Eclipse Star: Chapter 35
“Months of Healing”
Recap: When we last left off, Project Locust had begun, though thankfully the group was given some forewarning by Chris and found their way to the highest roof of the Legion’s base to make their stand. Joining them was the Commander; although no one had a plan for action other than have Jack create a barrier to protect them. Once Kevin stepped forward with a variation of this plan, everyone rallied together and shared their energy, giving Jack the power to make his shield and the Commander the energy to destroy the entire swarm of Locust creatures. It looked as if there wasn’t going to be enough strength to finish the task, but at the last possible second, (of course), Chris showed up and reestablished the connection between the group and the Commander, thus providing just enough of a boost to end the chapter.
Commander: (He looks more tired than usual, but still grateful that a crisis has been averted. He lets out a heavy breath). Well, the city isn’t in danger, and our base is still standing. Quite the opposite from what happened to the Regime’s base a month ago. I don’t tell you all enough, but I’m proud of you.
Jack: (Crouched down, holding himself tightly, very shaken up from the power surge he experienced as a result of having everyone’s energy transferred to him). Kevin, you never did tell me where you learned that…
Derek: (Weakened but still standing). If you learned that from the Hermit, he sure as hell didn’t tell me.
Kevin: (He is nearly sleeping as he speaks, smiling widely though from a job well done). The Hermit gave you a pair of weapons. He gave Danny and I each something to make use of. It just so happens that he figured I’d find the most use out of the energy transfer technique.
Jack: Yeah, Derek would be the one to try and use it in other ways.
Derek: Ha ha, isn’t Jack funny? So if I was given the Demon Sai and you learned that, what’d Danny get?
Danny: (A few people turn to Danny to ask). Hah, I’m not gonna tell you guys just yet. It’s more of a surprise when you find out at the last second. (Willy looks over at Danny hurt that Danny hasn’t told him yet). Don’t worry Willy, I’ll tell you later, but then you won’t get to experience the surprise.
Willy: Well I do enjoy the surprises, so I suppose I’ll wait, too.
Kyle: (Calls over to the rest of the group). Hey guys, Chris is dead again.
–Most everyone else turns towards Kyle to see Chris again.
-He’s lying on the ground, unconscious with Lindsey cradling his head.
Lindsey: Kyle, he’s not dead! He’s just passed out from the strain, that’s all. He’ll be fine, (Looks up at Kyle, ready to scold him), so stop jumping to conclusions and assuming he’s dead all the time, alright?!
Kyle: (Holding his hands up as defense). Alright, alright, back off now, didn’t mean any harm, he’s my friend too ya know.
Commander: We should get him back in bed before anything worse happens. Derek, carry him back.
Derek: Why me?
Commander: You seem to be the only one here other than myself who can really stand by themselves, and I’m not about to do grunt work.
Derek: Oh, so you think I’ll do grunt work?
Lindsey: Fine Derek, I’ll do it. (She slings Chris’ arm over her shoulder).
Austin: (Walks over). I’ll help.
Kyle: And I’ll supervise.
Kevin: (In awe of what happened, almost remorseful at Chris’ part). He ended up taking the full brunt of that. I’ve been trained how to defend against being overtaken by the upsurge of power, but if you don’t know how deal with it, it can almost kill you, as we’ve just seen demonstrated…
Leena: (Tagging along as Lindsey helps to carry Chris). And he wasn’t particularly in shape either. Hardcore…in a lame pathetic sort of way.
Lindsey: (Not amused). Leena…
Leena: Alright, I’ll lay off. I’m gonna go take a bubble bath until everything stops acting goofy for a while. (Walks away from the group).
Kyle: (Follows Leena). And I’ll supervise.
Leena: You follow me and I’m using your eyeballs as bath salts.
Kyle: Ooh, kinky.
Leena: Ug, I hate you.
Commander: (Patting Jack on the back). Jack, are you alright?
Jack: (Looks up, he’s still not himself at the moment, not cocky and in control). I’m…no, I’m not alright.
Commander: You look pretty battered from that.
Jack: How aren’t you…?
Commander: I’m far more conditioned than you all for this sort of thing. Don’t feel like you’re any weaker for not being prepared for such a dramatic shift in power. That would be the sort of thing you’d learn ten years along, but you insist on doing things now instead of later. (Rubs his eyes). So much like I was…so much like I still am.
Jack: (Looks away from the Commander). You were holding back there, weren’t you?
Commander: Yes. I’m surprised you realized that.
Jack: What was the point of holding back?
Commander: You’re all growing past where you should normally be at your ages; it’s going to be extremely difficult for me to teach you anything without it forcing you all to be pushed past your comfort level. Now you know how conditioned you should be for real fights; that’s valuable information that could save your life.
Jack: (Finally regains his composure). You were still surprised with how much energy we were able to come up with, weren’t you?
Commander: Jack, I would never have been able to control the drastic power swell if I hadn’t been better trained. That much power hitting someone all at once would kill anyone too weak to handle it. Partially why I’m about to go drink until the other half of my body is numb enough to match its counterpart, and partially why it doesn’t surprised me that you’re alive. (Jack smiles, the Commander smiles back). Go report to the hospital wing and stop faking that you can feel anything below your neck.
-Elsewhere in the city…
Syrus: (Standing in front of a large television screen). So Octavious, I’m told that you have something important to say?
Octavious: (On the other end of the communicator). Yes Syrus, I do have something important to say, not that it seems you’d care. First, I’ll ask how Project Locust went. (Sarcastically). Well, how did it go?
Syrus: Project Locust did not succeed in its primary objective. The Legion’s base still stands and not a single member was fatally injured.
Octavious: I am not surprised since you were leading this operation. Why was the attack only centralized on the Legion’s base?
Syrus: We didn’t need an act of war and we didn’t need innocent lives sacrificed to achieve this victory.
Octavious: I would have attacked the city outright.
Syrus: And thus why our styles are slightly different.
Octavious: And thus why this mission was a resounding failure.
Syrus: Not so. I said the mission didn’t succeed in its primary objective; that doesn’t mean that its secondary objective wasn’t an absolute success.
Octavious: (Not sure that he’s ever been informed of this). The secondary objective? Explain.
Syrus: I suggested that Charles modify the Locust virus so that it could retrieve information from hosts. Although he couldn’t make the virus both deadly and informative, he was able to mix in a few modified versions into the attack, and all of them hit their targets. Every single member of the Legion’s “special” forces have been tagged.
Syrus: (Fully enjoying having something to dangle over Octavious’ head). Haha, Octavious I find it so wonderful that this knowledge puts me I’m in a position of power over you right now.
Octavious: (Getting noticeably pissed from the last comment). Give me the God damn explanation already.
Syrus: We now know all about the children who’ve been bothering us, including their Commander, whom I’m sure you’re quite familiar with.
Octavious: (Still annoyed). Yes yes, I already know all there is to know about my cousin, what did we learn about the pests?
Syrus: We possess a greater understanding of what they’re capable of thanks to their genetic makeup.
Octavious: You stole their DNA?
Syrus: “Borrowed” would be a better word for it.
Octavious: Finally some good news. That means that the Hex-Duo Project…?
Syrus: Is proceeding better than planned? Yes. It shall be ready months sooner than expected now that we have this information. There is now nothing that these kids can do that we don’t already know about.
Octavious: (His lips curl into a very satisfied smile). Excellent. Dismissed.
Syrus: Transmission over then. (Turns the monitor off before Octavious can speak again).
* * * * *
-Another week goes by and finally Chris wakes up in the hospital wing again.
Chris: (Slowly opens his eyes). I’m getting sick of this. (Looks over and sees the Commander sitting in a chair in the corner). Huh?
Commander: I figured you’d wake up in about a week. Seems I wasn’t wrong.
Chris: Everyone alright?
Commander: Absolutely. They’re off training with Jack and Derek right now.
Chris: Why the fascination with me then?
Commander: Partially it was Jack’s request. He wanted someone to be here when you woke up and they were all busy, so I agreed to do him this small favor since I haven’t been the perfect role model lately to you all. I must thank you. If we hadn’t been given a little forewarning we probably would have suffered a fatal hit.
Chris: Well thank you.
Commander: How do you feel?
Chris: Everyone always seems to ask me that question.
Commander: You hate that they care?
Chris: I hate that they keep expecting so much from me.
Commander: You’ll have to get used to that.
Commander: It’s in your blood to exceed expectations.
Chris: Why can’t you just give me some of those pill things and heal me quicker?
Commander: Those pills that you’re talking about are still in development and only provide a temporary fix. I don’t encourage their use since it’s much better for you to heal naturally, especially in cases such as yours.
Chris: It doesn’t make it very easy to live up to their expectations when they’re all getting stronger while I’m stuck in bed. I don’t even know how strong they’ve gotten since I’ve been asleep. (Hangs his head). And it’s killing me.
Commander: They’ve all reached the rank of Class 3 soldiers.
Chris: (Reacts with frustration to the fact he never had the rank system explained). I don’t even know what that means…
Commander: Warriors in today’s age are classified based upon a ranking system, usually from one to ten, although there are exceptions now and then.
Chris: (Remarking to no one). This is so stupid… (Back to Commander, actively engaging in the conversation). And they’ve all reached the 3rd rank?
Commander: Just barely but yes. The highest-ranking officers in the Legion are Class 4; I’m a Class 5 myself.
Chris: Do you know what class Syrus belongs to?
Commander: No one can register him that easily since we haven’t clocked him at his best, although what really worries me most in not Syrus, it’s Jack.
Commander: He doesn’t show it very often, but I’ve seen him capable of things beyond myself. The day that he fought with Derek was a key example. I saw the blast he created, and if that’s him at his best then he’s far more powerful than the rest of you, myself included
Chris: I don’t believe that.
Commander: You’ve all been growing in strength far faster than any group I’ve ever seen. I apologize for not knowing how to handle this, but I assure you that I never meant for any of you to get seriously hurt as a result.
Chris: The mission in the ridges then?
Commander: I was calling your bluff hoping that you’d all back down a little and act your age. I expected your group to get lost, wander around aimlessly for a week, and then finally give up and understand some sort of limitations, but as it would seem you all weren’t bluffing and did what no one else had the initiative to do.
Chris: So then did you…?
Commander: Know where the base was? Yes, I knew, and I was one of the few who did. It’s information that I didn’t want getting out as common knowledge within the Legion or else someone would demand to storm the base and tactically it would have been required, what with an invading force planting itself on our soil and posing a threat. It would have gotten to the president and from there he’d order the charge and no good would have come from it. It’s bad enough we have a war abroad between our two nations; we don’t need things to show up here, right in the public’s eye.
Chris: Then why didn’t you just attack it yourself?
Commander: I have my reasons.
Chris: (Angry). Too risky for you to be put in actual danger instead of us, huh?
Commander: One of the highest-ranking officers in the Legion is a spy for the Regime, although he doesn’t know that I’m aware of this. They would have been far more ready to defend had he told them that a group of the Legion’s best warriors were planning an assault instead of a few kids. (Stands up and starts to walk away). But now I’m telling you more than you need to hear and far more than you should know. Jack would be jealous.
Chris: Wait, I have just one more question.
Commander: What is it?
Chris: Why does the Regime want the Eclipse Star so badly?
Commander: (Pauses for a minute). Don’t get yourself involved with that now. You need rest if you’re ever gonna stand a chance of getting well in time to catch up to your friends in training, and I promise you, if you knew what the Eclipse Star was you wouldn’t be resting much anymore. (Starts to walk away but stops). Wait…there’s one more thing.
Chris: (Still annoyed). What is it? More information that I’m not supposed to know?
Commander: No…this is information you should know, but only you. (Reaches into his coat and pulls out a tape). I’d been debating about giving this to you, but in light of what’s happened, I feel it’s the only right thing to do.
Chris: What is it?
Commander: (Hands Chris the tape). It’s a tape I’ve been holding onto for a long time now. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember, but no one else has seen it. You’ll be the second.
Chris: What, is this supposed to make amends for things?
Commander: In a way, yes. Just watch the tape. I’ll keep everyone busy for a while to give you privacy.
Chris: And if I choose not to watch it.
Commander: Then I don’t give a damn. I gave you the tape; that’s more than I needed to do. (Leaves).
Chris: (Stares at the tape for a while). Huh. What the heck’s so secret that only the Commander’s seen it? (Inspects the tape). What the…? (A label on the front says simply, “For Chris.”). What sort of joke is this?
-Chris sets the tape down on the bed and lies back for a while before finally getting up.
Chris: Fine. Let’s see what’s on this thing.
-Chris walks over to the TV and inserts the tape before sitting back on the edge of the bed with the remote.
Chris: Alright, “play.”
-The TV turns on but it only shows static for a while.
-Suddenly the tape kicks in as an image comes onto the screen, fuzzy at first as someone fiddles with the camera used to film. The person sets the camera down in front of her and sits on a plain chair. The woman is looking down, having a hard time beginning to speak.
Chris: (Getting really intrigued). What the hell is he making me watch?
-The woman on the screen looks up finally, a tear rolling down her cheek from large, light-brown eyes hidden behind glasses. She has dark-brown hair coming down past her shoulders. She’s wearing a standard Legion-issued uniform with Kevlar armor.
Woman: I don’t expect any of this to make much sense to you, but please believe me. Chris…(sniffs back a tear). I’m sorry I’m not around to explain this personally, but circumstances have forced me to do it this way. I’m…I’m your mother.
Chris: (His eyes go big as he instantly scoots as close to the TV as he can manage). Mom…?
Chris’ Mother: Listen closely Chris. There’s a lot I need to say and I don’t have a lot of time to say it. I don’t know how much your grandma told you about me, because I don’t think she really knew much. I kept a lot secret from her. For start, I haven’t been going by our last name for years. I’m sure you go by Chris Collins, right? You won’t find my name in any documents anywhere, because I’ve been going by Sharon Duke, but your last name is Morgenstern, from your father, James, my husband.
Sharon: For the last several years, I’ve been in command of an organization I established as counter-terrorist group to resist any threats the world falls under. I’ve named my organization Legion, after the Biblical demon. “For we are many.” It seemed only right to combat Octavious’ new regime.
Chris: My mom founded the Legion?
Sharon: I did my best to do everything I could to better the world, and eventually I got the chance to do that on a grander scale than I could imagine, but I think it’s about to come at a price. Decimus, if you’re watching this, I put you in command of Legion. I hope the idea of continuing the fight against your cousin isn’t something you can’t handle alone.
Chris: Decimus? Who’s Decimus?
Sharon: Chris…(another tear rolls down her cheek). I’m sorry, I’m not usually so emotional. Hmm, you try for years to fight the stigma of being a woman and here you go weeping like an idiot… (Shakes her head). I was offered the chance to fight alongside some of the greatest individuals ever to exist on this earth, one of which was your father. We did our best to save this world, and it seems we did as best as we could have been expected since the world’s still here. It just looks a little different. We stopped the Eclipse Star from accomplishing its purpose, but that wasn’t enough. Most of the others are dead, or they will be soon. I’m going back to protect your father, but before I do I want to leave you with something…to remember me by… (She turns away, tears streaming down her cheeks).
Chris: Ah mom…don’t cry… (He’s tearing up, too).
Sharon: (Regains her composure, serious and stern). Chris, you’re the son of a good commander and a wonderful man. If you’re anything like your father, you’ve made yourself a handful of close friends, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve accumulated a handful of guilt. Whatever happens from now on, it’s up to you to keep them safe. Even if the world goes to hell, even if everything else is lost, keep them safe. Never, ever give up. That’s an order. I know that it isn’t going to be easy and I know you aren’t going to want to, but you have to. (Starts to break again). You have to. (Shakes her head). No…I can’t help you any more than this. If you ever meet a man named Syrus, for God’s sake be careful. He’s extremely dangerous, but you couldn’t possibly begin to understand his motives. Just stay away from him if you can.
