Eclipse Star: Chapter 5
Recap: As the group began to recover from the morning’s events, Chris was treated to an outlandish conversation, courtesy of Legion member Jack, a fairly new recruit that seems to know much more than he actually should. After learning a great deal about Pulse ratings and other abstract terms, Chris is ready to report back to his friends to explain the details…
Chris: (Standing around his group of friends). So yeah, that guy is messed up in the head.
Lindsey: (Punches Chris in the arm). He is not! He was probably just talking in terms that you couldn’t understand.
Chris: I understand the term crazy and that’s about all I could hear him saying.
Austin: (Very eager). Well, what did he say?
Chris: He had a lot to say about the Legion and how they’re looking for new members and how we’d all be perfect for it because of our abnormal life force ratings.
Derek: (Thinking Chris is just plain stupid). Okay, what the hell is a life force rating?
Kyle: I was about to ask the same thing.
Chris: No wait, what’d he call it…? Pulse! Yeah, we’ve all got a Pulse rating!
Derek: Oh, because that makes more sense.
Chris: It’s kinda like a way to judge just how special someone is, or something like that. He wasn’t too clear.
Kyle: I bet I’m rated R for extreme violence and scenes of excessive nudity.
Leena: I bet you’re rating F for “Shut the F up.”
Kyle: Hey, just because my rating is stronger than yours doesn’t mean you should be jealous. Is that about right, Chris?
Chris: Eh, he made it sound like it wasn’t that cut ‘n dry of a rating. Said it was based on numbers ranging from 1 to etcetera with the average person falling between a 1 and an 18.
Derek: And what were we?
Chris: (Thinking hard, trying to remember). Let’s see, he said I was at around 78, Lindsey was about 73 and you were at 82 Derek.
Derek: (Crosses his arms). As it should be.
Chris: Although he also said that he was at like 260 or 8 billion or some kinda crazy gibberish. I wasn’t really listening to anything he had to say; I was too concerned to see if you guys were okay.
Derek: Hahahahaha, you’re our bitch now.
Chris: Derek, that makes no sense.
Derek: Well don’t fret my dear, while you were talking to the half-crazy adolescent I made sure my team was okay. (Nods like a badass). And they all are.
Leena: You know, we can speak for ourselves thank you. (Angrily crosses her arms). Personally I’ve seen better days, but I’ve got little more than a headache.
Austin: Yeah, I’ve got a bit of a headache, too, but I’m not complaining since we’re all still alive.
Willy: Hey, as odd as this may sound, my leg’s almost completely healed already.
Chris: That also does not make any sense.
Danny: Yeah, that’s what I had said, but one of the soldiers came over and gave him a little pill and he was able to get right up and walk around no problem.
Willy: It was really strange. The thing even tasted like candy. Looked kinda like it, too. Like from one of those little cartoon-headed dispensers? You know? The guy wouldn’t tell me what it was but it fixed my leg pretty damn quick.
Clinton: The tall guy nearly knocked my head off with that stupid pole but I’m fine too.
Clinton: (Like it should be blatantly obvious). Well yeah.
Kyle: I’ll tell you what scared the crap outta me; one of the firing squad shoots me in the chest with a damned assault rifle and this armor holds up, (Taps the chest plate). The guy in black punches me and it dents like tin foil. And I’m pretty sure he was holding back significantly. (Nudges Leena in the rubs. He starts talking all smooth). Yeah, I coulda died. No sweat. (She huffs and turns away).
Derek: I don’t know who that guy was, but if I ever see him again I’m gonna kick his ass.
Chris: Derek you nearly got yourself killed because you acted a damned fool.
Derek: Who talks like that?
Chris: Talks like what?
Derek: “You acted a damned fool.” That’s you. That’s what you sound like. You know who talks like that? Black people, and you Chris, are not black, as much as you wish you were that cool.
Clinton: (Taps Derek on the shoulder). Derek, some people might take offense to that.
Derek: (Rolls his eyes). Yes Clinton, we all know that you are black and need not be reminded of your level of coolness.
Clinton: (Annoyed and emotionless). I’m gonna pretend you didn’t just say something that unbelievably stupid.
Lindsey: So, what do we plan to do now?
Chris: How about we just go home and move on with our craptacular lives?
Derek: Forget that, ya pussy. This is our chance to do something really cool and you’re going to pass it up just because you’ve grown a vagina.
Chris: Derek, what in God’s name are you talking about?! What chance?!
Derek: We join up with the Legion and go push people around and show how much better we are than them. This is a golden opportunity and you’re just gonna throw it away because you’re afraid like always.
Chris: Hell yes I’m afraid! But that doesn’t change the fact that the Legion’s a joke! You’ve seen the news; you’ve read the paper. We’re likely to get invaded any day at this rate!
Derek: Well of course they’re a joke now. If we’re there, we can take an active role in reversing that. Once we get in things’ll change. Besides, the world is changing, something big is going to happen; I can feel it.
Chris: (Reminded of something). He said the same thing…
Derek: He who?
Chris: Jack, he said that something big is about to happen.
Derek: Well then there ya go. We have confirmation that something big is definitely about to happen.
Chris: Because a crazy individual agrees with you?
Derek: Of course. Whenever a natural disaster or major catastrophe occurs, who is always the one who was right?
Danny: The crazy guy…?
Derek: (Points at Danny). Exactly.
Kyle: That does kinda make sense…in a backwards-assed sorta way.
Derek: Well as much as I’m sure you’d like to think so Chris, you just don’t affect my choice to join Zanretha’s private army.
Chris: The same applies for you Derek. You’ve yet to convince me to tag along as your damned side-kick.
Austin: Guys, we all need to just shut up for a bit and relax. We’ve still got to deal with whatever happens next in relation to school.
Chris: Damn, I totally forgot about that.
Leena: So…what do you plan to do, Chris?
Chris: What do you mean, “What do I plan to do?”
Leena: Well…you were the one who tripped the alarm and then you destroyed museum property.
Chris: Tripping the alarms, as you so bluntly put it, was accidental, and I didn’t destroy that gem.
Derek: Then what the hell did you do to it?
Chris: I…I really don’t know.
Derek: It was here, now it is not. That sounds an awful lot like you destroyed it regardless of intent.
Clinton: The basic property-law would dictate that since you were the last person to be in direct contact with government-owned museum property and caused, however indirectly, the disappearance of said object, you’re still legally responsible for the event, in this case the removal of a priceless gem.
Derek: (Thumbs towards Clinton). What he said.
Austin: Ease off Chris for a minute, okay? We’re not doing any good by blaming people for an instance as freak as this.
Teacher: (Runs into the room. She’s very much enraged but at the same time terrified that someone could likely be dead). My dear GOD! Where have you all been?!
Danny: We’ve been here, defending the museum from an attack by terrorists.
Teacher: Oh, I’m so happy to hear that! Well?! Did you succeed in stopping them?!
Danny: Not really actually. The only thing they came to steal was lost anyway, but at least we’re all alive. (Weak smile).
Teacher: (Unamused). Oh I am going to make your miserable little lives even more miserable as soon as I can, NOW GET ON THE DAMNED BUS! (All the kids have a shocked look on their faces but instantly sprint towards the exit).
* * * * *
Chris: (Sitting in a window seat again, blankly staring into the gray afternoon once more. His chin is resting on his arm while Derek sits next to him, chatting on without ceasing. Naturally, Chris isn’t listening to a word Derek is saying). Pulse…bunch of nonsense…
Derek: …it’ll totally increase my popularity by being a part of this whole thing, too. I mean, it’s not just a great story; it’s a way to spread the reputation of me being even manlier than before, you know Chris?
Derek: So d’you think I should be really nice to people who come up and ask about the story or should I brush them off and act as if it’s causing me severe inner-turmoil?
Derek: I didn’t catch that last answer there.
Chris: Turmoil, straight up…
Derek: Yeah that’s what I thought.
Derek: So I’d- (Stops and turns to Chris). Syrus?
Chris: (Looks up, confused). Huh?
Derek: You just said the name “Syrus.” Why?
Chris: I said that?
Derek: Yes. Why?
Chris: I have no idea. I didn’t even know I was talking.
Derek: Oh, I get it, you think you’re funny. Let’s all piss off Derek, huh?
Chris: Calm down, geez, my head’s a little fried at the moment so cut me some slack. (Slouches again).
Derek: Fine, but just this once. (Clears his throat). So anyways…
(Derek keeps talking while Chris does little more than humor him. Meanwhile, on a rooftop not far down the road…)
Syrus: (Squints his eyes slightly to catch sight of the school bus as it makes its way down the highway. He closes his eyes and shakes his head sadly, sighing). There’s just no other way… (Slowly raises his arm and aims his palm at the bus. He begins charging energy in his hand and looks up at his target, a stone-cold look on his face). Forgive me. (Fires).
Chris: (While still looking out the window, something catches his eye. He sits up slowly). What in the world is that…?
Derek: (Jolted out of his own conversation). What?
Chris: (He tries to focus on the light coming steadily closer to the bus until he realizes what it is. Naturally, upon this premonition his eyes grow wide as he jumps out of his seat). HAAAAH! EVERYONE HIT THE DECK!!!! (Jumps over the seat in front of his and begins running along the tops of seats towards the driver).
