time-machine stuck in his gut and a nasty habit of avoiding death. I've got time to run from everything."

Celine exhales as she shakes her head, then looks to Sara. "Do not let this man charm you. Oh, he'll deny having charm, or an agenda, until the universe itself crumbles to dust, He's modest like that, one of his few good qualities. But he's a charmer, and that charm always leads to ruin and pain. You get the time ask him about Lin, or Nesara, or Alli..."
"I came here to buy stuff, not have my name besmirched," Baldwin cuts her off. "I need a Quantum Scanner. Preferably with the 4.3 interface. Anything below that doesn't have the features I like, and I really hate the layout from 4.4 onwards."
Celine takes a breath then mouths 'ask him' to Sara before she moves to search through a large metal box. "You do know that my custom interface is superior to everything else out there right?"
"Yeah, didn't really like the voice on that one."
"It's my voice."
"That could be why."

"Jerk," she smirks and tosses a Quantum Scanner at him. "That's one the house, because you're a charming jerk."
"I'll take it."
"Also you're about to be arrested."

His eyes widen then he turns as several men dressed head-to-toe in golden armour encircle them with energy rifles drawn.
He groans and lifts his arms into the air. "Every damn time."
Sara swallows as she also lifts her arms up, then glances to Celine who relaxes casually against a wall.

"Try not to rough him up too badly boys," she says. "He may be a pain-in-the-arse, but that doesn't stop him being handsome."
One of them men turns his weapon upon her. "Celine Stark, you must come with us."
Her eyes flare with fury. "You mother-fucker!"
----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Okay guys, this time can we not..." Baldwin begins before he is thrown roughly into a small metal room and slams hard into the wall on the opposite side. "...be so rough. Do you people have the faintest idea about manners?"
"Nope," Celine snarls as she shoots a sharp glare at one of the men as he shoves her inside. They slam the metal door shut and she brushes herself off. "It's always so much fun when you drop by 'Baldwin'."
"I try to keep things interesting," he replies. "Where do you think they took Sara?"
"She's a face they don't know," she replies as she leans up against a wall. "They're going to want to 'extract' whatever information they can out of her."

Baldwin brushes a hand through his hair. "I shouldn't have brought her here."
Celine scratches at the back of her left hand. "So... a doctor huh? You going for a career girl? Thinking about settling down?"
"She's just travelling with me," he tells her. "I should have just taken her to Paris or feudal Japan or home. But no, I thought I'd impress her with the future."
"You don't do co0mpanions," Celine states. "What's going on?"

He locks eyes with hers. "Nothing."
"Now tell me the Easter Bunny is real," she replies. "I might believe that one."
He takes a breath and slides down the wall until he sits upon the metal floor. "I... I don't know. I've been alone for so long, just wandering and then... and then I run into her. She's so full of passion and life and fire, I guess I want to be near that. I know the coldness of loneliness and death, I needed a bit of warmth. I need anything, just to make sure I wasn't actually dead."

"You sleep with her?"
"No!"
"Were you planning on it? 'Cause you might have missed the opportunity now."
"I don't sleep with every woman I meet."
"History doesn't really agree with you there. And there's a lot of history."

Baldwin licks his lips. "Do you think I'm being stupid? I mean, I got that pesky time-machine working all proper like now and I'm still just wandering about. Do you think I should just go back? Should I just go see her?|
Celine makes a clicking sound with her mouth. "Not sure I'm the person to answer that. You want to know how to fix a damaged engine or build a mechanical suit from scraps, then I'm your gal. People stuff, relationship stuff, not exactly my forte. My family tree isn't exactly grown in a good foundation of relationships. You could go back, but do you even have a clue how she'd react? When would you even go back to? When is the perfect time for a dead boyfriend to suddenly pop up and let her know he's been floating about time and could have seen her whenever but for some reason never did?"
"I thought I could bring some flowers, soften the blow," he says with a smile.
"Probably want to bring some expensive chocolates too then," she suggests,