Chris: (Quietly). Too late…
Sharon: Chris…I love you. (Kisses the tips of her fingers and presses them against the screen). I always will. Your father does, too. We wish we could help you through whatever it is you’re about to face, and we’re sorry we can’t. Just hang in there. (Sniffs). Good…goodbye. (Fumbles to turn the camera off).
Chris: (He stares at the screen as it goes back to static, just trying to take it all in. He finally buries his face in his hands). Mom… The Commander of the Legion? (Looks up). What happened to you? Where did you go? (Head down again). How can I be expected to do that much? I didn’t ask for any of this. (Looks out the window). Damn, I wish I hadn’t wandered away from the fieldtrip in the first place…
* * * * *
-Three months have gone by. Derek has succeeded in teaching everyone how to fly in addition to using complicated energy attacks. Jack has started teaching the basics of his barrier technique now that he’s had enough time to practice it. Everyone has begun to develop their own styles and moves as well.
-Furthermore, the stones that Austin’s group had found in the forest temple have proved to be extremely powerful, each granting a different elemental-style to the possessor; one of fire, one of water, one of electricity, and one of earth. The group has begun learning how to control these powers, although not very closely since only four of them can use the stones at the same time, thus some arguments have broken out.
-And low and behold, who should we still find in the hospital wing…
Chris: (Up and about his room, pacing and sparring with no one). Why won’t he let me out there with them?! (Punches the air). I’m fine! I’ve never felt better! (Kicks at nothing). Damnit, I hate this room! (Tries to power up, falls over from overexerting himself).
Austin: (He and Kyle are sitting off to the side, both somewhat tired of hearing Chris complain day in and day out). Sorry buddy, from the looks of things you’re still too thrashed to leave the sick bay.
Chris: But I’ve been here for three months now; how is it possible that I’m not well enough to do anything?!
Kyle: You seem to have enough strength to complain; I suppose that’s a plus.
Austin: And you’re caught up with your schoolwork, too. We’re way behind at this point.
Chris: Hey, toss me one of those stones you’ve got, I’ll show you that I’m fine.
Austin: (Pulls out the red stone). One of these? You think you can use one of these just by assuming you can?
Austin: I don’t believe you. (Tosses him the stone). There, now wow me.
Chris: (Grabs the stone tightly and focuses his mind, straining to make it do anything). Come on…come on damnit! (Nothing). Ga! (Tosses the stone back to Austin). Alright! Are you happy that I can’t do it?! Huh?!
Austin: No, I want to see you happy, and I know it’s tough for you to have to sit on the sidelines while we’re out and getting better, but sometimes life just goes like that.
Kyle: Yeah, every once in a while your friends are gonna learn how to fly and create earthquakes and hell storms and such and you’re not gonna be able to play; thus is life.
Austin: Sorry Chris, I love ya man but I can’t just sit in here and listen to you complain about things so much. Get some rest.
Chris: Stop telling me that!
Austin: I’ll be sparring with everyone else outside if you decide to stop acting like a jerk about everything. (Walks out of the room).
Kyle: I’m not about to give you some sentimental hooey to make you feel better, so…don’t get some rest. Haha, reverse psychology. (Walks out of the room).
Chris: It doesn’t work if you tell the person about it to their face! (Sits down on the bed in a huff). I give up… (Knock at the door). Come in.
Lindsey: (Slowly opens the door and walks in). Hey, Austin said that you might need some more cheering up so I thought I’d stop in and see how you were doing.
Chris: I’m doing…(sigh)…as good as always. (Smiles). You look tired.
Lindsey: (Regarding this more like an insult). Oh thanks.
Chris: No I mean…that’s not what I mean. You just look like you’ve got a lot on your mind.
Lindsey: It’s just…(Sighs). Okay, you know how Jack’s always acting like a tough know-it-all?
Chris: Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
Lindsey: Well, I’ve been trying to get him to loosen up and calm down a bit and it’s harder than I figured it would be.
Chris: He’s pretty stubborn sometimes.
Lindsey: (Hands on hips, teasing Chris). Oh, look who’s talking.
Chris: Good point.
Lindsey: Anyway, Jack is a sweetheart deep down, I know this, but it’s getting really hard to let him see this.
Chris: Why do you even care?
Lindsey: Chris, don’t tell anyone but…(Bites her lip). I’ve got kind of a small crush on him.
Chris: (All color fades from his face, his brain melts out from his ear). Oh…re…really?
Lindsey: Yeah, but like I said, don’t tell anyone. Leena’s the only one I’ve told and I don’t want it to get back to Jack so soon. I’m trying to get him to ask me out but it’s really difficult to make a guy make the first move, you know?
Chris: (Speechless). No.
Lindsey: Well maybe that’s because you’re just a great guy. Anyway, I don’t mean to trouble you, I just needed someone to talk to about it. Promise not to tell him? (Chris nods but clearly he’s separated his mental being from his physical being). Thanks Chris, you’re a good friend.
-Lindsey hugs him. Chris’ eyes dart around the room for a gun to put in his mouth.
Lindsey: So you feeling any better today?
-Chris is about ready to flip out, however….
Lindsey: What the…?
–A piercingly loud siren begins to go off inside the building.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 34
“Pulling a Moses”
Recap: After a week or so of rest, Chris found himself more bored and disappointed than feeling well. Everyone else on the other hand was beginning to learn how to fly. Still, they were all making time to visit him and cheer him up. However, on the other side of town, Syrus gave the word and Project Locust began with an ominous buzzing noise.
Chris: (Sitting alone in his hospital bed, tapping his fingers now and then and staring up at the ceiling, bored as ever). Okay, something needs to happen today. (Thinks to himself). No wait…something good needs to happen today. (Points upwards). Did you get that inflection there, God? That means no bad things. (Looks around for something to entertain him and finds nothing). I guess I could write a play…? (Looks around). No paper…wonderful. Well, at the very least I could come up with the basis for a story. Yeah, something awesome, with lots of action and…random stupid fighting with little or no sense to it. (Sits up). Yes, that’s what it shall be. A story about these seasoned warriors who must save the world. No, better make them kids so that the story can last for longer than it should. And the main character will be named…(Looks around the room again, can’t think of any names, taps his fingers again). Oh come on, how hard can it be to think up character names? Good name…good name…aha! I’ll just name him Chris. Yeah, and base all the characters off of people I know! (Stops for a second). But that’s lame. Unless…I say that I think that the best characters for a story should come from real inspiration! Yeah! Now we’re getting somewhere! (Strokes his chin in thought). Okay, so if I’m the main character…well there’s got to be a love interest. And it’s Lind- no, can’t use her real name, that’d be creepy. Um…(Taps his chin). I know! I’ll name her something totally random that no one can trace back to me. Like…Sally! (Stops and reacts with an outburst of frustration). What?! No, that’s a terrible name! Who would believe a story with a name as basic as that? Linda! No, that sucks, that’s almost the name Lindsey. Okay, for now she shall be called “the love interest” while I think this plot further through. (Crosses his arms in thought and throws out a name randomly). Rachel?
–A black cat with white paws and a white underside jumps onto the windowsill suddenly and walks into the room.
Chris: Oh. (Confused that a cat made its way into the hospital wing). Hey kitty. What’re you doin’ here?
Cat: (Looks over at him, gives him a puzzled look, and walks over to his table). Mreow?
Chris: Good point, why am I talking to a cat? (The cat jumps onto the table next to Chris’ bed and begins eating the sandwich sitting on it). No kitty, don’t eat Kyle’s sandwich. Wait…(Remembers who’s sandwich it is). Yeah you can eat that.
Cat: (Looks up, kinda smiles). Purr.
Chris: (Reaches over and tries to pet the cat). Don’t run away now, I’m really bored and need some attention. (The cat looks over and walks closer to Chris to let it pet him). Ah, aren’t you a nice kitty. You need a name. Dang, I’m the wrong person to ask for names. (The cat looks over and somewhat nods his head). Hey, don’t agree with that. I’ll give you a name later, how ‘bout that? (Cat shrugs). How can a cat shrug, really? (Cat shrugs again). Well regardless of how crazy I’ve become, you may be my friend if you wish. (Cocks his head, throws a name out randomly). Rachel? (The cat gives him a dirty look). Hey, that’s a great name! I have a cousin named Rachel. (The cat looks questioningly at him). Okay, so I have no cousins, I just like the name.
–Cat nods approval and goes back to eating the sandwich. Chris starts to pet it again, suddenly it turns its head towards the window and runs up to it, looking out with its body tense.
Chris: What’s up? You hear something kitty?
–The cat looks over as if to shush him. Chris shuts up for a second and listens carefully, discovering a sound that he’s unfamiliar with.
Chris: What is that noise…?
-Chris forces his way out of bed, ever so slowly since he’s still recovering. He gets to his feet and shuffles over to the window, peering out to see if he can catch sight of whatever’s making the noise.
Chris: Sounds like a low hum, eh kitty?
–The cat nods, then bobs its head back and forth a bit.
Chris: Yeah, that’s what I thought…and I’ll stop calling you kitty. (The cat nods again). It’s almost like…
–Looks off into the distance, squinting heavily. The feeling hits him and he’s almost so aghast that he falls backwards.
Chris: It’s a cloud of insects! (The cat looks over). I don’t know how I know, just trust me. Hey, anyone! Anyone…? (Realizes that his voice is pitiful). Come one guys, we’ve got a problem here!
–Tries whistling, but just makes a pathetic spittle noise.
Chris: Dang it I can’t whistle. Anyone!
–Looks out the window, throws his arm out, and fires the most terrible energy blast seen yet. The oddly-shaped ball hovers sporadically through the air, clipping the top of a building and causing the top to erupt with flames.
Chris: AH! How’d I do that?!
Cat: Mreow mew meow meow?!
-The cat viciously shrugs and tries to pass off the blame as the two characters dance around in the somewhat chaos that has just begun ensuing.
Jack: (Throws open Chris’ door, looking panicked). Chris! We’re under attack and…(Seeing that Chris is standing towards the window and out of bed). What’re you doing out of bed…again?!
Chris: (Frantic in trying to describe what he saw). Jack! Big problem! Cloud…um…big cloud…lots of bad things! Really bad!
Jack: (Hardly listening to Chris). We’re under attack, the East tower’s been hit by an explosion man, did you see anyone out there?!
Chris: Yeah, that was me, I needed to get attention and now I’ve got attention and GO SAVE THE CITY!
Jack: (Dumbfounded). …WHAT?!
Chris: (Trying harder to explain). Don’t you hear the buzzing noise?
Jack: (Pauses for a second). …No…why, should I?
Chris: YES! (Hobbles back to bed). Jack, I saw a cloud of insect-like things heading for the city, coming from the East.
Jack: You saw this?
Jack: In a dream?
Jack: In real life?
Jack: Then…? (Hands out in frustration, asking for Chris to offer a better explanation).
Chris: Jack, when have I ever been able to explain anything that I’ve done?
Jack: Good point, you stay here. I’ll go get everyone alerted. (Starts to rush back out the door. Turns quickly for one last question). Any idea how long we’ve got until this cloud of insects hits the city?
Chris: No clue.
Jack: Good to know. (Out the door).
Chris: Well cat, looks like it’s just you and me to save the city. (Looks back at the cat, which is jumping out the window). Hey! Ah, darn you cat, always stealing my glory.
Jack: (Tearing through the halls, heading towards the training grounds where everyone’s located). This has got to be it. This has to be Project Locust. Cloud of insects? Of course, what else is it gonna be? (Finally throwing open the double doors to the training grounds where he finds his team). Gather ‘round guys! We’ve got a situation!
Derek: (In the middle of a flying lesson). Jack, we’re kinda busy at the moment.
Jack: Chris saw something that’s about to ravage the city.
Derek: Chris is a crazy mental patient who thinks he can fly by stepping off ledges.
Jack: It’s Project Locust.
Derek: (He and everyone else instantly get that something’s going down). Oh hell, when did it start?
Jack: (Frantic). I don’t know I don’t know, we didn’t prepare for this, I didn’t think it’d be for a lot longer but it’s here and we’ve got to deal with it now and not later.
Kyle: (Raises his hand). Um…are we supposed to just know what’s going on right now?
Jack: Project Locust, PROJECT LOCUST.
Kyle: And that is…?
Jack: (Stops dead in his frantic pacing and turns towards Kyle, deadpan). Kyle, are you about to tell me that the horrible thing that we’ve been planning for, the horrible thing that I’ve told you all about, you don’t know what that thing is? Is that what you’re telling me?
Kyle: Oh Project Locust. I thought you said something completely different. Well hell, we should probably go stop that, huh?
Derek: (Runs up close to Jack so that only he can hear him speak while everyone else talks amongst themselves). Do we know anything more about it than what the final result does?
Jack: Chris said that he saw a cloud of insects making their way toward the city. I have no idea how to stop this.
Derek: You think it’d be good to inform the Commander at least on this one? (Raises his eyebrow inquisitively).
Jack: I don’t know. I don’t think we can trust anyone here anymore, so wouldn’t that put us in a worse situation than normal?
Derek: If he intended to kill us he can’t possibly find a way to do it if we’re out in the open defending the city, right?
Jack: You make a good point. (Sigh). I’ll go tell him. You get everyone to meet me on the roof.
Jack: Winging it. (Takes off towards the Commander’s office while Derek rallies the others). I didn’t want to involve anyone else in this, but if it gets out of hand we don’t have the experience to deal with this sort of disaster. (Running through halls again). I suppose it’s not really gonna be a shock for the Commander to hear about though. I mean, we did deliver a sample of the Locust core to him, and he actually had some scientists make a vaccination out of it…after we shrunk it again. (Comes to a halt in front of the Commander’s door, preparing himself before entering). Alright, I’ve got to stay calm, don’t let on that we know more than we’ve been telling them, and above all don’t talk to myself. (Opens the door). Commander, I-
Commander: (Already out of his chair and putting on body armor). Project Locust, I heard.
Commander: (Taps his ear). You didn’t think I’d get wise enough to pull the same tricks on you?
Jack: (Dumbstruck). Well damn.
Commander: So you’re not sure where the assault’s coming from or what it is other than it’s in the form of a cloud of insects?
Commander: (Annoyed). Okay, Jack, if you’re going to look at me like I just blew your mind with how smart I actually am, I’m going to stop letting you and Derek train everyone else how to do things that you shouldn’t know how to do. (Throws Jack another outfit of body armor). Here, this is the best we’ve got. Put it on.
Jack: Thank…thank you. (Starts to put it on). So do you have a better plan than I’ve got?
Commander: Not particularly. Also, don’t tell anyone else in the Legion about this. Keep it quiet; we don’t need a massive panic from a group that you didn’t bother training.
Jack: (Defensive). Oh we didn’t bother training them huh?
Commander: (Gives Jack a dirty look). If you had any idea what my job entails you wouldn’t be such a smartass all the time around me. (Grabs his watch from the desk and puts it on). So we’re meeting the rest of your team on the roof?
Jack: Yes, we’re going from there.
Commander: (Starts running with Jack towards the roof). And your plan as of now?
Jack: Hope blind luck shines upon us again.
Commander: Not good enough.
Jack: Then use my barrier move over the entire city until everyone can think of how to wipe out the swarm of virus-carrying bio-weaponry.
Commander: That’s a pretty thin plan. (Sigh). Reminds me a lot of the old days. (Shakes his head). You really think you can make a barrier that large and have it hold up for long enough for us to clear the air?
Jack: To be honest, that would be the main hole in my plan.
Commander: I figured. (Jack looks over at him about to ask something). No I can’t do your barrier move so don’t ask me to do it instead. (Looks over at Jack). Well son, it looks like we’ve got a difficult task in front of us.
Jack: (Looks back over with huge eyes and a lot of questions). Son?
Commander: (Laughs heartily). Haha, I’m not your father. I’m purely patronizing you.
-The two make it to the roof, meeting up with everyone else.
