Eclipse Star: Chapter 60
Recap: The group has arrived at the Northern Lodge to discover its sole resident: Joshua. It seems they’ll finally be catching a break and get a chance to recover from their near endless battles. Joshua spent no time before healing Jack’s legs, though a great deal of pain still accompanies the boy when he attempts to walk. Why is this? And what is Jack planning next? This and more, today, on Eclipse Star!
-We pick up again where we last left Jack, resting in his room at the Northern Lodge. His sleep is suddenly interrupted by his own inability to relax.
Jack: Uhn…how long I been out?
-Jack looks at his watch, the screen cracked from earlier.
Jack: Oh right, it broke. Piece of junk anyway.
-Jack takes the watch off and looks at the inscription on the back.
Jack: I should expect as much from a watch with Octavious’ approval. Oh well, I’ll make Glitch fix it later or something.
-Jack tosses the watch onto the floor. He sits up and rubs his eyes, looking around a bit. Something at the foot of his bed catches his eye.
Jack: The heck are those?
-Jack slowly crawls his way to the items, finding that they’re crutches with a note attached. Jack plucks the note from them and reads it.
Jack: “With love, Joshua.” Cute.
-Jack swings himself off the bed and weakly stands up with help from the crutches. He hobbles over to the window.
Jack: Gotta start planning. Not sure how long I have. Now who do I trust…?
-Elsewhere in the lodge we find Chris sitting downstairs in front of one of the fireplaces, all alone.
Grid: Rough few days?
Chris: (Startled). Huh?
-Chris turns around to see Grid standing in the entryway from.
Chris: Oh, Grid, right?
Grid: Yeah. That’s my given name anyway. I go by a lot of things when it suits me best.
Chris: You kinda remind me of someone.
Grid: That’s probably because I’m a woman and you don’t see a lot of those. Do I remind you of a woman?
Chris: Heh, I think you’re on to something there. Careful though, don’t try and flirt with me or anything. I’m too dangerous to be considered datable.
Grid: Jeez, I’d say the same thing about myself. We sound like a perfect match, eh?
Chris: (Smiles). I was just kidding, you realize that, right?
Grid: You’re cute and all, but yes, I realize we’d make a terrible couple.
Chris: I attribute that to the fact that I have no clue what your face looks like.
Grid: Also you’re extremely messed up in the head.
Chris: Yeah, there’s always that, too. So you gonna show me your face?
Grid: So forward, aren’t we? Well no, I don’t show guys my face until at least the third date.
Chris: That long, huh?
Grid: You think that’s hot, just wait until you see second base.
Chris: You sure we’re not flirting?
Grid: Positive. So you sitting down here staring at the fireplace?
Chris: I like the architecture or some other lie like that.
Grid: You’re struggling with Lindsey and Jack dating, right?
Chris: Just the fact that a total stranger can pick up on that shows exactly how bad I’m hiding it.
Grid: Aren’t you afraid to lose their friendship at all?
Chris: (Angry). I don’t consider what Jack and I have a friendship. (Seems to look off at nothing in particular). But Lindz, yeah, I’m not sure what we have anymore.
Grid: Hmm. I’m probably not the best one to talk about this, am I?
Chris: I don’t know, it’s nice to get a woman’s perspective. I can’t talk to Lindsey directly since I’m too serious around her and Leena can just go to Hell.
Chris: Sorry, I’m just wound up a bit.
Grid: I suggest talking to one of your guy friends. What about that tall redhead? What’s his name, Austin?
Chris: Yeah. Couldn’t hurt. I haven’t spent too much time with him lately.
Grid: Good. Go do that.
-Chris stands up and rubs his neck.
Chris: Hey thanks for this. And, you know, if I end up never getting together with Lindz, keep your options open.
Grid: Boy, you sure know how to keep a girl swooning, don’t you?
Chris: Yeah yeah. Night, Grid.
-Upstairs in Lindsey’s room…
Lindsey: I shouldn’t have said that to Jack. (Stands up). No, I shouldn’t have. I mean, where is it my place to push at him for dealing with his amount of stress? I should know better. I know he’s not the kind to get all deep about things when he’s stressed.
-Someone knocks at her door.