"Seriously though, what do you..." he starts when suddenly the door opens and an armoured man steps in.
"Rise," the man orders. "You are requested."
"Look," Celine says as they both stand up. "I can't make your decisions for you, the fact is if you ever truly loved her then you have to see her. Let her knwo you're okay. You owe her that."
"Move!" barks the man before he slams his energy rifle into Baldwin's nose.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"I hate these guys," Baldin grunts after he's thrown down next to Sara on the floor of a large hall crafted from a light-blue stone. He glances to Sara who has her arms wrapped around herself. "Are you okay?"
She smiles weakly. "It wasn't that bad. Just some questions, and electric shocks. Don't think I gave the answers they wanted. They hate you."
"Everyone does," Celine mutters as she kneels down on the other side of Budd.

"Where are we?" Sara asks. "What's going on?"
"I don't..." he starts until his eyes fall upon a tall brown-skinned man dressed in an eleaborate robe of silvers and golds with a collar that rose stiff up around his head. "Ah, Sara I would like to introduce you to to King Samuel the Second, ruling monarch of the Americas."
"America has a king?!" Sara asks in a hoarse whisper.
"Of course it does," he replies. "Pretty sure I mentioned this already."

"Cease your prattling!" King Samuel snaps. "I have no idea how you've alluded me for so long, but I have you now Bruce Wayne. You had better hope I'm in a merciful mood."
"Bruce Wayne?" Sara cocks and eyebrow.
He shrugs. "People in the future, not so smart."
"Hey!" Celine punches him in the arm.

"I said silence!" King Samuel shouts.
"Actually," Baldwin mutters as he climbs to his feet. “You said ‘cease your prattling’. Also, just for future reference, the name is currently ‘Baldwin’. Just ‘Baldwin’. I just know this whole thing is going to lead to another bunch of questioning by the lovely yet stubborn Sara Smythe, but that’s what I get for changing my name as often as I do. But really the main question is why aren’t I dead yet? Last time you gave orders to shoot me on sight, suddenly I’m being given an audience? Unless I’ve got my dates confused, something’s going on.”
Samuel’s eyes narrow upon him. “There’s an obelisk.”

Baldwin clears his throat. "An obelisk you say? Well, that certainly troubling. Nobody likes obelisks. Every town builds them thinking they'll be a nice little focal point, and all they end up good for is pigeon shit and graffiti."
Samuel clenches his fists. "This obelisk is doing something to my people! Corrupting them!"
"What kind of corruption?" asks Sara in a voice that breaks when Samuel's eyes turn to her.
"They're worshipping it," he informs them. "A cult has grown around it. They refuse to eat, sleep, do anything but whisper devotions to the damndable thing. The only thing that stops them is death, and so far it has not come... pleasantly."

"Your men gunned them down," Baldwin states bluntly.
"They attempted to extract one for questioning and things escalated," Samuel defends.
"How come I haven't heard about this?" demands Celine.
"Thankfully we've been able to contain information," he explains. "We fear that if word were to get loose then it would cause panic, or, even worse, the more curious of our people would visit the obelisk and also fall victim to its sway."

"You still haven't explained why I should care," Baldwin tells him; both Celine and Sara shoot him a dumbfounded look.
Anger flares in Samuel's eyes. "You will aid me or you shall die!"
"Not much of a threat."
"Then the women shall die instead! I shall not have my kingdom destroyed by shispers to an Unknown!"

Baldwin takes a sudden step forwards. "Unknown? Do you mean that in a generic sense or..."
"I mean it in the way I mean it!" Samuel snaps. "That is what my people whisper, prayers to this 'Unknown'! Whispers of death and destruction and the end of everything, all for something without even a name!"
"I am at your disposal," Baldwin says with a bow and Samuel's rage ceases. "Now, show me to the obelisk."
------------------------------------------------------

Baldwin took a deep breath as they descended a set of stairs into Chicago's 'Silver District', the city's hub of computer-based enterprise.
Already he could smell it, the putrid concoction of the lost, the lonely, and of fecal waste left wherever it dropped. Samuel hadn't lied when he said the people did nothing but worship it.
"I think I prefer it when my freakish cults are a little more concerned about cleanliness," Baldwin says back to his companions; Sara, Celine, and a small compliment of four royal guards in golden armour.
"We should wear face masks, or at least cover our mouths," Sara suggests. "The amount of disease festering in a place like this..." She shivers.