Derek: (Finally sees what Chris saw coming at them). SHIT! HE’S NOT KIDDING! (Ducks under his seat as many others do the same).
Chris: (Manages to dive at the driver and force him to jerk the steering wheel). HARD RIGHT! HARD RIGHT!
-The blast hits inches away from the front left tire, causing it to explode and make the bus briefly swerve out of control before turning completely sideways and flipping over in a barrel roll down the street. Kids start screaming and holding on for dear life. Cars around the bus frantically turn off of the road onto sidewalks and into streetlamps. The bus finally comes to a halt upside-down.
Chris: (Kicks open the door and falls onto the asphalt. After getting his bearings he gets to his feet and looks towards the source of the blast, totally shaken). This is ridiculous.
Derek: (Derek gracefully hops down from the bus and tries to find the source as well). Damn, it’s him, isn’t it?
Chris: Probably. Is everyone okay?
Derek: It’s a real mess in there.
Chris: (Looks around the street and sees cars piled up, fire hydrants spraying water everywhere, and general chaos). It’s not much better out here…
Austin: (Rolls out of the bus). You guys alright?
Chris: I’m just fine. How’s everyone else? Is anyone…?
Austin: I’m not sure. A few people hit their heads pretty hard but I don’t know.
Derek: Well if we don’t do something soon it won’t matter much who cracked their skulls open, now will it?
-Off in the distance a bright light starts glowing again and the unpleasant sound of an unnatural hum makes it’s way towards the group.
Chris: (Clenches his fists and teeth, preparing to do anything in an attempt to stop it from hitting them). Any suggestions guys?
Austin: Make peace with God…?
Derek: We fight back! (Holds out his hands and tries shooting an energy blast of his own). Woowoowoowoowoo~
Chris: (Turns towards Derek with a defeatist expression). Thank you for making that the last thing I see before I die. (Another energy blast collides with the one coming at them. Upon contact they both explode harmlessly in the air, although the three standing in anticipation all cover their faces instinctually). Where’d that come from?! (Swivels around to face Derek). And don’t you take credit for that!
Jack: (Runs out from a nearby alleyway looking tired). You can thank me later, gentlemen.
Chris: You?! How’d you know…?
Jack: (Taps his ear again). It’s my business to know. I planted a micro-transmitter on you when we had our little chat earlier. Turns out I’m not as crazy as you thought, eh?
Chris: Depends which angle you’re standing at.
Jack: I’ve just got to hold him off a bit longer… (Thrusts his arms out in front of him and creates two small energy blasts in each palm, then fires them one by one into the distance towards the rooftops. He drops down onto his hands and knees, panting fiercely). That ought to do it for now… (Sounds of sirens blare loudly nearby). Good, the cavalry showed up, even if they are a bit behind me. I doubt the attacker would risk giving his position away in clear sight of Legion soldiers.
Derek: (Looks at Jack absolutely amazed and wide-eyed). So it is all true!
Jack: Of course it’s all true. Chris, do you see now why the Legion’s going to need every last recruit they can get?
Chris: (Looks around the street once more and then back at the upside-down bus). I may finally see your point.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter Four
“All Quiet on the Zanrethan Front”
Recap: When we last left our group of teenagers, they had successfully avoided being killed. Although Syrus himself stepped in to attack the kids, the Legion arrived before he could do any major harm to them and was forced to retreat through a hole he created in the roof. Even though the Eclipse Star had not been stolen by the Demon Regime, it was gone; disappearing in a flash of light, leaving Chris at a loss for words. We continue with the Legion finally making a public appearance during this “crisis.”
Jack: My name is Jack Voss and I’m part of the Legion. (Stands proudly after saying this). We’ll take it from here.
Chris: (Rubbing his arm as he talks). The name’s Chris, and what took you guys so long to get here?
Jack: (Bothered). What do you mean? We showed up within five minutes of the alarms going off. I’d say that that’s a pretty damned good response time.
Chris: Only five minutes‘ve gone by?
Jack: I know, seems like a lot longer, doesn’t it?
Chris: Yeah, but being in the Legion you must see a lot of action all the time.
Jack: (Scratching his head). Well…not really. I’m more of a rookie compared to some of the older guys. I myself ‘m only seventeen. I haven’t been in real combat per say, only simulated situations, (pleased look on his face, a touch of smugness), all of which I passed spectacularly I might add. It’s too bad that we’ve only just recently seen an increase in terroristic activities; most of us are just waiting to have some real fighting happen.
Chris: (Looks around). What do you call this?
Jack: Yeah, we weren’t doing the fighting; you were. Besides, from what I hear most of it was just gunfire; that’s not real fighting.
Chris: (Blank, angry stare). Are my friends okay?
Jack: Don’t worry about them; we’ve got several units tending to them. They’re all pretty much fine, a few bruises and one of your friends has got a nasty knife wound in the leg, but they’ll all recover within a day or so. (Chris starts to get up and walk away but Jack forcibly pushes him back to a sitting position, turning Chris around to face him). I’ve still got some questions for you.
Chris: (Heavy sigh). Fine, what d’you wanna know?
Jack: First thing’s always business. Do you know who attacked you?
Chris: Originally I figured it was museum security but that obviously changed when they pulled out fully automatic assault weapons. (Shaking his head). Honestly though I’ve no idea who they are.
Jack: They didn’t tell you anything about who they were or why they were here?
Chris: They yelled something about some “Devil’s Brigade” and kept demanding the Eclipse Star.
Jack: “Devil’s Brigade”…?
Chris: Or “Demon’s Squad” or “Death Eaters” or “Demon Regime” or some nonsense like that.
Jack: (Slightly taken aback). Hah, wait, wait, you’re telling me you guys were attacked by the Demon Regime?
Chris: (Thinking back). Um…yes, yes that’s what they called themselves. Heavy on the firepower, not so much on the reasoning skills. (Taps his head).
Jack: And all they wanted was the Eclipse Star?
Chris: Yes, that was the main gist of their demands as far as I’m aware.
Jack: Why’d they want it?
Chris: (Really annoyed now, squinting with disbelief at Jack’s questioning). Who’m I? Sherlock Holmes? Go ask one of them yourself. (Taps his forehead sarcastically again). Basic interrogation skills, chief. We didn’t kill any of them and only two got shot by their own teammates, so that’d mean at least eight should be able to tell you something.
Jack: All of them are dead.
Chris: (Sits up much straighter). All dead? That’s not possible; we didn’t kill any of them.
Jack: That’s one of the weirdest things about it, too. Even the two who were shot were only stunned due to some wicked-strong body armor. All the men appear to have choked to death.
Chris: (Shakes his head in confused disbelief). Whaaaat?
Jack: Were there any more attackers who fled the scene?
Chris: Yeah, one larger guy who wore black and gray colored robes. Well, not really robes but more like, um…not really karate clothes but not quite a tunic with armor.
Jack: What’d he look like?
Chris: (Trying really hard to come up with anything worth saying). Black hair, pulled back into a ponytail, dark black beard, um…I don’t know, I’m terrible with descriptions.
Jack: I assume he’s the one who made the hole in the ceiling, right?
Chris: With some laser light show or something.
Jack: An energy blast? The eleventh guy could fire off focused energy blasts?
Chris: I don’t know what the hell an energy blast is but yeah, he blasted the crap outta the roof.
Jack: (Thinking to himself, standing up and pacing in place). So they sent an actual trained soldier along, huh?
Chris: Wait a sec, you’ve been talking with me this whole time; how’d you know about the status of the others and the bad guys?
Jack: (Taps his ear). Multi-channel radio-receiver. Technology is a wonderful thing now and then.
Chris: Standard with all members of the Legion I assume?
Jack: Not really. (Whispers to Chris). No one else really knows that I can hear their conversations. I’ve planted a small microphone on each of ‘em so that I’m always in the loop with things. Gives a real advantage for such a new guy in the organization. I’ve learned a lot of things that I’m not technically supposed to know yet.
Chris: Such as…?
Jack: Such as Pulse manipulation and the like.
Chris: (Looks down at Jack’s watch). …That’s not really a watch, is it?
Jack: Oh no, it’s a watch alright. But let’s just say it’s got a few modifications that aren’t standard. Here, take a look at this. (Holds the watch up close to Chris and presses a button. The watch makes a few funny beeping noises before settling on a calm humming frequency). See this little radar-looking screen? It shows us the locations of any Pulse-emitting life forms within a certain radius of where we’re sitting.
Chris: Like sonar?
Jack: Nope, not even close. It can detect the Pulse that each person gives off.
Chris: You keep saying Pulse. Pulse? What the heck?
Jack: Sorry, more jargon that you probably wouldn’t know. (Looks around and mentions quietly). And strictly speaking, stuff that I probably shouldn’t know yet. Every living creature has a certain amount of natural electromagnetic energy which we’ve nicknamed “Pulse” for easy understanding. It’s basically how strong someone is, relatively speaking. Take for example; any normal person is at a rating of between 1 and 18 with some exceptions being around 22 or 23. With practice you can figure out how to increase this rating. Most higher-ups are generally around 360 to 810.
Chris: And this means what to me?
Jack: It means that compared to an average individual, most of my bosses are a hundred times stronger.
Chris: That sound so stupid. Forcefully? That more jargon? So Pulse does what?
Jack: (Shrugs). Depends on what your strengths and weaknesses are. Some guys just get faster, others stronger but each person is different and grows in different ways.