Lindsey: Yes? Come in, the door’s unlocked. Is that you, Jack?
-Glitch walks in.
Lindsey: Oh, Glitch, it’s you.
Glitch: Sorry, I heard you pacing. If you were expecting someone else-
Lindsey: No, it’s okay.
Glitch: It sounds like you’d prefer Jack.
Lindsey: No, it’s just a reflex. Sorry, I’ll try harder. (Snaps to a fake sincerity). Oh Glitch! Hooray, it’s you! What can I do for you?
Glitch: (Clearly annoyed by that). I was just checking on you. You know my defect; I can’t help but look in on you from time to time.
Lindsey: I’m sorry Glitch, I honestly didn’t mean anything by it. Come in and sit down, please.
Glitch: I just wanted to gage your reaction to a few things.
Lindsey: Okay. I assume you’re talking about the four new guys. Yeah, I trust them.
Glitch: That was one thing, yes.
Lindsey: From what I’ve seen they aren’t a threat to us. So far they’ve saved our life and brought us to Josh, so unless it turns out Josh was working with Octavious the whole time I’d say we’re fine.
Glitch: I don’t like the readings I’m getting from Iess though. He isn’t very stable, and his levels jump around sporadically.
Lindsey: I thought you couldn’t read Pulse levels.
Glitch: I can’t; I’m talking about brainwaves. I can gage emotions and so forth. I suppose it was a way to tell which enemy was the most nervous or excited or whatever. I haven’t really had the chance to make much use of it in a regular battle-
Lindsey: Because you don’t fight.
Glitch: -but I’m concerned with the way Iess won’t settle on a specific emotional point. He keeps jumping around, sometimes hitting multiple ends at once.
Lindsey: I don’t understand.
Glitch: Neither do I.
Lindsey: Simplify the terms, please.
Glitch: He doesn’t stay happy or sad or calm or frustrated for longer than a minute or two before shifting rapidly to a different mental state and at times he’s both angry and calm at the same time or any number of combinations. It isn’t easy to explain since it’s not a sliding scale or anything.
Lindsey: So he’s bipolar then? My grandma used to be bipolar before she passed away. It’s pretty common in the people-world.
Glitch: I know that. It’s not a case of bipolar attitude.
Lindsey: What else did you want?
Glitch: You don’t have to get mad with me.
Lindsey: I’m not mad with you.
Glitch: I just told you I have sensors that read emotion. I know you’re mad at me right now, I know you’re mad at Jack, and I know you’re mad at yourself. Why?
Lindsey: Suddenly you’re a psychologist or something?
Glitch: What do you feel so guilty about that you’re mad at everyone?
Lindsey: (Her defenses are beginning to get penetrated. She turns, rubbing her arm). Hmh, I don’t know. I must just be on my-
Glitch: I can read that sort of information, too, and I know you’re not.
Lindsey: Then I guess I’m just confused about things, alright? Am I allowed to be confused or can you just see everything with that little eye of yours?
Glitch: Okay, I’m not here to accuse you. I’m just here because I care about you and I know that you know that, and you don’t need a programmed sensor to realize it.
Lindsey: Sorry. Just…what do you think I’m confused about?
Glitch: I’m a program based off of a male’s work. Therefore, I’m no closer to understanding a woman’s reasoning than anyone else.
Lindsey: (Finally smiling). Then in your opinion, what does it look like?
Glitch: In my opinion I don’t think you really like Jack all that much.
Lindsey: (This clearly hits too close to home). Of course I still like Jack. He’s just going through a phase where he’s difficult to relate to.
Glitch: And you think he’ll eventually snap out of this.
Lindsey: Yes. I’m not going to just run from this relationship because we’re going through rough times. I did that a lot with relationships with guys from school and I’m sick of running from trouble like I used to.
Glitch: I understand that.
Lindsey: (Slightly miffed). Do you? Do you really?
Glitch: Yes, I do. Don’t forget, I turned on my brothers right before a major battle that ended up killing them.
Lindsey: (Embarrassed). I didn’t realize. I’m sorry. But still, that’s not the same thing. I mean, they were clearly evil.
