Eclipse Star: Chapter 19
“Through the Desert”
Recap: Last time, utilizing Jack’s plan, the group was able to sneak into the Regime’s hidden military base and uncover a few interesting details. They learned that the Regime has been excavating various areas around Trillium City in hopes of finding the Eclipse Star though were thus far unsuccessful. Jack also discovered that something called ‘Project Locust’ was about to be carried out within a short period of time, but before they could learn anything else, they were found out. Now, with alarms going off everywhere, Jack has given them one basic order…RUN.
Jack: Quick, liberate the troops! (They flip the dollies over, smashing the boxes open and revealing their hidden allies).
Lindsey: Jack, what’s going on?
Jack: No time, everyone just run! (The entire complex is ablaze with noise. Sirens are blaring, alarms are flashing, and soldiers are rushing around). C’mon, follow me!
Derek: (Resisting the order, angry). No! We got into this by following you!
Jack: (Almost pleading). Trust me on this one!
Derek: (Points in the direction Jack’s trying to lead them). That way leads back through the complex!
Jack: They won’t expect us to do that!
Austin: (Definitely pleading with everyone). We don’t have the time to be arguing!
Derek: (Points right in Jack’s face). I’m not following you any more!
Jack: Fine, go get yourself killed! (Jack starts running back through the complex).
Derek: See you on the other side! (Takes off in the opposite direction. After running for a while he looks back to see who followed him. Only Kevin and Danny are behind him, along with a good number of soldiers). So, you two are loyal to me, eh?
Kevin: I don’t agree with your methods, but running back the way we came won’t work.
Derek: So all the others went with Jack?
Kevin: I don’t know, I started running after you and Danny followed me.
Danny: (Very worried, looking over his shoulder). I thought Willy would be following me; where is he?
Derek: (Talking in a very confident voice, almost too confident). As your new leader, I promise to get us out of here. Now duck! (Turns around and fires a small energy blast at their pursuers. It explodes and creates a bunch of dust).
-Derek takes the two down a long alleyway that has a wooden fence at the end.
-Derek speeds up and launches himself at the fence like a cannonball, smashing through it and…out into thin air.
-Kevin stops himself right before he’s about to go over the edge and teeters on the tips of his feet.
-Danny comes running up behind him looking backwards at the people following him and slams right into Kevin, sending them both falling into the abyss with Derek.
Danny: (The three of them are falling). What just happened?!
Derek: I got us out, that’s what happened!
–Derek is the first to hit the edge of the steep incline leading away from the base. He rolls himself to his feet and begins ‘surfing’ down the incline.
-Kevin hits next and starts skidding on his back, then rights himself onto his feet.
-Danny hits last and just keeps rolling uncontrollably.
-Soldiers are now coming down the incline behind the trio, most of which have guns.
Kevin: (Calling to Derek). We’ve got well-armed enemies coming from behind!
Derek: Do they know how well-armed we are?!
Kevin: I seriously doubt it!
Derek: Reserve your attacks until I say so! (Looks over and notices that Danny is still rolling down the incline). Danny! Straighten yourself out!
Danny: (Just skidding, almost content). Not really my fault! (Gunfire ricochets near Danny’s head). Why do they get to use guns?! We should have brought guns!
-Danny sticks his arm out and starts dragging himself to a stable position on his side as he continues skidding down. This slows him enough to allow a few soldiers the opportunity to catch up to him.
-As they get near, Danny kicks the legs out from under one, grabs his gun, and starts shooting at the feet of some of the other soldiers. They go tumbling head-over-heels uncontrollably.
Derek: (Stern). I said hold off on attacking until I said otherwise! (Whips around so that he’s skidding backwards down the incline. He starts running back up towards the soldiers, jumps up and boots one in the head, sending him onto his back and into another two soldiers).
Kevin: Do we strike back yet?!
Derek: (Turns back around and runs down the incline again past Kevin). Fire away!
Kevin: We’re not trying to kill them, right?! (Charges an energy attack in each of his hands and turns slightly. He aims his hands at the ground and rapidly fires very small, rapid-fire blasts that kick up more dust. A batch of soldiers hit the dust and lose their balance, rolling out of the dust coughing).
Derek: We’re not trying to kill them, but they’re definitely trying to kill us! (Bullets whiz by the three of them as the number of their followers keeps growing). So it seems we’ll have to play by their rules! (Charges a blast in his hand, turns, and throws it at a group coming up on the left. It hits and men are thrown in all different directions, though not killed. Derek grits his teeth, upset by this). Damn! We’re still not lethal enough!
Danny: (Points in front of them). We’ve got more problems coming us!
Derek: They’re trying to cut us off from the front?!
Kevin: No, it seems that that landscape is doing that job for them! (Points off ahead of them at a large ditch that is quickly coming up). What’s the plan?!
Derek: Grow some wings!
Danny: What does that mean?!
Derek: Jump it stupid!
–Derek puts both his hands together and charges a much larger blast. He points his palms downward and fires a continuous blast that lifts him up into the air and sends him soaring above the gap.
-While in the air, Derek turns around and fires a few quick blasts downward at the feet of some of the soldiers, causing them to trip and kick up more dust.
-Kevin gracefully launches himself over the gap, rolling upon landing on the other side.
-Danny jumps but nearly falls in the gap, clutching onto the edge and frantically pulling himself up.
Danny: (Finally pulling himself completely up). Did we lose ‘em all?!
Derek: (He lands and turns around as Danny begins his run downwards again. Most of the remaining soldiers either fell into the gap or decided against jumping it. It appears that the group is home free). We’re clear! Just get to the bottom of the ridge and high tail it into the desert!
Kevin: We’ve still got a problem! (Kevin points to the base of the incline). They’ve finally started trying to cut us off from the front! (Soldiers are now forming at the bottom of the ridge along with a few heavily armed vehicles, most noticeably tanks).
Derek: This may need to be a group effort! Form up around me!
Danny: What are you planning?!
Derek: Just form up! (Kevin and Danny skid towards Derek as he starts charging up another energy blast in his hands. They get the message and also start charging). On the count of three!
Danny: Wait, I haven’t got the shooty-blast-things down yet!
Derek: (Angry). Learn fast! (Gunfire erupts around the three again, this time coming from mini-guns at the base of the ridge). One! Two! (Danny gets hit with gunfire and flips onto his back).
Kevin: (Genuinely concerned). Danny’s hit! (Stops charging and turns around to grab Danny).
Derek: (Rolls his eyes). Jeez, do I have to do everything myself…THREE!!! (Does his best to shoot a powerful energy blast at the group forming at the base of the ridge. Unfortunately, he’s quite tired at this point and though his blast is an accomplishment in regards to what he’s done thus far, it’s not strong enough to do more than disorient a handful of soldiers and kick up a cloud of dust).
Kevin: (Slapping Danny’s face). Danny! Are you okay?!
Danny: (Groggily reawakens and realizes that he’s skidding on his back. He freaks out and panics). AH! Did I just get shot?!
Kevin: I think so.
Danny: Why am I not dead?!
Kevin: I do not know actually.
Derek: (Still angry). And I don’t care as long as you’re ready to try this again! (Hands charging). Set?!
Kevin: THREE!!! (The three join up and fire one terrible looking blast that has no aim but a lot of oomph to it. It succeeds in creating an opening for the three to go through when they hit the bottom). So we’re going right through them?
Derek: Yeah! Just keep running until I say stop!
Danny: (Raises his hand). Um…question?!
Danny: (Points). There are a few tanks down there!
Derek: That’s not a question!
-The three get to the bottom and miraculously the hole they made between the soldiers has yet to be closed off in the confusion.
-Kevin and Danny bolt through the opening and don’t look back. Guns fire all around their feet as soldiers are finally coming to their senses and chasing after them again.
Kevin: Danny, three on our right coming up!
Danny: What do you want me to do about it?!
Kevin: I’m just letting you know! (Charges an energy blast and fires it sideways, pushing the three soldiers off their feet).
Danny: (Hops over the newly fallen foes). Whoa, couple o’ logs here! (A large explosion hits right behind Danny). Jesus, what was that?!
Kevin: That would be the tanks, and Jesus has nothing to do with it so leave him out of this!
Danny: Sure could use some of his help about now!
-The tanks are gaining speed and are on either side of Danny and Kevin as they’re running. Gun turrets swivel around and begin shooting.
-Kevin ducks and rolls out of the way. Danny jumps into the air over the gunfire.
Danny: What happened to Derek?!
Derek: Someone call for a savior?
-Derek pops his head out from the other side of the tank as he vaults on top of it. He boots the hatch open and fires an energy beam straight down into it.
-The main cannon turns and fires around arbitrarily, hitting the other tank and flipping it over.
-Derek hops off the tank and continues running with the other two as the tank he was on starts driving around wildly and eventually stops altogether.
Derek: Anything else to worry about?
Kevin: We’ve got some more Regime soldiers riding in a caravan coming up from the left! (This is apparently the cue for the caravan to drive ahead of them and have soldiers hop out the back and run towards the three). See, here they are!
Derek: (Derek leaps into the fray and knees one in the face, knocking him into some others and bowling them over). Taken care of!
Danny: (Hops over the downed enemies again). More logs.
Kevin: We’ve still got another few full cars to deal with!
Derek: Danny! What happened to that gun you swiped a few minutes ago?!
Danny: I threw it away!
Derek: Why would you do that?!
Danny: (Shrugs). Seemed like a good idea at the time?
Derek: Oh for the love of… (Rolls his eyes again).
–Derek unzips his flack jacket to reveal a pair of sai. He pulls one out and as a truck starts to pass him he runs up to it and tears the front tire out with his weapon.
-The truck loses control and Regime soldiers dive out before it starts flipping over.
-Another truck drives up in front of the three and Derek takes the lead, hopping into the back of the truck bed and into a group of very confused gunmen who end up firing at each other in an attempt to hit Derek.
-Derek, however, goes about punching and kicking, picks up an unconscious soldier, and throws him through the back window of the truck.
-This done, Derek then jumps out the back again.
-Naturally, this truck also flips over after losing control.
Derek: I never did much like sport utility vehicles.
Kevin: (Runs past the truck and turns around to check for more pursuers). Looks like we’re finally in the clear.
Derek: (Calmed down now). For now, yes. We’ve still got to get as far from here as we can before nightfall.
Danny: I can agree with that!
Derek: I think we’re done yelling for the moment.
Danny: Okay! (Clears his throat). Uh, I mean, okay.
Kevin: (Takes a look at the sun’s position in the sky). The sun’s beating down hard.
Derek: (Dry). Makes sense seeing as how we are in a desert.
Kevin: I’d say we’ve got at least another five hours before nightfall. I’m not sure we can run that long.
Derek: Then we’ll run until we pass out from exhaustion.