Chris: That’s a lesson that we all learned at age 3.
Chris: Where’d you get hold of a device like this then if you’re not supposed to have one?
Jack: I know people. A friend that works for a company named Charles Robotics hooked me up. I’ve got a few gadgets that aren’t standard issue because of my…shall we say, connections.
Chris: Fair enough. (Smiles and cocks his head). Out of curiosity, what’s your Pulse rating?
Jack: (Smiles). I was hoping you’d ask. According to official Legion documents, my rating ranges from 97 to 112.
Chris: And what is it really?
Jack: 263 and still going up each day.
Chris: Lots of push-ups?
Jack: Eh…right… This must be a lot for you all to take in at once. I’m sure you think I’m crazy.
Chris: It’s just…why do you know these things as an entry-level soldier? Why do you need to know?
Jack: I make it my business to know. Someone’s got to know and it might as well be me.
Chris: That’s…no that’s actually pretty decent reasoning. (Stands up and claps his hands together). So, are we all done here?
Jack: I don’t have any more questions that I care to ask you; you’re free to go if you please. Oh but first…(Points his watch at Chris and presses a few buttons)…I want to know what your rating is for Legion documentation.
Chris: (Smiles). Making it your business to know?
Jack: (Smiles back). Of course. Just hold still…
Chris: (Puts his hands on his hips). I really don’t know what you’ll learn from this; I’m just an average teen who jumps around in his backyard like a doof and thinks he can fight.
Jack: (Jack’s watch makes some more beeping noises and settles down to a low hum again). Well this can’t be right…
Chris: What? I’m at like, 32, right?
Jack: 78 actually…but it keeps fluctuating.
Chris: Great, I’m unusually strong and I’m unstable to boot. (Rubbing his eyes). I’m sorry, I must sound like a real jerk but…none of what you’re saying makes sense.
Jack: No, it really doesn’t. (Looks up at Chris again). You say that you’ve had no real training?
Chris: Nope. Your thing must be busted. Point it at Derek over there, he’s probably stronger.
Jack: (Points his watch where Chris tells him. It makes its usual sounds before settling down). 82…? What is going on…? (Starts pointing it around the room at Chris’ friends). 61…59…65? These numbers don’t add up. (Continues to scan around the room, amazed).
Chris: As much as I’d love to stay and chat about…ratings and energy and whatnot, I just don’t care. I’ve got more important things to worry about than stuff that sounds like it came from a poorly-dubbed cartoon. (Looks around the room). Now where’s…
Lindsey: (Walks up to Chris and slaps him across the face). What do you think you were doing back there?!
Chris: (Not so much hurt as surprised). What do you mean?! I was protecting you from getting hurt!
Lindsey: I didn’t ask for your help!
Chris: I was just…I don’t know what I was doing.
Jack: (Still scanning around the room, he turns around to face Lindsey’s feet and ends up scanning her, too). 73! Well that’s just amaz- (looks up to meet Lindsey face to face). Oh. Hello my dear, my name is Jack and I am a member of the Legion. (Coyly takes her hand and kisses it as he introduces himself). And to whom do I owe the pleasure?
Lindsey: (Blushes slightly). Who, me? Oh, I’m Lindsey. Lindsey Sonnen. Pleased to meet you Jack! Last name…?
Jack: Voss. Jack Voss.
Lindsey: Ooh, fancy.
Chris: (Turns slightly, ready to run away). I’d better…go find Austin or…something…
Jack: (Grabs Chris’ shoulder once more and turns him around). You have some great potential my friend. You and all of your group for that matter. Don’t let it go to waste. We can help you, train you. Something big is about to happen, I can feel it. Don’t forget that we’re still recruiting. (Turns towards Lindsey). You be sure to remind him, okay?
Lindsey: Hah, you bet I will!
Jack: My work here is done for the day. Until we meet again, uh, Chris was it?
Chris: (Angered). Yeah, Chris Collins. Charmed I’m sure.
Jack: And fair thee well to you, too, sweet Lindsey.
Lindsey: Haha, you too Jack. (Jack smiles one last time and leaves. Lindsey turns to Chris). Hahaha, what a strange guy.
Chris: Yeah, I can certainly agree with that.
Lindsey: …And kinda cute, too.
Chris: That I cannot agree with.
Lindsey: Meh, I doubt he’d be my type anyway. (Grabs Chris and leads him to the others). C’mon Prince Charming, let’s go find some more damsels to save.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter Three
“The New Recruits”
Recap: In a moment of clumsiness, Chris bumped the stand holding the Eclipse Star, knocking it off and causing a chain reaction that has devolved into chaos. While the high schoolers all ran around like idiots with the alarms going off, Syrus took action in the basement and knocked out the museum security, including destroying the power grid for the city block, turning off all power.
At this point, two of Syrus’ men made their way to the room with the Eclipse Star and immediately attempted to shoot Chris, trying to take the Eclipse Star from him. Thinking fast, Austin and Kyle were able to take out one guard and keep Chris alive, but four more soldiers have shown up and as Chris huddles behind the Eclipse Star’s pedestal for cover, the small gleams of light coming in from the museum’s windows provide little hope for the grim circumstance.
Soldier 4: Open fire men! (The four soldiers pull their rifles to hip height and start firing at the pedestal Chris is hiding behind. The soldier responsible for shooting his partner is now just watching as confused as the rest of Chris’ friends, all of whom are hiding behind various other exhibits).
Chris: Will someone do something already?!
Derek: Why do I always save his skin…? (Shakes his head from behind his hiding place to the right of the soldiers and eventually stands up). Hey, anyone wanna give me some much needed attention?!
Soldier 5: Who’s that?!
Soldier 3: Don’t know, kill him too! (Both start firing at Derek, who ducks back under his cover).
Soldier 2: Syrus said minimum casualties…minimum…
Soldier 4: (Hits Soldier 2 in the face with the butt of his gun). Why don’t you shut up, huh?
Chris: (Seeing that the soldiers have briefly stopped firing at him, he looks out from behind the pedestal and makes a rush towards the group of soldiers now firing at Derek). Just leave us alone already! (Rams his shoulder into the nearest soldier and forces him to lose his balance, causing him to fall into another two soldiers, knocking them down. The fourth gunman turns around with the barrel of his rifle aimed squarely at Chris’ head). Ohh…dammit…
Derek: (Jumping up from his position.) Punch him or something stupid!
Chris: (With Derek’s sudden outburst having distracted the untrained assailant, Chris punches the soldier in the gut as hard as he can, discovering that he is wearing some heavy armor, leaving Chris holding his hand). Ahhhh… (The soldier turns again to face Chris while the other three have sorted themselves out and managed to get to their feet). No…(Grabs the rifle and points it away from himself).…more…(Elbows the soldier in the chin).…guns! (Pulls the rifle away from the recruit and starts shooting the ground near the other soldiers’ feet). Drop your weapons, now! (Panting now that he’s momentarily stopped firing).
Soldiers 4, 5, and 6: (All look at each other). No. (Hold up their guns again).
-Danny and Willy run up from behind the three attackers, jumping at them, and kick two of them in the back as hard as they can with both feet. The two they kicked fall face-first onto the ground, their guns sliding across the room. The unharmed gunman opens fire on Chris, who grabs hold of the soldier he elbowed and uses him as a shield.
Chris: Come on guys! A bit more teamwork’d be appreciated!
-Clinton runs out from his hiding place and slides across the floor, picking up the discarded rifles. He hurriedly aims and starts shooting with both weapons at the last soldier’s legs, quickly taking him down.
Chris: (Nods). Now that is hardcore. (Throws down the unconscious soldier he was holding along with the gun he had taken from him).
Kyle: (Kyle is now wearing most of the suit of armor and brandishing a broadsword). Chris. Take this. (Tosses him a katana from the nearby exhibit). Might come in handy if more terrorists show up.
Chris: (Catches the sword). Way to stay positive. (Swings it like the nerd he is, enthralled by the chance to use a real sword). And excellent choice there King Arthur.
Willy: (Hops on the back of the soldier he knocked down and punches him in the face, leaving him unconscious. Danny does the same to his soldier). What next Chris?
Derek: (Coming out from hiding). We need to regroup and prepare for more.
Willy: (Pulls out quite an impressive pocket knife). Please tell me that you’re not acting like the leader here.
Derek: I am damn well suited to be the leader and we all know it. (Walks over to another weapon exhibit and pulls a pair of sai from the wall). So who’s with me?
Danny: (Blinks, confused). You didn’t do anything though.
Derek: I distracted the gun-toting madmen long enough to keep them from turning Chris into a heap of bleeding flesh. (Flips a sai around in his hand). Clinton, use the guns you’ve got and take a crouched position over in the corner. (Points his orders as he says them). Austin, stand defense at that archway, Danny, you do the same over there, Willy, the archway across from his. (People are reluctantly taking his orders since no one else is giving any).
Austin: (Picks up a pole from the floor and walks over to Derek). This whole situation is getting pretty heavy, but man, how exciting!
Chris: Not exactly the words I’d use to describe it…
Derek: Chris, help me drag these guys out of the way.
Chris: Sure. (Rushes over to help Derek move the fallen soldiers).
Kyle: And I should be doing what?
Derek: Go find the girls and make sure they’re okay.
