Saturday, September 3, 2011

Story IIIh

“'s the greatest thing in the world!”

Gandalf was glad that was the last line of the song because he could feel his voice going. They'd have to cancel the Denver show so he could recover. 

He wasn’t as young as he used to be.

He took another bow and raised the mic to say 'thank you' or something to make the crowd scream even more, but he didn't want to risk hurting his voice any more than it already was. He gave a quick wave of his hand and then bounded off stage with his last bit of energy.

Gandalf grunted as he plopped into the back of the limo. This band seemed to be draining him more and more each show. They weren’t the musicians he had wanted for the tour but he had to make do because all the musicians he wanted, people he had worked with in the past, were busy with their own projects now. Thanks to their success with Rat Hat they were all in high demand. The group had always basically been Gandalf, the bands he took on tour with him were a necessity because he couldn’t very well play all the instruments and sing and run around the stage at the same time.

He was busy muttering to himself when the other door to the back of the limo opened and the stranger fell inside onto the floor.

“Dammit, Henry, get this guy outta here, please!” The guy looked like a wino or something with tattered clothes and his hair was sticking up off his head in a crazy tangled mess. “Dude, get to a rehab program, quick. If you don’t it looks like you won’t be around to buy the next—“ The stranger looked up and Gandalf froze in disbelief. The strangers eyes were unmistakably Gandalf’s own.

“Remember…” the stranger croaked out as he reached his hand up to Gandalf’s face. There was a burst of energy from the stranger and a flood of images filled Gandalf’s mind. Smoke started rising from the stranger and he was quickly engulfed in a bright burst of light. There was nothing left but a pile of ash.

Henry opened the door and leaned in, ‘What guy? I thought you said someone got in here?”

Gandalf was dazed but managed to get out a quick “He left.”

Henry shrugged and closed the door. A moment later the limo headed off to the hotel.

Gandalf sat in shock at what he’d been shown. It was too much. Too horrible. Too unbelievable. Yet he knew it was all true.

He closed his eyes tightly to try and make the memories stop.

It didn’t work.

Gandalf saw himself in a different time- no the same time but the world was different. The hiveship came and assimilated the world, stripping it of everything and leaving a broken desolate rock behind before going on to find its next victim world.

In that other now he had tinkered with machines to control time and manipulate space- he still wasn’t quite sure how that had happened- how would he have gotten hold of a button-sized nuclear reactor and all the other high-tech equipment that was probably hundreds of years away from being created. That part was still fuzzy or blank, he wasn’t sure which.

He saw all the attempts the other him had made to alter the destruction of Earth by traveling back in time countless times and trying several different approaches. He saw his search for other anomalies and his eventual success in uniting with the sisters instead of causing them to kill each other. When they finally worked together the three of them managed to destroy the hiveship in the distant past.

That was just the beginning of this new set of problems.

Without the hiveship as a focus for his aggression, the alien warlord Bandor had turned into something worse than the hive had ever been. In the other now Bandor had focused his considerable power into fighting the hiveship and chasing it on its meandering journey of destruction throughout the galaxy. But in this now, without the threat of the hiveship, Bandor’s armies grew and his dominion spread throughout the galaxy. The tyrant’s heel was on the throat of hundreds of worlds and his sights were now set on Earth. Bandor’s hordes would arrive way too soon and the planet was nowhere near prepared for the coming onslaught.

Gandalf had tried to stop the command ship but he had failed miserably. One final attempt to affect events had to be made and he had to find this alternate version of himself, the rockstar slacker, who had been created by the destruction of the hiveship in the distant past.

His head hurt even more when he tried to wrap his mind around the paradox of a future him going to the past and stopping the end of the world making the current him possible. Then that other future him, still kicking around the universe for who knows how long, finding that his attempt to save the world created a different threat to the world. Finally that future him coming to the current him and giving all the memories he/they had accumulated so something could be done to affect the situation.

“What the crap...” He muttered, rubbing his forehead. “I need to get to the lab. Henry, head to the airport. I need to go to LA.”