* * * * *
-Later that night, the three are huddled around a makeshift fire out in the middle of nowhere. Danny is shaking uncontrollably. Kevin is stricken with a solemn/grief-ridden look on his face. Derek just looks tired.
Kevin: What went wrong in there…?
Derek: (Arms crossed, head down). Jack screwed up along the line somewhere.
Kevin: That wasn’t entirely it, something just seemed altogether wrong. We didn’t make any blaring mistakes but it just didn’t seem plausible that we could succeed.
Derek: If Jack had just let me and a few others go in alone we wouldn’t have drawn so much attention to ourselves and only a few of us would have had to run instead of the whole party bailing.
Kevin: (Speaking softly, yet firmly). I don’t think it was entirely Jack’s fault, though.
Derek: So, you think it was my fault?
Kevin: No, I don’t feel that it was either of your faults. Something about everything didn’t add up.
Danny: (Extremely sad). We weren’t supposed to succeed.
Derek: (Caught off guard). What?
Danny: We were never meant to get in there, and if we did find a way in, we weren’t supposed to find a way out.
Kevin: (Piecing it together). No radio…no directions…
Danny: No hope…
Derek: (Shakes his head in denial). Nah, that’s just making excuses. Jack was the one that blew it for us. He panicked and we nearly got killed as a result.
Kevin: Why do you hate Jack so much? You blame him for everything, yet all he’s done is try to help.
Derek: I don’t really hate Jack; I just don’t trust him anymore. He keeps us in the dark too often for no reason.
Kevin: Then who do you trust?
Derek: I trust a lot of people. I trust you guys just fine.
Danny: That’s because we keep quiet and don’t get in you way.
Derek: Exactly. Some people just get under my skin. Jack is one of them.
Kevin: I assume that Chris is another?
Derek: Ah Chris. (Gets retrospective). I’ve been meaning to ask, how did you end up meeting Chris anyways?
Kevin: We meet back when we were kids. My dad was the pastor of a church…
Derek: That makes sense.
Kevin: …And Chris’ family happened to attend our family’s church, so every Sunday we’d get a chance to talk. I learned a lot about him, or at least the guy he used to be.
Derek: The guy he used to be? Who did he used to be before the current Chris?
Kevin: He was a lot more passionate about everything. The biggest thing was his beliefs. He had almost as strong a faith as I have. Then he just stopped caring as much. Stopped speaking up, stopped having confidence, and finally stopped coming to church altogether. His grandmother still came for a while, but he wasn’t there.
Danny: What changed him?
Kevin: I never got the chance to ask. I mean, I suppose I had the chance, but I just never did. It didn’t happen all at once either; it was over the course of a few years. He got quieter over time; he’d still listen to me when I spoke, but his passion slowly died. We haven’t seen each other since he left the church.
Danny: I used to go to church for a while. I just couldn’t pay attention though. It felt too much like class, so I just up and ditched it one day.
Derek: I never went to church and I don’t plan to.
Kevin: Any particular reason?
Derek: It’s all a load of made-up crap.
Kevin: I’m not sure exactly where to begin to argue that statement.
Derek: Then don’t.
Kevin: (Gently prodding further). What makes you feel that you need to prove something to everyone?
Derek: What? I don’t have anything to prove, I’ve already proven it; I just need to keep consistent with my success. It’s what people expect of me.
Kevin: What happened to make you think this way?
Derek: I’m too tired to explain it in the best details. (Leans back, thinking to himself). Basic story of a kid who’s always been told he was great by his parents. Everything I did was perfection to them. I excelled at everything I did from an early age and they did nothing but tell me how wonderful they thought I was. I didn’t have anyone to challenge that notion since I was an only child and we lived away from the city. This changed when my parents divorced. My mom became an alcoholic and couldn’t give up the habit. Eventually my dad got sick of how weak my mom was, so he dumped her and I went with him.
Kevin: (Still genuine). I’m sorry to hear that your family got split up.
Derek: (Shrugs). Meh, I didn’t care, my dad had a good reason. He just didn’t tolerate anything but the best from me and my mom. She called his bluff to find out he wasn’t bluffing. There was a fight, but he didn’t even have to lay a hand on her, he just stood there; let her hit him with things and rip into him verbally. He didn’t budge, just stood there. Then finally when she wore herself down, he just said “I’m done with you” and that was that. (Shakes his head and waves Kevin off). But it’s a long story and I’m exhausted right now.
Kevin: So I’d bet.
Derek: I’ll tell you more tomorrow or something.
Danny: What do you think happened to the others? (The three look back in the distance towards the ridge and the Regime’s base).
Derek: Don’t know.
Kevin: May God watch over them.
Derek: Couldn’t hurt I guess. (The ground begins rumbling softly). Hey, what’s up?
Kevin: (The ground is shaking more and more. The three are becoming worried). We weren’t followed, were we?
Derek: No, we were careful to cover our tracks.
-Off in the distance a massive white light explodes straight up into the sky where the Regime’s base was located.
Derek: (A sudden gust of wind blows the three back, whipping sand and dust across the desert. The three are trying to cover their faces). What the hell is that?!
Kevin: Project Locust maybe?!
-The light fades but the ground keeps rumbling. Suddenly another piercing light shoots out from the base, this one rocketing directly over the desert and the heads of the three sitting at the campfire.
Derek: Duck and cover! (The three duck and huddle on the ground, but the light has already faded and the ground has ceased moving).
Kevin: I don’t know what that was, but if that’s what Project Locust can do…we’re in serious trouble.
Danny: Should we go back and see what it was?
Derek: No, we have to keep moving, now.
-The three wearily get to their feet and start distancing themselves from the base again. Kevin looks back to see smoke billowing out from it.
Kevin: May God be with us all…
To Be Continued…
“Scars and Stripes Forever”
by Chris Pranger
-A tall, toned bald man, (For reference, looks like Jason Stathom), with a scar on his right cheek walks down the street, passing by a number of people as he goes, turning to look at some as they turn to look at him. Eventually he walks into a grocery store.
Narration: Ever wonder if the life you’re leading isn’t the one you’re supposed to? I mean sure, everyone gets restless now and again due to their job or school or any number of things. I mean, who hasn’t done the typical superhero stare upwards and asked themselves, “Why not me, too?” Sure, I’m no different than you or anyone else, but then again maybe I am. I just don’t know it yet. And excuse me if I say so, but neither do you.
-The man grabs a shopping cart and begins trekking around the store.
Narration: Yeah, we’ve all wandered the grocery aisle, hoping that around some corner a robbery will suddenly break out and you’ll be in the perfect situation to avert it. But how often does that happen?
-Man imagines seeing someone with a gun rush by him.
Narration: You almost begin to cry as you wish something special would happen. Everyone is just waiting for that call. Everyone wants to see themselves as some sort of badass.
-Man comes up to a woman with a cart blocking the way. The man gives her a stern look and pauses for a moment. He then breaks and looks helpless.
Man: Um…excuse me…
-Woman pulls her cart to the side and lets him pass.
Narration: But hardly anyone ever is. Most people are just too kindhearted to be that commanding. To be considered a true badass, you really have to be without a sense of morals to the point that nothing noticeably frightens you, and few people ever truly get to that point.
-Man is browsing the cereal aisle now.
Narration: The usual drag is where we normal people find our bliss, as well as our greatest anguish. In the moment when you realize that finding your favorite cereal on sale is the highlight of your day, you begin to contemplate whether there should be more than this. More than “Lucky Stars” or “Fruity Wheels” or some other generic copy of another generic copy. And you get angry and you want justice. You feel like someone should write a letter to someone about this and get something changed and you get fired up on the inside, a new passion burning to stick it to the cereal companies or the congress people that’d allow the cereal companies to do such a thing to the little guys and you come up with all sorts of wonderful ways to say “screw you” without actually having to be so simplistic and crude. And then what do you do?
-Man is at the checkout with a clerk scanning some cereal marked “Lucky Stars.”
Clerk: (Dull and bored). You know, these are my favorite?
Man: (Slightly too excited). Mine too! And they’re on sale!
-Man sadly walks out of the store carrying his plastic bags full of groceries. A woman and her child are arguing loudly at the check stand with the kid throwing a fit. He walks out the front door and gets a puff of smoke blown in his face from a man holding a cigarette.
Narration: It’s just too difficult to stir up trouble. Regular, good people aren’t willing to sacrifice peacefulness and regularity to pursue that life on the edge. Being the squeaky wheel isn’t worth it to them when they think about it long enough. “Squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Yeah, and sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced.
-Keeps walking down the street, accidentally gets bumped by a woman and drops a bag.
Man: Oh, sorry, excuse me.
Woman: Yeah, sorry yourself, pal.
Narration: It takes a lot to be that special someone. We all claim to want to be special, but none of us are prepared for the sort of work required to become something more than ordinary or even someone worthy of notice.
-People bump Man as they walk by him trying to pick up his groceries.
Narration: So just like you, I’m going to be a normal person with nothing overtly special about them. I’m going to be quiet and complacent and good. I’m going to go through my life starring upwards and saying “Yeah, that could be me up there,” but I’m never going to take the steps required to fly.
-Man finally gets up and keeps walking.
Narration: I’m probably not worth the time or effort to listen to, but maybe you’ll find something you can relate to. I’m a pretty nice person once you get to know me, albeit somewhat boring. Actually, you probably shouldn’t even bother. I wouldn’t if I were in your shoes. My name is Doug, and I’m about as worthless and ordinary as a person comes.
-Doug keeps walking down the street. A ways down his other bag tears open, forcing him to bend down and start picking up more groceries.
-A short, fat man, (for reference looks like Kevin James), passes Doug on the street as he’s picking up his groceries. The man is eating an apple.
Narration: My name is David, (Tosses his apple into an open convertible), and I’m &@$%#*! awesome.
-David keeps walking down the street.
Narration: I’ve seen about all there is to see in this world. I know what the sun looks like as it comes up in the middle of the desert. I know how the snow glistens at sunset on the top of a mountain peak. I know what the insides of a douche-bag looks like when he’s sputtering for dear life. And you know what?
-Shoves the same woman that bumped into Doug. She slams into the side of a building and sends her purse into the air, scattering all sorts of contents about. David just keeps walking, never changing his look the whole time.
Narration: I’m bored.
-David walks into the grocery store.
Narration: Trouble with doing everything is, once you’ve done it all, what the hell else is there to do? Exactly. Nothing. The trick is to make as much of your life as you possibly can. I find ways to entertain myself here and there.
-David sticks his arm out, knocking everything off the shelves as he walks down an aisle. A clerk sweeping the floor nearby gives him a dirty look.
Narration: Not everyone seems to find the humor.
-David walks up to the register holding a box of Nilla Wafers.
Narration: I could tell you stories that’d thrill your pants off in more ways than one. But right now I don’t feel like telling them.