Lindsey: (Peeking up from under some tables she’s tipped over for protection). We’re okay. Leena’s a bit spooked but we’re okay. (Thumbs-up).
Leena: Oh course I’m spooked! I’m positively terrified! We’re being shot at with assault rifles! Why shouldn’t I want to curl up and cry?!
Lindsey: Like I said, Leena’s fine.
Derek: Good, stay there, you’ll only get in the way if more-
Soldier 8: (Runs in with another soldier). Hey…what’s going on…?
Kyle: These guys need new dialogue.
Derek: Attack plan commence! (Runs at the soldiers).
Chris: What attack plan?! (Follows his lead and runs towards the soldiers).
-Clinton starts shooting at the two soldiers. They react by rolling out of the way. The soldiers in turn start shooting at Chris and Derek who also respond by rolling in different directions.
Soldier 10: (Runs in from the archway guarded by Austin). Guys, I heard gunfire, what’s- (Austin trips him with the pole and thoks the other oncoming soldier in the face, flipping him onto his back and knocking him out. Danny, being nearest to Austin, runs up and kicks the first soldier in the face, knocking him out as well).
-The other two soldiers with guns fire around the room madly trying to hit anyone. Willy flips his knife in his hand and throws it at one of them, hitting him in the shoulder. He yelps and drops his gun. Clinton continues to provide limited cover fire, more afraid of hitting one of his friends than the other guy with the gun.
Soldier 7: Ag, dammit! (Pulls the knife from his shoulder and throws is back at Willy who’s trying to rush up at him. It hits him in the leg, causing him to stumble. Chris dives at Willy’s attacker and hits him in the side of the head with the hilt of his katana).
Kyle: (Kyle runs at the guard still firing and pulls his sword up above his head in attack position). For Excalibur and Camelot! (The soldier shoots him in the chest but Kyle is unharmed due to the chest-plate armor he’s wearing. Kyle reaches the soldier and slaps him across the face with his sword, knocking him out but leaving him relatively unharmed.) Heh, didn’t actually expect that to work… (Shakes his head, laughing). Putz.
Chris: Derek, we’d better move these guys out of the way, too. (Grabs the unconscious guy next to Willy and starts dragging him). Hey Willy, you okay?
Willy: (Cringes as he pulls the knife from his leg). My leg hurts like a mother but I’ll be okay.
Lindsey: Chris, let me help you with these guys. (Comes out from under the table and helps Chris drag the unconscious soldiers into a pile).
Derek: I thought I told you to stay hidden.
Lindsey: I think I’m old enough to make decisions for myself.
Derek: Doesn’t matter how old you get, you’re still a female and aren’t fit for combat, now go hide!
Lindsey: No! If any more of these people attack us I’m fighting, too!
Chris: Lindz, I don’t like agreeing with Derek but I don’t wanna see you get hurt.
Lindsey: Don’t tell me you’re actually gonna listen to him!
Chris: I just…this is dangerous and…
Lindsey: (Grabs a pair of elbow blades from yet another exhibit). Save it.
Leena: (Freaked out). Don’t be stupid Lindsey! Get back here and take cover!
Clinton: (Jogs up to the group in the middle of the room, still holding the two guns). Derek, should we get in the same positions as last time, ‘cause it didn’t seem to work too well.
Derek: It would have worked better if we had all listened to my original plan, now just give Leena one of the guns and we’ll regroup and re-plan.
Chris: Um, guys? What should we do about him…? (Points towards Syrus).
Syrus: Mere children…? (Looks around at his soldiers all lying on the ground). They were all beaten by mere children…?
Kyle: Who the hell is this guy? Mel Gibson?
Derek: Hah, he doesn’t even have a gun. We can take him, no problem. (Flips a sai in his hand and laughs).
Syrus: I will ask this only once: Who has the Eclipse Star?
Chris: (Stepping forward). I do.
-Syrus motions for Chris to hand it to him.
Chris: No… (Takes a step backwards). You can’t have it.
Clinton: (Cautious). Maybe if you just give it to him we can end this whole thing.
Chris: No, something about him doesn’t feel right…
Derek: You and your feelings… Hey, black and gray! (Points at Syrus). That’s right, I’m talking to you! We’ve dealt with your associates and you don’t even have a rifle, so why don’t you just walk away before we have to kick your ass, too?
Syrus: Hmh. (Clenches his fists). Try me.
Derek: (Rolls his eyes and laughs). He’s really testing me today. (Throws one of his sai at Syrus. Syrus easily catches it).
Chris: This guy definitely isn’t an amateur Derek, so don’t do anything stupid…
Derek: Rrrrrr…charge the damned fool! (Runs at Syrus who slaps him hard across the face, knocking him flying across the floor. Syrus throws the sai he was holding at Derek’s pant leg, pinning him to the ground).
Austin: Hiyah! (Swings his metal pole at Syrus’ face. Syrus catches it with one hand and takes it forcibly from Austin, then uses it to trip him. He fancily spins the pole around and then smashes Austin in the face with it).
-Clinton runs at Syrus while firing his gun, though Syrus is unaffected by the bullets and just stands there glaring at him. Clinton comes to a scared halt as Syrus jumps towards him, catching him under the chin with the pole.
-At this point Danny is trying to come around behind him for an attack. Syrus simply swings around, hitting Danny in the side of the head.
-Kyle runs at Syrus from another angle with his sword swung up above his head. He brings it down at Syrus who blocks it with the pole, knocks it out of his hands, then punches Kyle in the chest, leaving a dent in the bullet-ridden armor and sending Kyle flying back into the wall.
Syrus: (Looks around the room, swinging the pole gracefully behind him and crouching in a fighting stance). Would anyone else like to try?
Lindsey: Just leave us alone! (She also attempts to run at Syrus, pulling her elbow blades back in a position to strike. Syrus holds the pole above his head ready to bring it down on Lindsey).
Syrus: This is no way for a little girl to act. (Smiles and brings his metal staff down hard with a loud clang, the sound of metal hitting metal).
Chris: (He’s stepped in front of Lindsey with his katana countering Syrus). Leave her alone…
Lindsey: Chris, I-
-Chris kicks behind him, shoving Lindsey back. Chris holds his katana shakily over his head as Syrus presses down with his pole, forcing Chris to one knee. Chris pushes back but to no avail.
-Chris quickly rolls to one side and slashes at Syrus’ legs, who flips forward out of the way and turns around to hit Chris with the staff. Chris blocks the hit with his sword but Syrus is already on the attack again and kicks Chris in the side of the head. He throws the metal pole away and jumps on Chris, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him off the ground.
Syrus: Just give me what I’ve asked for.
Chris: You want it so bad?! (Pulls the Eclipse Star out of his pocket). Then take it! (Punches Syrus in the eye with the hand holding the artifact. Syrus stumbles slightly and drops Chris who runs to the window and hurls the Eclipse Star out of it). Yah! (The Eclipse Star goes spinning out the window, arcing upwards with increasing speed. It then flashes and disappears). What in the…? I didn’t expect that…
Syrus: Damn! You…! (Sirens can be heard outside. Car doors open and slam shut. Heavy footsteps make their way into the museum and start climbing stairs). This isn’t over… (Shares one last intense stare with Chris and then fires an energy blast at the ceiling, blowing a hole in it. He jumps through it and from there we lose sight of him).
Chris: How strange…
-A large group of rifle-toting soldiers run into the room from all entrances and take a look around.
Soldier: What’s going on?
-All of Chris’ friends groan.
Chris: (Gets in a fighter stance although his legs are weak and he can barely stand). If I have to, I’ll fight you all, too!
Soldier: Calm down there tiger, we’re the good guys.
Chris: Oh thank God. (Falls to the ground).
Soldier: (Runs up to Chris and helps him up while the rest of the soldiers go around helping the others who’ve been knocked to the ground). Hey, you okay?
Chris: I think I’ll be fine.
Soldier: Don’t worry, you’re safe now. The name’s Jack Voss. I’m part of the Legion. (Stands proud after saying this). We’ll take it from here.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Genesis
Chapter Two: “So Much For Silence…”
Recap: The bus having finally arrived, Chris and the others were on their way into the Trillium City museum for what they figured was an average fieldtrip with nothing more to expect than a pop quiz upon returning to school. Syrus, however, had other intentions as he cautiously led his small squad of men into position around the area.
Chris: (Walking around with his hands in his pockets, feeling very bored and very uninspired. Every now and then he and Derek whisper back and forth to each other). Hey Derek, you learning anything useful yet?
Derek: (He’s also bored, looking completely unentertained). Not in the least. I’ve already learned all I really need to know anyway. It’s just a natural gift. I say we ditch the group and go explore on our own.
Chris: I don’t know; I’ve never really been the adventurous type.
Derek: Nonsense, you just need a group to rebel along with you. You’ve always been one to go along with the crowd, you know? (Whispers to a friend of his that’s close by. This kid is average height, very slender, African-American, has a very short shaved hairstyle and wears glasses. He’s wearing a letterman’s jacket full of track and field related achievements). Clinton, Chris here’s a puss and won’t skip the tour unless we can get some more people to join us. You in?
Clinton: That sounds like Chris alright.
Chris: (Annoyed). Clinton, you’re not helping.