Glitch: Yes, that makes it simple to justify. But my files were more complete than theirs and I was able to hypothesize that our enemies had an advantage when pushed to their limits. From a strategic standpoint it made more sense to change sides.
Lindsey: Are you telling me the only reason you’re with us now is because you thought you’d be destroyed if you fought against us?
Glitch: I don’t know. I have a lot of reasons why I’m on your side now, but I can’t tell which is my primary reason.
Lindsey: Does it really matter?
Glitch: I suppose not.
Lindsey: Is there anything else you wanted to ask me?
Glitch: (Pause). No. I think that’s all. I’ll leave you to rest.
Lindsey: (Suddenly remorseful). Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be-
Glitch: Goodnight, Lindsey.
-Glitch leaves. Lindsey stands staring at the door in silence.
Lindsey: I…I’m not in love with Chris…
-Still elsewhere in the lodge we find Austin, Danny, Willy, Kevin, and Kyle hanging out in one room, drinking hot cocoa.
Austin: And that’s when he finally lost it and threw the sandwich back at the lunch lady!
Kyle: Bwahaha! You serious? I can’t see him doing that!
Austin: It was crazy.
Willy: He didn’t really throw it so much as angrily toss it onto his tray.
Danny: OHH! Now I remember what we’re talking about! Hahaha, that was crazy!
Kyle: Okay, so give me a real story where Chris snapped.
Willy: I don’t think one exists.
Austin: Oh there are stories alright. You know how often I’ve had to talk him down off that ledge?
Danny: He came to me, once.
Kevin: Well, you are one of his trusted friends. Why wouldn’t he talk to you if he needed?
Danny: It was strange though ‘cause I’m not what you’d call “gifted” or anything for conversations or advice.
Kyle: Well what’d he say?
Austin: Yeah I don’t remember this. Danny, give the story.
Danny: Okay. So this one time, Chris was having a really bad day and he came to me about his problems with some girl. He wanted to know what I’d do and I told him I didn’t really know since I don’t have problems with girls. And then we played Nintendo.
Kyle: So who was the girl?
Kyle: The girl. Was it Lindsey?
Austin: It’s always Lindsey.
Kyle: Yeah, but did he name the girl specifically in this story?
Danny: Oh. I can’t remember.
Kyle: So your whole story is “Chris was sad and we played Nintendo?”
Kevin: Hnh, succinct. I like that in a story.
-A knock comes at the door.
Austin: Come in!
-Chris opens the door and walks in.
Chris: Oh hey, didn’t expect you all to be gathered here.
Austin: Nah that’s okay. We were just talking about you.
Chris: Good things?
Kyle: Times you snapped. We’re trying to get a feel for what to expect when you go off the deep end with powers that can level a small country.
Chris: …You tell them the Homecoming story?
-The group gets excited.
Kyle: Whoa, no one said nothing about no Homecoming story.
Kevin: Austin didn’t mention it yet.
Austin: Well, I was getting to it.
Chris: So go ahead, tell it.
Austin: Hey, it’s your story.
Danny: I can tell it!
Willy: Danny, we want a full story this time, not a synopsis.
Chris: Well, it was Freshmen year, so more than a year ago at this point.
-The scene shifts time to a flashback where Chris is dressed in a nice shirt and pants, leaning against the refreshment table at a school dance.
Chris Narration: I hadn’t been to a school dance but homecoming sounded like as good a time as any.
Kyle Butting In: You have a date?
Chris Narration: Yes and no.
-Austin comes up to Chris.
Austin: I thought you were here with Lindsey?
Chris: Oh I am. I just really wanted to get some food while I had a chance.
Austin: How much punch have you had?
Chris: They refilled the bowl a few times, so I lost count. I think someone spiked this.
Austin: Nah, no one’s gonna spike the punch here. She ditch you when she got here?
Chris: Of course. You know her; she’s a social butterfly. You don’t actually take Lindsey to a dance; you just give her a ride to and from. At least I assume I’m her ride home. Not sure.
Austin: But you’re doing okay here in the corner?
Chris: Oh sure. (Holds up punch glass). Never better! (Swig of punch). Your date’s giving me the stink-eye by the way.
Austin: (Looks over his shoulder and waves). Oh yeah, her. Yeah she’s pretty cool. No patience though.