-David pays the clerk and begins to walk out. A woman with her child sitting in a cart are having a disagreement as the child screams bloody murder.
Woman: What?! What am I supposed to do with you?!
Child: I don’t WANNA go to the store!
Woman: Well I can’t help that! Please, stop screaming!
-David walks by, stops in front of the cart, and slaps the child across the face. It instantly shuts up, more confused than hurt. David walks on.
Narration: There’s really only one thing that’s on my mind right now, and that’s finding where my other half went.
-David walks outside. Right outside the door a guy smoking a cigarette under a “No Smoking” sign blows smoke into David’s face. David grabs the guy’s cigarette, puts it out on the man’s face, and breaks his nose. David keeps walking, all still emotionless.
Narration: That’s a long story in of itself.
-David keeps walking off down the street as the man huddles over, clutching his face.
Narration: Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll tell it to you, but only out of sheer boredom.
Chapter 3: David is walking down a dark alley during nighttime, still eating his box of Nilla Wafers. He checks his watch.
Narration: It’s 10:03. Nearly my favorite time of day. And we’re here in a dark, depressing alleyway full of all manner of possible horrors. Nearly my favorite place to be at 10:03.
-A guy who looks like he’s on drugs stumbles out of the shadows shakily holding a knife.
Narration: Oh goodie, a coked-out thug needing his usual fix. Nearly my favorite person to meet in etc, at etc.
Coked-out thug: You know the drill, don’cha? Huh? You know what I need? Huh?
David: (Holds out his box of Nilla Wafers). I don’t suppose it’s a Nilla Wafer?
Coked-out thug: No no man, don’t be playin’ dumb.
-Little clock on the bottom of the panel ticks to 10:04.
David: Whatever, box is nearly empty anyway. (Turns it upside down, only crumbs fall out). Scratch that. My fat ass ate the last one. Many apologies.
Coked-out thug: I said stop playin’! Heh, hehe, just reach into your pocket, give me your wallet, and slowly, hah, just walk on outta here.
David: Don’t carry a wallet.
Coked-out thug: Then your purse.
David: Cute. That’s actually kinda clever for a druggie.
Coked-out thug: I said-
David: Yeah yeah, stop playin’. Heard you. (Checks his watch).
Coked-out thug: Then your watch. That worth somethin’?
David: (Still just looking at his watch). Nope.
Coked-out thug: Stop playing!
David: Hey, you remembered there are ‘G’s’ at the end of that word, huh?
Coked-out thug: Give me something!
-Stabs at David. The clock ticks to 10:05. The thug’s hand is caught by David’s.
Coked-out thug: What in the hell?!
-Panel reveals David to be in the body first seen on Doug.
David: Hey look at that. Looks like you’re %$@#&*, huh?
-Panel pulls back to a view of the building tops. A “KATHOOMP” is heard coming from the alleyway.
Narration: Ah, my favorite time of night.
Chapter 4: Dawn in Doug’s apartment. He slowly wakes up from bed in the same body we’ve seen him in previously. He stretches and walks into the bathroom.
Narration: I’m not one to complain over sleep. I absolutely love sleep. I’m a natural at it. Never have any trouble sleeping, which is odd since you see so many commercials promoting sleep-aides or something. “Have trouble sleeping?” “Have trouble waking up?” “Have trouble with bad dreams?” “Have trouble with good dreams?” “Have trouble with your bladder while sleeping?” “Sleeping with your boss’ wife?” With all these problems, I can’t decide whether I’m considered normal for sleeping so soundly…or if I’m the abnormal one.
-Doug turns the water on in the shower before dropping his towel and hopping in.
Narration: There is one strange thing about me. I always wake up feeling like I’ve been up all night. Not tired exactly, more invigorated. Almost like I’m still running off of adrenaline. And even more strange, I can almost see what I’ve been doing. Somewhat like dreams.
-Panels showing Doug doing all these things as he describes them.
Narration: I see myself running over rooftops and leaping around like I know what I’m doing. Not for any reason; just because I can. And getting in car chases. And fighting thugs in alleyways. Someone is living the exciting life I’d always kinda wanted to live. And it’s like it’s only at night.
-Turns the faucet off.
Narration: Dreams are kooky, huh?
-Steps out of the shower and over to the mirror. He wipes the foggy mirror with his hand, allowing him to see his reflection again.
Narration: There are still a few mysteries I have about myself, though. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m in excellent shape. (Flexes in front of the mirror, muscles pop).
Doug: (Smiles). Hah.
Narration: Strangest thing, I never particularly thought I’ve been all that good at working out or keeping a healthy diet. Must just be lucky.
-Walks out of the bathroom, next seen putting on a button-up shirt in front of the mirror again.
Narration: And then there’s the one thing I just can’t figure out at all. (Tilts his head, prominently showing the scar on his right cheek). I remember having this for years. Never been a bother, really. Just some scar on my right cheek. But the darndest thing.
-Tilts his head around with his hand, finally shrugging.
Narration: I have no clue where I got it. (Goes on dressing and walks out the front door in a suit and with a briefcase). You’d think with the scar being as prominent as it is, as clear and well defined, that it’d have to have been caused by some definite trauma. A fall, a car accident, a knife wound, something obvious. You don’t just wake up with a big ol’ scar on your face. And yet that’s exactly what it seems I did, because I have no clue, no fragment of a memory or anything, that would give me any idea as to where it came from and why.
-Doug leaves his apartment building and walks down the street, whistling as he goes, smiling and looking mostly happy.
Narration: I like to think it came from a sword fight or an epic battle on the edge of a cliff. (Doug randomly goes into a sward-fighting stance in the middle of the street, dancing about and fighting some invisible foe). Or maybe from the shrapnel caused from a plane crashing just in front of me after I gunned it down. (Doug now pretends to take down a plane with a gun turret). Or my most favorite, it was from a lion as it jumped at me, clawing wildly as I clawed wildly back. It nearly took my eye, but I strangled it to the ground, only to stun it of course, before hoisting it onto my back and tossing it back into its cage. (Doug pantomimes this, too. Finally he realizes that there have been people watching him on the street. He seems surprised and embarrassed, then straightens his tie and keeps walking like nothing ever happened). But that’s just me daydreaming. It doesn’t take me long to realize that I probably got it as a kid from falling off my bike and konking my head so that I don’t remember it. Something silly and boring like that. At least I’m still allowed to fantasize. Might as well make the most of my boring hike to my boring office as a boring tech-support employee. Did I mention boring?
-Doug walks into a building with the company name “Regal Tech” on the door.
Narration: Well, sure promises to be a boring day then, huh?
Secretary: (Waves slightly as Doug walks in). Morning Doug.
Doug: (Politely smiles and waves). Good morning!
Narration: I’m ashamed to say, I have no clue what her name is.
-Doug walks past a few cubicles. A man with his jacket off carrying a coffee mug wanders by Doug.
Coffee Guy: Yo, Dougie.
Doug: (Smiles). Hey…don’t call me that.
Coffee Guy: Yeah no problem Dougie-anyway, got a bit of a favor to ask you.
Doug: I actually just got here. Can I at least go sit down first?
Coffee Guy: Nope no time-Dougie, I’m gonna be heading out of town this next week, (pulls Doug in close), you know, take the mistress out and Get, It, ON, youknowwhatI’msayin’?
Narration: I don’t actually.
Doug: (Faking he does). Haha…yeah…
Coffee Guy: (Back to normal, still with his arm around Doug’s shoulder). So anyway, gonna need someone to cover my extra workload and since you’re such a reliable guy…(Somewhat backs away, shrugging).
Doug: Uh…maybe I’m not getting exactly what you’re asking…? Humor me, please?
Narration: Sadly, this I do know all too well.
Coffee Guy: Dougie, I told the boss you’d pick up my slack since you’re the best worker in this place and he was all for it, so thanks man-knew you’d understand.
Doug: (Coffee Guy walks away. Doug looks somewhat perplexed). Ye-yeah, no problem. But my name’s…Doug…please?
Coffee Guy: (Turns back around and points at Doug). You the man Dougie.
-Doug shakes his head and walks over to his cubicle.
Narration: This happens to me all the time. I’ve corrected that guy more times than I know. It does give me some pleasure to also be oblivious to his name as well. He’s just some jerk I work with, and as it seems, some jerk I’m helping get a raise.
-Doug takes his jacket off, puts it on the back of his desk, and goes about typing at his computer.
Narration: That’s about all there is to my workday, or better yet, my day in general. You might as well stop talking to me now, because it’s not getting more interesting than this.
Scene 5: Daylight as David walks down the street, wincing from the sunlight.
Narration: I really hate mornings. I’ve never been a morning person, but after the body switch I’ve had new reasons to like mornings even less.
-David checks his watch as he walks down the street.
Narration: Great, it’s hardly 10 am. Which means I’ve got to get some food fast before I get the shakes and going into a diabetic coma.
-David walks into a coffee shop. Coffee Guy walks in right in front of him, still carrying his mug of coffee.
Coffee Guy: S’cuse me guy, I’m runnin’ a bit late at the moment.
David: Aren’t we all?
Narration: Some people just know how to push my buttons, though at this time of day it’s really not too difficult. Just look at this guy. He’s wearing suspenders. Who the hell wears those anymore? I haven’t worn those since my parents made me for church. I’d rather just go pantsless before wear suspenders. Granted, with my fat ass as it is, it doesn’t seem like much chance of my pants falling off.
Coffee Guy: (Standing right in front of David in line). Coffee, huh? Man, can’t get enough of this stuff sometimes.
David: Yeah, it’s almost like, I don’t know, you’re addicted, huh?
Coffee Guy: Hah, yeah it feels that way doesn’t it?
David: (Coffee Guy turns around). No you are addicted dumbass. I wasn’t being facetious.
Coffee Guy: (Turns around again, looking somewhat angry). Excuse me? Did you just insult me?
David: Not really. Calling you a dumbass is like saying a sphincter’s Sh*tfaced.
Coffee Guy: (Really confused). What?!
David: Yeah, I insulted you. I’ll leave it at that.
Coffee Guy: (Turns around). I don’t believe some people in this town…
David: Who the hell brings their own mug to a coffee shop anyway?
Coffee Guy: (Turns around again). Uh, maybe someone who enjoys their coffee hot and portable. Duh.
David: Like coffee’s not hot and portable otherwise.
Coffee Guy: Hey, I like doing my part to reduce waste and help save the environment, alright? What have you done lately?
David: I killed a guy and buried him in Central Park. Not only am I reducing an entire person’s worth of waste, but I’m assisting the trees with biodegradable compost.
Coffee Guy: (Turns around). Hah, yeah right.
David: (Taps Coffee Guy on the shoulder). No, we’re not done here environmental boy. I can’t imagine how much horse crap you talk about saving the environment, but I bet it’s exactly one hell of a lot.