Lindsey: Commander, you came!
Commander: (Completely serious). Everyone, we have no concept of time management for this event, but we have some sort of pre-warning so it’s not a total loss. There are some things that I need to know right away. The first regards those stones you’ve got. What can they do other than shrink things?
Austin: We know one is used for fire-based attacks and one is used for water-based attacks. Other than that, we haven’t tested the other two stones.
Commander: Okay, the stones won’t help us. Does anyone have any new techniques that they’re dying to use?
Danny: (Steps forward). Um…Willy and I figured out a way to fire energy attacks from our mouths.
Commander: Okay, that doesn’t do us any good now though. Anyone else?
Willy: You sure that won’t help? I mean, Danny and I spent an entire week figuring out how to do it so- (Commander fires a small energy blast from his mouth into the sky). Oh, so you know how cool it is already. (Turns towards Danny). You see Danny? I told you it wasn’t going to be original.
Danny: I’ve been working on some other places the blasts can come from so-
Commander: Okay, so then no one has any useful techniques to share with us at the moment? (General head-shaking). Alright then. (The buzzing noise can finally be heard from a distance). Is that it?
Jack: As far as we know.
Commander: Then we need to decide on a course of action. Jack, are you really going to try and create a barrier the size of the city?
Derek: (Surprised). What? That’s his plan? Well hell I could have thought of something like that.
Lindsey: I see it!
-Lindsey points off towards the sky to the East. Making its way towards the group is a black mass much like was seen inside Chris’ heart except much larger in scope.
Commander: Jack, if you’re planning to cover the entire city you’re slightly late.
Jack: (Squints his eyes to get a better look at the swarm). Is it…is it even covering the city?
Clinton: It looks more like it’s leaving the city alone, instead targeting the Legion’s base right here.
Jack: (Epiphany). Of course! Ah man, how could I have forgotten such a basic detail?
Commander: (More annoyed than anything). What detail?
Jack: When we were interrogated at the Regime’s base they made sure to ask where our headquarters was located since they didn’t want to start an all-out war. The attack is gonna be centralized on the Legion’s base! (Panics). Where we’re standing!
Commander: This all might work in our favor then. Instead of defending a city we just have to defend a small chunk of it. Jack, we need that barrier as large as you can get it.
Jack: Right. (Concentrates and puts forth a solid barrier…that hardly covers half of the roof space).
Derek: (Hurriedly). Jack, this should be obvious but we need it bigger.
Jack: I’m trying! (It’s slowly getting larger, but not fast enough).
Commander: Jack, you don’t have the power required for this. (Looks tired from stress). Damn, I shouldn’t have left this all up to you kids.
Kevin: How many soldiers are stationed here?
Commander: At least five thousand trained men are here, none of which have been given the vaccination, and even if we wanted to give it to them we only have enough to give to one hundred. (The swarm is almost upon them, moving across the sky and starting to block out the sun). Damnit, everyone start firing on my signal.
Kevin: (Holds up his hand). Hold on. Everyone, come in close to me.
Austin: Kevin, what’s up?
Kevin: I need you to share your strength with me. (Everyone doesn’t know how to respond to this). Grab hands, all of you!
Commander: (Cockeyed). What are you up to?
Kevin: I need you all to concentrate, open your hearts and share yourselves with each other. Open yourselves fully, please.
Scott: I don’t know about you guys, but this sounds pretty damn gay.
Kevin: (Looks up and sees the sky completely blackened from the creatures circling the area, ready to descend). Please, offer yourselves. (Everyone joins hands in a line except Jack and the Commander. Kevin takes the hand of Derek, who is last in line). This is going to be a very odd sensation…
-Kevin closes his eyes and grabs Derek’s hand. Starting from the other end of the line with Leena, a ripple effect is seen, each person in line dropping down to their knees, exhausted and tired instantly.
Leena: (Unsure how to react to the feeling). Why am I so sleepy all of a sudden…?
–At the end of the group, Kevin appears to be pulling this effect through the crowd, each person getting hit harder and harder until finally Derek looks at Kevin with a worried, hopeless expression and also drops to his knees.
-Kevin looks strained from his task, opening his eyes, showing them glisten brightly. He looks to Jack.
Kevin: Jack, I pray you can handle this…
Jack: (Still holding up his small barrier around the group, terror and doubt fill his eyes as opposed to the sparkle that gleams off of Kevin’s). What is…?
–Kevin thrusts his arm out and grabs Jack’s shoulder.
–Right as the throng of darkness comes down on all of them, Jack’s shield gets a drastic boost, instantly covering the entire area of the Legion’s base and them some.
Jack: AHHH!!! (His eyes are open wide in a horrific struggle to understand what’s happening). It’s too much! I can’t…!
–The enemies are growing angry, pulsing over the strong barrier, trying to break through but finding no such luck.
-Kevin is still connecting the line of people to Jack, and he too is on his knees.
Kevin: You have to Jack, you have to…
-The Commander’s already begun charging an energy attack in his hands upon realizing that they many have a chance of defeating the odds. His demeanor is entirely serious, yet almost respectful and remorseful for seeing these kids put in such a trying situation.
Commander: I’m going to need some help from you all…I don’t know if my attack can do this alone.
Kevin: I know…wait just a little longer…I’ll transfer this to you and you can finish it.
Commander: (Nods, taking orders as if he’s been part of their group the whole time). Right. (Looking up as he harnesses every ounce of his strength). I going to have to time this just right…
Jack: (A tear rolls down his cheek from the tension he’s under). When?!
Commander: (Waits for it…every moment seems agony for everyone since the slightest wrong move could be disastrous). We need the right time… (The barrier blinks, the hoard of insects all gather up into one point and attack). Now!
-The Commander points both his hands upward, a shimmering, circular energy field bursts forth from his wrists, emanating into the sky and bouncing the creatures slightly back, but not by much. It merely stops them momentarily.
Kevin: Thank you Jack…
-Kevin lets go of Jack’s shoulder and instantly Jack collapses.
-Kevin reaches back out and grabs the Commander’s shoulder, transferring the power to his attack.
-The energy field grows in size and throbs slowly, but still the Locust cloud isn’t destroyed.
Commander: (His mouth hangs open slightly in dread). It’s not enough…we need more!
Kevin: (Very weakly). This is all we can do… (He lets go of the Commander’s shoulder and falls slightly).
Commander: Damn it!
Chris: (Rushes in and grabs Kevin’s hand, then places his hand on the Commander’s shoulder again). We’ve always got more!
–The energy rips through everyone again, but once it hits Chris it looks as if it he’s torn thoroughly from his lack of energy and his pre-existing medical conditions.
-It flows through to the Commander whose arms bulge and out from them explode the most beautiful energy field seen, glowing brightly and methodically, slicing through the black sheet of insects and allowing the light from the sun to beam in again.
-And just like that the threat is over, everyone lets go of one another and nearly pass out, with Chris and Jack looking particularly destroyed.
Commander: (Breathing heavily, eyes wide open looking at Chris, worried). So…it really is her son…
To Be Continued…
The Folks is a one act I wrote around the same time as The Weekenders, though with a much different theme. I figured, what if I wrote a sticom about the elderly instead of teenagers? Well, the result was The Folks, best thought of as a pilot for a sitcom that will never be. Enjoy!
By Chris Pranger
Jack: Jack is very laid back and content with his life all around. Nothing bothers him and constantly finds himself calming the other guys down or solving their problems. He’s also most likely to be leading the pranks.
Jerry: Jerry is paranoid that everything is out to kill him and that he is going to die sooner than later. Absolutely everything: his health, the government, and everyone else in the world. Still, he loves his wife, Dolores, and his best friend, Jack.
Chuck: Chuck is a war hero and he makes sure that everyone knows it. Exactly what war is unsure of, along with what he did while in that war, but he still goes on and on about it. He’s constantly complaining about the younger generation and thinks they should all enlist to get some backbone. Only Jack can calm him down. Oh, and he has a mustache.
Barbara: Young at heart and attractive by elderly standards. Loves antiques and works at a shop selling them. Chuck has a crush on her but can’t seem to calm down enough to tell her this. Regardless, she puts up with the three when they come in to chat.
Dolores: Jerry’s wife. She doesn’t much like going out with the three on their outings so she’s content just staying home and recording soap operas and premium channel movies. She has a library of hundreds of recorded on VHS tapes.
Act 1: Scene 1:
Setting: Drug store pharmacy counter. Two elderly gentlemen, (Jerry and Chuck), are sitting in the corner on chairs provided while a third, (Jack), walks up to the counter. The place is packed with teenagers skipping school.
Teen 1: Hey guys, check out the geezers over there. (Motions towards Jerry and Chuck). Probably here for heartburn medication or something.
Teen 2: Yeah, or for some laxatives.
Chuck: (Quietly to Jerry). He won’t do it, he’s gonna chicken out.
Jerry: (Quietly back). Nah, he’ll do it alright.
Jack: (Walks up to the counter to speak with the pharmacist. He begins talking rather loudly). Excuse me, miss?!
Pharmacist: Hello sir, how can I help you?
Jack: Yes, I need to buy a package of condoms right away!
Pharmacist: (Slightly taken aback). Oh. Alright then. Any particular brand sir?
Jack: What? Brand?! No dang it, these aren’t for me; they’re for all these younguns hanging around here! All of them having their underage, unprotected sex and such!
Pharmacist: (Blushing slightly). Okay then, will Trojan brand be alright with you then?
Jack: Trojan brand?! Gosh darn it, we didn’t care about brands when I was a teenager! We didn’t even have sex back when I was a kid! All we had was the stork and that’s the way we liked it dang nabbit!
Pharmacist: (Now very flustered. Hands Jack a box of condoms). Here you are sir, have a pleasant day I guess…
Jack: (Takes the box and viciously tears it open and turns around). You kids and all your sex! You’re ruining this world, you know that?!
Teen 1: Um, I’m not doing-
Jack: Shut yer yap you hoodlum! (Takes a condom out of the box and forcefully gives it to the kid). Here! Maybe this will keep you from damaging the future! We don’t need more kids like you! (Turns to the teen’s friend). Or you either for that matter! (Forcefully gives him a condom, too). Every last one of ya! (Walks down the line and forcefully gives condoms to teenagers). One for you and you and you especially! And that goes for you at the counter too, missy! (Turns towards Jerry and Chuck. Both are holding their sides laughing. Jack finally breaks character and busts up laughing as well as he walks over to them). So guys, how’d I do?
Jerry: Bonus points for using the term “dang nabbit”. (The three howl with laugher. No one else in the store has any idea what’s going on at this point. Roll opening credits).
Act 1: Scene 2:
Setting: Station wagon. Jack is driving; Jerry is in the passenger’s seat. Chuck is in the back. The three are still laughing themselves silly.
Jerry: Hey Jack, did you get a good look at the pharmacist’s face when you started yelling at the kids?! It was priceless!
Chuck: That was nothing compared to how red she got when you threw a rubber over the counter at her! I can’t believe you did that!
Jack: Hey, you guys double dared me, how could I say no to such a wager?
Jerry: (Rubbing tears from his eyes). Hehehe, alright then Jack, what’s up next?
Jack: First, we get some grub. Then, I say we head on over to the usual hang out spot.
Jerry: You don’t mean…?
Jack: Where else? The antique shop is the finest place to pass the time. Well, other than the park of course.
Chuck: The…antique shop, you say?
Chuck: You think that…um…
Jack: (Smiles). Yeah, Barb will probably be there.
Jerry: (Also smiles). Heh.
Chuck: (Nervously begins cleaning his shirt off). What? I can’t go see her like this! My mustache is all unkempt and my hair’s all over the place and this is an awful shirt. Nope, today is not the right day to say hello.
Jack: Every day is a good day to say hello.
Chuck: Well then we’ll just have to make a stop in at the house; it’ll give me time to get myself clean and think of something to say.
Jerry: Aw, but it’s already past 10! The day’s half over!
Jack: Jerry’s right; there’s no time to preen yourself, you’ll just have to be yourself.
Chuck: But I hate myself!
Jack: You’ll have some time to think of things to say while we go and grab some food. Which brings us to the next order of business; where are we eating?
Jerry: Oh I hate this part. I can never decide.
Jack: They’re all so good.
Jerry: No! Everywhere has something wrong with it!
Jack: Okay, McDonalds?
Jerry: Too greasy! I’ll clog an artery and die right here in your wagon!
Jack: Alright, how about the Mongolian Grill?
Jerry: What?! Too spicy! I’ll give myself an ulcer for sure!
Jack: China Moon?
Jerry: That one waiter always spits in my food, I just know it!
Jack: You think everyone spits in your food though.
Jerry: Well that’s because they do!
Jack: So it looks like we’ll have to go somewhere that you can’t taste the difference: McDonalds it is then.
Jerry: (Sighs and slumps back down in his chair). Fine, but I’m getting a salad.
Act 1: Scene 3:
Setting: McDonalds, (or restaurant along those lines). The three are standing in line in the dinning room, waiting to order.
Chuck: (Tapping his feet impatiently). Come on already Jack, make up your mind.
Jack: But everything sounds so good.
Jerry: Please hurry up, my heart is thinking about causing a stroke at any time from just being in here.
Jack: Oh calm down. Strokes aren’t caused by arteries anyway.
Jerry: Oh yes they are! I’ve read up on the matter. Strokes are caused when blockage in the arteries or hemorrhaging takes place, preventing oxygen from finding its way to the brain and causing severe damage to the brain and other parts of your nervous system.
Jack: Maybe a shock to your nervous system would relax you a bit?
Jerry: (Gets angrily flustered while Jack smiles to himself). Bah, what?! Oh you think that you’re, so funny, don’t you?
Jack: Well it’s because I am. Or at least funnier than Chuck over here.
Chuck: You don’t think I’m funny, huh? Oh I’ll show you just how funny I can be.
Scrawny Dork: (Talking to Chuck). Welcome to McDonald’s sir, what can I get for you today?
Chuck: (Looks over the menu). I don’t see anything about a senior citizen’s discount anywhere.
Jack: Oh I love this routine…
Scrawny Dork: I’m sorry sir, but we don’t have a senior citizen’s discount offered at this location.
Chuck: (Goes ballistic). What?! No senior discount?! But I worked hard to get this old!
Scrawny Dork: I’m sorry sir; we do have a terrific value menu though.
Chuck: Well do you have some sort of discount for veterans?
Scrawny Dork: Huh?
Chuck: You know, for veterans. For war heroes and so forth?
Scrawny Dork: I’m sorry sir; we don’t offer any special discounts for veterans either.
Chuck: WHAT?! I risked my life in the war so that dorks like you could be free to have disfiguring acne and the luxuries of this nation and this is the respect I’m given?!
Scrawny Dork: Believe me sir, I mean you no disrespect.
Chuck: No disrespect?! I hardly think so!
Jack: Hey Chuck, which war did you fight in?
Chuck: The big one!
Jack: World War II?
Chuck: Around there.
Chuck: Around there, too! (Turns back towards the scrawny dork). I’m old and I demand free stuff!
Scrawny Dork: Um…I’ll go ask my manager what we can do for you… (Hurriedly turns around and runs off in search of his manager).
Chuck: (Turns back around towards Jack and Jerry, who are both laughing). Can you believe that kid?
Jack: Hahaha, well Chuck, you certainly have shown that you are a funny guy.
Chuck: What? I was gonna do a ventriloquist act with my burger to prove it.
Jerry: So that there…?
Chuck: That was me pissed! I’m a vet, I demand a little respect! (Jack and Jerry begin laughing again).
Scrawny Dork: (Comes back holding some coupons). This is the best I could do sir. (Hands Chuck the coupons). Here are some coupons that should save you some money for this and future visits to our restaurants.
Chuck: Well, it’ll have to do. (Looks at the menu quickly). I’ll have a number six. And remember to enlist once you’re done filling this order.
Scrawny Dork: Right away sir. (Looks over to Jerry). And what can I get you for today?