Chris: Gonna dump her?
Austin: No I think I’ll just let this one fizzle out. Maybe she’s learn something about patience then.
Chris: You are a crueler man than I.
Austin: Hey, hang in there. If I see Lindsey around I’ll tell her you were checking on her.
Austin: No problem. (Sees Chris looking into the punch cup). I’m telling you, it’s not spiked.
Chris: Do you think she really wanted to come with me?
Austin: Go talk to her if you really want to know.
Chris: I can’t. It’s tough being in love with her and all.
-Austin gets incredibly serious. He grabs Chris and pulls him in close, looking around with a paranoid expression on his face.
Austin: Don’t you ever say that.
Chris: What? Say what?
Austin: Chris, you’re my best friend and I’m telling you never ever repeat that phrase. Do not say you’re in love with her because if she ever hears that she’ll freak out.
Chris: But, you know, I am.
Austin: No, we’ve been over this-
Austin’s Date: Yo!
Austin: (Smiles). One second please. (Back to Chris). Keep that to yourself, otherwise you’ll ruin any chance you’ll ever have. Kiss her, date her, even ask to sleep with her, but never tell her you’re in love.
Chris: I don’t like hiding stuff like this.
Austin: You’re being overly dramatic. Tone it back, alright?
-Someone comes by and fills the punch bowl again.
Chris: Hey look at that. If you’ll excuse me, I have something to attend to.
Austin: Alright. Hey, (points from his eyes to Chris’), I love you, but you don’t love anyone else, got that?
Chris: Yeah yeah, get going.
-Austin walks back to his date, waving at Chris as he goes.
-Derek comes up next to Chris.
Derek: So Austin’s dating Tracy?
Chris: Taking her to the dance anyway.
Derek: Been there, done that.
Chris: (More interested in his punch). I doubt it.
Derek: The fuck is this?
-Derek slaps the cup from Chris’ hand.
Chris: Hey, I was drinking that!
Derek: No, you’re listening to me now. This is our school’s homecoming dance, in celebration of our school’s homecoming victory over our school’s rival, and therefore you should be out celebrating by dancing or conversing with the opposite sex and as the individual most likely to win Homecoming prince for the Freshmen class, it is my duty to get your sorry ass away from the non-spiked punch bowl and back with whatever sorry date you brought here, assuming you have one at all.
Chris: (Pouring another glass of punch). Derek, thanks, but I’m fine here.
Derek: Who’s your date?
Chris: None of your business.
Derek: Okay, that means Lindsey. I assume she’s floating in between people at the moment?
Derek: Okay then, she’s gone. Here, let’s find you a better option.
Chris: Derek, thanks but no.
Derek: (Points over to a group of girls sitting off to the side). Well, you’re not going to do much better than the reject options, but that works fine since you’re a reject yourself.
Derek: Hey, that fat one looks decent. Go talk to her.
Chris: She sits next to me in my math class and she doesn’t want me since she’s obsessed with you.
Derek: Hey even better, you two have something to talk about.
Chris: Derek, really, I don’t want help with anything.
-Derek takes a breath, seeming defeated.
Derek: You’re kidding me. Chris, buddy…I…give it up man. I just can’t watch you go through this anymore.
Chris: Just don’t worry about me, alright? I’ll handle things.
Derek: Lindsey’s not worth the trouble you go through.
Chris: I disagree.
Derek: If this doesn’t pay off for you at some point, I’m going to be pissed.
Chris: So where’s your date?
Derek: I don’t bring a date to these things. Girls just come to me.
Chris: That girl from the reject area is waving at you, by the way.
Derek: (Sigh). Fine, I’ll go make her day.
-Derek walks off to talk with the girls standing by the wall.
Chris: And then there was one.
-Lindsey flutters by with a few guys following suit. She’s wearing a shimmery dress with a lily in her hair.
Lindsey: Oh I love this song! Who loves this song?
Chris: I could so take those guys.
Lindsey: (Sees Chris). Chris! Here you are! Why are you all the way over here by the punch? Come dance!
Chris: I don’t…I don’t really dance.
Art: Collins? Why’re you talking to Collins?