Coffee Guy: (Rolls his eyes and turns around in a huff). Whatever guy. My skinny ass gets laid on a bi-nightly basis. I doubt you’ve even seen your dick in years.
Narration: That hurts.
-Flash of David in the shower in the morning. He looks down and in the panel all we can see is his stomach jutting out.
-David sucks in. We don’t actually see him look down again but we know what he’s done.
David: (Starts nodding and smiling, pleased with himself). Yeah hah, that’s what I’m talking about.
-We flash back to David currently staring Coffee Guy down.
David: Hey, let me see your mug for a second. (Reaches out and grabs Coffee Guy’s mug).
Coffee Guy: Hey what’re you doing?!
David: (Slams Coffee Guy across the face with the mug, breaking it and showering Coffee Guy with coffee). What a shame. (Everyone around him looks shocked and speechless). Dickwad… (David shakes his head and steps forward to the front of the line). Hi there. Gimmie an orange juice and a bran muffin, please.
Scene 6: Back in Doug’s cubicle, we see Doug busy at work typing again.
-Coffee Guy walks by, his shirt stained with coffee and his face bruised, no mug in his hand. Doug looks up and smiles.
Narration: Well, looks like fun things do happen at work sometimes.
Scene 7: David is walking down the street, eating his muffin and drinking his orange juice.
-David finishes his muffin, crumples up the wrapper and tosses it into a baby carriage as a mother passes by. David keeps walking, watching the park and a fountain in the middle of it.
David: (Checks his watch). And with all that, I’ve killed hardly twenty minutes.
-David looks up and sees a man in a suit and sunglasses walk by the fountain, staring at David. The guy touches his ear and stops for a second. David sees this and looks around, seeing another guy a little ways off do the same. They start to run at David.
David: Oh hell.
-David turns around and starts running. The two agents begin chasing him. David runs into the street, running across the street at a stopwalk. The red hand flashes but David runs anyway. A car honks at David. David turns to the car and slams his fist down on the hood, denting it.
Guy in Car: (Leans out his window). The hell man?!
David: (Shrugs). Shouldn’t have honked.
-David keeps running down the sidewalk. An agent appears in front of him, running at him. Doug jumps over a homeless man on the sidewalk and keeps running, throwing his orange juice at the agent who flails at this action.
-David runs back into panel, grabs the homeless guy’s quarter cup, tosses it at the agent, and kicks the homeless guy before running away again.
Narration: I’ve been good to keep myself from getting caught for a while now, and on a good day a year ago this wouldn’t have been a problem at all.
-David begins clutching his chest, wheezing and breathing extremely hard.
Narration: When I find the guy who has my body, I’m going to kick him in the throat.
-David keeps running. He passes the baby carriage again and tips it over. The agents chasing him leap over it.
-Several government cars and vans squeal into the area, surrounding David. David stops running and looks around, panicked. In the confusion, a van opens and several agents hop out as the agents chasing David come up behind and shove him into the van. The door closes and all the vehicles take off, leaving the scene as if nothing happened.
David: (In the confusion in the van. Several agents have guns drawn on him. David’s got his hands up. He doesn’t look scared more than just winded). Okay, you got me. All the government’s money and it took you almost a year to find my fat ass.
-One agent with a high number of badges on his chest and a grey mustache pushes himself forward.
Agent: Guns down everyone. He’s not going to give us any trouble.
David: Yeah I’m too tired for that.
Agent: See? Guns down.
-Everyone puts their guns down. David instantly looks at the smallest agent near him, slaps him, and takes his gun, pointing it at the agent. All guns go up again.
Agent: (His hands up, trying to calm everyone down). Ah ah ah, come on now. He’s just testing us.
David: (Looks around, a bit tense. He finally drops his guard, taking the gun apart in one swift motion before scratching the back of his head). Meh, it’s not worth it. (A few agents leap onto David and throw him to the floor of the van, flipping him onto his stomach and grabbing his arm behind him). Hey hey hey! Watch it there!
Agent: (Moves towards David, kneels down on one knee and bends down to David’s face). Are we going to be good?
David: (Scoffs). Yeah yeah, just let me up. (Agent nods at the other agents and David’s let up). So what d’you want?
Agent: You realize you’re not an easy man to track down?
David: Everyone says that. I’m no more difficult than most.
Agent: You look a lot different from what the files show.
David: (Rubs his face). Yeah, it’s taken some time for me to deal with that, too.
Scrawny Agent: (Looks David up and down, pulling down his sunglasses to squint). This is the guy we’ve been instructed to find?
David: Hey, I may not look like much but I assure you, I’m a badass.
Agent: This here is one of the most highly regarded agents ever to work for the United States government. Men, this is the famous Agent David Cuthbert.
-Everyone reacts amazed, some gasping and others whistling, all of them very impressed.
David: Well I wouldn’t say I’m famous, but…yeah, I’m pretty famous.
Agent: Agent Cuthbert, we’ve got-
David: (Wincing at the sound of his name). C’mon, cut back with the “Cuthbert” alright? It’s impossible to say without sounding like you’ve got a lisp. Just call me David.
Agent: Fine. Agent David-
David: And that just sounds dumb.
Agent: (Frustrated). We have a situation that we need you for.
David: I gathered as much. What’s going on that you’d need me so badly?
Agent: Not here. I’ll brief you more when we get to the Pentagon.
Scene 8: Doug is sitting once more at his cubicle, tapping his fingers in bordom, his face resting against his hand.
Narration: So I’ve been at work for nearly three hours now. That places the time at just past 1 in the afternoon.
-Doug looks up at the clock, and then back to his computer, which is blank.
Narration: And I’m done with my workload for the day. In fact, I’m done with my workload for the week, and that includes the extra that that coffee-stained jerk dumped on me.
-Doug rolls his eyes.
Narration: Granted, that extra bit isn’t done very well, but…
-Doug gets up, walking over to the break room.
Narration: I’m actually caught up for the next few months, more or less. I’ve always been extremely good at focusing on a task at hand. And if you ask how much focus is required for my job, the answer is basically “not much.” If I worked at top efficiency, I could run this entire company myself, but who has that sort of ambition?
-Doug begins stuffing his face with donuts, drinking a soda, and munching on a cookie.
Narration: I’ll admit, with all the spare time I’ve developed somewhat of a sweet tooth. I’d feel guilty about it if I didn’t look and feel like I was in peak physical shape. And I’ve been to the doctor to ask about cholesterol and all that-
-Doug sitting in a doctor’s office, shirt off, his body completely ripped. The doctor looks amazed.
Narration: I’m healthy enough for seven guys my age.
-Back in the break room with Doug opening another soda, making the total cans sitting next to him 5. A whole box of donuts is nearly gone.
Narration: It’s just frustrating, you know? I always get the distinct feeling someone else is having all the fun in my life.
Scene 9: The inside of the Pentagon. David is walking with Agent, surrounded by a number of other agents tagging along. David is reading a briefing sheet.
David: (Not looking up from the report). David.
Agent: David, I’ll make this as simple as possible. Are you familiar with Lady Liberty?
David: The concept or the person?
Agent: In this case the person. Back in the 40’s the US government was waist-deep in Project Liberty Ladies, which is where Lady Liberty came from.
David: The person?
Agent: Yes. More than two dozen women were tested and engineered to become super soldiers.
David: Engineered? As in we’re dealing with robots?
Agent: Excuse me, I meant genetically engineered. They’re human.
David: Okay, keep going.
Agent: For whatever reasons all of them retired except for one.
David: They’ve all been killed, right?
Agent: No, not all. Some just decided to retire. Anyway, the last in the project, Liberty Lady Number 27, decided to go public with her abilities, donning the moniker “Lady Liberty.”
Agent: Well she thought she was.
David: So the point to this: where do I come in?
Agent: Lady Liberty has been missing for the past two weeks. She was last seen on the East Coast, though at this point she could be anywhere. For more than a few reasons, we need her back.
David: She’s a figurehead, she’s got secrets, and she’s property of the US government.
Agent: Precisely. As you can see, we’re in somewhat of a situation, aren’t we?
David: So she’s been missing for two weeks? And you just now contacted me?
Agent: We’ve been searching for you for some time, actually. As I said before, you’re not an easy man to find. The bodywork clearly helped.
David: Uh, yeah.
Agent: And no, we didn’t put all our hopes in you and only you.
David: So good, get someone else to do it.
Agent: Everyone else we’ve sent is either missing or dead.
David: How many-?
Agent: Seventeen, not including the three guys who came back with severe mental problems.
David: Well I don’t think I’ll be able to help you, much as this sounds so terribly entertaining.
Agent: (They stop walking). Oh I don’t believe I’ve made myself clear. This is non-negotiable.
David: I could have guessed, but I still can’t help you.
Agent: And why exactly is that?
David: (Squirming a bit). You know, it’s, you know…
Agent: No I don’t. Humor me.
David: (Sighs). Look, yes, I’m technically this famous agent that everyone believes me to be, but at the current moment I just need some time to…find myself?
Agent: Well we’re on a short time clock. You have three days to straighten yourself out. I hope you can “find yourself” by then.
David: Yeah, me too.
Scene 10: It’s finally the evening and the end of Doug’s shift. The office is mostly empty, save for Doug sitting at his desk, clicking his mouse as he plays a game of Mindsweeper.
Narration: So that’s basically my day. It’s nearly 9 pm, and that means I finally get to go home. Kind of a shame. I feel so behind today.
-Shot of the computer screen. Doug’s beat a full-screened game of Mindsweeper in 5 seconds.
Narration: I wasn’t able to beat my high score.
Boss: (A man in a suit walks by Doug, pulling his jacket on. He has glasses and is balding on top. He walks by, stops, and walks back to see Doug). Doug? You’re still here?
Doug: (Stumbling a bit, nearly falling out of his chair). Mr. Findler! I’m sorry, I didn’t know-
Mr. Findler: (Smiles). Doug, it’s okay. I’m not mad or anything. (Doug sits up and sighs a sigh of relief). You doing alright son?
Doug: Me? Oh yes, I’m just fine. Just starting to get a little bit tired is all.
Mr. Findler: Well you’ve been at work a lot longer than any sane person should have to work. (Leans into Doug’s cubicle). You’re not insane are you?
Mr. Findler: (Laughs). I’m just kidding. C’mon, grab your coat; I’ll show you the door.
-Doug quickly grabs his coat and his briefcase before hurrying after Mr. Findler to the elevator. They pass by the receptionist first.
Receptionist: Night Mr. Findler.
Mr. Findler: Good night Wendy. Lock up and go home already.
Narration: Wendy. Remember, her name’s Wendy…
Mr. Findler: (Doug and Mr. Findler are now on the elevator). Doug, why are you still working here?
Doug: Uh…are you trying to fire me without actually firing me?