He grabbed his cellphone from the pocket in the door. He’d never dialed the number before, but he dialed without even thinking about it. He struggled to find the words to use that wouldn’t make him sound more crazy than he knew he would sound. She answered before he had finalized his introduction.

“Hi… You don’t know me in this timeline but you may have heard of me. My name’s Gandalf North. You and I saved the world together before… but you wouldn’t remember that. Anyway, I’m calling because I need your help again…”

“Um, I think you have the wrong number. Who were you trying to reach?”

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “I’m trying to reach you, pup- oh wait, you’ve never heard that nickname in this timeline. It’s a long story that we don’t have time for. Mychala Faith you’re my only hope…”

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Story IIIg

Marissa coughed as she pushed the pile of rubble off of her. She checked herself for injuries and then checked the duffle bag, the pup was safe and still asleep. She then noticed the large metallic creature standing over her.

Its body was roughly human-shaped but it looked like it was made up of a series of tubes. Long spindly legs ending in a cluster of tubes at what would be the feet. The arms were similar to the legs with a cluster of tentacle-like tubes where the hands would be. There was no head but a cluster of green and white ‘eyes’ where a neck would have attached to the body. Marissa knew she should be terrified but she was more fascinated with the design of the creature- whether it was biological, mechanical or a mesh of the two like the pup.

“Where did you come from?” She didn’t expect an answer, she was merely talking to herself trying to work it out. “I know the Chinese have a similar project but they’re very far behind us-“

The creature reached out with a flailing tentacle-tubed hand. Before she could scream there was a burst of weapons fire from behind it, most of the shots missing their target because of it’s thin body and limbs. The creature turned to respond to this threat and let loose a volley of some kind of projectiles from one of the hands.

Marissa suddenly realized the situation called for her to move before the creature could return its full attention to her. She groaned as she hauled herself to her feet. The creature had stepped away from her towards the source of incoming fire. Marissa could either go back into the complex or try to slip through one of the gaping holes that used to be part of the security checkpoint.

Back into the complex she decided would be the best way to become trapped if the creature managed to survive the security team’s attack.  So out through the wall she went, rolling on the ground as she landed in the grass. She could now see that the security team was shooting at the advancing creature from their two armored vehicles. Their bullets didn’t seem to be affecting the creature much, if at all.

She shook her head and made a break for the parking lot to get to her car. Despite a large explosion she was sure was one of the armored vehicles, Marissa kept going. There was nothing she could do to help the security team, she was a scientist not a fighter.

Marissa fumbled for her keys for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, she found them in one of her coat pockets. The door was quickly unlocked and she gently put the duffle bag on the passenger seat before throwing herself into the driver’s seat. There was another explosion as she started the engine. She couldn’t bring herself to look where the explosion came from. She knew that the security team was probably lost. Her priority was to save herself and figure out what came next later.

She backed the car out of its space with a squeal of tires and gunned the engine, flying towards the front gate. The creature came from above and landed in front of the speeding car. There was no time to react to its sudden appearance. The impact threw her from the car through the windshield.

It was only a few seconds later that Marissa regained consciousness. The creature was standing over her once more, extending a tentacle-tubed hand towards her. It had suffered some damage from the security team, but it was still intact and intent on finishing what it had come for. There was little left to do but scream, for all the good that would do her. Marissa felt stupid as the scream left her lips.

The creature shuddered and fell back a few steps, as if the scream had hit it with the force of an explosion. Marissa stopped and gave it a puzzled look, not quite believing that her voice had more effect than lots of bullets.

She prepared to scream at the creature again but stopped herself when she heard a low hiss from behind her, her scream must have covered the sound the first time. The creature was struck by an invisible beam of some kind, or perhaps a sonic weapon. Marissa had only half-listened to talk of some of the other projects for advanced weaponry at the complex. She remembered that one was a kind of sonic cannon, but it was nowhere near advanced enough to do damage like this. The creature shuddered again and tiny cracks started appearing on the upper body and left arm.