Lindsey: Hey Art, lay off, alright. Chris here’s my date. Isn’t that right? (Grabs Chris’ arm and wraps it around her).
Art: You serious? Hahahaha!
Lindsey: Oh shut up, like you did much better.
-Chris looks defeated.
Art: Whatever. You coming to the dance floor, Lindz?
Lindsey: Yeah, I’ll be there in a second. Chris, you coming?
Chris: Nah, I think I’ll just hang back with the punch.
Lindsey: You sure?
Chris: (Quiet). Yeah.
-Already running off.
Lindsey: Okay see you!
-Chris stares into his punch glass as people dance past him.
Chris: Forget this.
-Walks out of the gym and to the restrooms. As he exits the gym doors we see Scott being hassled out by security guards, holding a flask.
-Chris enters the restroom and goes in to one of the stalls to pee. Derek walks in at this point.
Derek: Jesus do I have to pee.
Chris: (Looking at the ceiling). Derek? That you?
Derek: The hell you doing in the stall? Pissing like a girl?
Chris: (Zips his fly). No.
Derek: Well don’t talk to me while I’m peeing. I can’t go if you’re bothering me.
-Chris washes his hands just as Art walks in.
Art: Hey Collins.
-Art walks over to the urinal next to Derek.
Art: Fuck you. Don’t call me Arthur.
Chris: Don’t call me Collins.
Art: So that friend of yours is fuckin’ hot.
Art: Hey, I’m just saying is all. Too bad she’s such a dumb ass. I’d still pork her, but if she tried to talk I’d just be like, “Bitch, shut your mouth.”
Derek: Hey, watch what you’re sayin’ about Lindsey. She’s a friend of mine, too.
Art: Come on Derek, don’t tell me you like anything about her other than those tits.
-Derek moves slightly and pees on Art’s shoes.
Art: WHOA! The hell?!
Derek: Whoops, sorry about that. You know how pee shivers go.
Art: Like HELL that was an accident.
Derek: Hey Art, little word to the wise here: Shut the fuck up about Lindsey. You don’t want any of that.
Art: Hey, daddy’s boy, you don’t tell me what to do, alright?
Derek: (Zips up). I’m not the one you should be worried about…
-Art leaves without washing his hands.
Art: Fuck you, Tolkien.
Derek: You alright back there?
Chris: (Standing at the mirror, his eyes closed and his head down). Yeah.
Derek: (Walks over to wash his hands). I’m only going to say this once: Don’t let Lindsey go home with that guy.
Derek: See you on the dance floor.
-Derek walks out as Danny and Willy walk in.
Willy: Oh hey Chris! How’s the dance?
Chris: Not bad. Good punch.
Danny: I think someone spiked it.
Chris: That’s what I said!
Willy: Probably that one guy getting kicked out. Who does he think he is anyway?
Chris: I don’t know. I don’t know him.
Danny: I just saw Arthur by the way.
Chris: Screw that guy.
Willy: You alright?
Chris: Yeah, just peeing.
Danny: At the sink?
Chris: Heh, no Danny. Just got done.
Willy: We saw Lindsey, too. She was dancing all alone out there.
Chris: Really? That doesn’t seem like her.
Danny: What? Lindsey’s always dancing.
Chris: I mean alone. I figured she’d be with someone.
Willy: Didn’t she come with you?
Chris: Yeah but-
Danny: Why aren’t you dancing with her right now?! Go! Go go!
Chris: Alright, I’m going.
-Chris takes off from the bathroom and heads back to the gym. Once there he sees Lindsey dancing in the middle of a crowd, going crazy to the music. Chris smiles.
Chris: Well she looks happy at least.
-Art walks by and grabs her. Chris can’t hear exactly what they’re saying so he moves closer.
Art: C’mon, why don’t we ditch this place?
Lindsey: Back off, I’m having fun.
Art: You come with me now, I’ll show you why I’ve got such a reputation for pleasing the ladies.
Lindsey: No way! Besides, I came with my friend.
Art: Are you serious? Come on, let’s go.
-Art tries dragging Lindsey with him. She struggles a bit as this goes on. No one else seems to notice this happen as the music has gotten too loud for others to even hear what they’re saying.
-Eventually they pass the punch table.