Mr. Findler: Hahaha, no, I’d hate to lose you. I know you’ve been covering multiple people’s workload. Haven’t you?
Doug: Maybe on occasion.
Mr. Findler: You don’t have to put up with it you realize. You are allowed to come talk to me if you’re getting bullied by anyone.
Narration: Is it just me or is this beginning to sound a little too “After School Special?”
Doug: Thanks I’ll…I’ll keep that in mind.
Mr. Findler: Let’s cut the crap here. Doug, why are you wasting your life working here?
Doug: Who me? I’m not wasting my life. At least…don’t think I am?
Mr. Findler: I’m a smart man, and you are. Trust me.
-Elevator reaches the ground floor. Doug and Mr. Findler step out and walk across the lobby.
Mr. Findler: Your mind is far too sharp to just do tedious computer work and Mindsweeper all day. If you’d like any vacation time, just let me know. You have a wife?
Doug: Well, fiancé. Soon to be wife.
Mr. Findler: Splurge. Go on an early honeymoon or something. Just do something to keep yourself from going crazy.
Doug: (They reach the door. Mr. Findler heads towards the parking garage). I’ll do my best. (Waves goodbye to Mr. Findler). I suppose I’ll see you tomorrow!
Mr. Findler: Go get some sleep. See you tomorrow! (Leaves).
-Doug begins walking down the sidewalk towards home.
Narration: So yes, I am engaged to a wonderfully beautiful Japanese woman by the name of Keiko. No relation to the whale by the way. We met on a-
-Doug stops, somewhat blank.
Narration: You know what? That’s not an interesting story at all.
-Doug keeps walking.
Narration: Anyway, we met, and that’s all that’s important. We’ve been dating for almost a year now, and basically we’re in love. Not even a fantastic story behind it all. We just met and fell in love. Sorry to disappoint. She’s very nice though. Very quiet as well, which works well enough for me since I’m rather dull. We match perfectly.
-Doug tries to hail a cab. They keep passing by him without stopping.
Narration: I apologize for not bringing her up sooner. You’d think that it’d be a pretty important detail to mention, but as I said, it’s just not that interesting to anyone but us. We just love each other. It’s not a passionate lustful romance that’d be interesting to hear. We haven’t even had sex, actually.
-Quick panel of Doug and Keiko huddled over a puzzle, smiling and laughing.
Narration: We prefer puzzles instead.
-Another quick panel of David and Keiko posing with tacky sweaters on, both with their eyes shut, their mouths wide with grins, and giving the peace sign.
Narration: One month we spent most of our nights knitting each other matching sweaters.
-One last quick panel of them sitting on a couch looking at each other over thick novels, giggling like little kids.
Narration: And mostly we just sit and read nearby each other. It’s amazing how close you can become when you hardly speak.
-Back to the street. Doug is getting more frustrated from being unable to hail a cab.
Narration: The wedding is in a few months. We’re pretty excited, but I’m sad to say I don’t even have a best men quite yet. I just…well I don’t know anyone who I’d want up there with me. Actually, I don’t really know anyone.
-Doug finally blasts a loud whistle in his frustration. A few windows behind him crack, unnoticeably to him. A cab pulls up.
Narration: Oh well, that’s not too important really. I’d invite you to come if you’d be willing, but I’m afraid it will probably be a very boring affair just like the rest of my life.
-Doug gets in the cab. He tilts his head up to look at the cabbie. A gun is pointed at his head. Doug’s eyes become wide, though his expression is relatively blank.
Man in Passenger’s Seat: Move and we shoot you.
Doug: Oh no.
Scene 11: David’s walking down the street while eating a salad.
Narration: Lady Liberty’s been kidnapped. ‘Bout 20 guys have already been lost in an attempt to find her. The government has no leads and no clue where she might actually be. And now they want me to find her.
-David keeps walks by an apartment building that has a big pink balloon tied to the railing and a sign that reads “Keiko+David Bridal Shower!!!” Keiko and several women are seen in the window, all excitedly opening gifts and the like. As David passes the balloon he pops it with his fork and just keeps walking, continuing to eat.
Narration: I’d have no problem doing this if I had my body and not this dumpy fat one. I’ve spent the last couple of months desperately trying to track this guy down, and I believe I’ve narrowed him down to this city. If I’m going to have any chance of surviving a mission like this, I’m going to need my body back. Given another month I have no doubt I could find him.
-David finishes his salad and hands the empty bowl to a homeless man asking for change. The homeless man looks down at the empty bowl in his hands and becomes very sad as David keeps walking.
Narration: And the government’s giving me only three days to comply.
-David sighs and stops walking.
David: How the hell am I supposed to find this guys?! He could be anywhere!
-A cab drives by with Doug clearly in the window, a gun pointed at his head. David is turned so he can’t see any of this. David stops for a second and looks behind him. The cab has already driven off. David turns back and scratches his chin in comically deep thought.
Narration: I think I might just have an idea.
Scene 12: Doug is in the cab, a gun pointed at his head by the man in the passenger’s seat. There is another man sitting in the seat next to Doug.
Narration: This looks bad.
Doug: (His hands up). Listen, I don’t know why you’d want me; I’m not that interesting.
Passenger Seat Guy: Shut up.
Driver: Listen carefully. We’re going to take you to a little place uptown. Do you have any loved ones we should call?
Doug: I’ll never let you harm Keiko just to get back at me!
Driver: I don’t think you get this, (Turns to the man in the passenger seat), I don’t think he gets this. (Turns back to watch the road). This is a kidnapping. We don’t intend to harm your loved one; we intend to ransom you for as much money as possible.
Passenger Seat Guy: How much would that be, by the way?
Doug: Uh…not much…? (Looks over at the guy sitting next to him. He’s just staring intensely, not moving). Um…is this guy going to do this the whole time?
Driver: Don’t mind Mickey; that’s just his thing. Now keep quiet and we won’t have to shoot you.
Scene 13: David is sitting on the stoop of a building, checking his watch. It says 9:59 pm.
Narration: Alright, we’re coming up to my favorite time. Good, because I’m extremely curious to see if this plan works or not.
-David pulls out a small pouch and unzips it. He pulls out a blood sugar reader and pricks his finger, dripping blood on a strip sticking out from the machine. It beeps a few times before making a “ding” sound. David looks at it.
David: Blood sugar’s really high. How the hell do you get blood sugar that high from a salad…?
-David pulls a needle and a bottle of insulin from the pouch after putting the blood-reader back. He draws some insulin from the bottle and flicks the needle a few times while holding it upright.
Narration: I really hate this.
-Pulls up his shirt and sticks himself in the stomach.
David: The things I do to avoid going into Diabetic shock…
-David puts the needle and bottle back into the pouch and zips them back up. He then checks his watch again. It says 10:04 pm.
David: Okay, any time now would be nice.
-His watch changes to 10:05 pm. Nothing happens. David looks around, confused.
David: Don’t get discouraged. Sometimes it takes a little longer than usual.
-Sits and waits a bit, in different impatient positions from panel to panel, finally checking his watch again. It says 10:12 pm.
Narration: Now I’m worried. It never takes this long. Something must have happened to the guy.
-David looks up and around before looking straight ahead at the reader, a dry look on his face and half smile.
David: You wouldn’t by any chance know what’s going on, would you?
Scene 14: The ransom cab with Doug having a gun pointed in his face. Mickey is still staring at him.
Doug: (Points at Mickey). Is he really, really just going to do that?
Driver: (Still watching the road). As long as you don’t try and leap out of the car. You move and Mickey’ll do something you’d rather he not do. And then we shoot you of course. Possibly vice versa; depends on the situation.
Doug: Are we to the warehouse yet?
Passenger Seat Guy: Who said anything about a warehouse?!
Driver: (Turns slightly to the Passenger Seat Guy). D’you tell him about the warehouse?
Passenger Seat Guy: No! I swears it!
Doug: I didn’t mean to make trouble; it was just a lucky guess.
Driver: Yes, we’re about to the warehouse. Keep quiet.
-The cab pulls into a warehouse as the door closes behind it. One other guy in a black trench coat with black leather gloves and black glasses on is standing in the darkened space, leaning against a chair with rope hanging from it.
Driver: Alright. We’re going to move you to the chair. You gonna do anything funny?
Doug: (Confusedly looks from the driver to Mickey and back). Me or Mickey?
Doug: Did you point at me or Mickey?
Passenger Seat Guy: Alright wise guy. Outta the car.
-Mickey quickly opens his door and runs to the other side of the car to open Doug’s door, staring him right in the face as he exits, his hands still in the air.
Doug: Please stop that.
Mickey: No. (Doug smiles and points. Mickey drops his attitude and laughs as everyone seems to laugh). Uh…ah. Haha. (Instantly Mickey’s back to staring and everyone’s serious again).
Forth Guy: Many refer to me by the name The Black Glove. What shall I call you?
Doug: (Really confused again, looking back and forth from everyone). Is he talking to me? Mickey, is he talking to me?
Driver: Hostage, what’s your name?
Black Glove: And what shall I add at the end of Doug?
Passenger Seat Guy: How many S’s was that?
Black Glove: Seven. A good omen perhaps?
Doug: (Weakly smiles). Perhaps…?
Black Glove: No. (Pulls a silenced gun from his trench coat and holds it to Doug’s head). You now have seven seconds to tell me your full name, the names of anyone who can pay ransom for you, and an address where we can reach them.
Black Glove: One.
Doug: My name’s Doug, and…
Black Glove: Two.
Doug: I’m not worth anything, I swear.
Passenger Seat Guy: Three.
Black Glove: No I’m counting. You don’t count.
Passenger Seat Guy: I was just trying to help.
Black Glove: Have you learned the ancient art of numerics such as I? I think not. Four.
Doug: Can we come to some middle ground here?
Black Glove: Five.
Doug: You can have my wallet, will that be enough?
Black Glove: (Shakes his head and cocks his gun). Six.
Doug: (Closes his eyes). Dear Lord please look after me in my time of great need…
Black Glove: Seve-
-As The Black Glove begins to pull the trigger on his gun, Doug reaches out and grabs his foe’s wrist with his right hand, palm-striking The Black Glove’s elbow with his left hand, breaking the arm.
Black Glove: ARAAARG!
-Doug quickly pulls The Black Glove around and uses him as a human shield just as Passenger Seat Guy starts shooting.
Black Glove: (The shots hit him, tearing up his coat and revealing a bulletproof vest). Cease fire! You fool!
-Doug immediately reaches around and grabs The Black Glove’s gun-hand, moving it towards Passenger Seat Guy and shooting, knocking the gun from his hand. The Driver has pulled out brass knuckles at this point and is making a move towards Doug. Doug grabs the gun completely out of The Black Glove’s hand and takes it entirely apart before pushing The Black Glove into the Driver and palm-striking the Driver in the nose. The driver goes down with The Black Glove on him.