A female voice broke the silence when the hiss stopped, “ Come on and die already, you misbegotten wretch!” The hiss broke the silence again and this time the cracks in the creature got bigger. It took a staggering step forward and then broke in half, only the legs and right arm left standing upright. A cloud of sparks erupted from the break.

Marissa was fascinated by the spectacle but quickly snapped out of it when she felt a hand under her arm pulling her to her feet. “That’s a nasty cut on the head, ma’am. Wouldn’t want it to get any worse when this troublemaker goes up.” She didn’t know what to say so she just nodded and ran with the woman. There was a huge explosion as the woman pulled Marissa behind a vehicle.

“That’ll teach him!” The woman seemed very pleased with herself. She was dressed in some kind of tight-fitting archaic-looking dull bronze armor. On second look it wasn’t archaic at all, it was highly advanced but seemingly very old. There were small access panels and a few blinking lights scattered across the armor. The woman had a large weapon of some kind slung over her shoulder, that must have been what caused the hissing destruction of the tube monster.

Marissa didn’t recognize the woman, she was probably not from the research facility. She seemed to be younger than Marissa but there was something in her eyes that made her seem much older than she looked.

The woman smiled and put out her hand. “Sorry, I’ve been away awhile so my manners have atrophied- not that they were ever all that proper. My name is Polly, and you are?”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Story IIIf

“Wait—THE Elmar Kall? ‘Blue Phoenix,’ ‘Kall the Protector,’ ‘He Who Walks Amongst Mortals,’ ‘The Defiant One’- THAT Elmar Kall? You cannot be serious…”

Futhark smiled, “Ah, you’ve been reading through the archives again. The creature was asking for ‘One [Who] Must Be Extinguished' which is apparently what its civilization knew Kall as. It wasn’t telling us that someone needed to be extinguished, or destroyed, as we were hearing it. Human languages are sometimes easily misinterpreted with their multiple meanings and such- especially English.” Mychala was always a little disturbed when Futhark spoke about ‘humans’ or ‘this planet’ as if he wasn’t from Earth or a human. She was never quite sure how to respond to it.

“Nevertheless, we must away to seek the whereabouts of Elmar Kall. If you would be so kind as to contact Mr. Gones and tell him this site needs to be cleaned and secured- my cellular phone appears not to have survived the creature’s ‘mind meld’ as you called it. Perhaps the combination of heat and, for lack of a better term, goo…” Futhark went on about the possible processes that caused his phone to die. Mychala whipped out her phone and nodded every few seconds to keep him happy as she speed-dialed Gones.

Ten minutes or so later they were back in the SUV. Futhark had taken a few minutes to clean up in a nearby public restroom and change his clothes to a nearly identical outfit that was kept in the back for situations like this. Mychala started driving as soon as Futhark clicked his seatbelt.

“It’s refreshing. I imagine this is what a good mud bath at a beauty spa might be like. My skin feels revitalized and I feel as if some of the dry patches on-“

“Thank you for sharing, Doc, but where exactly am I going? Should I head back to the office or somewhere else?”

“Ah, yes. I think the office might be the best place to start. While Kall is a friend of the Associates he is still somewhat of a mystery to us. The relationship has lasted over one hundred years-“

Having recently read about Elmar Kall in the archives, Mychala interjected, “One hundred sixteen, I believe.”

“Precise, I thank you.” There was no hint of irony in his voice, “As I was saying, in that time we have found references to his exploits from long before he first met Mr. Prolix, as I’m sure you know from your recent reading.”

“Yeah, I came across Polly’s first meeting with him and figured I should look into his background to see what all the fuss was about.” Mychala’s chosen research subject was Poly Ambulate, one of the Prolix Associates’ most celebrated members who disappeared in the 1930s in the jungles of South America. Polly was almost an obsession for Mychala since she had first heard about the lady’s exploits. She often liked to think of herself as a modern-day Polly. That’s why she was taking it upon herself to pull together all the old files and scan them into the Associates’ new computer network. She’d found Polly’s personal journals in an old box down in the archives and treated each one carefully and relished each new adventure sure to be in their pages.