Clinton: (Carefully surveys the area before answering). Sure, I doubt anyone’d notice that we’re gone. (Nudges his tour partner, Austin, and whispers the situation).
Austin: (Becomes excited and has an outburst of joy). Chris! That’s great! You’re finally starting to grow outside the box and live for a change!
Chris: (Trying to shush him). Keep your voice down, the main point is not to get caught, or so I’d assume. I’m a bit new at this whole “rebelling” thing.
Derek: Good, so you’ll follow us then?
Chris: Yeah yeah, I can’t take any more of the tour guide telling us how important these artifacts are despite that his only real connection to them being a minimum-wage job.
Derek: Okay, next corner we hit we just casually walk the other way. Doesn’t seem too difficult for you, right?
Chris: Right, I think I can handle at least that much.
Willy: (Danny and Willy make their way to the back of the crowd to where Chris and the others are). So Austin tells me that we’re making a break for it?
Chris: More or less, but don’t talk to me, Derek’s the leader of this operation.
Danny: Hah, whatever, all we’re doing is walking in the wrong direction. Heck, I was doing that anyway.
Derek: Here comes the corner…and look as we get distracted by the pretty paintings… (Thoughtlessly walks to the left as the tour group goes right, talking to himself). Oh my, I like the colors in this one… (Walks up to one particular painting and studies it while the tour group walks around another corner and out of sight). Good, they’re gone. I see that everyone followed my lead correctly.
Chris: (The others are just standing around, Chris with his hands in his pockets). What lead? You just started yammering like an idiot while the rest of us stopped walking.
Derek: Point taken. Regardless, I strongly advise that you follow my lead next time. You might not be so lucky in the future.
Chris: (Waggles his fingers mockingly at Derek). Oohoo, such deep foreshadowing.
Willy: Well Derek, now that you’ve done such a good job liberating us I feel like wandering around by myself for a while.
Danny: What about me?
Willy: (Rolls his eyes and nods, smiling). Of course, wandering around by myself and Danny. (Those two head off in another direction).
Derek: Meh, they would have slowed us down anyways, right guys? (Turns around to see that everyone else has dispersed as well). Damn. Well, better make the best of it. (Also wanders off).
(During this time, Syrus and his soldiers are making their way to the basement of the museum in search of the security system).
Syrus: You two, stand guard at the top of the staircase leading to the basement. You two, make your way to the room with the Eclipse Star, taking the back hallways, you two take the left-wing path and you two take the right, but don’t attempt to grab it until the power goes out. (Closes his eyes and rubs his face, annoyed). In fact, don’t even leave the top of your staircases until the power goes out, just in case you get a sudden urge of idiocy. (Points at a pair of soldiers). You two, come with me. No one touch anything; it could trigger an alarm by accident. And no talking to anyone. Keep your firearms concealed; we don’t need a riot before we’re ready to deal with one. We have ten minutes starting from this moment. (The soldiers all just stare at him). Go, now! (Everyone finally splits up and goes to where Syrus has instructed them. He makes his way carefully around the basement towards the mainframe of the security system).
(Upstairs on the second floor, Chris is wandering around aimlessly, equally as bored as he was while on the tour).
Chris: Wow, it’s amazing that so much history can be so very boring. (Walks up to a statue of armor). Such as this. I should find this fascinating since it’s been in countless battles, suffered immense damage as a result, been part of the shaping of history, and yet it’s forced to spend the rest of its days on display in a hallway only to be seen by children on fieldtrips and college students too drunk to care.
Kyle: (Pipes up from off frame). And homeless people looking for a place to escape from the rain.
Chris: (Turns around to face a short, heavy-set kid with very short pale-red hair that he’s carelessly combed forward. Chris is somewhat baffled). Where’d you come from?
Kyle: I heard that a few students broke away from the tour and I figured I might as well join your coup. (Nodding his head towards the display). By the way, you make an excellent point about this suit of armor. D’you know that it was actually worn during the Crusades by a knight fighting for his beliefs and his life?
Chris: No I didn’t; how did you know?
Kyle: (Lazily points to the sign next to the armor). I read the plaque that’s sitting right next to it.
Chris: Oh, well that explains it then.
Kyle: I’m Kyle by the way, as you should probably already know.
Chris: And how would I know that?
Kyle: Oh, I see that you really don’t pay attention that well, do you? (Points up at the dialogue bubble, though it’s subtle). Anyway, nice to meet you Chris.
Chris: (Looks questioningly at Kyle). How’re you…?
Kyle: Oh for goodness sake… (Rolls his eyes). I’ve seen you around school on many occasions. I pay attention more than people’d expect.
Kyle: Just shake my damn hand.
Chris: Hahaha, I think I can handle at least that much. (The two shake hands and continue to chat).
(Back in the basement, Syrus runs into the first group of museum security, probably just on their lunch break. They’ll probably retire after this encounter).
Syrus: (Rushes up to one of the security guards and knees him in the stomach. As the other reaches for his gun, Syrus spins around and kicks the gun out of his hand, spinning again with a sweep kick that flips the guard on his back. Syrus comes down with an elbow to the guard’s chest, knocking him out). These two should be unconscious for a day or so, but I’ve let them live. (Syrus’ men are standing in awe of seeing Syrus in action). What’s wrong with you two?
Grunt: (Somewhat shy). Well, sir, we’ve never seen any of the soldiers with abilities in action before.
Syrus: Soldiers with abilities?
Grunts: You know, the ones that’ve been trained to focus those…powers.
Syrus: (A cautious look is on his face). And you two haven’t been trained?
Grunt: No sir, we haven’t had the chance to even watch Octavious’ brother train the higher-class soldiers.
Syrus: (Suddenly feeling even worse about this mission). So I’m in charge of a group of absolutely new recruits?
Grunt: Yes uh…yes sir, or well…no sir, not exactly. I’ve been in the regular army for over six months, but none of us have been fully trained for advanced combat.
Syrus: You haven’t been trained to fight?
Grunt: Actually…no, we haven’t, other than marksmanship though. I’m excellent with a firearm.
Syrus: (Walks over to the soldier and takes his weapon from him). You are trained to fight exclusively with this? (Tears the assault rifle in half and throws it to the ground). Only a coward would rely on such a limiting resource. You must rely on these! (Holds his hands up and shakes them passionately). In actual combat the only thing you can rely on is your own strength and skill.
Grunt: (Pulls another rifle from under his arm). Hah, sir, this is a great speech but I’m pretty sure that we’ll just have to hear it again when we’re trained for Pulse-related combat.
Syrus: So you don’t know how to increase your speed or inflate your strength or manipulate your Pulse?
Grunt: No sir, and I believe I speak for everyone in that regard.
Syrus: (Now very noticeably worried). This is bad… (Turns around and continues briskly walking). Come on, we’re about out of time. (Leads them toward the security mainframe).
(Back upstairs, Chris and Kyle have wandered around the second floor where the Eclipse Star is being displayed. Nearby, there is another exhibit that showcases various weapons from different eras of war).
Chris: (Pointing at the Eclipse Star’s display). So, this is the thing that we all came here to see?
Kyle: It would appear so. (Taps his foot impatiently). Hmh, not very wonderful if you ask me.
Chris: What is so darned special about that? (Walks over towards the Eclipse Star’s display and reads aloud). “Found in a remote location in the forests of Zanretha, the “Eclipse Star”, as archeologists are calling it, has been hailed as one of the greatest finds in this generation. Speculating that it was a decorative piece from an ancient crown, archeologists believe that the one who wore it commanded a large army that devastated much of the old world thousands of years ago, although carbon dating tests have come back inconclusive, keeping its actual age a mystery.” (Blinks, unimpressed). I don’t get what’s so great about it.
Kyle: Probably because finding anything from a past time is rare nowadays. Everything’s already been found, so when they find something new and unexplainable it’s considered amazing and fantastic.
Derek: Ironic that I should find you here of all places.
Chris: When did you show up?
Derek: Right about the time that you started reading the history of the shiny rock.
Austin: (Excited). Fascinating, actually.
Chris: You’re here, too?
Austin: Yeah. Looks like we all really wanted to see it after all. (Motions towards the various hallways, showing that Danny, Willy and Clinton have all wandered to the same room as everyone else).
Chris: Austin, how can you find this thing so interesting?
Austin: Because I know nothing about it, nor does anyone else.
Chris: But why is that so interesting?
Lindsey: (Fluttering in). Because it sounds romantic. Mystery always leads to a romantic adventure in one way or another.
Chris: And now you’ve wandered here as well?
Lindsey: Yeah, we all go in search of a romantic adventure now and then, or at least as romantic as an adventure in the museum can get. Oh, you’ve all met my friend Leena, right? (Leena is short with long, brown, curly hair).
Chris: Is this the friend that was feeling under the weather today?
Lindsey: Yeah, she’s feeling a bit better now, or at least well enough to wander around with me.
Kyle: Leena, an interesting name. Is it short for anything?
Leena: Kinda, it’s short for Magdalene.
Kyle: Oh, like Mary Magdalene?
Leena: (Furious). No, absolutely not!
Kyle: Could we call you Mags for short?
Leena: (Crosses her arms in a huff). No!
Kyle: Well I can remember the name Mags but I’ll never remember the name Leena.
Leena: (Entirely annoyed at Kyle). Fine then, it’s not like I know you anyway.