-Doug does a quick roundhouse kick to the side of Passenger Seat Guy’s face, knocking him to the ground as well. He begins to get up, but Doug leaps down with a heel-strike onto Passenger Seat Guy’s back.
-Mickey has leaped at Doug at this point, practically foaming at the mouth. Doug wrestles with him briefly, getting caught from behind in a chokehold. The Black Glove has gotten up by now and pulled a knife from his sleeve, advancing on Doug.
-Doug grabs hold of Mickey’s arms, kicking forward at The Black Glove’s face, stunning him. Doug then slams his head into Mickey’s face, backflips behind Mickey, and grabs him in a hold, flipping him head-over-heels with a suplex into the concrete floor. Mickey rolls over, konked completely out.
Black Glove: (Shaking his head, clearing his vision and regaining control). You have made a most grievous error on this day. You have made the fatal mistake of becoming the enemy of The Black Glove!
-Black Glove runs at Doug with the knife out. Doug kicks his leg out sideways, grabbing the chair with the rope on in and pulling them both to him. He slides the chair forward, knocking the Black Glove’s legs out, making him fall face forward towards Doug on the chair.
-Doug swings the rope quickly, lassoing The Black Glove. Doug wraps him up again and again, then pushes him off the chair again with his foot before grabbing the chair and breaking it over the side of The Black Glove’s face. The Black Glove falls down, K.O.ed.
-Everyone is on the ground groaning and unconscious as Doug remains in a ready stance before finally taking a deep breath and shaking his head.
Doug: Whoa. Where did that come from? (Looks around, nervous). I’ve gotta get out of here. (Turns around and runs as hard as he can out of the warehouse).
Scene 15: David’s still sitting on the stoop. His watch reads 12:45.
Narration: In the past year I’ve never encountered an instance like this. This is the latest I’ve ever had to wait. On weekends I expect it around 11:05 instead, but I’ve never had it this late. It’s not Daylight Saving Time is it?
-Doug looks around again.
Narration: I’m ashamed to say I’ve finally become afraid of what this might mean. For all I know my body was involved in some sort of fatal accident.
-David shakes his head.
Narration: No, no. I can’t think that way. Clearly my body’s just getting laid or something. It makes sense that’d it’d happen eventually. Guy’s gotta eat after all.
-David walks into the street and off at a view of the city.
Narration: I just wish there was something more I could do. What’s happening out there? What’s going on?
David: Where are you?!
Scene 16: Doug is running completely out of breath, finally reaching the doorstep of his apartment.
Narration: I honestly have no idea what happened back there. I remember being kidnapped, but after that, I felt like I had no control. I’ve never been in a situation like that before, but my body was responding as if I had. How did I manage to do half that stuff? I don’t know how to do a backflip, so why was it so simple to do one just an hour ago?
-Doug fumbles around his pockets for a key, realizing that his pockets are empty. He frantically looks around, seeing a fire escape. He leaps at it, grabbing the bottom rung and pulls himself quickly up, bounding up seven stories like a circus act before stopping at a window. He looks at his hands and then back over his shoulder at the ground.
Narration: I’m not believing this. This has to be a dream. There’s no other explanation.
-Doug looks back at the window and smashes it with his elbow. He crawls inside and walks into his bedroom before slumping down on the bed, dead asleep.
Scene 17: David is jogging down the street, panting desperately and about to pass out.
Narration: I may not be able to do anything, but sitting in one place definitely isn’t helping.
-David finally stops, stooping over from exhaustion, struggling to catch his breath.
Narration: I hate this stupid body.
-Suddenly David changes into Doug. David stops panting before standing upright, looking his hands over. Finally David lets out a sigh and wipes his brow.
David: Well that’s a relief.
-David cracks his neck before taking a small sheet of paper out of his pocket.
Narration: Okay, time to put my plan into motion.
-David rolls up the small piece of paper and slips it up his nose.
Narration: God I hope this works.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 18
“Don’t Do Anything Stupid”
Recap: Last time, Kyle somehow unearthed a small bunker containing computers that served a function far beyond the comprehension of the group. As usual, Jack and Derek began arguing and as a result Derek blew up the computers. However, this proved to be quite beneficial to the situation and the Demon Regime’s hidden military base came into view off in the distance after losing power from the cloaking device. After a night of excitement, the group’s attitudes severely changed once they realized exactly what they had to do: infiltrate a heavily armed military base, locate anything useful to the Legion, and get out without getting caught. But thankfully, Jack has a plan…
Derek: (The group is standing outside the walls of the military complex). Jack, this may just be the stupidest plan I have ever heard of, and this is coming from me.
Jack: (Busy being the leader). Shh. We don’t have time for your negative attitude. Stick to the plan.
Derek: We have no plan…
Jack: No, we have no good plan. (Stops, having caught himself). Wait…I mean…shut up. (Calling up to Kevin). Do you see anything up there, Kevin?
Kevin: (Looking over the side of the wall). No, it appears that we’re clear.
Jack: (Smiling). Excellent. Let’s go guys.
Derek: This is stupid. (Jack grabs Derek and throws him over the wall).
Jack: Shut…up! (One by one everyone is launched over the wall. Jack finally leaps over by himself). Good, we’re in.
Derek: And now where does your great plan go?
Jack: It goes over there. (Points to a bunch of boxes).
Derek: We’re hiding in boxes? How did you even know these boxes would be here?
Jack: I surveyed the area while you were all sleeping. I knew there would be boxes over here large enough to hide in.
Derek: (Skeptical). And you knew the area would be empty?
Jack: (Skirting most questions). At this time, yes, I knew that it would be empty.
Jack: I created a diversion on the other side of the encampment.
Jack: A few minutes ago.
Derek: When did you find the time?
Jack: Doesn’t matter, we’re in, now shut up and get in the boxes.
Derek: What did you use as a distraction?
Jack: A cactus. In the box.
Derek: How the hell does a cactus distract people?
Jack: It was on fire. Box. Now.
Derek: What do we do once we’re in the boxes?
Jack: I’ll take care of that. It’s part of phase 2 of my plan.
Derek: (Snidely commenting). Hopping the wall would have been phase 2 if you set a cactus on fire…
Jack: It’d be phase 2 for you guys. I’m working from your perspective.
Chris: (He and the others have just been standing quietly as the two bicker). Should we say anything?
Kyle: Nah, let the two argue. Might as well get in the boxes while we wait.
-Jack and Derek argue on while everyone else gets into the boxes according to Jack’s wishes.
Jack: (Frustrated, but keeping his voice down). Derek, get in the box already.
Lindsey: (Knocks on the side of the box). Jack, I don’t mean to bother you but it’s kind of cramped and stuffy in here, so if you could get a move on that’d be great.
Jack: (Rolls his eyes). Fine, Derek, you can help me with this part since you won’t cooperate otherwise. Follow me. (Jack walks to the edge of the alleyway and looks out cautiously. He calls Derek over after a moment or two). On the count of three be ready to deck this guy.
Derek: (Smiling as he cracks his wrist). Now we’re talkin’…
Jack: One…two…(Reaches around the corner, grabs a soldier, and pulls him into the alleyway). Three! (Both Jack and Derek sock the soldier in the face, knocking him out). Okay, Derek, change into his uniform while I get one of my own.
Derek: (Looking the soldier up and down). This guy’s clothes aren’t gonna fit me that well. (Realizes Jack’s not paying attention). Hey Jack, you listening to me?
Jack: (Pulls in another soldier and knocks him out). What? (Waves Derek off). Just put ‘em on anyways. (Strips the guy and starts putting on his uniform).
Derek: (Reluctantly gets into his new uniform). Now what chief?
Jack: We need a hand truck or a dolly or something.
Derek: For what?
Jack: To carry everyone on. (Stuffs the unconscious soldiers into some extra boxes). Just wait here. (Runs out, looks around the corner and walks off).
Derek: This. Is. Stupid.
Jack: (Runs back with two rather large dollies). Start loading boxes.
Derek: (Baffled to the point of being annoyed). How did you find these so fast?
Jack: I got lucky and most everyone’s still inspecting the flaming cactus.
Derek: Why would they still be doing that?
Jack: Because it’s still on fire.
Jack: (Finishes loading boxes onto the hand truck). Don’t ask stupid questions; just follow me. (He starts pushing his dolly out into the open as Derek follows, still confused as to what is going on). This way.
Derek: How do you know?
Jack: A hunch.
Lindsey: (From inside the box). Jack, what’s going on?
Jack: Shh, boxes don’t talk. (Looks around). That building. (Points at a random building).
Derek: Yes? That is a building.
Jack: Let’s get into that building.
Jack: I’ve got a hunch.
Derek: (Dry). I’m glad that you’re not just winging this.
Jack: Shh, soldiers don’t talk. (Jack and Derek push their carts in the direction of the building. There are two guards in front of the building).
Derek: (Whispers). Jack…guards…
Jack: (Whispers back). I know, I know, follow my lead… (Puts on an air of confidence and tips his hat). Afternoon gentlemen.
Guard 1: (Skeptical). What do you have in the boxes?
Jack: Important equipment that we’re moving here for storage.
Guard 1: Why are you storing it in here?
Jack: That’s just what I’ve been told to do. Now if you’ll excuse me…
Guard 2: (Sticks his ahnd out, stopping Jack). Hold on, we have to inspect the boxes. You understand, regulations and such.
Jack: Sure. (The guard walks over to the boxes. Jack jumps up and elbows him in the back of the head, knocking him out).
Guard 1: Hey! What do you think you’re doing?! (Derek runs up and knees him in the stomach, knocking him out).
Jack: (Knocks on the side of the boxes). Chris, Austin, you’re up. (Stuffs the guards into the boxes. Chris and Austin come out dressed in the guard outfits).
Chris: (Patting his shirt, pulling at the baggy uniform). Jack, we look really ridiculous dressed up in these. We look like kids dressed as soldiers.
Jack: Just don’t draw attention to yourself and you won’t get a second look from anyone. Now come on. (Pushes his dolly into the building. Derek and the others follow).
-Jack looks around the building. Derek is surprisingly quiet and obedient at the moment. The room has a large table in the center with a map on it showing the location of the base in relation to Trillium City.
Jack: This could be just what we’re looking for… (Takes a look at the map. It’s got a bunch of random pins placed around locations in the forests and mountains around the area). What are all these pins for…? Attack positions?
Chris: (Looking through documents). No, not attack positions. Excavations sites.
Derek: Excavating what?
Chris: Artifacts. Or at least attempting to excavate artifacts. All these red pins are negative digs.
Jack: What does it say they’re looking for?
Chris: (Reading through the papers). Um…let’s, see…(Mumbles to himself). Looks like they’re looking for priceless gems and rare materials and…(Flips the page and skips a beat). Huh. Well this is interesting.
Derek: What is it?