Futhark nodded. “The Ambulate Project you’re conducting. Those are interesting documents to be sure. Back to Kall, though, possible references go back to well before the Common Era in myth and legend. If I recall correctly, he has blatantly said on more than one occasion that he is not of this world. Other times he has made reference to Earth as his literal birthplace. I doubt we shall ever know his full origins.” He removed his glasses and started cleaning them with a handkerchief. “His extraordinary biology is based on a kind of bio-plasma chemical reaction. Kall manipulates the energy created to perform various extraordinary feats-“

“The dude can fly! And perform various other feats of extraordinariness. THAT I cannot believe.” 

Futhark chuckled, “It’s true. I have had the pleasure of witnessing him up close, once. The Gregorsky Affair. Kall came into the situation late to, literally, diffuse things. That was nearly 20 years ago now. It was a spectacular sight, he came in as a blur of blue and quickly removed the device from Gregorsky’s chest cavity- he didn’t hurt the man at all, Benson took care of that later. Kall took the device and simply melted it in his bare hands. A few quick words to those of us he had met before and he was off to wherever he goes. The theory that he is a biological battery of some kind was confirmed to my liking that day. I noticed a change in his skin color from the time he arrived and the time he left us. It was as if the exertions made him pale, as if the bio-plasma was drained away each time he used it to perform some feat. A fascinating individual...”

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Story IIIe

{Author's Note: This is the first of the new continuation of this M&M tale of high-adventure/horror/etc. since the break off a year or so ago. The direction has changed slightly but we're still headed to the same neighborhood as my original intent.}

Major Thompson looked at the subject with disdain. It had developed a respiratory problem overnight. Marissa had been up with it all night, checking on the pup's progress every twenty minutes or so while going through all the notes and test results. She couldn't find any obvious reasons for this setback but it shouldn't be seen as a major problem moving forward. This subject was still viable and there was no reason to think any of the others would have similar problems.

The Major did not agree. Since taking over the project from General Hawke, the Major had been cautiously optimistic but deliberately circumspect in his comments to the project's civilian staff members. Some of the staff had realized he was playing it safe but others chose to take his comments as encouragement or enthusiasm. Marissa was in the latter group.

"Doctor Jones, your contributions to the project are much appreciated, but this subject needs to be destroyed. I doubt the flaws can be sufficiently overcome to make the effort worthwhile. I will allow the others to be carried to term, but any flaws in them will lead to the same outcome. Good night." With that he was stiffly out the door and on the way out of the complex.

Marissa had argued her best to give the subject more time. Her whole view of the Major changed in that encounter. He became an obstacle to her efforts. This project had become her life's work and she would not let it go without a fight.

"Doctor Jones, do you want me to handle it? The nurse knew how hard it was for Marissa to handle this sort of thing.

"No, Marcie, I'll do it. You can go home now. We'll come at it fresh tomorrow."

Marissa had no intention of destroying the subject. She went to her office and grabbed a duffle bag the pup would fit in comfortably. As she was approaching the security checkpoint at the exit the ceiling exploded...

"Doc? I'm gonna have to ask you the standard questions when we have a situation like this. Are you ready to answer them fully?" Mychala had her pistols trained on Futhark, she wasn't quite sure what she was going to do if he answered incorrectly.

Futhark reached up and pulled the tentacle clump out of his ear, examining it with interest. "That would be very helpful if we had standard questions for this sort of situation. Remind me to look into that later, will you?" He smiled with that twinkle in his eyes that Mychala had come to count on when things were getting out of hand. It let her know that everything would turn out relatively well in the end.

"Now we need to find a very old friend of the Prolix Associates. You see the creature travelled a very long way to alert our old friend of a danger coming this way."

Mychala holstered her pistols. "How do you know that? Some sort of 'mind-meld' process to get the point across more accurately than its vocal attempts?"

"More or less, yes. The creature came from a distant civilization that is actually rather cosmically close. Our old friend helped them with another problem long ago. The problem is it's ever so difficult to find Elmar Kall when one really needs him. He tends to show up on his own schedule."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Scary M&M Story IIId

Marissa made the incision. She looked up at the monitor then back at the incision. "Laser." The nurse handed it to her. There was no turning back how...