Jerry: (Begins looking noticeably irritated and uncomfortable). What can I get? Hmm…what can I get? Do you have lactose-free yogurt?
Scrawny Dork: I’m not entirely sure.
Jerry: Could you find out for me?
Scrawny Dork: I’ll go grab the nutrition information guides. (Walks towards the back again).
Jack: Why do you need lactose-free yogurt?
Jerry: I’m lactose intolerant!
Chuck: You are not.
Jerry: Yes I am! I get gassy every time I have dairy products!
Jack: Jerry, you’re old, you’re always gassy. That’s one of the best perks to being old. We can break wind any time that we want to.
Jerry: Alright, then break wind right now!
Jack: Well I don’t want to.
Scrawny Dork: (Returns with the health guide). Um, it doesn’t look like we have any lactose-free yogurt.
Jerry: I’m not entirely in the mood for yogurt anymore anyway. What sort of sugar-free options are open to me, as a diabetic?
Jack: You’re not a diabetic!
Jerry: Well I could get it at any time! I have to be careful.
Jack: You’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t have diabetes.
Chuck: (Grunts and crosses his arms).
Jack: Enjoy that freedom and live a little.
Jerry: Diabetes is nothing to play around with. It could strike at any time!
Jack: You’ll probably die sooner than you contract diabetes at this point.
Jerry: (Becomes incredibly flustered and aggravated). BWAH?! I could die at any time! This is exactly why I have to be careful about what I eat! (Turns towards the scrawny dork). I will have a salad, not too much salad dressing, oh, can you check if that dressing is fat free?
Scrawny Dork: (Looks at the info). The salad dressing is 97% fat free.
Jerry: Hmm, that’s just not good enough. Better not risk it, no dressing on that salad. And along with it I will have one ice water.
Scrawny Dork: Okay, and for you sir? (Turns towards Jack).
Jack: Heh, I’ll have a Big Mac.
Scrawny Dork: Would you like me to check the nutritional facts for that sir?
Jack: What? Heck no I don’t. It’s two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, on a sesame seed bun! That’s nutrition for ya! Keep all the grease and add some extra if you find it lying around. And here, (Hands the kid a twenty), this is for putting up with some folks like us.
Scrawny Dork: Sir, I can’t accept this, it’s company policy.
Jack: Dang it, do you really want to get me started? Go buy yourself a new haircut or something with it, meet a nice girl, settle down and make some grandchildren already. (Grabs the kid and pulls him in close). Hurry, there’s no time, you could wind up like us of all people; bitter, paranoid, senile…and hungry!
Scrawny Dork: (Unsure as to how to respond). So that was a number 6, a dry salad, an ice water and a Big Mac?
Jack: Oh, hold the pickles.
Scrawny Dork: Right.
Act 2: Scene 1:
Setting: Antique store. Naturally there are dozens of antiques everywhere. The place is dead other than one woman browsing around in the back. A woman, (Barb), is behind a center counter. Jack, Jerry and Chuck walk in the front door.
Jack: Hiya Barb!
Barb: Well hey guys! Come to hang out again or do you plan on actually buying something today?
Jack: Well, being a collector of fine and rare antiquities as I am, I’m on a quest to find the very best you have to offer. Anything new arrive today?
Barb: As a matter of fact three ancient specimens just came in.
Jack: I’ll have you know that we’re very young for our age.
Barb: I’ll bet. Hey Chuck, come in from the door already and be social for a change, eh?
Chuck: (Nervously looks up and awkwardly walks over to the counter). Oh, uh, hey Barb. How…how are you doing, um, today?
Barb: Ug, tired. I don’t get nearly enough sleep.
Jack: Well with the wave after wave of customers you see in here I’m sure you’ve hardly any time to even think.
Barb: Tell me about it. There actually are times when people rush the counter demanding all sorts of oddities and such. We had a guy come in about an hour ago looking for a table with a glass top. He kept asking for specific information about it, I blame that darn antique road show that’s on TV now. Kept wanting to know the history about it. It’s a table, it looks nice, you place things on it, end of history.
Chuck: (Laughs suddenly and awkwardly). Muhaha, good one Barb.
Jack: Well I guess we’ll just have a look around then. Come on Jerry.
Jerry: (Covering his face). Come where?
Jack: To look around and, (noticing that his hand is covering his face), oh for heaven’s sake what is it this time?
Jerry: There is dust and allergens all over this store! My allergies could flare and my throat could close up and then where would we be?!
Jack: We’d be at the hospital, another of my favorite hang-out spots.
Barb: Oh that’s right, sorry Jerry I completely forgot. (Reaches under the counter and pulls out a dust/pollen mask and hands it to Jerry). Here ya go.
Jerry: (Quickly puts it on and breathes deeply). Oh my, thanks Barb. (Walks off with Jack into the store).
Jack: And now we see if Chuck can actually talk without our assistance. This should be fun to listen to. (He and Jerry walk behind a cabinet and wait to listen).
Chuck: (Smoothing his hair over). So Barb, how’s life going?
Barb: Well, as I said, just tiring. I just can’t find the time to sleep anymore.
Jack: (From behind the cabinet). You could sleep with Chuck! (Jerry grabs Jack’s mouth and silences him as they both begin laughing quietly).
Chuck: (Nervous and flustered). Um, I think he means that, um…
Barb: Is there something bothering you Chuck?
Chuck: Me? (Finds his false courage). Oh no, nothing troubles me anymore. They teach you that in basic training.
Jack: (Smacks himself). Oh no, he’s leading with war talk…
Chuck: I’ve learned how to actually grab a man by the throat and tear out his voice box. (Acts this out on the woman passing by). KIYA!
Woman: Well I never!
Barb: Chuck, don’t kill the few customers I have, please. Is there something I can help you with ma’am?
Woman: Yes actually, could you help me with something in the back.
Barb: Sure. (Walks out from behind the counter). Chuck, this will only take a second. (Walks off while talking with the woman. Jack runs out from behind the counter quickly over to Chuck).
Jack: No no no, you have to be smooth. Women don’t want you to show them how to kill a man; they want to see that you can cry, that you have a sensitive side. Anybody can walk in and tear out her customer’s throats, prove that you’re more than that.
Chuck: I hardly think that just anyone can tear out a man’s throat; it takes years of training and-
Jack: Shush. Be more sensitive. (Sees that Barb is coming back, so he runs and hides again).
Barb: Sorry ‘bout that; looks like the woman needs some more time to decide. What were we talking about?
Chuck: Um, I was telling you about, um…the harsher sides of war. Sometimes out there in the battlefield, even though there are soldiers all around, you just feel alone and need a hug… (Attempts his hardest to cry or at least look like he’s crying).
Jack: (Hangs his head is shame at this). Oh Chuck, Chuck, Chuck…
Barb: Is that so?
Chuck: It’s rough sometimes. (Motions for Barb to hug him while pretending to cry).
Barb: Well then it’s a good thing you have friends as close as Jack and Jerry.
Chuck: It’s true. Where would I be without them? (Continues pretending and still pleading for a hug).
Woman: I think I’m ready now. (Chuck grabs her and hugs her). You, unhand me at once! (Chuck looks up and realizes that he grabbed the woman).
Barb: Chuck, I can see that you are indeed emotionally withdrawn but please leave my customers alone.
Chuck: (Lets go of the woman quickly, backs away and clears his throat). Herm herm, I’m terribly sorry miss.
Woman: I’m sure you are! First you attack me then you molest me! Unheard of for a man your age!
Barb: (Smiles at this). Well, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to help her. (Walks off with the woman. Jack comically rushes Chuck and hugs him around the waist).
Jack: I didn’t know you cared!
Chuck: (Pushes Jack off). Get, get off me!
Jack: Okay, just be yourself, but if you find yourself talking about something boring, like the war…
Chuck: The war is far from boring! There is a rich history to the war!
Jack: Right, war, woopie! (Sarcastically waggles his thumbs in the air). But for someone more sensitive, like Barb, just don’t talk about it for now. Okay?
Chuck: I’ll try. (Sees that Barb is coming back). Gah, go, hide! (Jack turns back and runs off to hide again). So, did she find what she wanted this time?
Barb: Nope, still can’t make up her mind I guess. So, where were we?
Chuck: Well, uh, you tell me…?
Barb: I’m going to take a wild guess and assume that you were talking about the war.
Chuck: (Unthinkingly begins talking about the war again with pride). Oh right. Well, the war was raging on for years and years and I grew from a soft little boy and into a ruggedly handsome man and…
Chuck: And uh…(Realizes that he’s stuck in war-zone). I was wondering…if you’d, um, if you’d like to get dinner sometime.
Barb: Dinner? (Surprised by the offer but genuine). Yeah that sounds like it could be fun.
Chuck: Oh well that’s too bad really, sorry to have asked you and bothered you and…wait, yes?
Barb: Yeah. Gal’s gotta eat.
Chuck: But, I’m so boring and have nothing worth saying that you’ll want to hear!
Barb: You don’t have to talk, you can just listen. I’ve got plenty to say. Times have changed, women have opinions, too.
Chuck: But, but…
Barb: I know, it’s radical but it makes it easier on the men, not always having to think when it’s obviously not their strong point.
Chuck: (Smiles finally). So, when should we get together?
Barb: Well, I usually eat dinner during the evening, so how about 6 pm?
Barb: Sure, I’ve got time tonight.
Chuck: Um, um…
Jack: (Yells from behind the cabinet). He’ll pick you up around 6!
Barb: (Yells back). Thanks Jack! (Turns to Chuck). You thank that friend of yours.
Woman: Okay, this time I’m sure I want to blue one.
Barb: I’ll go grab it. (Starts to walk towards the back again). Remember, tonight at 6, okay?
Barb: Okay. (Walks off).
Chuck: Hah! Haha! (Grabs the woman and dances her around). She said yes! She said yes! Oh this is…(drops the woman with a thud). This is terrible!
Jack: (He and Jerry come out from hiding). How so?
Chuck: (The woman gets up seeming very confused and walks off towards the back of the store). How so? How am I going to be able to get through this thing without her hating me by the end?!
Jerry: Calm down Chuck.
Chuck: I am calm!
Jerry: Think of your blood pressure!
Jack: No, forget that, don’t worry about anything.
Chuck: How can I not worry now?!
Jack: We need to get you out of here. (Patronizingly). You wanna go feed some ducks? (Chuck sheepishly nods). Okay, let’s go feed some ducks.
Act 3: Scene 1:
Setting: A duck pond that has no ducks, just geese. There is a bench where the three are sitting and throwing bread to the geese. There is a sign that says “Do Not Feed the Ducks”.
Jack: (Casually tosses bread to the geese). Do you feel any better Chuck?
Chuck: A little, but not much.
Jack: Jerry, how’re you doing over there?
Jerry: (Jerry is off by himself being surrounded by a flock of geese. He is madly waving his arms around). Get back you disease-infested pillows! Jack, help me!
Jack: Ah, isn’t that cute? They like him.
Jerry: Jack? (The birds close in). Jack!
Jack: Chuck, don’t look at it as a problem, just look at it as life. Just relax about it.
Chuck: How can I relax about it? This may be my last chance to ever find someone. I’m not exactly young you know.
Jack: No you’re not. None of us are. And that’s exactly why you shouldn’t worry. You’re going for broke, the only way to live a life to its fullest.
Chuck: But there’s a good chance that she’ll resent me by the time the check comes.
Jack: Well, you can’t think that way. I forbid it. If she didn’t like you at all she wouldn’t have agreed to this in the first place.
Chuck: This is ridiculous. In the war I was fierce, strong, unafraid. Now look at me.
Jack: Oh stop it with the war. You were a mechanic and you know it.
Chuck: A mechanic in the war!
Jack: Heh, see, you are a funny guy. You’ll be fine.
Park Authority: (Walks up to the three. He’s pretty young). Afternoon gentlemen.
Park Authority: (Tips his hat). How are you folks feeling today?
Jack: (Smiles big). We’re doing fantastic!
Park Authority: Sorry gents, park regulations are posted on the sign over there.
Jack: (Takes a look over at the sign). That’s fine. As you can clearly see, these are geese, not ducks. Easy mistake though. Carry on. (Tosses bread at the geese).
Park Authority: Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to either cease feeding the birds or you’ll be forced to leave the park.
Jack: How long have you been working here?
Park Authority: About a week now, why?
Jack: Son, I’ve been coming to this park before your testicles dropped.
Park Authority: I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to leave.
Jack: Oh come on, we’re three old men who just want to find companionship within these lowly geese. Can you not see it in your heart to allow us to stay?
Park Authority: I’m sorry, but no.
Chuck: (Jack nods over to him solemnly). Son, did I ever tell you about how I was trained to reach under a man’s ribcage and pluck out his still-beating heart?
Park Authority: Um, no sir I don’t believe you have.
Chuck: (Stands up and acts out the scene as it unfolds). You see, the trick is to get up under the ribcage, then tear down, and take a bite while it’s still beating.
Park Authority: (Gulps). Is that so…?
Chuck: (Gets a crazy look in his eye). Yep. Nothing tastes quite like freshly pumped blood. (Begins to step towards the park ranger).
Park Authority: (Nervously turns). Carry on; you folks have a nice day. (Tips his hat and hurriedly walks away).
Jack: (Looks over at him and swaggers as he tosses more bread defiantly at the geese. The three start laughing). See Chuck, I think you’ll do fine tonight.
Act 3: Scene 2:
Setting: Jerry’s living room. He and Jack are sitting at a table playing checkers. His wife, Dolores, is sitting on the couch watching television.
Jerry: How you think his date’s going?
Jack: Hmm…(Moves his checkers). I’d wager it’s going rather well.
Jerry: Where did he decide to take her? (Moves his checkers, takes one of Jack’s pieces).
Jack: They went to the Sizzler. (Moves his pieces).
Jerry: You think it’s going well? (Moves his pieces and takes another of Jack’s).
Jack: Sure, why wouldn’t it be?
Jerry: Chuck’s crazy and not the best at conversation. (Moves his pieces). King me.
Jack: Oh he’s fine. Just leave him be. He’ll do fine.
Jerry: How do you figure?
Jack: It’s all a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. (Moves his last piece all around the board, taking all of Jerry’s pieces). That’s game.
Jerry: (Looks down confusedly at the board). How do you keep doing that?
Jack: You got any grub?
Jerry: Honey? Do we have any lasagna left?
Dolores: Go look for yourself.
Jerry: Well do you know if we have any or not?
Dolores: If we have any then it’d be in the fridge next to the pumpkin pie.
Jerry: Ooh, I forgot about the pie.
Jack: Pie it is.
Jerry: (The two stand up and begin walking to the kitchen). I just don’t know about it all.
Jack: About what?
Jerry: Dating at our age. It just isn’t natural.
Jack: What? You’re kidding me. Why not?
Jerry: We could die at any time; why does it matter if we’re single or not when we die?
Jack: Never underestimate the importance of having someone there when you die. I think you’re too spoiled with your wife to understand how lonely the world can really be.
Jerry: Then you must never have been married. (Opens the fridge to find that the pie is uncovered). Ah, great, just great, someone neglected to recover the pie when they were done with it. (Points at Dolores). And I’d bet that someone was you.
Dolores: Well of course it was me. I’m the only other one who lives here; otherwise we have no-good pie-thieves breaking in randomly.
Jack: I couldn’t have said that better myself.
Jerry: But why’d you forget to cover the pie? It keeps it fresh and safe to eat.
Jack: It’s pumpkin pie, how dangerous could it be to begin with?
Dolores: I’m sorry, I was hungry and while I was getting a slice Days of Our Lives came back from commercial.
Jerry: But you record every episode!
Dolores: Yes but it doesn’t have the same effect when you re-watch it. It’s all about being caught off-guard in the moment.
Jerry: Then why do you tape them in the first place?!