Chris: They’re looking for that rock I threw out the window in the museum.
Jack: The Eclipse Star?
Chris: (Points). That’s the one. (Squints). Why would they want it?
Jack: (Thinking everything over, arms crossed, chin in hand). If they’re putting all this time and effort and money into finding it then it has got to have some special meaning. Do the papers say anything about why they need the Eclipse Star?
Chris: Negative. These plans only cover what the soldiers know on a need-to-know basis. Questions are apparently discouraged.
Austin: How can you tell?
Chris: (Points). It says here “Questions are discouraged.”
Austin: Oh. That’s fair I suppose.
Chris: Is this all the information we need, Jack?
Lindsey: (From inside the boxes still). Yeah, is this all?
Jack: No, there have got to be battle plans around here somewhere. And boxes still don’t talk.
Lindsey: No fair!
Derek: We aren’t gonna find anything else in this room. We should split up and go searching around the complex to see if we can find anything.
Jack: No, that would be a bad idea. We do need to go looking around some more though. C’mon, grab the dollies; we can’t stay around one place for too much longer. It’s not safe.
-The group grabs the dollies again and wheels them out of the building. However, there are a lot more soldiers walking around the area.
Jack: (Bothered). Damn, the cactus must have gone out by now.
Chris: Jack, what do we do?
Jack: Just don’t draw attention to yourselves. (Looks around and sees another building that catches his interest. He points subtly to it). That one. Follow my lead.
Derek: Not much else to do.
Jack: (Whips around and gets in Derek’s face). Hey, keep quiet.
Chris: This would be one of those things that would draw attention to us…
Derek: Yeah. Shush.
-Jack turns back around and keeps walking towards the building. More and more soldiers are walking past them now, most of which are talking about the unnatural occurrence that had been happening on the other side of the complex.
Soldier 1: What do you think made it do that, eh?
Soldier 2: Don’t know. But remember to be on the lookout for anything else out of the ordinary.
Soldier 1: Like a bunch of idiots carting boxes around on dollies? (Points over towards the group. All four of them look over in worriment of being found out).
Soldier 2: Haha, oh come on, don’t bother the grunts. They have to deal with enough shit as it is.
Solider 1: Yeah you’re right. They look like kids in those outfits anyway. (The two walk on as the group heave a sigh of relief and move on towards the building. There is another rather large guard standing in front of the building).
Bouncer: Hold up there. Clearance check.
Jack: We’re just moving these boxes into storage here.
Bouncer: Don’t be a smart ass. Why would anyone in their right mind need to store anything here?
Jack: That’s the orders I’ve been given.
Lindsey: (From inside the boxes). Are we in yet?
Chris: Bah! (Panics and kicks the box).
Chris: Haha…(Shakes his head as he awkwardly laughs and shrugs to the Bouncer).
Bouncer: (Cock-eyed). Oh I get it. You new guys think it’s funny to play practical jokes on one another, eh? You know the rules about hazing. (Shoos them away). Shove off before I detain you all.
Jack: (Hangs his head and walks off). Yes sir. (The others follow his lead and hang their heads as Jack walks them to an alleyway next to the building). I’ve got to get in there.
Derek: What happened to sticking together?
Jack: There is definitely something in there that we need to know and I need to find out what it is.
Derek: How do you know that?!
Jack: I don’t, it’s a hunch. Stay close to the boxes and don’t talk to anyone unless you’re first spoken to, and then only act like an idiot who just got recruited. I’ll be back in a few minutes.
Derek: Well hurry back.
-Jack climbs up the side of the building and crawls into a vent opening. In the meantime Derek, Chris and Austin all wait anxiously for Jack to get back.
Jack: (Crawling through the vents). Okay, let’s see what we’ve got in here… (Hears voices further down the vent). Bingo.
Voice: Sir, do we have any word on what might have caused the occurrence?
Deeper Voice: No. I suspect that someone planted it as a distraction though.
Jack: I know that voice… (Crawls up to the edge of the ventilation grating and looks through). Syrus!
Syrus: We need troops to search the entire encampment. Last night we lose our covering and today a cactus shows up on our doorstep on fire; this is not just a random coincidence.
Ranking Officer: Do you think they pose a serious threat, sir?
Syrus: (Annoyed). You know my policy on the term “sir”.
Ranking Officer: (Somewhat nervous). Um, Syrus, do they pose a threat?
Syrus: We have to assume so. Creating a perpetually burning cactus may be considered child’s play but we can’t assume anything until we find them.
Ranking Officer: I’ll get right on it sir. (Clicks his heels and salutes as Syrus rolls his eyes. The ranking officer starts to walk away and then remembers something, turning around). Oh, sir, I forgot to mention, Octavious is wishing to speak to you via the radio transmission.
Syrus: (Hangs his head and waves the solider off, definitely annoyed). Thank you now leave. (The solider clicks his heels and salutes again then leaves. Syrus walks over to a radio communicator and flips it on). Octavious, you wished to speak with me?
Octavious: (Via the radio. Octavious begins by mocking Syrus). You know my policy regarding the term “sir”.
Syrus: (Clearly agitated). What did you want?
Jack: (Quietly listening, though having trouble not jumping for joy). This is golden…
Soldier 1: (Walks up to Derek and the others). Heh, new recruits eh?
Derek: (Cooly leaning against the boxes, his arms crossed). Yeah, what of it?
Solider 1: How come I haven’t seen you around before? I’m pretty sure I would have hazed someone like you personally.
Chris: (Waggling his finger). Now now, you know the regulations regarding hazing. (Bit worried). Right?
Solider 1: (Starts pounding his fists). Oh I know them. (Smiles). Don’t get caught…
-Back inside the building.
Octavious: (Via radio). How is Project Locust progressing?
Syrus: Everything is progressing as well as it should be and it would be progressing a lot faster if you would stop pestering me every few hours wondering what I’m doing.
Octavious: Don’t get defensive all of a sudden; you’re acting like a child.
Syrus: Considering the way I’ve seen children act lately I’ll take that as a compliment… (Casually looks up towards where Jack is hiding in the vent).
Jack: (Panics and starts backing quickly out of the vent, cursing under his breath). Shit…!
Derek: (Smiling). Now what have we learned?
Soldier 1: (A crowd of soldiers have gathered as Derek is standing over a clearly bruised and beaten Solider 1). I’m sorry! I’m sorry! New recruits are just as good as regulars!
Derek: (Walks up and kicks Soldier 1 in the stomach. The crowd cheers. Derek’s loving this. He crouches down near Solider 1’s face). I don’t think they can hear you in the back…
Solider 1: (Coughs a bit). You’re better than me!!! (The crowd laughs and cheers again).
Derek: (Stands up, beaming). That’s better. Now run along Scooter. (Solider 1 gets up and runs off while choking back tears. Derek has his hands on his hips, gloating as he basks in the love of the crowd). You know, I might just consider signing up here.
Jack: (Jumps down from the vent into the alley way. He’s frantic). Chris, Austin! Get the dollies; we have to get out of here, now!
Chris: (Unworried). Why? What did you find out?
Jack: Hardly anything, but Syrus knows we’re here! (Looks around). Where’s Derek?
Chris: (Points to the crowd of soldiers). Out there fighting that solider that gave us crap a while ago.
Jack: (You can nearly see Jack’s mind explode and his eyes scream for help). WHAAAAT?!?! (Runs out to find Derek laughing and joking with a group of other soldiers). What the hell are you doing?!
Derek: (Trying to look natural). Calm down…(Looking around anxiously). Don’t make a scene Jack…
Jack: (Regains his composure enough to calm down a little and start playing along). Haha, well come on now, we’ve got a busy schedule to keep, what with Project Locust coming up and all. (Taps his “watch”).
Soldier 2: (As most of the soldiers walk off, this particular one walks up to Jack). What the heck kind of watch is that?
Jack: (Now really starting to panic). This…? Noooothing…? (Whispers off to Derek). Get the dollies and go now…
Soldier 2: (Points at Jack’s “watch”). That is definitely not an ordinary watch.
Soldier 3: (Takes an interest in the conversation). Nah, it’s one of those power reader watches I was telling you about. (Derek, Chris and Austin walk by Jack wheeling the dollies). Here, I’ve got one, too. (Pulls up his sleeve to reveal a power reader watch).
Jack: Haha, they’re pretty sweet. (Points at Solider 2). You should get one. (Slowly edges back towards the others).
Soldier 2: Show me how it works.
Jack: (Whispering to the others). Go go go…
Solider 3: Here, watch. (Turns it on. The thing goes ballistic from reading everyone’s powers nearby. The soldiers are confused). What the heck?
Jack: (Freaks). GO NOW! (He, Derek, Chris and Austin book it as fast as they can away from the two soldiers before they can figure out what’s going on. From behind them they can hear a siren start going off before sirens begin blaring from everywhere). SHIT!
Chris: (Sufficiently panicked). Jack, what do we do?!
Jack: Liberate the troop! (They flip the boxes off the dollies, busting them open and letting everyone else out).
Lindsey: (Confused). Jack, what’s happening?!
Jack: (The entire complex is now ablaze with noise and movement towards the group). RUUUUN!!!!!
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 17
“The Hidden Plateau”
Recap: Last time, after being dropped off in the desert, the group began learning how to use energy blasts to their advantage. While nearly the entire group mastered the basic techniques, they found themselves at a lost for just where to go to find the Regime’s hidden military complex. Derek split off from the group for a day, coming back with no results. Once Jack lost their supplies, it became apparent that they needed to find the base immediately. Luckily, at about this time Kyle finally developed his own energy blast that blew open a hole in the side of the ridge.
Kyle: Hey Jack! I think we foooound something!
Jack: (Gets up from the group and runs over with Lindsey). What’s up?
Chris: (Points at Kyle). Kyle just learned how to use energy blasts.
Lindsey: (Extremely excited). Good job Kyle!
Kyle: (Slightly serious, pointing at the hole). Take a look at the hole I made.
Jack: (Briefly looks over). Oh yeah, that’s a nice hole alright…(Does a double-take and looks back more carefully). Uh…why are there flashing lights coming from that hole?
Chris: That’s what we’re trying to tell you. So we go check it out?
Jack: Right, but you’d better let me go first in case there’s trouble.
Kyle: God forbid those flashing lights could give us seizures.
Jack: Who knows what those flashing lights mean.
Chris: (Calling off to Derek). Derek! Come check this out!
Derek: (Almost annoyed). I’m coming! (Jogs over).
-Jack, Derek, Lindsey and Chris all walk down into the hole and discover that it doesn’t go down very deep. Inside is a small bunker of some sort that houses a number of computer screens and panels, all blinking randomly and showing different images.
Lindsey: Hey Jack, what are all these computers for?