She carefully made her way through the procedure, double-checking herself at each step. Finally she was ready to cut open the womb. It was over quicker than she had expected. She carefully removed the baby and handed it off because she still had to close.

When she finished closing she gave herself a moment of rest before checking on the baby. It lay sleeping in a small clear case bristling with tubes. She thought it was terribly cute- it looked very much like a normal setter pup. Of course the main difference was its dull silver metallic skin. Marissa was certain the Major would be pleased with this latest subject. The program was proceeding ahead of schedule...
Doctor Futhark took another  step towards the creature. "We seek a response. Why have you come here? What do you mean by 'one must be extinguished'? Who are you going to extinguish?"

Mychala thought to herself that the creature was unlikely to answer truthfully, if it even understood the question. The Doc had been at it for ten minutes already. They had stumbled across the thing by chance on the way to a nearby anomaly reading. The Doc always preferred talking to things like this before taking action against them. In her nearly two years with Prolix Associates and the Doc, Mychala had seen all kinds of strange things- ghosts, aliens, crazy ex-spies- but she couldn't remember anything as disgusting as this talking mound of snot. "Doc, I know it's not my place, but you shouldn't get any closer."

Doctor Futhark looked over his shoulder with a reassuring grin. "Everything's fine. Just relax." Before he could turn back to face the creature it surged forward and enveloped him.

Mychala instinctively drew her pistols but held her fire. The Doc was in there and she couldn't be sure where her shots would end up. "What the crap!? Let him go or..."

"One must be extinguished." The mound quivered as it somehow 'spoke' again.

"So it's got to be the Doc? I don't think so." She suddenly felt waves of heat emanating from the mound. The only way she could think of to get the Doc out was to somehow cut the mound open and pull him out by hand. This was going to be disgusting.

There was a rush of hot air from the mound and it immediately started to dissolve into a thick dark muck. As it got smaller Mychala could make out what looked like the Doc hunched over. As the last of the mound dissolved, the Doc stood up and shook off as much of the muck as he could. "Well that was... interesting." He turned his head slightly as he said this and Mychala saw something sticking out of his ear. It looked like several tiny pale tentacles...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Scary M&M Story IIIc (2)

{Author's Note: This is the 'published' version of part c with only one word added to it because I'm always tinkering with stuff that should be left alone...}

The air pressure normalized and he turned back to the open space. The combatants were locked in battle even though they were frozen in time. He knew every move to come in the struggle, that was why he chose this precise moment. Once they where loosed it would be essential to let the natural course of events unfold up to a certain point before things got out of hand. He took a deep breath and released them.

Mychala's growling roar shocked her opponent but did not keep her from letting loose a barrage of barbs. Mychala ignored the pain of the tiny projectiles and launched herself into the air at her opponent. Her claws tore at the side of her opponent's head causing a stream of sparks and fluid to erupt from the impact point. Mychala turned as she hit the ground, ready to finish her opponent off.
    "Stop!" Mychala realized she was no longer on the street where she and her team had been fighting the hordes of drones, the one she was fighting was particularly tough and intelligent.

This place they were in was definitely somewhere else. It was grey and bland with indistinct shapes. She and her opponent were in the lowest level while the person who cried "stop" was above them and several yards off to the side.

Before she could even ask the man began, "You're in what I like to refer to as a time hole, Mychala. And yes I know who you are and where you're from and that you have a suspicion that this is your sister- whom you have long thought died when the Hive destroyed Earth."

Mychala blurted out "What the crap? Who-"

The man interrupted her knowingly, "Call me North, I answer to it most of the time. Back to your sister-"

"That is not my sister. She's just another drone from the Hive. Everything is gone because of them. She's a good likeness but it's just another Hive trick..."

"Oh, I forgot that you've travelled through time to figure out a way to undo the destruction of our planet and find the two key players that can make it happen then snatch them out of time at the precise moment one of them frees the other from the Hive network... Wait, that was ME!" He took a second to catch his breath as Mychala tried to wrap her mind around everything. "I'm sorry I snapped, but we've been through this song and dance too many times already. It gets frustrating dealing with your skepticism over and over. You seem to love the argument, even after you're convinced."