Dolores: Because, you never know when you’ll doze off and miss critical pieces of information vital to the plot. Also, I’m getting ready for when my memory fails me and I can re-enjoy all the episodes.
Jerry: How will you remember to re-watch them when your memory fails you?
Dolores: Oh that’s right; I forgot to tell you to remind me when the time comes. (Turns back to the TV). Oh, it’s back on! Jerry, be a dear and bring me some of that pie, would you?
Jerry: (Sighs and cuts a slice of pie for Dolores). Alright hon. (Doorbell rings). Wonder who’s at the door?
Jack: Could be the pie-thieves I’ve been hearing so much about.
Jerry: (Walks towards the front door, giving Dolores her slice of pie along the way. He opens the door. Chuck is standing outside with a black eye, fuming). Oh, it’s you.
Chuck: Of course it’s me. Who else would it be?
Jerry: (Chuck storms in angrily). Is your date with Barbara over already?
Chuck: Yes it’s over already. And hello Dolores.
Dolores: (Waves him off). Meh.
Jack: How’d you get the black eye, Chuck?
Chuck: Oh, this, Barb punched me. How’d you like that, eh? “It’ll be fine” he says…
Jack: Calm down and just tell me what happened.
Chuck: Okay. So, we were at China Moon…(Scene of Chuck and Barb sitting at a table in a nice restaurant fades in, Chuck and the others are narrating the events as they happen silently).
Jack: What happened to Sizzler?
Chuck: Didn’t think it would wow her enough. Anyway-
Jerry: And Chinese food would? (The characters at the table are getting impatient waiting for the story to begin).
Chuck: She hadn’t been there before and she likes trying new things, now be quiet. (Chuck and Barb begin talking casually, everything is exaggerated for the narration though). Anyway, we’re sitting down to eat after an inexcusable wait time, and the bus boy walks up-
Jack: (Waiter walks up). They prefer to be called waiters.
Chuck: Whatever, and we try and order. (Chuck and Barb order food). She gets some dainty female crap like a salad-
Chuck: And I ask to order some orange chicken. Well the guy tells me that they’re all out of orange chicken and that he’s sorry. (Waiter shakes his head and says he’s sorry, Chuck gets mad). I ask him, “How can you be out of orange chicken?!” (Chuck exaggeratingly asks this question to the waiter, using large hand gestures). And this disrespectful whelp looks at me and says “I’m sorry sir, but we’ve ran out of the orange chicken sauce.” (Waiter says this and bows). I look the kid in the face and explain that I’m an army vet and everything- (Chuck starts explaining this fact in all matter of ways, from getting up and saluting and marching around to pretending to tear a passer-by’s throat out, Barb is starting to laugh).
Jack: Oh no, not the army thing again.
Chuck: Absolutely! I served my country valiantly during the war!
Jack: Did it happen to be the Cold War?
Chuck: At times the temperature reached far below freezing but I assure you the war was quite heated! Anyway, (Chuck finishes “tearing” the woman’s throat out and sits back down in his chair), so the waiter then explains that ”There is nothing he can do and that he is terribly sorry and that he recommends the lemon chicken.” (Waiter says this with large gestures as well. At the end Chuck flips out and throws his napkin down). I tell him that I risked my life so that I had the opportunity to choose between orange and lemon flavorings and that he was a Fascist and I demanded to see the manager at once. (This scene plays out, the waiter bows apologetically and calls the manager over, who appears instantly). I told the manager the situation and he claimed that he was in the war and that I didn’t know the half of it. (Manager pretends to tear out the waiter’s throat to show how serious he is). So then we begin arguing about the war like gentlemen would, (The two start trying to tear each other’s throats out and strangling each other), and Barb stands up and punches me in the eye! (Barb stands up and clobbers Chuck in the eye, the frame freezes).
Jerry: (Scene switches back to Jerry’s house). She punched you?!
Chuck: Yes! Square in the eye! (Points at his eye).
Jerry: Well what did you do? (Scene switches back to the Chinese restaurant, still frozen in time). I’ve been through the war mind you, so what do you think I did?
Jack: So you started crying?
Chuck: (Chuck grabs his eye and sits down at the table, sobbing). Of course I did! I had been so nervous about the date and everything and then she ended up punching me, what could I do?
Jack: Well then what happened?
Chuck: Barb started laughing and patted my back and tried to make me feel better. (Barb does this in the scene).
Jack: So at this point you’re an emotional wreck?
Chuck: Yes, at this point I still feel terrible and can’t stop blubbering. (Chuck keeps looking up periodically from the table while crying and throws his hands up in the air as if to ask “why?!”). Well Barb just laughs and looks at me and tells me that it was the most fun she’d had in years and told me to pick her up tomorrow night, except this time she’s picking the restaurant and then she kissed me on the cheek! (Barb kneels down and pats Chuck’s hand, he looks up and stops crying and smiles as she kisses his cheek, stands up and waggles her finger at the “I’m picking the restaurant part,” then walks off).
Jack: Well that’s great! Why are you acting like it’s so terrible?
Chuck: Well, I may have gotten myself banned from China Moon. (Manager frantically shakes his head and points off camera, screaming at Chuck and sending him away. The scene shifts back to Jerry’s house).
Jerry: What?! Great, now where are we going to eat on Tuesdays?
Jack: I thought you hated that place?
Jerry: I do Jack, but I’m a creature of habit. If you mess up my eating schedule then my stomach won’t know what’s going on and I won’t sleep for weeks!
Jack: You don’t sleep as it is.
Jerry: I do, too! It just takes a little while for me to get comfortable enough to sleep.
Jack: Well, overall I’d say today was a good day.
Chuck: How do you figure?
Jack: Chuck got a second date, I managed to become a bit more senile, and you’re not dead yet. (Points at Jerry).
Jerry: (Becomes flustered and nervous). Bwah, hah! Well don’t jinx it! The day isn’t over yet! (Looks around nervously).
Chuck: (Calms down a bit). I guess you’re right Jack.
Jack: Course I’m right. I’m too old and wise not to be right at this point. Now who’s hungry?
Chuck: I’m starving!
Jerry: I’m sure my blood sugar is getting low.
Jack: Good, let’s go out and get something to eat. (Thinks to himself). I’m thinking Chinese? (Chuck and Jerry both look at him angrily). What? (They begin pummeling him and laughing). Bah! I’m feeble, be gentle! (Fade to credits roll).
The Weekenders is a one act I wrote a few years back after being prompted by a colleague to generate some content that he could make some short films out of. While any project resulting from that summer has yet to become anything more than scripts, they stand alone as interesting snippets of my writing as it progesses. In this particular script, I was able to write through some troubles I had actually been having, though not to the extent written here. I left this script mostly unaltered save for a few minor corrections of spelling and grammar here and there. Enjoy.
Written by Chris Pranger
Act 1: Scene 1
Setting: Dark room, very cluttered, light can hardly be seen through cracks between black sheets hanging over a window. An alarm clock is going off.
Andrew: (Reaches over and turns off the clock, goes back to sleep). Nope, not workin’. Try again in an hour Father Time. (Alarm goes off again; Andrew rolls back over and turns it off again). I pressed snooze. What the hell type of snooze do you have in time land? (Alarm goes off, Andrew rolls over, it turns off. Andrew stares at it, then rolls back over, to which it alarms again. Andrew rolls back over to which it responds by shutting off. Andrew reaches down and unplugs it). Hah, can’t beat me at this game. You lose clock man. Time for sleep. (Alarm goes off again. Andrew rolls over and stares at it, it keeps going off). Damn, you win again, you cocky sonabitch. (Gets out of bed and looks at his wristwatch, which he’s left on all night). Hmm, noon ain’t a bad time at all. Now what day is today? Let’s see, few days ago it was Tuesday, pretty sure Wednesday came after that. That would make today… (Counts on his fingers). Damn. Today must be Saturday.
Act 1: Scene 2
(Walks out of his room wearing little more than shorts and some socks. He walks himself into a living room where his mother, father, and younger sister are all scurrying around and packing). I have awoken. (No response). And before 2 P.M. this time. I deserve praise. (Nothing). Dammit I’m great. (Struts his way around the living room, finally falling down onto the couch and promptly going back into slumber land).
Mother: Andrew, get yourself up this instant! It’s past noon!
Andrew: (Quickly gets back up). Yes, and I am awake as you can clearly see, thus making me great. What’s on the agenda for this fine spectacular day? (Mother clearly ignoring him as she goes about her business of packing sandwiches into a cooler). Hey mom, talkin’ to you. (Turns to father). Ay dad, day plans?
Father: Ask your mother.
Andrew: (Turns to his sister). Sis, what’s going on?
Sister: Softball tournament, again.
Andrew: All weekend?
Sis: All weekend.
Andrew: Softball is not a sport; it is an excuse for parents to force their children to succeed where they themselves have failed. (Stands proud. No response from mother or father).
Sister: Yeah okay. (Goes back to helping her mother pack).
Andrew: I propose a new strategy for this weekend; let us all venture to a far-off land full of excitement and mystery. I suggest Disneyland.
Father: If you’ve got a job and you’re paying then we’ll discuss it.
Andrew: I’d intend on asking for an interview as a costumed performer while down there. I could be a great Micky. (Dances around as if he’s a costumed mouse. Goes into a high squeaky voice). Hey kids, it’s me, that mouse you all like! I love to dance and sing! Micheal Eisner makes me perform questionable acts on him daily!
Sister: That is so wrong.
Andrew: (Stops dancing). I agree, but the truth is not always a pleasant one. Shall I pack my bags for the magical kingdom?
Mother: We’re leaving for Newberg in five minutes, are you coming?
Andrew: Absolutely not. I’d rather drown myself in a frozen lake than spend all weekend watching people play softball.
Father: Well, if you need to reach us the numbers of our cell phones are on the fridge, as usual.
Andrew: And so as usual I bid you all farewell. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go get naked and splash water on myself.
Act 1: Scene 3
(Walks out of the room and to the bathroom. He slams the room).
Mother: (As she’s walking out the door). We’re leaving!
Andrew: (From in the bathroom). I’m naked! (Scene shifts to inside the bathroom where Andrew has a boom box set up in the corner. He now has a towel around his waist as he’s turning the water on for a shower). Now this simply won’t do; music is needed to fill this void. (Walks over to the boom box and turns it on. Andrew starts dancing to it). There we go, the world is balanced again. (Goes behind the curtains and starts singing to the music. Suddenly the song begins to skip. Andrew’s head pops out from around the curtain all wet). Ah, don’t go all Milli N’ Vanilli on me now. (Grabs the towel and wraps it around his waist and hops out of the shower and over to the boom box. He fixes it and goes back to his shower. Soon it starts skipping again). So my old friend, it would appear that you’re in league with the alarm clock, eh? (Walks over and fixes it again. Soon it begins skipping again. Andrew gets out of the shower once more, now with shampoo dripping from his hair). This just won’t stand. I’ll just have to beat-box this shower then. (Tries to turn the boom box off and it zaps him). Bah, the hell?! (Zaps him once more). So that’s the way you want to play it, you little bastard?! (Pulls off his towel, revealing swimming trunks, and proceeds to whip the boom box with his towel. Camera shows the door of the bathroom from the outside. A loud zap can be heard followed by Andrew’s screaming).
Act 2: Scene 1
Setting: Andrew is now fully dressed and sitting in the living room on the couch again. He is wearing jeans and a plain shirt.
Andrew: This is boring. I need something to spice this up. (Scene cuts and Andrew is once more sitting on the couch, now he is wearing a Hawaiian shirt. States very sarcastically). This is much better. I can already feel the excitement of the weekend flowing through me. (Looks around). I need something to do. No, not something to do, someone to talk to. Yeah, that’s it. But who? (Gets up and starts thinking to himself and pacing back and forth). A best friend of course. But what shall this best friend look like? He’ll have blonde, no, brown hair. I hate blonde guys; they’re always such assholes. He shall be about…(Measures with his hand). My height. Yes, that’s perfect. And he must be British. It’s decided, my best friend is a Brit. (Frantically looking around the house). From where shall he enter…? Door! No, too practical. Window! No, too impractical. I’ve got it! He shall come from the pantry! Come forth…um…name. Damn I need a name. Um, um, um…Nathaniel! Come forth Nathan! (The doorbell rings). Aha! He’s here! (Opens the pantry door, it is empty in there). Now where the hell is he? (Doorbell rings again. Andrew wonders over to the door with a puzzled look and opens it. A man with blonde hair comes through it).
Nathaniel: Evenin’ old chap. Sorry, I’m a tad bit late as it would seem.
Andrew: You were supposed to come from the pantry. And I distinctly remember saying that I wanted brown hair, not blonde.
Nathaniel: Many apologies Gov; have it out with my mum about that one.
Andrew: No no, it’s alright. I’ll let it slide for the time being. Come in, have a seat.
Nathaniel: So Gov, what’s on the plate this evenin’?
Andrew: Damn, hadn’t thought it through quite yet.
Nathaniel: (Sits down on the couch and kicks his heels up). Watching the telly then?
Andrew: No, I always do that during weekdays and this is clearly a weekend, when nothing is on worth watching.
Nathaniel: So wot’s we gonna do then?
Andrew: We are gonna… (Thinks to himself). Give me a minute wouldja?
Nathaniel: No rush Gov, ‘ave at it.
Andrew: Well, my parents are out of town for the weekend, we could get wasted?
Nathaniel: Ye know I don’ drink. Bad for me ‘ealth.
Andrew: Yeah I know; I don’t drink either.
Nathaniel: So why’s the family out for the weekend. Softball?
Andrew: Softball. Where else would they be?
Nathaniel: It’s a cryin’ shame it is.
Andrew: Thank you for agreeing. Softball isn’t even a sport after all! It’s hardly even a means to pass the time!
Nathaniel: Well I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s useless. It passes loads of time.
Andrew: (Angrily gets up from the couch and begins fuming). Oh, I see, we have another traitor amongst our ranks!
Nathaniel: Wot traitor? Oo’s ranks?
Andrew: You wanna play it like that?! I’ll be damned if I’ll be swayed to enjoy softball!
Nathaniel: Oo’s sayin’ you’ve gots ta like softball?
Andrew: I’d rather…um…
Nathaniel: The thing with the frozen lake?
Andrew: Exactly! Never, ever in my lifetime will I ever play that accursed “game”! (Crosses his arms and stands still, fidgeting slightly). Dammit now I wanna play it. C’mon, into the backyard. (Storms off).
Nathaniel: Oh. Well alright them. (Confusedly stands up and follows Andrew).
Act 2: Scene 2
Andrew: (He has lead Nathaniel to the backyard and is holding a softball. A bat is sitting at Nathaniel’s feet). C’mon, pick up the bat.
Nathaniel: But I don’t want to.
Andrew: Nonsense, we’ll prove you right in saying that softball can burn through some time. Now pick up the bat.
Nathaniel: Ah right. (Picks it up and lets it hang). Now wot?
Andrew: I’m gonna pitch this softball at you, and you hit it.
Andrew: Because, it’s supposed to be fun. Don’t you Brits have bat-related games over there in Brit land?
Nathaniel: First off, it’s Great Britain, not “Brit land”. Secondly, yes, we ‘ave a fabulous game called cricket.
Andrew: How’s that one played?
Nathaniel: I ‘ave no Godly idea.
Andrew: Whatever, he comes the ball. (Tosses the softball. It goes right past Nathaniel, who doesn’t even attempt to hit it). What the hell was that? Swing the bat!
Nathaniel: Oh. Right gov.
Andrew: Throw the ball back to me.
Nathaniel: No, I’m hitting.
Andrew: You’ll have to double as the catcher.
Nathaniel: So I’m catching the ball now?
Andrew: No, you’re acting as the catcher so that you can throw the ball back to the pitcher, which is me, when you fail to hit the ball.
Nathaniel: Nah I don’t think I’ll be doin’ that.
Andrew: Catching or batting?
Nathaniel: Neither, most likely.