Celine quickly takes her suit coat off and tears three scraps from it before she tosses the remainder aside.
"You owe me a new jacket, Baldwin," she says as she hands them a scrap each.
"It'll come with the new car," he mutters as he ties his scrap around his mouth. "You shouldn't get so attached to things, bad for the spirit or some shit. But getting shot is worse for the spirit. Remember that."

He leads the way along several abandoned street until finally they come out into the main plaza. The stench has grown so strong even the guard in their helmets dry retch.
The plaza is filled with a crowd of over a hundred people, all of whom attempt to push past each other to reach the obelisk that erupts from the ground in the centre.
The stone of the structure is a swirl of colours. After staring for a few seconds the obelisk turns violet and Baldwin's head begins to swirl.

He tears his eyes away and takes several deep breaths. "Don't stare at it!"
"But it calls out," Celine mutters. "You cannot escape the darkness of fire."
Baldwin glances up at her, her scrap of coat has fallen away and her mouth hangs wide open as she stares at him with black eyes. Her voice has turned deep and horribly familiar.
"Death shall come for you and then oblivion shall follow."

"What's going on?" Sara asks as she stares at the crowd that has now all turned towards them.
"The coming storm, the burning death, the flood of brimstone," the crowd, and Celine, says as one.
"Death and destruction," Baldwin mutters. "Typical villainous mantra. I do have a question though. While your king was all terrified about an obelisk wind-warping his people, did anyone actually think about blowing it up?"

He grabs a rifle from one of the royal guard and fires off several shots.
The balls of energy collide qith the obelisk and disperse. The air turns dead silent for several seconds before it is torn by a shirek as the obelisk explodes outwards in a shower of stone and sparks.

Baldwin tackles Sara to the ground and covers her body with his as debris showers down upon them.
Sara clings to him when she feels something sharp stab at her gut, followed by a warm trickle of liquid.

She pushes Baldwin from her and her eyes go wide as they fall upon a shard of stone that has punctured through his back and out his chest.
"That stings," he grunts. "Good thing you're a doctor."
"I-I-I..." Sara stammers as she stares down at him.

"Oblivion takes him, then everything else shall burn," the crowd declares as they converge upon them.
"Grab me!" Baldwin grunts then coughs up blood.
Sara swallows then grabs him as tightly as she can. Moments later she feels the familiar sensation as she's ripped through time.
"Don't Act Too Paranoid Or They'll Know You're Onto Them."

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Joined: 03 Oct 2013, 20:56

24 May 2015, 00:53 #18

Good stuff, all. It seems odd that there are so many time-travel/altered reality stories this month.
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SciRob
Inhuman
Joined: 10 Apr 2010, 04:34

24 May 2015, 10:31 #19

Probably Flash inspired o.0
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MsMarvelDuckie
Inhuman
Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

24 May 2015, 20:11 #20

Well, the latest chapter of MY altered reality story was last month- maybe that started a trend? I need to work on that some more.....
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491
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SciRob
Inhuman
Joined: 10 Apr 2010, 04:34

25 May 2015, 07:43 #21

Lol, could be!
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007, 17:07

25 May 2015, 09:10 #22

Great entries BT and Dark!
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Joined: 03 Oct 2013, 20:56

25 May 2015, 14:08 #23

Feral Female @ May 25 2015, 05:10 AM wrote: Great entries BT and Dark!
Thanks, Feral! Its another good bunch of stories, this month.
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Joined: 03 Oct 2013, 20:56

25 May 2015, 14:11 #24

7 entries so far and that's on the first page of this thread!
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Miles_Warren
Eternal
Joined: 24 Feb 2013, 00:05

25 May 2015, 14:48 #25

Oh wow I have a lot of catching up to do on my reading. 7 entries is a great number to have this month (should be 8 entries later today when I submit my story).

Just two more days to submit an entry before the comp closes. Hopefully we get another one or two entries. [happy]
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