Chris: Oh, by the way everyone, this is Kyle. Kyle, this is Lindsey, Austin, Derek, Danny, Willy, and Clinton.
Kyle: Pleasure to meet you all.
Leena: (Sneers). I’m sure it is.
Lindsey: Sorry about her attitude, she still isn’t feeling 100% like herself yet.
Kyle: (Leans in towards Chris). If this is only a fraction of what she’s really like, I’m glad she’s not feeling well.
Derek: You know, if we’re attempting to get away from the teachers and the fieldtrip in general, we probably shouldn’t be hanging out in the room they’ll be coming to.
Kyle: He does have a point. Besides, I’m growing tired of looking at the star shaped stone.
Austin: Oh come on, this is one of the greatest mysteries of our time! Show some enthusiasm!
Lindsey: And it’s so beautiful at the same time. It just draws you into it, doesn’t it?
Chris: (Nodding unthinkably). Absolutely.
Derek: (Unimpressed). I’m not feeling its drawing power.
Leena: (Practically sneers). Me either.
Kyle: Well of course you wouldn’t.
Leena: No one asked you short man.
Kyle: Looks who’s talking about short.
Lindsey: (Frustrated). No more fighting, please.
Chris: Yeah, let’s just admire this thing while we have a chance.
Derek: And I wonder why you care all of a sudden…
Chris: I just…well, I haven’t had a chance to look at it so carefully.
Derek: So go take a closer look.
Chris: Okay, I will. (Walks towards the Eclipse Star, stepping over the velvet ropes and up to it. He brings his face inches away from it and squints in a very sarcastic fashion). There, I believe my fascination has been quenched.
Derek: Don’t you wanna touch it?
Chris: What? No, don’t be silly.
Lindsey: (Walking up next to Chris). It’s even more beautiful up close, isn’t it?
Chris: (Getting flustered again as he looks into Lindsey’s eyes). So…so very beautiful… (Stumbles backwards and accidentally bumps the Eclipse Star, causing it to sway. Everyone holds their breaths in anticipation of what is likely to happen). Oh no, no, don’t… (It falls off its pedestal to the ground. Instantly, an alarm goes off and lights start to flash). Darn it!
Kyle: Uh, Chris, you might want to put it back where it was…
Chris: (Franticly trying to position it back where it was). Please, stay… (It falls off its pedestal again). Ack!
(Meanwhile, in the basement…)
Syrus: Who triggered the alarms?! Damnit… (Points at the two soldiers accompanying him). You two, meet back up with the men at the top of the stairs and wait for me to arrive, hurry! (Syrus sprints off towards the security mainframe). Enough of this quiet… (Dashes at an incredible speed, causing the area around him to shake slightly. He arrives at the mainframe in a matter of seconds. Multiple guards are on their way from the mainframe to the nearest staircase. Upon seeing Syrus they all grab their guns and bring them to firing position). I don’t have time for this! Gadoom! (A shockwave of energy emanates from Syrus upon him throwing his arms out, sending all the guards to the floor. Taking aim at the security mainframe, Syrus rushes toward it. His fingers snap and crackle with electricity as he plunges his hand into the main circuit board. Electricity flows from his entire body into the circuitry, ripping pieces of it apart as sparks of electricity explode forth. It moves down the wires and jumps to all electronic devices in the area, including the main power grid, overloading it in seconds. All power in the building goes out, leaving Syrus in darkness). I truly hate being sloppy but I don’t have a choice…
(Going back to the scene upstairs a few moments back, Chris and the others have abandoned trying to get the alarms to magically turn themselves off and instead just kinda run around in circles).
Chris: (Still holding the Eclipse Star). Crap crap crap crap crap!
Derek: Do something, damnit!
Chris: I am! I’m panicking!
Derek: Well do something better!
(A shockwave sends everyone falling to the ground).
Derek: What was that all about?!
Chris: Don’t ask me, how would I know?!
(A second shockwave hits them, this time turning the power off, silencing the alarms).
Chris: Oh thank God…
(Two of Syrus’ soldiers run into the room, looking very confused).
Soldier 1: What’s going on?
Chris: Oh, heh, you must be security. I, um, accidentally bumped the exhibit and the alarms went crazy. You can have this back if you want. (Chris starts to walk over to hand the Eclipse Star over to him).
Soldier 2: (Excited all of a sudden). OH! That kid’s got what we’re looking for! Kill him!
Soldier 1: (Still in control of his enthusiasm). Syrus said to keep casualties to a minimum.
Soldier 2: Syrus ain’t here, is he?
Chris: Wait a minute, I think you’ve misunderstood, I’m not trying to steal it; you can have it back.
Soldier 2: Well, we are trying to steal it. (Gets all high and mighty). In the name of the Demon Regime, I shall send you to Hell! (Pulls out his assault rifle and aims it at Chris, opening fire almost instantly).
Chris: Holy hell! (His eyes grow wide as he dives behind the thick pedestal the Eclipse Star was sitting on. The gunfire rips it up pretty good but it holds firmly enough to provide coverage. While Chris is being shot at, the others all freak out and run in different directions).
Austin: Chris! (Dives at the soldier shooting at Chris, taking him to the ground).
Soldier 2: Bah! Dammit, don’t just stand there, kill this one!
Soldier 1: Huh? (Obviously confused with what’s happening but slowly reaches for his assault rifle, nervously raising it up to shoot Austin). O…okay!
Kyle: What the hell kind of museum security is this?! (Grabs the head off a nearby suit of armor and hurls it at the soldier about to shoot Austin, hitting him in the back of the head. The soldier falls to one knee and shoots in a straight line up the floor towards Austin and the other soldier. Austin sees this and rolls out of the way and under cover as the gunfire hits the soldier that he was wrestling with).
Solider 1: Oh…my… What have I…? (Drops his rifle and falls to his knees. At this time the other four soldiers make their way into the room).
Soldier 3: What’s going on?!
Kyle: We’ve already covered that line! Where have you been?!
Solider 1: I…I opened fire and I missed and now…he’s not moving… (Shaking uncontrollably, unable to keep himself together).
Soldier 4: Where’s the Eclipse Star?
Solider 1: The kid has it, the one behind the stand over there. (Points towards Chris’ location).
Solider 4: We have no choice then; kill him!
Chris: Darn it… (Huddles behind the pedestal in anticipation of more gunfire).
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Genesis
Chapter 1: “Let it Begin”
TV Announcer: “…Regarding the increase of terrorist attacks in and around Trillium City, the President of Zanretha had this to say:”
President: “I assure every citizen of the nation of Zanretha, these attacks are all isolated incidents that have no connection whatsoever to the war abroad. Any discussion of the war coming so close to home is mere political rhetoric and should be considered nothing more than attention grabbing by opposing political parties.”
TV Announcer: “Despite the president’s subdued nature, many citizens are not convinced that they are, in fact, safe.”
Citizen: “How can we be expected to go about our daily lives when at any minute a group of thugs could come out of the shadows and slit our throats and leave us for dead? Answer me this.”
TV Announcer: “Even though many people are growing fearful, the commander of Zanretha’s Special Task Force, the Legion, had this to say:”
Legion Commander: “There is absolutely nothing to worry about. Anyone who believes that the Legion can’t protect the city is just unpatriotic and adding to the problem. These random outbreaks of violence are quickly silenced and order is upheld. We’re doing our jobs. Have some faith.”
TV Announcer: “Even though the commander of the Legion promotes a vision of peace, it is a startling coincidence that the number of Legion members has dropped substantially, forcing them to grow more desperate for replacements, even looking to local teens as possible recruits. (Shuffles papers). In other news, a rare gem excavated last week from an undisclosed location has been placed on display for viewing by the general public. Visitors to the historic Trillium Museum of Art and Science will be granted a chance to observe this mysterious relic for the first time starting today. Top experts remain uncertain of its exact origin, but refer to it as The Eclipse Star…”
Barbara: (Sitting in the kitchen of a small apartment with her grandson. Barbara is hunched over a counter). Great, that’s just how I want to start my day; with a helping of bad news and “top experts” who won’t come out and admit they’re idiots who get paid to lie.
Chris: (A dark-haired teenager with light-brown eyes is eating breakfast). No you’re thinking of spin-doctors.
Barbara: Just about everyone in a suit’s designed to lie at some point. Promise me you’ll never own a suit.
Chris: Grandma, I’m only watching this because there’ never anything on in the mornings. It’s the best drama during the time slot.
Barbara: That’s beside the point.
Chris: And don’t worry. The only time I’d ever wear a suit is when I’m dead.
Barbara: Good. Now are you even ready for school?
Chris: Considering it’s school we’re discussing, yeah, I’m as ready as can be.
Barbara: Do you have your books packed and your lunch for the fieldtrip?
Chris: I leave my books in my locker and I never eat lunch anyways, but yes, I’m packed and ready to go look at this “mysterious rock” for three hours.
Barbara: That’s right, I keep forgetting that your school is taking you to the museum today instead of actually teaching you something worth your time, (gives him a look), like good eating habits.
Chris: (Dry). Ha ha, I get enough of that from health class thank you.
Barbara: Really? I would never have guessed. (Sigh). Just try not to let school get you down so much. It could be a lot worse.
Chris: Sure sure, I’ve heard it all before. (Grabs backpack). We’ll talk more when I get home. Why don’t you bake some cookies or something?