Andrew: (Grumbles and walks over to retrieve the ball). This time actually take a swing at least. You ready?
Nathaniel: Yeah I’m ready.
Andrew: Good, here it comes! (Throws the ball. It flies past Nathaniel, who swings and misses spectacularly). Ah c’mon, what are you doing?!
Nathaniel: I’m sorry, it appears that I’m not very good at this game.
Andrew: Darn right you’re not. You downright suck.
Nathaniel: Ay, don’ blame me; this game is awful to begin with.
Andrew: Yes! Exactly. And you are bad at this awful game. (Walks over and grabs the ball again). Once more, just to make sure. Keep you’re eyes on it.
Nathaniel: On wot?
Andrew: The ball.
Andrew: It helps you hit it better, that’s why. Now swing. (Throws the ball at him. Nathaniel doesn’t swing this time). Ah c’mon! Why didn’t you swing that time?
Nathaniel: It was a bad pitch.
Andrew: That was a perfect strike!
Nathaniel: I beg to differ.
Andrew: Well I believe you’re wrong.
Nathaniel: Nah, the ball nearly took me ‘ead off.
Andrew: That’s a lie! Forget this game! I’ve proven my point that it’s an absolutely awful game!
Nathaniel: (Quietly under his breath). Or maybe you’re just a poor athlete…
Andrew: What was that?!
Nathaniel: (Drops the bat). So, ‘ow’s you’re mum?
Andrew: Don’t you change the subject. (Calms himself down.). Gah, I know what the problem is. It’s this atmosphere. We need to go somewhere else. Come Nathaniel, to the transport!
Nathaniel: The…oh darn.
Act 2: Scene 3
Andrew: (He leads Nathaniel out the front door and towards a car. He motions for Nathaniel to drive). I call shotgun. You can be my chauffer.
Nathaniel: You know I ‘aven’t got me driver’s license. Least not one for the states anyway.
Andrew: (Sigh). Fine, you be that way. (Walks over to the passenger side door and opens it for Nathaniel). Here, miss dainty is too good to drive without a license.
Nathaniel: (While getting in the car). ‘ey, I’m no dainty lady.
Andrew: (Getting in the driver’s seat). Oh, and let me help you with that seatbelt, too. (Reaches over and buckles Nathaniel mockingly into the seat). You all snug there ma’am?
Nathaniel: (Slapping Andrew’s hands away frantically). Cor blimey, would you cut that out?! (The two just sit there for a few seconds). Well then?
Andrew: Well what?
Nathaniel: Where we off to?
Andrew: I don’t know; I thought you’d have some ideas.
Nathaniel: Not ruddy likely. I’m the guest; guests shouldn’t ‘ave to run the festivities, that’s the ‘ost’s job.
Andrew: Oh my God fine, I’ll decide. We’re going to go buy pie wherever we can find it, there, you happy that I decided on a plan?
Nathaniel: Not really, no. That’s a horrible plan.
Andrew: Good. I mean, whatever. (Imitates Nathaniel’s accent as best he can). Afterall, I’m the ‘ost, roight?
Nathaniel: Jes shut yer gob and drive.
Andrew: Fine. (Pulls out a key and tries to start the car. It makes a bunch of pathetic sounds and refuses to start). Now that ain’t right…
Nathaniel: Wot’s wrong wit the car?
Andrew: (Tries starting it again. It makes more odd and out of place noises). Just give me a second. (Pops the hood and gets out of the car. He goes around to the front and looks under the hood). Okay let’s see…if that’s the engine, then what the hell is that thing?
Nathaniel: (Yells from inside the car). Ay! We’re not movin’!
Andrew: I’m working on it, hold yer horses! (Looks back at the guts of the car, completely baffled). So, why won’t you start? (The car shrugs back in car talk. Andrew grabs something and pulls. Something sounds like it breaks as the car yells out in car talk. Andrew instantly lets go). Found the problem!
Nathaniel: Wot was it?
Andrew: The car’s broken! (Looks at the piece he broke off, dumps it back under the hood and closes it, then gets back in the car). How ‘bout we just listen to the radio for a bit?
Nathaniel: That’s about like watching the telly.
Andrew: No‘s not! We’re outside, we’re doing something.
Nathaniel: We’re inside a car.
Andrew: Fine, if we can’t go to something interesting, something interesting will have to come to us! (Gets himself out of the car). C’mon, out of the car! (Walks over and opens Nathaniel’s door). C’mon, what’re you waiting for?
Nathaniel: I’m not entirely sure I want to follow you.
Andrew: What? Here, let me help you make up your mind. (Reaches down to unbuckle Nathaniel, who shoves him back as they wrestle. Andrew forcibly unbuckles him and throws him out of the car. Nathaniel lands with a thud on the ground).
Nathaniel: You cheeky little bastard. Now my bum’s all sore.
Andrew: What, did I offend your honor?
Nathaniel: As a matter of fact, you have. You have not only taken my gender into question but you have assaulted me like a brute. (Stands up and brushes himself off). Nothing personal but I demand a duel to the death.
Andrew: (Thinks to himself). Well on the plus side that would indeed be something to do… Okay, I accept your challenge. A duel to the death.
Nathaniel: I choose pistols at dawn.
Andrew: No, that’s too cliché and I don’t have pistols.
Nathaniel: Wot ‘ave you then?
Andrew: I have foam bats.
Nathaniel: (Sighs). Fine, as crass at that sounds, foam bats to the death at dawn.
Nathaniel: Wot will we do till then?
Act 3: Scene 1:
Setting: Roof top. Andrew and Nathaniel are lying on their backs and looking at the stars.
Andrew: There are quite a few of them, aren’t there?
Nathaniel: Billions most likely.
Andrew: Where’d they all come from you think?
Nathaniel: Don’ know. Someone must ‘ave put ‘em there though.
Nathaniel: Possibly. Sounds like a likely concept.
Andrew: Now there’s someone interesting.
Andrew: Well God. What makes him do anything that he does?
Nathaniel: Boredom I’d wager.
Andrew: Oh, so you think that God just got bored and started creating stuff?
Nathaniel: Well, I don’t know if I’d put it so bluntly but yes.
Andrew: So God just got bored one day and decided to create a whole world and stars and animals and such?
Nathaniel: Could be.
Andrew: And then he created humans just so that he’d have someone to talk to?
Nathaniel: I suppose it could be very likely that he was lonely and wanted someone to talk to.
Andrew: God? Lonely?
Nathaniel: It can get lonely at the top.
Andrew: (Thinks to himself). Hmh. I suppose you’re right.
Nathaniel: Course I’m right.
Andrew: So, do we intend to wait here until the morning sunrise?
Nathaniel: Not unless you have anything else planned.
Andrew: (Pause). So we’re waitin’ for the sunrise them.
Act 3: Scene 2:
Setting: Andrew and Nathaniel are sitting on the deck in the backyard waiting for dawn. It is slowly getting lighter and lighter outside.
Nathaniel: So, you think it’s light enough yet to consider it dawn?
Andrew: Hmm… (Surveys the sky). Nope, not yet.
Nathaniel: ‘Ow bright it’s got to be?
Andrew: Bright enough.
Nathaniel: ‘Ow will you know when it’s enough?
Andrew: We’ll hear a rooster crow.
Nathaniel: (Looks around puzzled). We’re in the suburbs.
Nathaniel: The suburbs are smack dab in the middle of a city.
Nathaniel: So, there ain’t a farm for miles away yet.
Andrew: Your point is…?
Nathaniel: Where the ‘ell would a rooster be coming from?!
A rooster crows signaling dawn.
Nathaniel: Where did you get a bloomin’ rooster?!
Andrew: Oh that’s what a rooster sounds like? I thought you were talking about a parakeet. I haven’t the daftest idea where the rooster came from.
Nathaniel: A parakeet?
Andrew: Sure, a parakeet could-
Nathaniel: Forget about the damned birds!
Andrew: You’re right. Regardless of who or what signaled it, dawn is upon us along with the dusk of one of our mortal lives.
Nathaniel: Is that you’re attempt at poetics?
Andrew: Well I’d like to hear you do better. Flowery crap is hard.
Nathaniel: (Clears his throat). Ahem. The fiery sun rises in the morning sky, seeped in the blood that shall run dry, even God sheds a tear from his mighty eye, as one of these poor souls is soon to die.
Andrew: That was awful.
Nathaniel: I’ll have you know that I studied among the finest scholars of Oxford and had the honor of working personally with her Queen’s most revered troupe of performers!
Andrew: Really now?
Andrew: You made that up.
Nathaniel: What?! At least I’m not a pathetic state college student.
Andrew: Correction: State community college student.
Nathaniel: You sir have sullied my good name and I challenge you to-
Andrew: Oh yeah, I almost forgot all about that.
Nathaniel: Well I’m re-issuing the challenge to be to the double-death.
Andrew: How can you be double-dead?
Nathaniel: The survivor also takes possession of the loser’s soul for eternity.
Andrew: Ah, that’s beyond morbid. So far as to be downright Dungeons and Dragons sort of thing.
Nathaniel: Ack, that far?
Andrew: ‘Fraid so.
Nathaniel: Better stick with just the single-death then.
Andrew: Good choice. Still the foam bats?
Nathaniel: No, I demand swords.
Andrew: I don’t have swords.
Nathaniel: Fine, then on with the foam bats.
Andrew: Actually, heh, funny story actually, I don’t have those either. I was hoping you wouldn’t call my bluff.
Nathaniel: Oh great, my honor has been tarnished and there’s no way to regain justice by killing you properly.
Andrew: Now now, there’s bound to be something around my house that can be used for killing each other.
Nathaniel: Well come on, let’s ‘ave a look then.
Act 3: Scene 3:
Setting: Small room with a closet. Andrew is buried deep in the closet and randomly throws suggestions for things he finds back out to Nathaniel who is standing right outside the closet door with his arms crossed.
Andrew: How ‘bout…high heel shoes?
Andrew: Leather belts?
Andrew: Metal coat hangers?
Nathaniel: Put some off to the side, we may have to settle for those.
Andrew: Hmm, what else…? I have it! (Shuffles out of the closet on his knees holding an old chess board in his hands). Nothing is more worthy of restoring honor than the game of kings!
Nathaniel: (Thinks to himself). Hmm, you may be on to something with that one. Okay, I accept this new challenge. Prepare to be defaced in the most humiliating of defeats!
Andrew: Yeah whatever. To the living room! (Points in the air and the two walk out of the room and into the living room).
Act 3: Scene 4:
Setting: Andrew and Nathaniel are sitting across from each other at a table with a chess board set up between them.
Nathaniel: Since my honor is the one at stake, I shall be the white pieces.
Andrew: And by power of deduction, I shall be the black pieces.
Nathaniel moves a white pawn. Andrew sits and does not move any of his pieces.
Nathaniel: It is your move now.
Andrew: I know, I’m pondering the best attack possible.
Nathaniel: Why not just move the front one?
Andrew: Aha, that’s what you’d like me to do, isn’t it? Oh no, I shall move this one over…here! (Picks up a black pawn on the corner and moves it). Mwahaha, you have no idea what’s in store for you!
Nathaniel: I suppose not. (Moves a white bishop).
Andrew: (Frantically looks down at the board). Damn! I hadn’t anticipated that move!
Nathaniel: It was only my second turn.
Andrew: And what a turn at that! I have been blindsided and this game is now truly anyone’s game! Until however I do…this! (Moves his knight). Behold! I have advanced upon the field! Tremble under the might of my dark pony!
Nathaniel: It is called a knight.
Andrew: Sure, and this piece isn’t called a castle either. (Points to his rook).
Nathaniel: No actually. Those are called rooks.
Andrew: What the hell is a rook?
Nathaniel: One of those apparently.
Andrew: Wow, my mind has been blown at the addition of this new knowledge.
Nathaniel: Sometimes the simplest things, eh?
Andrew: Absolutely. (Nathaniel moves his white queen). Bah?! The white queen has decided to make a full frontal assault on my impenetrable fortress?! I think not! (Moves his knight closer to the other side of the board). But beware! My dark, (Sigh), knight, has begun his own assault and there is nothing that can stop him at this point! Nothing!
Nathaniel: (Moves his white queen into checkmate position). Checkmate.
Andrew: (Stoops incredibly close to the board and looks it over in a confused state). Nah! Preposterous! But if I move this then…no, it’s checkmate alright. (Squints in really close to the white queen). You lying, betraying little hussy. (Flicks it).
Nathaniel: Right then. My honor’s been restored and with that I should make my leave.
Andrew: What? No. No no, you just got here though.
Nathaniel: I’ve been here an entire day at this point. That’s hardly just getting here.
Andrew: You can’t leave though, what’ll I do?
Nathaniel: I don’ know, watch a movie or somethin’.
Andrew: But, but…I don’t want to! (Looks down at the white queen again). This is all your fault.
Nathaniel: Don’t worry none; I’m sure your family’ll be back any time now.
Andrew: (Looks at his watch and sighs). Sadly you’re right. But all they’ll want to talk about is the softball tournament! I’ll be forced to sit through endless hours of my mother angrily discussing to no one in particular how upset she is about a call that was made or the attitude of one of the players on the other team or something or other.
Nathaniel: And what if her team loses?
Andrew: Ack! That’d be even worse! (Gets down on his knees and shuffles over to Nathaniel with his hands together). Please, I’m beggin’ ya. Just stay a bit longer.
Nathaniel: You know I love it when you grovel like that.
Andrew: So you’ll stay?
Nathaniel: (Sighs). For a few more minutes.
Andrew: (Jumps to his feet in excitement). Aha! I know just the game to play for a last minute thrill; a good ol’ fashioned game of hide and seek.
Nathaniel: Alright then. You seek first.
Andrew: Huzzah! I’m unbeatable at this game! There won’t be a place imaginable that you could hide from me! (Runs to the corner and starts counting loudly).
(Nathaniel walks over to the front door, opens it, and takes one last sad look at Andrew before tipping his head and walking out. Andrew continues counting as the door reopens and his family walks in).
Mother: We’re back!
Andrew: (Turns around with a jump). And ten! I got you! (Notices his family has walked in). Oh, I thought you were someone else. (Sadly goes and sits down on the couch). Hmh, he must have slipped out while my back was turned.
Father: Well son, we won our games.
Andrew: That’s great dad.
Mother: They were close games, too. We had to have had the most clueless umpire for half of our games though. You should have seen this guy! He didn’t know the difference between a ball and a strike and made some terrible calls. (Turns to father). You know, half the calls he made were wrong. I had the rulebook right there. Look, I’ll show you myself. (Looks around). Darn, the rulebook’s still in the car. I’ll be right back.
Father: So son, how was your weekend?
Andrew: Oh, it wasn’t too bad I suppose. I kept myself busy at least.
Father: Well that’s good. What did you do?
Andrew: Oh, this and that. My friend Nathaniel came over for the night, so we played some games and talked the evening away. We were locked in a battle for honor.
Father: Nathaniel huh? (Looks over at the counter at an orange prescription bottle). You didn’t take your medication yesterday, did you?
Andrew: Dad, you know I never take my medication on the weekends.
Father: (Smiles and looks over at the chess board). So, who won?
Andrew: Nathaniel beat me. Pretty quick, too.
Father: You know, I was fairly good at chess back in my day. I bet I could still show you a thing or two about how it’s played.
Andrew: (Smiles and walks over to chess board). Okay, but I get to be the white pieces this time.
Andrew and his father sit down to play a game of chess. Camera starts to pull out slowly. Ending music plays along with credits as the two talk amongst themselves and begin playing a game while Andrew’s mother and sister periodically come in the door carrying softball equipment that they’ve unloaded from the car.