Jack: (Surveys the room and pretends to know what all the computers are for). From the look of things I’d have to say that it’s basically just a meteorologist station. Nothing more than a facility for reporting the weather.
Chris: What’s this symbol right here? (Points at a small picture of a skull with horns on it).
Jack: It looks like… (Inspects it very closely and seems somewhat deflated by the truth). Yeah, it’s the Demon Regime’s crest.
Lindsey: What does that mean Jack?
Jack: That…this is a weather station for the Demon Regime?
Derek: (Looking at Jack cock-eyed). You’re making this up, aren’t you?
Jack: (Defensive). Why would I need to do something like that? Look right here, this looks like a Doppler radar used for gathering information on the weather. (Keeps pointing at things). This here is a thermometer and next to it is a barometer, used for testing…weather-related things. See? Nothing out of the ordinary. (Slams his hand down on the keyboard).
Kyle: (Still standing outside the hole). Wait a minute. This is my hole. Why am I waiting out here? (Starts to walk over to the hole but sees something catch his attention in the distance as a few bright lights flash into view). And what have we here?
Derek: (Calling Jack’s bluff). I’m telling you that this is definitely something more important than a weather station! (Flicks his hand and hits a lever).
Kyle: (The lights in the distance go black again. Kyle looks sad). Ahhh…maybe not.
Jack: And I’m telling you that this is a waste of time! (Leans on the control panel).
Kyle: (Lights come up in the distance again, this time from different spots). He…hey guys…?
Derek: Stop acting like you’re in charge of all of us! (Slams his fist into one of the screens).
Kyle: (More lights come on, now buildings can be seen. Kyle is trying not to let it out of his sight while still calling for the others). Seriously, guys, this is kinda important.
Jack: I am in charge of this group! (Kicks the control panel). You need to start treating me with the respect I deserve! (Slams his hand again).
Kyle: (Lights are coming on and then turning off all over. Kyle slumps and shrugs). Why is it that I’m the only one who’s seeing this?
Derek: I’m giving you the respect you deserve! You don’t deserve anything! (Knees the control panel).
Kyle: (All lights go out and then come back on). Seriously now, this could be worth taking a look at, Jack.
Jack: I don’t deserve any respect?! You don’t even deserve to be here! (Refrains from hitting anything).
Chris: You know, I think I keep hearing Kyle trying to tell us something…
Kyle: (Everything disappears. Kyle raises an eyebrow). Well that was weird.
Derek: I’ll prove to you that I’m more valuable than anyone else here! (Flips out and fires an energy blast at the computer, completely destroying it in a blaze of glory).
Kyle: (An explosion of light appears in the distance as an entire military base comes into view). Bwaaa?
Jack: (Annoyed). Look what you did! You destroyed everything!
Lindsey: Enough! You two need to calm down!
Kyle: (Screams into the hole). HEY! (This startles everyone). Get your heads outta that hole and look at what I found! (Everyone walks outside again and Kyle points off into the distance). Look what I did. Aren’t you proud?
Jack: (Dumbfounded). That’s the Regime’s base…
Derek: (Also dumbfounded). The one we were trying to find…
Both Derek and Jack: We did it! (The two jump up and down, hugging each other).
Lindsey: I don’t get you boys.
Chris: I don’t usually get us either.
-Meanwhile, off in the top of the ridge some distance off.
Commander: (Looking through a pair of binoculars, he’s absolutely dumbfounded as well). They actually did it. They actually found the base.
Subordinate: What does this mean for us?
Commander: This means that they found it, that’s all. I expected them to have starved to death or given up before they found it, but this doesn’t mean that they’ve succeeded yet. Their mission was to find and infiltrate the base; they’ve got half a mission left to go.
Subordinate: So no change in plan as of yet?
Commander: No, plan remains as follows… (Begins to explain as the scene changes back).
-As the night goes on the entire group has woken up and are excited at their surprise accomplishment.
Austin: (Patting Chris on the back). See Chris? Everything has a way of working out in the end.
Chris: This was just beginner’s luck. If Kyle hadn’t blown open that bunker, we’d still be depressed and moping.
Derek: So, turns out the weather station was not quite a weather station, eh Jack?
Jack: Turns out it was part of a cloaking machine for the Regime. Turns out I was wrong. Would you like a gold star Derek?
Derek: As a matter of fact, I kinda would, if you don’t mind.
Jack: Will you settle for a thumbs-up and a stick of gum?
Derek: It will have to do.
-The group laughs and jokes the entire night, all content with their greatness. They all pass out in the wee hours of the night.
Syrus: Hmh, who goes next?
-Syrus shoots an energy beam from his finger at someone.
-Syrus proceeds to fight with everyone, quickly disposing of them one by one.
Chris: (Freaking out). Why are you doing this?!
Syrus: I told you that I’d bring Hell with me, didn’t I? (Laughs under his breath as everything goes blindly white).
Chris: NOOOOO!!! (Chris sits bolt upright after waking himself up. He’s breathing heavily). Where am I?! What’s going on?!
Austin: (Rubbing his eyes, startled awake as well). Hey, Chris, buddy, you’re alright, you were just asleep and from the sounds of it you were having a nightmare.
Kyle: (Turns over in his sleep). How original…
Austin: You wanna talk about it?
Chris: I don’t know if there’s much to talk about. I saw Syrus laughing at me; he kills someone, and then starts fighting with everyone else. I think he kills them, too. I don’t know; I’m not sure what I saw.
Austin: You’re just under a lot of stress, I mean we all are, but you’ve never been one to handle stress that well. Try and get some more sleep, it’ll be good for you.
Lindsey: (Walks over to Chris and Austin). I heard you yelling, are you alright, Chris?
Chris: I’m fine, it was just one of those dreams, ya know?
Lindsey: We all get them sometimes. It’s part of being human. (Sits down next to Chris). Get some sleep. C’mon, we’re right here for you. We’ll stick with you. Nothing bad can happen if we stick together. (Nuzzles Chris’ shoulder in her sleepiness).
Chris: I hope you’re right about that.
Lindsey: Of course I’m right about that. Now just try and rest. (Pulls Chris so that he’s lying down with his head in her lap. She starts stroking his hair). See? Nothing bad can happen. Shh…go to sleep…(She sings softly to him. Austin smiles and turns over to go back to sleep. Chris falls asleep quickly and sleeps through the rest of the night).
* * * * *
-The next morning, everyone wakes up early and starts moving around to prepare for the day. The excitement from the previous night has turned into a more anxious, worried feeling.
Jack: (Explaining his plan to everyone). So the plan is to get in there as quietly as possible, find the information we need, then get out equally as quiet as when we went in there in the first place.
Derek: (Bored and unimpressed by Jack). Gee, maybe I should write this down.
Jack: (Points at Derek). I’m gonna have to watch you extremely carefully. No fancy stuff in there. There is no room to show off; this isn’t one of those kinds of missions.
Clinton: Do we know where to find all the battle plans and blueprints and information and such, or are we just going in there without any idea and hoping that we stumble across it at one point?
Jack: Heh, of course not, I know where we’re going.
Clinton: Oh good, ‘cause for a minute there I was worried that you were just making stuff up about a military base that we just found and has never been seen by even our superiors, but thankfully, you know where we’re going.
Jack: (Pause). That is correct.
Clinton: (Blinks for a moment and turns away). Kevin, tell me a little bit more about this “God” you speak of…(Walks off towards Kevin).
Chris: Jack, do you honestly know where everything is in there?
Jack: I’ll find it. I’m betting that it’s in the middle of the complex.
Chris: (Skeptical). You’re betting or you know?
Jack: I know.
Chris: For sure?
Jack: For the most part.
Chris: Maybe we should just give it a few more days of thought and scope out the area a bit more or something?
Jack: (Stern). No, we’re going in today. We’re ready and we don’t have time to waste. Besides, we don’t have any food or supplies anyway, so we need to finish this before we’re in a worse situation.
Chris: And then what?
Jack: Then we go home.
Chris: How are we getting home?
Lindsey: (Realization). Oh no, Jack, didn’t you drop the radio into the river yesterday?
Jack: No we were never…(Bigger realization)…given a radio…wait…
Lindsey: (Worried). What are you talking about Jack?
Jack: (Thinks to himself). We were never given a radio to begin with…
Lindsey: We forgot to bring one?
Jack: (Shakes his head, still wrestling with the possibility of what this could mean). No, the Legion never gave us one. It just now dawned on me.
Chris: Maybe we were supposed to have grabbed our own radio?
Jack: Maybe, it could have been in the mission briefing. (Struggling to justify everything). That’s probably just it…(Gets up). Doesn’t matter, but now we need a way to get a hold of the Legion and let them know what’s going on. We’ll just have to keep an eye open for a communication station in there somewhere.
Chris: And where would one of those be?
Jack: Probably towards the middle. The building should have satellite dishes coming from the roof. (Claps his hands). So, are we all ready to go?
Chris: (Dead serious). No, none of us are ready to go. I doubt that even you’re ready to go.
Derek: (Growing impatient). I’ve been ready for over a day, let’s get going already.
Jack: Okay everyone, remember the plan.
Kyle: Right, kiss our asses goodbye and hope it goes quickly.
Jack: (Snaps back, not taking any disagreement). No. Stay quiet, stay hidden, and don’t do anything stupid. I’ll take the lead.
Derek: We should leave most everyone here. We only need two or three guys to go in there.
Jack: We’re sticking together, okay?
Derek: (Getting close to Jack and talking quietly). That increases the chance of us getting caught.
Jack: It also allows us to cover more space while we’re in there.
Derek: (Baffled, completely mistrusting Jack). How? If we’re all following you around, then we’re only covering as much space as you lead us to.
Jack: But in case we’re attacked it would be more beneficial to have a larger number of people there to fight.
Derek: So you’re banking off the chance that we’re going to get caught?
Jack: No but I’m prepared for that option should it arise. (Starts to walk on).
Derek: You’re setting us up for failure already.
Jack: (Stops and turns around, getting right in Derek’s face). If we fail I can promise you that you’ll be the one to blame.
Kevin: (Breaking them up). Hey, neither of you are helping the situation any by arguing amongst yourselves. We need to work together in there, watch each other’s backs, just be there for each other. We will be okay in there if we stand firm, but if we’re constantly arguing then it will end in failure. A kingdom divided amongst itself cannot stand, don’t forget that.
Chris: (Pats Kevin’s shoulder). That was great Kevin.
Kevin: (Shrugs). Eh, I haven’t said anything in a while and it seemed relevant at the moment.
Jack: Well, you all heard the religious man; stick together, watch over each other, and above all don’t do anything stupid. Now let’s go!
Lindsey: How do we get in?
Chris: We can’t exactly just walk in there, that would be doing something stupid, and if I remember correctly, you’re somewhat against that.
Jack: Oh I’ll get us in. Didn’t I tell you guys I had a plan?
To Be Continued…