Barbara: You keep up an attitude like that and I’ll be the one making your life miserable, not school.
Chris: (Rushing out the door). I’ll keep that in mind! (Starts walking to the bus stop).
(As Chris slowly takes his time getting to the bus stop in Brooksboro, a small suburb west of the city, certain events are unfolding elsewhere on the east side of town in the embassy for the nation of Balobyn).
Grunt: Sir, the group you requested for is ready to depart. (Salutes).
Syrus: (A tall man with dark-toned skin, black hair pulled back in a pony tail and a black beard that’s kept well kempt wears a dark black uniform with armor fixed to the shoulders, elbows, and knees as well as a chest plate). Don’t salute to me like that; I’m no more important than you in this mission, just better trained. Now go tell the others to meet me in the docking bay.
Grunt: Yes sir! (Salutes and runs to his task).
Syrus: (Sigh). I don’t know why I even put up with idiots like these anymore.
Octavious: (Much older than Syrus, he has white hair that comes down to his shoulders and a beard slightly more trimmed than Syrus’. He wears an elaborate dark blue suit of armor that’d look more at home on a Roman emperor. Octavious walks into the room behind Syrus). Commander Syrus, are you ready to carry out today’s mission?
Syrus: (Speaking through a sneer). Ah, Octavious, so glad that you could see us off. (In a very serious tone). I must make one last plea; these men are not near ready for a task as important as this. Give me access to your top guards and I can make sure nothing goes wrong.
Octavious: (Hardly listening). Nonsense, this task is no harder than a common smash-and-grab job like what you’d see at a supermarket. Honestly, do you really fear Zanretha’s personal army? Do you think that the Legion of all things can pose any sort of a threat? (Laughs to himself).
Syrus: I’m not afraid of the firepower, I’m afraid of the devastation that could occur if our men fail. They have no idea how to cover their tracks or how to avoid an act of war. They’re reckless and I have no wish to be a babysitter.
Octavious: You were assigned to this mission so that you could prevent failure. As much as I hate hearing and saying it, you’re the next best thing to me going in person. It’s just no way for a diplomat such as myself to act, and thus you are to do as I say and babysit who I tell you.
Syrus: (Bows angrily). As you wish. (Walks away).
Octavious: (Villainous smile). Good boy. Now go fetch.
-Syrus stops briefly but moves on despite his extreme anger.
Grunt: Sir, the men have all gathered in the docking bay as you’ve instructed.
Syrus: Good, and don’t refer to me as sir again or I’ll probably end up killing you.
Grunt: (Smiles). Hah, good one sir.
Syrus: (Looks disdainfully at the soldier but allows him to proceed to the docking bay). I can’t be expected to perform miracles with morons like these. Let’s just hope the Legion doesn’t actually interfere… (Walks on to the docking bay).
(We flash back to Chris, now riding the bus and staring blankly out the window in what could be considered deep thought).
Chris: Hmm…clouds again…probably rain before noon…
(The bus stops and a few more passengers get on, one of which is Austin, Chris’ closest friend. He is very tall, has short red hair and a long face).
Austin: (Sits down next to Chris). Morning Chrissy!
Chris: Morning Austin.
Austin: You look tired. What’ve you been thinking about?
Chris: How do the two relate to each other?
Austin: Man, you can only get a good night’s rest if you’ve got a good calm feeling going and if I know you, you’ve been thinking about something or other that kept you up for hours.
Chris: Then i suppose you just know me too well.
Austin: Heck yeah I do, and if I know you then I also know that you’re still dwelling on her.
Austin: Yes her.
Chris: Her who?
Chris: Well there are so many hers; which one do I to choose from?
Austin: That’s bullshit, you only think about one her. Long blonde hair, smiles on for days. Sound familiar?
Chris: Oh that her. I know that her. (Looks back out the window in thought). Better than she knows herself…
Austin: Hah, oh god! You take yourself way too seriously; you gotta loosen up. (Forcefully grabs Chris and shakes him). Loosen!
Chris: (Smiles). All right, all right, I’ll stop dwelling for the time being, but I can’t promise that I won’t make up for time not dwelt at a later date.
Austin: We’ve got a good day ahead of us Chris, lots to see on the fieldtrip, lots of people to mingle with at school. You just gotta stay positive. You’re not even listening to me, are you?
Chris: (Staring out the window again). Do you think she’s dwelling about me, too…?
(Back at the Balobynian embassy, Syrus is standing before his squad of ten rifle-toting soldiers. Each is laughing and hardly paying attention to the severity of Syrus’ tone. He keeps referring back to a large chalkboard with blueprints of a building hanging from it).
Syrus: …So, do we all understand the plan? (A few muffled conversations can be heard). God… (Punches a hole through the chalkboard). Now let me make this clear: whoever doesn’t understand the plan after this last explanation will suffer the same fate as Mr. Chalkboard. (Absolute silence). Good. Now, we enter the museum here making sure to shut off all security systems. That will be my job. After I disrupt it, we have only 3 and a half minutes before it re-establishes itself and the Legion arrives to stop us. If they find you, do not be taken prisoner. If you are captured, don’t expect us to rescue you. Your lives aren’t worth as much to us as the success and secrecy of this mission, and it certainly isn’t worth as much as the Eclipse Star. Now, referring to your breaching points once more…
(Flash back to Chris. He’s now walking through the halls at Trillium City High School on his way to his locker. On the way there he continually thinks to himself).
Chris: There has got to be some way to get her to like me back. I mean, I’ve known her since we were kids, since we were like 8 years old, there’s no way she couldn’t have feelings back…right? (Passes by many others rushing around, some saying hello, some laughing and pointing, most ignoring him, which is mainly what he prefers). Maybe if I just told her how I felt everything would just work out okay. (Rolls his eyes). Jeez, does that ever work for anyone?
(Gets to his locker and starts to turn the dial on his combination, although someone does notice him and decides to make it known. The boy is slightly taller than Chris although slimmer and in noticeably better shape. He has short brown hair with faint gold highlights).
Derek: (Slams Chris into his locker face-first, pulling him to his feet as he starts to slump down). Now now, bad posture is a sure sign of depression, my friend.
Chris: (Coughing a bit as he gets to his feet). Good morning to you too, Derek. Still a dick I see.
Derek: That’s why ya love me.
Chris: I wouldn’t put up with you if I didn’t.
Derek: (Smug smile). Heh, who puts up with whom here? I do you a great favor by socializing with you like this. Consider it an honor. (Chills out on his act a bit). Seriously though, what’s on your mind today? Actually feel like asking her out?
Chris: Asking who?
Derek: (Taps Chris’ cheek). Come now, you’re too simpleminded to think of anything else but Lindsey. Every time you hang around me you always bring her up and every time that you’re depressed you talk about that damned “ray of sunlight that brightens your days”.
Chris: (Annoyed). Hey, I seriously mean that.
Derek: And it’s that serious attitude that probably scares her away. Just do yourself a favor; get the final crippling blow out of the way and get rejected like a man.
Chris: She could say yes.
Derek: If you believed for even asecond that you stood a chance, you’d have already asked her. (Raises an eyebrow). She is quite eligible. If you don’t get rejected now then she’ll probably start dating some other guy and you’ll have to wait for the relationship to end before you can get your much-needed rejection-slash-closure.
Chris: (Annoyed at hearing this speech yet again). Piss off Derek; I’m in no mood for this today.
Derek: Fine, we’ll discuss it more during the ride for the field trip.
Chris: How about we just drop it and I’ll pretend like I don’t care about her anymore. (Puffs out his chest and gets very pompous). See, she is completely out of my thoughts.
Lindsey: (Calls from down the hall as she comes running towards Chris and Derek). Hey Chris!
Chris: (Instantly loses his composure). Well dammit.
Lindsey: Hiya fellas. (Lindsey is an attractive young girl. She acts sweet and is always in a bright, positive mood. She has long blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail). How are you two on this bright and sunny morning?
Derek: Well, if you had bothered to look outside this morning you’d have realized that it is cloudy and gray and about to rain, although since you showed up it’s gotten much brighter, right Chris?
Chris: Um…yes? (Unsure of whether that came off as funny or creepy).
Lindsey: Aw, aren’t you two just a couple of sweethearts. It’s too bad that you’ve already claimed each other; guess there’s no room for moi.
Chris: Me and Derek? I’d sooner be with Austin.
Lindsey: I’m sure you would.
Chris: Seriously though…I’m…I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with it of course. And don’t forget, I am still single.
Lindsey: Yes, you like to remind me quite a lot. We really should do something about that. There are plenty of girls out there who’d love to meet a guy like you. I’d know since I’m in that group, too.
Derek: Oh but Lindsey, where on Earth would you find a guy like Chris here? (Sarcastically grabs Chris and exaggerates his speech). It’s not like guys like this are everywhere. I mean honestly, where is another guy like Chris, another guy that is exactly like Chris?
Lindsey: (Shrugs). Don’t know but I guess I’ll keep my eyes open.
Chris: Yeah, I’ll…I’ll keep an eye open for you, too.
Derek: (Exaggerates his speech even more). Hey, I just had a funny idea. Why don’t you two go out, you know, on a date?
Chris: (Stumbles over words so that nothing he says can be considered real words, just nervous mumbling).