Suddenly Marissa let out a piercing scream and fell to her knees. "She's getting her memories back. And the last memory she has before the Hive brought her back is  when the air burned and the ground melted around her. They sucked everything up into their ship and separated it and used it for everything. They reconstituted her when they got a sample of your DNA to throw you off balance. She had nothing to do with the end of the world."

Before Mychala could decide whether or not to believe him Marissa shakily stood up. "What he's saying is true- at least some of it. I can sense that time is not affecting us here. We are effectively outside of the timestream..."

"Whatever, drone-girl. Like I'm going to believe you over this guy? I would probably believe him first because at-"

"Enough! You both need to take a breath and listen to me!" He had to keep it from getting out of hand again. This could be his last chance to set things right. "We can go back over 700 years to the other side of the galaxy and make the Hive change direction so they'll never bother, let alone destroy, Earth. It'll be like it never happened but there's not much time left. Now who's with me?"

Marissa and Mychala looked at each other. Mychala looked back at North with a twinkle in her eye, "Tell me more about your plan..."

XXScary M&M Story IIIcXX (Bonus Section)

{Author's Note: This section was never sent and no one has ever seen it before. It's more backstory than anything. There's good stuff in it, especially explaining HOW Mychala is a werewolf sort of creature now and how she survived the destruction of Earth. It's included here for completeness and as a special 'unaired episode" for people who like that sort of thing...}

The hum intensified and Mychala allowed herself a brief moment of panic. She turned and saw the last of the five drones connected to the device. It was sparking and smoldering, the thing must have destroyed itself to start the device.
Her earbud crackled to life with the reverberating alien voice of Pej. "We are almost at your location. Suggest we prepare for immediate evacuation. Damon says we should try to gather locals as possible."

That's what happened to her and the nearly 75,000 surviving Earthers when the hiveship came to Earth. Those random Earthers who were saved were plucked off the face of the planet by Bandor's Command Ship moments before the end. She was one of the unlucky few near a window when the end came. It was like the Fourth of July except too horrible. It took her nearly a year to say more than 'yes' or 'no' to anyone. Her shock slowly turned to rage. The more she learned about the hiveship and Bandor's self-imposed mission to stop it the more she wanted to do something to strike out against the hive. She decided to join Bandor's Legion and underwent genetic manipulation to join the Strikecorps.
The manipulation affected everyone differently. Some could fly or shoot flames out of their eyes or bend space around themselves or do just about anything imaginable. Mychala at first felt unlucky with her new abilities. She could change herself into a a creature somewhat like a werewolf. Through her training she realized even though it wasn't one of the flashiest enhancements it was something she was incredibly good with. Her claws were sharper than diamonds and her strength was exponentially increased. She could change back and forth at will but she came to be more comfortable in her wolf form. She was soon given command of a Scout Team and sent out in search of the hiveship. Her Team had some interesting travels before actually coming into contact with the hiveship at this unknown planet.

A plan was taking shape in her head- bits and pieces of things she had heard and learned and dreamt over the years were oozing together like a liquid puzzle. She wasn't fully aware of the whole plan yet but she had to get it in motion now. "Negative on the evacuation, these people are going to keep their world. I need you and Zeljko to help me with this doomsday thing. Everyone else set up a perimeter to protect us from locals or any drones that might show up."
Her technical skills were not very impressive. She knew some simple electronics but nothing that could help stop a world-destroying device. She looked at her left hand the raked her claws across an area of the device. Sparks flew and she received a powerful shock that dazed her for a few seconds. By the time she recovered Pej and Zeljko were at her side.
"Boss, what do you plan

{That's where I decided to skip ahead to the next section. I figured this background stuff and the beginning of the Marissa-Mychala battle was unnecessary. I'm sad the Marissa landing scene was cut-- falling through the air in the big gooey superball thing and then landing with a satisfying SPLAT and the dust would clear to reveal the drone-ized Marissa standing there ready to fight...}