Eclipse Star: Chapter 33
“A Moment of Rest”
Recap: Last time, Derek lead a small group consisting of Jack, Kevin, and Danny, into Chris in search of the thing in his heart that was killing him. After using the stone the desert hermit had given them, they were able to shrink down and enter Chris, quickly discovering that the creature was a larger threat than first expected. Although it looked hopeless, Derek took it upon himself to cure Chris of his ailment and did so by tearing the creature in half. Now, with the creature’s heart in his hand, Derek and the others make their way back to the real world.
Lindsey: Did it work?
Austin: He seems to be a lot more peaceful now.
Kyle: Looked like he just about bit it there.
-With a loud POP, the inner space adventurers return to normal size. They look pretty pathetic, covered in all sorts of goo and riddled with cuts and gashes. All of them appear to be tired and in need of rest and a shower. Derek is the worst of the group, although he is clutching an odd-shaped heart in his hand.
Derek: Nothing to it but to do it.
Lindsey: Oh my God! Jack! You did it! (Runs up and hugs him, then instantly regrets it after getting covered in bodily fluids).
Jack: We did it just barely.
Derek: I wasn’t in as good of shape as I thought I’d be. I must have been more wiped out from earlier than I knew.
Austin: So what happened in there?
Kyle: Yeah, give us the scoop.
Jack: (Cleaning himself off with a towel as he explains to the group the information they learned). We now know what the Locust virus does. It’s a bio-organism that manufactures smaller organisms. It locates itself in the heart so that it can use it to pump clouds of the little creatures throughout the body. The heart isn’t directly affected until the end and actually seems to be the central piece to make this all work. In the mean time, the rest of the body is slowly broken down little by little, but as soon as the central brain in the heart is destroyed the rest follow, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s part machine.
Clinton: So now the Demon Regime has created cyborgs?
Leena: (Shivers). Ug, creepy thought.
Austin: (Walks up to Derek). You look like you’ve seen better days.
Derek: I have.
Austin: (Hugs Derek). Thank you.
Derek: (Is caught slightly off guard but pats Austin on the back). Don’t worry about it.
Commander: (Throws open the door to Chris’ room and steps in, looking tired and confused). Okay, what the hell has been going on? (Looks the group up and down). On second thought, if this answer includes some kinky pillow party, I don’t want to know about it.
Jack: The wackiest pillow party you could ever hope to see.
Commander: (Sighs and rubs his eyes in frustration). Okay, it’s late, and I’m partially drunk, so explain this quickly before I pass out from hating you all.
Jack: Well it’s quite simple really, we-
Commander: (Stops him, holding up a finger). No no, not from you. (Points at Derek). You, the dumb ass who got beat by Jack; what happened?
Derek: Chris was about to die. Now he’s not.
Commander: And how did we get from point A to point B?
Derek: We found the Locust Virus in his heart, killed it, and took the heart of the thing so that we could make a vaccination.
Commander: Uh-huh. And just where is this “heart”?
Derek: (Drops the Locust heart on a nearby table with a THUD). There, enjoy.
Commander: (Looks down at the heart, then back up at Derek, then down at Chris, then from person to person. His face looks long and confused). Yes, I’m surely drunk. (Turns around and begins to walk out of the room. He stops and turns around before leaving). Oh, and good work everyone. Welcome home. (Leaves).
Kyle: And I didn’t think he cared.
Jack: Well since Chris is probably going to pull through, I think I’m gonna go take a shower and sleep for a week.
Derek: I could definitely go for that.
Jack: (Takes his hat off and smooths his hair). What’s today anyway?
Kyle: Um…(Checks the calendar on the wall). Friday.
Jack: Really? Huh, I’ve kinda lost track of time lately.
Lindsey: That tends to happen when you’re busy brawling in the streets and seeing the innards of your friend.
Jack: Yeah. Well good night everyone.
-The group says their goodnights and heave a sigh of relief, the first in almost a month. Finally they’ve managed to get to a place where it looks like smooth sailing for a while.
-However, elsewhere in the world…
Octavious: Syrus, get in here.
Syrus: (Enters the room looking unnaturally fatigued). You called?
Octavious: Syrus, please explain to me why you’ve been failing so much recently?
Syrus: I do not have an answer for that, nor do I feel I need one. We’ve hit a series of unexpected variables lately.
Octavious: Then we should get rid of these variables, shouldn’t we? Any new word from Charles?
Syrus: (If he had pockets, he’d have his hands stuffed in them, swaying back and forth on the edge of his feet). Yes, Project Locust is still progressing at an acceptable rate. We should be ready to make a full strike by the end of this week.
Octavious: Yes yes, good. And what about the other project?
Syrus: The Hex-Duo project?
Syrus: Charles tells me that production is going slower than expected.
Syrus: There seem to be some unforeseen variables.
Octavious: (Rolls his eyes at this). Of course. Tell Charles to go faster. After this assault on Trillium I want to be able to take the city with little effort.
Syrus: (Digging at Octavious). Of course, we wouldn’t want to have to get our boots dirty, now would we?
Octavious: (Had enough of Syrus). That’s all for today Syrus. Though, speaking of my boots, you can have the honor of polishing them for me. I expect them done by morning.
Syrus: (Sarcastically bows and responds). As you wish. (Walks away).
Syrus: (Stops and lolls his head back, annoyed). What?
Octavious: You forgot to call me “sir”.
Syrus: When I feel you’ve earned my respect, you’ll be sure to know. (Walks away).
Octavious: (Angrily calls back). You’d best learn to respect me Syrus! (Syrus waves his hand in the air, brushing Octavious’ comment away. He disappears from the room). Ooh, Syrus, for your sake Project Locust had damn well better be successful.
* * * * *
-A dark night, the city is experiencing a complete absence of hope as its defenders fight a losing battle. A corner of the city has been laid to waste, buildings crumbled and streets torn up entirely.
-Chris is kneeling down on the ground, taking all of this in as it happens around him.
-He looks up and sees one of his close friends stabbed, another impaled.
-Finally, as Syrus looks down upon him and laughs, he speaks.
Syrus: I told you I would bring hell with me.
Chris: (His eyes well up with tears). No… (Syrus laughs and fires a blast at him). HRAAAAAA!!!!
-Chris snaps awake, sitting upright, his hospital room quaking slightly.
-As he freaks out, sparks travel up various cords and decimate the medical machines hooked up to him.
-Upon realizing that this was all just a dream, he desperately searches around the room in a panic.
Chris: But…I was…damn dreams.
Jack: (Busts through the door looking absolutely alarmed). Shit! What did you do?!
Chris: Jack? How did I…? (Looks around the room again). How did I get here?
Jack: How did you…? (Thinks to himself for a second). Oh man, that’s right. You’ve been asleep since the fight with Derek almost a week ago.
Chris: (Snaps his fingers). Yeah, that would be the last thing I remember.
Jack: (Carefully eases this question out as he slinks up to Chris). Do you…remember how it ended…?
Chris: Yes…I mean no, not exactly. (Shaking his head, trying to remember). He fired a blast down on me and I collapsed, right?
Jack: Roughly about that.
Chris: But yet I’m not dead, so how…? (Searching to Jack for the answer).
Jack: Yeah, I’m always surprised by your knack for not dying. I stepped in before you were obliterated, though that doesn’t make Derek any happier about losing to you. But I have some good news all around.
Chris: And it is?
Jack: You should make a full recovery after a near-fatal illness.
Chris: (Nods). Always good.
Jack: The downside is, you won’t be able to train with us until you’re completely better.
Chris: And how long is that going to be?
Jack: How do you feel currently?
Chris: (Sits for a second, rubs his head and slowly slips back into his bed). To be honest, like I’m about to pass out again.
Jack: I’d expect that since your entire body was being eaten away from the inside.
Chris: (Pause for a beat). I don’t think I even want to know what that means.
Jack: Probably not. (Pats Chris on the shoulder). Give it a few months, then you’ll be back to your old self.
Chris: I just wish I could be out there with you guys learning new techniques.
Jack: (Kind of laughs to himself as he realizes that this will give him a chance to make some distance between himself and Chris). Heh, yep, that’s too bad but that’s the way it goes sometimes. (Walks back through the door). Just focus on getting some rest. I’m sure the others will be more than happy to tell you about everything that’s been going on these past few weeks. Also, I’ll send a technician to fix your stuff. (Points to the smoking monitors). Night. (Leaves).
Chris: (Lays back down and stares at the ceiling). What a day… (His eyes get wide and he hoists himself over the side of the bed to hurl).
* * * * *
-Austin is sitting at the end of Chris’ bed. A week has gone by and the others are starting to get stronger by the day. Everyone except Chris, forced to remain in bed until his health gets better, which it has unfortunately not. The good news at least is that his health hasn’t gotten any worse.
Austin: …So then Danny tried flying upside-down and nearly slammed right into the trainees out on the track doing laps!
Chris: He what?!
Austin: No kidding! Knocked one guy’s hat off! The kid nearly crapped himself from the shock!
Both: Hahahaha! (They double over laughing).
Chris: (Cough). Ohoho, ah that’s great. So everyone’s learning something new?
Austin: It’s going really slow, but we’re all starting to grasp the basics of flight and stuff. Derek isn’t exactly the best teacher on the subject.
Chris: What about Kevin?
Austin: He tries to get a word in but Derek’s a bit controlling of the flight lessons.
Chris: And Jack’s fine with this?
Austin: Yeah, actually. Jack’s been eager to let Derek take over for a bit. Not surprisingly, Jack’s the only one of us to figure out full flight in under a week.
Chris: Well he did know how to float a little bit.
Austin: Yeah, that’s true. Basically the same concepts, just applied slightly different. (Smacks Chris’ leg). We miss ya out there buddy.
Chris: Heh, I figured there’d be kinda an empty space with me sitting in here all day.
Austin: Well, nothing we can do about that, really. Some things just take time and this is one of those things. You’ll be back out there when you need to be, don’t worry. (Gets up and starts to walk for the door). But I’ve got to get back out there. More flight lessons. Get some rest. (Waves and starts to walk out).
Chris: Well, don’t be a stranger or nothing.
Austin: No worries buddy. (Walks out).
* * * * *
–Another day goes by. Lindsey is sitting right next to Chris on the bed and Chris is actually sitting up with has his hair combed a little bit.
Lindsey: Yep, it’s true, I actually managed to fly over the high tower near the middle of camp.
Chris: No way!
Lindsey: Yep. (Smiles). Well…it was more of a really good jump, but I know that I was flying at some point.
Chris: Well I don’t doubt it; you’re really talented with these sorts of things.
Lindsey: (Smacks him playfully and smiles). Ah stop it. You’d be doing just as good if you were out there. Probably even better.
Chris: Me? Nah, I can hardly hold my own in a fight.
Lindsey: Oh give me a break, you could kick any of our butts in a one-on-one and you know it. If you were well enough, I bet you’d be out there giving Derek the flying lessons, not the other way ‘round.
Chris: Hm, I find that hard to believe since I don’t know how to fly and he kinda does.
Lindsey: Well still, you’ve got more talent than the he’ll ever have.
Chris: (Playfully tilts his head and responds sarcastically). Remind me if my memory is a bit off, but didn’t Derek nearly just kill me in a one-on-one the other day?
Lindsey: Pff, you were just having an off day.
Lindsey: (Rolls her head and smiles). And he knew how to fly. Okay you’ve got me there.
Chris: (Nods). Thank you.
Lindsey: (Smiles and pats Chris on the arm). I’ve missed having you around a lot.
Chris: Yeah, Austin told me the other day that I seem to be missed.
Lindsey: It’s true though. It’s not the same. I mean, if it weren’t for you, none of us would have gotten into all of this in the first place.
Chris: Yeah, it is…(Thinks to himself and gets a little quieter)…it’s my fault we’re all here.
Lindsey: Cheer up; we’ll be better in no time. (Strokes the back of Chris’ head, kisses him on the forehead, looks into his eyes for a second or two, then stands up and walks out of the room).
Chris: (Still thinking to himself). It’s my fault we’re here…
* * * * *
-Yet another day gone. Derek is standing in the middle of the room, trying to explain the art of flight to Chris. Naturally, he is very frustrated.
Derek: (Growing frustrated with Chris). No, you can’t just magically step off a ledge and learn to fly; you have to know how to do it first or else you’ll just fall and kill yourself.
Chris: (Smiling as he pushes Derek deeper and deeper into frustration). But if I knew I was about to die, wouldn’t I unlock the ability to fly out of instinct?
Derek: Noooo, you’d just kill yourself like an idiot.
Chris: (Playing it up, squinting a bit and nodding). I’m pretty sure I could do it if I had a running start off a ledge.
Derek: (Not taking any funny business). Would you like me to give you a hand by throwing you out this window?
Chris: Nah, that’s quite alright. (Sits back). Why do you want to try and teach me while I’m still in bed anyway?
Derek: Because I need you to get better faster. The sooner you’re well, the sooner I can put you back in this hospital bed.
Chris: Ah, aren’t you sweet?
Derek: (Starts walking out of the room). Just remember what I taught you. Practice when you feel you can.
Chris: Right, just step off the ledge and I float.
Derek: (Grits his teeth). Sure, why not? (Leaves).
Chris: (Calls after him). Thanks honey!
Derek: (From in the hall). I hate you!
* * * * *
-Still another day goes by. Kyle’s sitting in a chair next to Chris as he’s reclined back a bit, eating a sandwich.
Kyle: So you’ve been surviving off of just sandwiches for the past week?
Chris: Hey, they’re good sandwiches.
Kyle: Meh, a bit dry for my taste.
Chris: You know what can help that?
Chris: Stop eating my sandwiches.
Kyle: Nah I don’t think I’ll be doing that. (Sarcastically takes another bite of Chris’ sandwich). Hey, you hear about Danny flying upside-down the other day?
Chris: Yeah, Austin told me about it a few days ago.
Kyle: Oh, it was pretty hilarious. (Thinks to himself). Well did he tell you about the fire Derek ended up starting?
Chris: (Sits up a bit, interested). No, what happened?
Kyle: Oh, well you’re gonna love this, you know those stones that Austin and the others brought back with them?
Kyle: Oh, well Derek tried using one of those to see what it does, bastard nearly burnt down the Commander’s office in the process.
Chris: No way!
Kyle: Well yes way. The commander was pissed, too.
Chris: Rightfully so.
Kyle: I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s just not the same with you not there.
Chris: Once or twice perhaps.
Kyle: Well, it’s just not the same without you out there.
Chris: It’d be nice learn how to fly. You flying yet?
Kyle: (Busts up laughing). Bwahahaha! Nah, not even close. Can you really see me flying? That’d be like trying to get a Shetland pony to tap dance.
Chris: I’ve seen it done before.
Kyle: You, sir, are a liar and a thief.
Chris: I haven’t stolen anything though.
Kyle: Then where did this sandwich come from?
Chris: The nurse brought it in. You stole it from me.
Kyle: Oh right. (Takes another bite and gets up). Carry on then. (Starts to walk out of the room). I’ll tell you one thing though. It’s definitely nice to finally have some peace and quiet around here again.
Chris: That’s true.
Kyle: Yep, I’m pretty sure it’s going to last and last this time…
* * * * *
-Syrus is standing on a building overlooking the shoreline near the Trillium City Harbor. A freighter is docked nearby. He keeps looking through a set of binoculars at it, finally picking up a radio and pressing the talk button.
Syrus: Execute Project Locust.
–He sets the radio down and waits as a distinct buzzing sound begins coming from the ocean freighter.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 32
Recap: As everyone witnessed the aftermath of Chris and Derek’s fight, both were taken to the Legion’s headquarters and put in the hospital wing for intensive care. Although Derek instantly saw improvement, Chris’ health declined faster and faster, leaving everyone in a very solemn mood, expecting him to die from something that they couldn’t prevent. Despite this, Derek insists that they have everything needed to save Chris, and after finally seeing an image of a wicked-looking creature lodged in Chris’ heart, he is formulating a plan.
Derek: Kevin, do you still have that rock the hermit gave you?