Lindsey: Gee Derek, it just sounds like you’re jealous of Chris for being so much smarter and funnier and stronger and better looking than you. (Hugs Chris sarcastically while saying this).
Derek: Oh please, if that were true then Chris would actually be better than me instead of always being not better than me. Besides, I’ve got the most important quality of all that places me ahead of him.
Lindsey: What, more money?
Derek: I was going to say a larger penis, but I’ll take your answer; much cleaner.
Chris: (Finally remembering to contribute to the conversation). So, um, Lindsey, how are you spelling your name this week?
Lindsey: Hmm, a good question Chris. I don’t know, I can never make up my mind about it. That’s why it keeps changing. I could spell it with a “y” at the end or with an “ie” or with an “ee” or with an “ey” or just an “i” or just an “e,” although maybe I could add an extra “n” or substitute the “i” in the middle with another “y.” So many choices. How do you think I should spell it, Chris?
Chris: I…I like it however you spell it honestly. It’s a cute name either way.
Lindsey: You’re too sweet.
Derek: You know, he shouldn’t have to answer your pointless question since you never answered his question.
Lindsey: Which question was that?
Derek: About whether you’d go out with him or not.
Chris: I never actually asked her that.
Derek: Well, do you want to?
Chris: (Noticeably flustered yet annoyed). Do I? Another good question, Derek.
-The morning bell rings and everyone rushes off to get to their first class of the day.
Lindsey: Well, I’d better get moving. I can’t be late anymore; this’d be the third time in two weeks. See ya guys. Later Chris. (Waves and takes off down the hall).
Chris: Hey, I’ll see you on the bus for the field trip!
Lindsey: Sure, save me a seat! (Gone).
Chris: (Sighs). You’re a bastard; you know that right?
Derek: (Pleased with himself). Oh please, you deserved that and you know it. Now if you’ll excuse me I must be getting to my first class of the day. It’s hard being the popular guy but if I don’t set an example for you peasants, how will you ever learn? (Walks off).
Chris: You know sometimes I hate that guy.
(Chris starts walking towards his first class very slowly. On his way two guys meet up with him, one is about his height with shaggy brownish-red hair and a large smile on his face, the other is quite tall and has short black hair that’s been neatly styled, a small goatee adorns his chin).
Willy: Hello Mr. Christopher. I see that you too are running late today.
Chris: Hello Willy, (to the tall dark-haired person), hello Danny, (to the carefree shaggy person).
Danny: Hey Chris. What’s up?
Chris: Nothing but the same. I almost asked Lindsey out though; that’s important I guess.
Willy: And, what did she say?
Chris: Notice that I carefully used the word “almost” in that sentence.
Danny: (Not catching the sarcasm). So, what did she say?
Chris: She said that she wants to marry me and I whisked her off her feet and we’re on our honeymoon right now.
Danny: (Looks at Chris puzzled). She moves that fast in a relationship?
Chris: Yes Danny, she moves that fast.
Danny: Wow, I really need to find a girl like Lindsey.
-Chris and Willy both laugh.
Willy: I’m sure that you’ll ask her soon. Women aren’t really that difficult to talk to, you just have to, you know, actually talk to them once in a while. You know I’ve offered to set you up with some friends of mine. They’re female and they like guys like you, so just give me the signal and I’ll alert them to your presence in the corner.
Chris: Thanks, but I’d rather not talk about it this early in the morning. And speaking of hopeless causes, did you guys finish the homework today by any chance?
Danny: Gah! There was homework last night?! (Laughs). Then I guess I didn’t get it done either.
Chris: Luckily I planned ahead and took extra notes for the two of you. It’s not a finished homework assignment but it should allow you to finish during the teacher’s opening lecture. (Grabs a piece of paper out of his backpack and hands it to Danny). I think it’s safe to assume that you’ll be needing this before Willy does.
Danny: (Grabs the piece of paper and reads it over a few times). I can’t read your handwriting Chris. Willy, can you make it out? (Hands the paper to Willy).
Willy: Nope, but I think I can read it better than you can. I’ll finish my homework from this and let you copy it from there.
Danny: Awesome. Sorry Chris, it’s the thought that counts though.
Chris: No worries, there won’t be much thought for the next hour and a half anyways. (The three of them walk into class).
(Back on the other side of town, Syrus and his group of soldiers are huddled together in the back of a freight truck. Syrus is sitting by himself with his eyes closed in thought).
Grunt: (Coming over and waking Syrus from his calm). Commander, how long will it take to get there, um, sir?
Syrus: (Eyes still closed). It will take as long as it needs to and not a second longer.
Grunt: How long is that?
Syrus: How old are you?
Grunt: Me? Oh, I’m 23. Why d’you ask?
Syrus: I’m just curious.
Grunt: And how old are you…if you don’t mind me asking?
Syrus: I am old enough, (Opens his eyes), and I do mind. Now go take a seat and be silent. I don’t want to be the one that has to force you.
Grunt: Oh, um, right sir. (Salutes and walks back over to his seat).
Syrus: 23… Octavious, you miserable bastard, I’m telling you this isn’t going to be so simple…
(Back to Chris, who is now making his way to the buses for the fieldtrip to the museum. Austin, Danny and Willy are with him).
Chris: Darn it, where is she…?
Austin: Relax Chris, she’ll be here. The bus doesn’t leave for another minute and a half.
Danny: What was it that we’re supposed to be learning from this anyway?
Austin: We’re supposed to be learning about some ancient artifact so that we can do a report on it, but we’re really here so that Chris can learn to ask out a girl he likes.
Danny: So, which part do I need to be taking notes on?
Chris: This whole fieldtrip is a waste anyway. Since when do we need to care about a shiny rock that archeologists know nothing about?
Willy: Beats me, as long as we don’t have to spend an entire day in lectures I’m fine with it. (A group of women walk by and wave at Willy, giggling).
Giggling Girls: Hiiiiiii Willy!
Willy: (Smiling and waving back, totally disconnected). Hiiiii ladies. (They giggle harder and run off).
Chris: (Looks anxiously at the door, waiting for Lindsey). Is that her?! Nope. How about…?! No…
Lindsey: (Sneaks up behind him). Chris!
Chris: (Nearly jumps onto Austin’s shoulders). Bwaha!! Oh, Lindsey, I didn’t expect to see you here. What an odd coincidence.
Lindsey: Oh yeah right, you’re a terrible liar. I hate to ask, but do you mind if I sit with a friend of mine instead? She’s feeling a bit under the weather today and I’d like to be able to help her if she needs someone.
Chris: Oh, yeah, that’s…that’s fine. Go, help, I’ve got these…(Turns around to find that the others have already hopped on the bus). Guys?
Lindsey: Thanks Chris, I knew you’d understand. (Hugs him). Next fieldtrip, I promise. (Jumps on the bus and out of sight).
Derek: Don’t you worry Chris, I’m still here. (Hugs him mockingly).
Chris: Oh boy, I can hardly wait…
-They board the bus and it starts to speed away. For a while, the two don’t speak to each other.
Derek: I see that you’re starting to feel that rejection just like you should be.
Chris: Now is not the time, thank you.
Derek: Fine then, what else do you want to talk about?
Chris: I really have nothing on my mind that I wish to discuss.
Derek: You be that way. (Pulls headphones out of his jacket and puts them on).
Chris: (Quietly to himself). And you’re not hung better than me…
Derek: You know I haven’t even turned these on yet, right?
Chris: I had a hunch.
Derek: If I wanted to be a real bastard I’d go out of my way to ruin your chances instead of just giving you the mindset of failure. Do you want to push me?
Chris: Don’t do it Derek…
Derek: No, you pushed me and now you must learn that actions never go unpunished. (Takes his headphones off and stands up). Excuse me everyone; I have an announcement to make regarding my friend Chris here.
Chris: Don’t do it…
Derek: Seems that Chris has a little attraction to a certain someone.
Bus driver: Sit down or else I’m pulling the bus over.
Chris: Just sit down…
Derek: (To Chris). Are you going to be nice then?
Chris: (Panicked). Yes, yes, now sit down.
Derek: Okay then, I’m glad we got that settled. (Sits down).
Student: Derek, who is it?
Derek: Oh, it’s Li- (Chris punches Derek hard in the jaw, sending him into the aisle).
Bus Driver: What’s going on back there?!
Derek: (Calmly stands up while holding his jaw). Oh that was uncalled for. (Punches Chris in the nose. The two then begin to wrestle around until the teacher breaks them up).
Teacher: That’s enough from you two. You had both better do a damn good report from this fieldtrip because my patience is very, very thin. The yearly budget is getting sucked dry from a single day at the museum, so humor me and pretend that it’s worth it, alright? (Sits back down).
Derek: And I expected detention or something.
Chris: Heh, yeah. Sorry about punching you and all…
Derek: Nah, don’t apologize for that, it was a good hit. I’m probably bleeding a bit from it, too.
Chris: Hmh. (The two smile and laugh a bit as the bus pulls into the parking lot. Meanwhile, an unmarked truck pulls into the parking lot on the other side of the building).
Teacher/Syrus: Okay, we’ll be entering the building from here. Stay with the person seated next to you at all times. While we’re in there I expect no talking and no incidents, understand?
Groups: (In unison) Yes.
Teacher/Syrus: Good, now let’s get this over with.
Chris: Here we go…
To Be Continued…