Chris: Hey, Arthur.
Art: (Turns around). Bastard, told you not to call me that.
-Art turns around as Chris grabs his tie and pulls him down into a haymaker.
-Chris rolls up his sleeves to get ready for another punch.
Chris: Think you can talk to her like that…
-Art shakes his head and looks around, confused. He walks towards Chris.
-One of the chaperones notices this fight about to break out.
-Derek runs up and dives at Art, throwing both of them into the punch table.
-Derek begins wailing on Art in a very over-the-top fashion, drawing much attention from everyone.
Derek: You think that’s fancy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Chaperone: Mr. Tolkien! That’s quite enough!
Derek: Hey, Art started it.
-Some school security comes by and wrestles Derek back, doing the same with Art as he’s started freaking out as well.
-Everyone’s cheering for Derek.
Derek: That’s right everybody! I officially resign from Homecoming prince and happily accept the title of Earl of Asskicking! Don’t forget who loves ya!
-Everyone keeps cheering for Derek as he’s being drug out. He looks at Chris and winks, smiling.
Derek: Peace out everyone!
-Derek and Art are escorted from the building to thunderous applause.
-Lindsey comes up behind Chris.
Lindsey: Come on, they’re playing a slow dance. You can do that, right?
Chris: Huh? Yeah.
-She leads him to the middle of the crowd and pulls him close, resting her head on his chest as they sway back and forth.
Chris: Lindsey, I-
Lindsey: Shh. This is just nice. You don’t talk when it’s this nice.
Lindsey: (Closing her eyes, almost asleep). Mmmm…
Lindsey: Thanks yourself. Less muttering, more shuffling.
-The song keeps playing as they just dance back and forth.
Chris: (Very quietly). Muah…
-The scene fades out as Chris fixes the lily in Lindsey’s hair.
-Back to the group listening in at the Northern Lodge.
Kyle: Dude, that’s B A.
Kevin: Derek really helped you out?
Chris: He’ll never admit to it but I swear, he saved me from getting thrown out of the dance altogether.
Austin: Who knows what you would have done to Art after that.
Kevin: What ever happened to Arthur?
Danny: He beat Chris up pretty bad a few weeks later.
Austin: He had a few guys helping him out.
Chris: He tried the same thing with Derek and spent the rest of the year with his jaw wired shut.
Kyle: Was he at the museum with us?
Austin: Yeah actually.
Willy: Just think how close he was to being part of our group.
Chris: Oh god, don’t even joke like that. We have enough conflict as it is without that douche bag adding to everything.
Austin: So what would you have done to Art if Derek didn’t step in?
Chris: Not sure. Not good stuff, obviously.
Kyle: And that’s the most agro you’ve ever been?
Chris: Before that day at the museum, yeah.
Kyle: Well then, I’m definitely not worried about you freaking out.
Kevin: Me neither.
Chris: Glad to hear some support. (Stands up). Alright then, I need some sleep. I don’t think I’ll ever be in a much better mood than this so I’d better take advantage.
Austin: Night, Chris.
Group Murmurs: Yeah night, night, g’night.
-Chris leaves the room.
Kyle: Alright, so what really happened?
Austin: Word-for-word, totally true, except for Derek wiring Art’s jaw shut.
Kyle: Didn’t happen?
Austin: No, that was Chris. Art couldn’t say a thing to even defend himself after he was ejected from the dance. Chris hit him that hard.
-As the lodge has everyone falling asleep, Lindsey continues to pace.
Lindsey: Why can’t I sleep? I’m tired enough…
-She hears a slight noise from her door.
-She rushes to the door and opens it. No one is anywhere to be seen. She looks all over before noticing the lily tied to her doorknob.
-Lindsey grabs the lily and just stands in the hallway for a moment before walking back into her room and locking the door.
-In Derek’s room, not a sound is heard as he silently dozes. Suddenly his door creaks shut.
Derek: (Snapped awake). Hun? Whazat?
Jack: We need to talk.
Derek: I need to sleep.
Jack: You want to know how Chris transformed into a Super X? You work with me and I can help you transform just like him.
-No one speaks for a moment.
Derek: What do you want me to do?
To Be Continued…