Kevin: (Still trying to piece things together). Yes, I do. It’s in my room but I don’t see how…
Derek: (Smiling, almost sneering at his plan). I didn’t think it’d be useful either when he gave it to us, but it looks like I’ve been proven wrong twice in a day.
Danny: (Looks up, the neurons firing rapidly in his head). That’s it!
Derek: (Points). See, even Danny seems to be catching on.
Jack: Do you feel like letting me in on this great plan of yours?
Derek: (More or less ignoring Jack). Kevin, go get the stone and bring it here. Don’t let anyone see you. Danny, you still remember what the hermit taught us?
Derek: Good, the more people I have going in there with me the better. (Kevin looks over puzzled). Are you still standing here?! Go, now! (Kevin looks startled but leaves the room hastily).
Jack: (Walks over and grabs Derek’s arm with a look of concern on his face). What is this all about?
Derek: (Smiles and regains his badass demeanor). The desert hermit taught us more than just flying and beams and such. He gave us a little amber stone that he said was used for shrinking people and things, and although I didn’t find it useful at the time, I stand corrected.
Austin: Little amber stone?
Danny: (Nods his head). Mm-hm, he said it was powerful but hard to use.
Austin: You mean like these things? (Reaches into his pocket and pulls out the gem he had acquired in the forest temple).
Derek: (Derek’s eyes get wider and he seems genuinely shocked, almost offended). Where did you get that?
Austin: (Shrugs). A long story, but we found four of these. Do you think they could come in handy, too?
Derek: No, not now at least. It’ll take a while for us to teach you how to use them, and I don’t know what the set you have will do. Right now the last thing we need is something more random to deal with.
Kevin: (Steps back into the room with the stone in his hand). I’ve got it.
Derek: Good, time is in short supply, so we have to do this fast.
Danny: (Nods, serious). Right. (Danny steps in close to Derek, Kevin comes somewhat closer).
Derek: Kevin, only Danny, you, and myself can do this right now. Do you want to save Chris’ life or not?
Kevin: (Looks down at the stone in his hand and breathes deeply. He looks up at Derek with a new resolve). Of course I do. Yes. (The three put their hands into the middle of their group, each grasping the stone tightly).
Jack: Derek, what are you doing?
Derek: What do you think? We’re going inside Chris to kill that thing.
Jack: (The room responds with a lot of disbelief. Jack nearly laughs). That’s crazy. Even if you can really shrink down that small, you’ll be destroyed by his body’s defenses and eaten away by acids and other complex medical babble.
Derek: This is the best chance we’ve got.
Jack: (Sighs). Then I’m coming with you. (Puts his arm into the group).
Derek: (Through his teeth, almost annoyed). Jack, you don’t know how to do this.
Jack: Then you’ll have to teach me fast. My barrier technique is the best defense you’ve got to work with as of now since we don’t have access to any of the Legion’s stronger armor.
Derek: It took us over a week to get this right, and if I remember correctly, your barrier move isn’t perfect yet.
Jack: Then I’d better perfect it quickly. Teach.
Derek: (Derek looks Jack up and down and realizes that he’s right. He sighs heavily). If this kills you on accident, I’m not responsible.
Derek: You got your watch thing?
Jack: It’s in my room.
Derek: Danny, go get Jack’s watch. We’ll need it to get a better idea aoubt that thing once we’re inside Chris. Kevin, go find some more layers of clothing for us to wear. (They both go about their orders. Derek pulls Jack in close and hurriedly explains how to perform the shrinking technique). Jack, listen closely. I don’t pretend to be a good teacher, so God help you if I can’t explain this.
Lindsey: (Speaking quietly to Austin as Derek pantomimes various actions to Jack at the far end of the room). Is this going to work?
Austin: We don’t have any other options, so yes, this is definitely going to work.
Derek: (Finishes his instructions as Kevin and Danny enter the room carrying long-sleeve shirts and gloves). You get all that Jack?
Jack: (Shakes his head no). Absolutely.
Derek: (The four are putting on the shirts and gloves). Good, we get one chance.
Jack: Let’s do this.
–The four gather closely together, all holding a hand in the middle clutching whoever’s fist has a grasp on the amber stone. They close their eyes and the lights in the room flicker.
-As everyone else in the room watches, the four of them begin to become smaller ever so slowly. Then BAM, they disappear.
Leena: (Everyone in the room looks around and sees nothing). Is that it?
Kyle: They either just shrunk or they imploded, I’m not sure which. (Lindsey smacks him in the back of the head).
Derek: (He and his team are now microscopic and standing on the floor in the center of the room. They still have their eyes closed and are holding hands Three Musketeers-style. Derek opens his eyes and looks around). Success. (Looks over at Jack, who looks as if he’s about to vomit). You can open your eyes Jack; you’re surprisingly not dead.
Jack: (Opens his eyes and gasps for air). Oh whoa, that is not something I want to do again without practice. (Looks up at Chris and the now huge room). Any ideas of how we get up there? (Derek and the others start floating. Jack slumps, feeling stupid). Oh yeah… I suppose I’m riding shotgun then?
–Derek grabs Jack’s arm and the four fly up onto Chris’ bed.
-They look down at his face; he’s still reeling from whatever the creature is doing to him.
-As his mouth opens wide again from another shock of pain, Derek instructs them in.
Derek: Here we go…
Jack: One small step for man…
Danny: One really small step.
-The four fly down into Chris’ mouth and land on his tongue as his mouth closes. Derek lets Jack go and the four of them look around, taking in the random sight of the insides of their friend’s mouth.
Danny: So this is what the tongue looks like up close?
Jack: Hmh, now all we’ve got to do if find our way to his heart.
Derek: Right. (Walks by a tooth and taps on it). Looks like someone’s got a cavity…
Kevin: What’s the best way to get to his heart?
Jack: I don’t pretend to be a medical expert-
Derek: Just an expert on everything else?
Jack: Right, but if I’ve got any common sense left, the fastest way would be down the throat, into the stomach, then follow a side vessel from there until we hit the heart.
Derek: (Sarcastic). Doesn’t sound complicated at all…
Jack: Also, no fancy tricks in here, especially not when we get to Chris’ heart. If we fire any energy blasts or increase our power too high there’s a good chance we’ll kill him on accident.
Derek: What? You think I’d try to kill Chris? (The others give him a dirty look). Okay, bad example.
Jack: Everyone stay close together for this. (Jack closes his eyes and pulls his arms in tightly. The others walk over near him as he slowly puts his arms out and increases his barrier technique to cover the four of them). Right then, onward.
Kevin: How long will you be able to…?
Jack: For as long as I need to, but let’s hurry so I don’t get short-changed. (Derek picks Jack up by the back of his shirt and the group starts flying down Chris’ throat. As they start doing this Chris begins coughing viciously all of a sudden). Dang it! Everyone, grab the sides of his throat and hold on!
Derek: Faaaantastic. (Everyone holds on for dear life as large gusts of air rasp through Chris’ windpipe).
Jack: We’ve got to get out of his throat or else he won’t stop coughing!
Derek: Then grab hold Jacky-boy. (Derek clutches Jack’s hand and he flies headfirst down Chris’ throat and past the esophagus and other assorted anatomy that the author describing this scene knows nothing about. Eventually they find themselves about to enter the stomach). This would be about where that technique of yours should come in handy, eh?
Jack: We can only hope. (The group flies in and lands on a mound of partially digested food. Jack’s barrier seems to be holding up well).
Danny: Yarg, this is disgusting.
Jack: What did you expect to find in a stomach? Apple cores and juice boxes?
Danny: No, but I remember seeing that documentary with the host ridding in a canoe around the stomach.
Derek: I saw that documentary and the host was a cartoon kangaroo.
Danny: So, what’s your point?
Kevin: At least we’re not being digested.
Jack: Yeah, but let’s not stand around with our ankles in stomach acid, shall we?
Danny: Hey, I don’t remember those from the documentary either. (Points off towards a swarm of things flying out of a small opening).
Derek: (His back is turned to the swarm of things). Danny, for the last time, that wasn’t a documentary, it was a cartoon. (Turns around and sees the things flying at them). Actually…what the hell are those things?
Kevin: I don’t think they’re white blood cells.
Jack: You’re probably right in thinking that since I doubt white blood cells travel in swarms or into the stomach.
Derek: Well then what are they?
Jack: (The swarm streaks across the stomach at them, each of these things suddenly seems to open massive jaws to attack). I have no damned idea but I’m guessing we’re about to get f*cked up.
-As the flock of strange things flies at them, Derek randomly fires an energy blast, exploding a few of them instantly.
Derek: Not much to worry about, they’re easy to kill.
Jack: (Very annoyed). What did I tell you about energy blasts?
Derek: Control ‘em. Unless of course you’d like to get your face eaten by God knows what.
Kevin: (Blasts a few more out of the air). Where are they coming from?
Jack: (Still holding his barrier up around the three). Probably from a side vein.
Derek: (Firing while speaking). I’d wager anything that the creature in his heart is manufacturing these things.
Danny: No way! (Fires and misses, hitting the side of Chris’ stomach).
-The walls of Chris’ stomach begin to shake and the acid around the group’s feet starts sloshing around.
-Unexpectedly, stomach acid squirts out of geysers all over, floating the stomach with acid and engulfing both the group and the cloud of evil creatures, dissolving them in a horrendous noise that sounds like hundreds of bugs dying.
-On the outside world, Chris lets out a decent belch.
Kyle: ‘Scuse you, sir.
-As the acids subside, the four are still standing, huddled around Jack who’s still keeping his protective bubble up and going.
Jack: (His teeth are thoroughly clenched). Are we done firing exploding things around the inner workings of our close friend?
Jack: Good. (He looks down and notices that the shoulder of his jacket has been dissolved off and his skin is somewhat burned). Terrific…
Derek: Well, if I had ever wanted to know what a sandwich feels like, that would be as close as I could ever hope to get.
Kevin: If we follow that opening the things came from, it should lead us to the source.
Jack: We can only hope that’s the case. Let’s go. (The four fly up to the opening, shove through it, and find themselves in a blood vessel. The barrier is still holding fast, although the recent addition of constant pressure has caused a noticeable shrink). Okay, since this is a blood vessel, I would assume that to get to the heart all we’d have to do is swim upstream.
Derek: And doesn’t that just sound easy enough? (They start pushing their way against the blood current as fast as they can, blood cells slamming against their bubble, each causing Jack to wince). You doing alright Jack?
Jack: (His eyes are closed tightly, straining to keep his shield up and the four of them alive). Yeah, peachy.
Derek: Good, ‘cause I don’t wanna be any trouble or anything, but you might want to know that the happy swarm of things is back.
Jack: Ah damnit… (Kevin and Derek both start to charge up energy blasts as they travel forward). No! No, it’s too enclosed here. If you rupture the walls it’ll be worse than just a simple ulcer. Just fly faster.
Jack: Just do it!
–They all shake their heads in frustration and fly at full speed into the black cloud. They can see every little creature slam up against the shield, being bounced off as they keep moving forward.
-Jack’s straining so heavily that it looks as if his teeth are going to break from pressure. Regardless, they keep moving forward, slower and slower, but always moving forward.
-Jack finally lets out a yell of anguish as it’s apparent that he’s in absolute pain. Luckily they manage to blow past the dark cloud of things and into the very chamber that they’re looking for.
Derek: Well, we made it.
–They all look around to see the entire heart clogged with clouds of the creatures swimming around. And in the center is the thing that Derek first saw on the video screen less than an hour ago, still flailing it’s bladed arms around, spewing the little creatures out from two spouts located on each arm near the back of the shoulder. It’s face is even more fearsome in person, with two slitted black eyes, glossed over and inhuman. It has no mouth, no ears, nothing really to make it look like anything but a horrendous mutation of a person.
-Although it has been floating casually in the center of the heart, upon spying the four it turns its attention squarely towards them.
-It lets out a dreadful shriek, emanating from an unknown source but still ear piercing even as the sound travels through constant blood.
-The four cover their ears from the horrible screech.
Danny: How does it even make that noise?!
Derek: I don’t know! But how do we kill it?!
Jack: (He’s still straining himself to keep the barrier up). Don’t fire any blasts at it!
Kevin: Then what do we do?
Jack: (Opens his eyes and sees the swarm tear after the group). I don’t know!
Derek: Do I have to do everything myself? (Shakes his head, takes a deep breath, and pulls away from the four, breaking out of the barrier).
Kevin: Derek! What are you doing?!
-Derek turns back around as he flies and gives a thumbs up before turning back towards the beast inhabiting Chris’ heart and increases speed.
-He blows through the cloud of enemies and directly for the “face” of the creature. His eyes look intense as he clobbers it, knocking its head back and forcing it to bow backwards.
-It springs back into place and gives Derek a harsh head butt.
Jack: He’s crazy…
Kevin: Danny, stay here.
Danny: Sure, no problem.
–Kevin flies out from the protection and joins Derek in the fight.
-As Kevin clears through the creature-storm, Derek is finding he’s having a harder time dealing with the monster than he originally thought, having to dodge as the bladed arms slash dangerously close to him.
-As the creature misses one strike, it pulls back and hits Derek with the back of its arm, sending Derek spinning away.
-Kevin comes in and grabs hold of one arm and knees at the joint, breaking it.
-The creature bellows and bats Kevin away with the back of its other arm.
Jack: What’s happening out there Danny?
Danny: Um…Kevin broke one of the creature’s arms and made it very angry.
-The creature’s head flails around and its arm pops spectacularly back into place, not broken anymore.
-Derek looks at Kevin and gives him a look that says “Now what?”
-Kevin shrugs and they both fly back at the beast.
-They attack it one after the other, hitting it with alternating attacks to the mid-section.
-The beast just looks up and cross-chops at them, slicing each of their shirts.
-They both fly back to Jack’s bubble and gasp for air.
Jack: (Sweat is rolling down his face. He doesn’t look so well). We about ready to abort?
Derek: (Looks up and takes a deep breath). I’m not about to give up to a faceless, soulless parasite! YAH! (Blasts off right at the creature).
Jack: Derek, I’m not gonna hold out! (Kevin puts his hand on Jack’s shoulder and closes his eyes. Suddenly Jack’s eyes open and he stops breathing so heavily. His barrier glistens with a new resilience). What the heck…? (Kevin has passed out). When did he learn that…? (Danny looks just as bewildered).
-Derek’s eyes are practically on fire as he slams into the creature.
-It crumples around Derek but recovers quickly, slashing and missing as Derek moves about infuriated.
-Reacting to this change of events, the swarm lifts off of Jack’s barrier and engulfs Derek, biting relentlessly.
-Derek powers up, clearing most of them from him instantly.
-He looks the creature in the face, grabs hold of its shoulders, and starts pulling the creature in opposite directions, presumably to tear it apart.
-The creature lets out an ear-piercing screech and begins hacking at Derek with its blades, slicing open gashes.
-Derek still refuses to let go and powers up to a greater degree.
-On the outside world Chris clutches his chest and yells.
-The room reacts accordingly by feeling terrible.
Lindsey: (Rushes over to Chris’ side, wiping his forehead with a washcloth). Hang on Chris, just hang on…
Jack: (Back insides Chris’ body). Derek! You’re going to kill Chris!!
-Derek doesn’t let up but keeps pulling.
-The monster in his grasp screams louder, the sound of flesh being stretched to its limits is heard.
-Derek begins yelling as well, adding a garbled noise to the mixture of the carnage.
-Finally, in a blind rage, Derek rips the creature in half, pulling it in two, splitting the head up the middle as one last screech is heard.
-The deed having been done, the cloud of smaller creatures all stop moving and begin dissipating, looking more like a cloud of smoke than one comprised of actual solid animals.
-Derek reaches into the corpse of the slain beast and pulls out what appears to be a heart.
-He turns and flies back towards Jack and the safety of the barrier.
Derek: (He’s covered with cuts and gashes and appears as if he could collapse at any second). Shall we vacate?
Jack: (Nods). Sounds good to me.
To Be Continued…