Eclipse Star: Chapter 68
Recap: Last time, both groups ran into hardships shutting off the army of Hex-Duo robots when their respective control consoles were utterly destroyed. Now, Lindsey’s group must deal with a huge robot in a robot factory while Chris’ group gets to deal with the same problem in a massive underground warehouse. There’s got to be a way to shut these robots down, today, on Eclipse Star!
Chris: Alright Derek, you ready to pull out the flavor?
Derek: You know it.
-Chris and Derek both power up to their maximum power as the monster Hex-Duo robot lunges toward them.
-They both hit max at the same time and lay the robot out with two full-powered haymakers to the head.
-The huge robot flips back and smashes into a row of crates, spilling the contents everywhere.
Willy: Great, the crates down here are filled with more robots.
Chris: Well what else are they gonna be filled with?
-Derek shoots past Chris, leaping over the Hex-Duo before it can get to its feet, and fires a blast straight down.
-A giant robotic hand rockets up from the beam and grabs Derek, smashing him into the thick ceiling.
Kevin: Come on, we’ve got to find another active console around here.
-As those two run off, Chris throws a blast at the downed robot as Derek breaks open the robot’s grip and flies straight down again, smashing the robot with everything he’s got.
-The robot manages to hit both attackers at once with a chest beam, sending them flying.
Chris: Great. That’s just great. (Gets up). It’s like this thing doesn’t want to be destroyed.
Derek: Fine, that makes it more fun.
-Meanwhile, at the Charles Robotics factory where the other group is standing their ground…
Lindsey: Glitch, where’s the next nearest console?
Glitch: Charles’ office. That’s the only other one I can think of.
Lindsey: Where is that?
Glitch: It’d take too long to explain.
Lindsey: Then show me.
Glitch: Fine. Come on!
-Kyle keeps jumping right out of the way as the one big Hex-Duo robot tries to destroy him.
Leena: Kyle! Keep doing that! I think it’s helping!
Leena: Because I’m not having to do anything!
-Another batch of Hex-Duo robots exits the assembly line and begins attacking.
-Leena throws a gust of wind near her feet and shoots out of the way as the new robots start firing at her.
-Austin and Danny run next to each other, smashing robots as they go. Danny bursts into flames as Austin throws him at the biggest Hex-Duo.
-Danny hits his target and explodes in its face, knocking it backward.
Danny: Hey Kyle.
Kyle: Hey Danny.
Danny: You think I got it?
Kyle: Oh probably not.
–The robot turns itself over and gets up, pointing its canon at Danny and Kyle.
Danny: Well darn, I really thought I had him.
-The robot prepares to charge its canon, sucking up energy.
-Kyle looks at this and smacks Danny in the back of the head.
-Danny accidentally fires a mouth blast at the robot’s canon, colliding with the part still charging.
-The canon backfires and blows the arm clean off the robot.
Danny: Why’d you hit me!
Kyle: Hey, can’t argue with results.
-Lindsey and Glitch rush down a narrow hallway toward the end. Glitch leads as Lindsey follows, firing blasts to clear their advance since Hex-Duo robots keep popping up.
Lindsey: How much further?
Glitch: Luckily, just the end of this hall.
Lindsey: Well good, because I don’t know how much more I can do about these stupid robots. Uh, present company excluded.
-On the factory level, the large Hex-Duo is working to reform its arm, slowly rebuilding from discarded pieces of other Hex-Duo.
Austin: We’ve got to take that thing out for good.
Leena: You got a plan?
Kyle: Well let’s see, you can fire bend, and Leena here seems pretty good at airbending.
Leena: What the heck are you going on about?
Kyle: Oh right, forgot, we’re based off Dragonball Z, not Avatar. Uh, I mean, totally original.
Danny: Why don’t we just hit it at the same time with some big explosion?
Kyle: This is a good idea. I like this idea. This is my favorite idea ever. Imma start chargin’ mah Dammit Blast.
Austin: Clinton, what was that crazy finger cannon thing you did before.
Clinton: The what now?
Leena: OH YEAH! That was like, what, back when we were running from the Demon Regime? Heck yeah! That was awesome!
Austin: Yeah why don’t you do that anymore?
Clinton: I don’t get much reason to.
Danny: Hey! I just thought of a good reason!
-The Hex-Duo Master Bot finishes repairs and stands up straight.
Danny: Yeah that thing!
-The Master Bot lets out an ear-piercing screech.
-Clinton fires his rapid-burst cannon, an attack that he fires from his index fingers like a gun, while Danny fires another mouth blast.
-The attacks hit the Master Bot, taking it off balance, allowing Austin to blast a stream of lava which Leena cools via her air gust.
-The Master Bot is ripped to bits from the flying shrapnel, still screeching as it’s destroyed.
Kyle: Dammit Blast fire!
-The world famous Dammit Blast makes contact with its foe and explodes the remaining parts, sending the twisted chunk spinning across the floor and into the far wall next to the hallway.
Austin: Not bad work guys. That almost looked like we knew what we were doing.
-The Master Bot explodes, taking down the wall next to the hallway, sealing it up.
Lindsey: What the heck?!
Glitch: No time, this might work better anyway.
Austin: Ah. We just trapped our team leader and tech guy in a one-way hallway, didn’t we?
Leena: (Sigh). Yes we did.
Clinton: And we still have more robots.
-The five get back-to-back as they’re circled by a mob of Hex-Duo robots.
Danny: How is Team Stingrays gonna make it out of this one?
-Back in Brooksboro, Chris and Derek continue exchanging blows with their own Master Bot.
Chris: We’ve got to work together on this or we’re not going to do enough damage!
Derek: Maybe you won’t, but I’m not done pushing harder!
-Derek fires a gnarly blast that connects with the Master Bot, though it holds its ground somehow.
Chris: We’ve got to get it off balance!
-Derek continues firing blasts at it head-on, doing nothing.
-Chris runs around behind the Master Bot and starts charging something.
Chris: It’s all about weight ratios really.
-Chris creates two balls of energy connected with an energy tether and throws it at the robot’s legs. The energy bola wraps around, connecting behind at the leg joints and exploding.
-Derek fires his blast once more at full power, hitting the robot as it falls backward.
-The Master Bot is thrown onto its back.
-Chris and Derek leap onto its chest and both fire straight downward, putting everything they can into a huge explosion.
-In one big explosion, their problem is eliminated. They finally take a moment to rest and breath again, panting heavily.
Chris: Heh, heh, that was, ha, that was pretty good, Derek.
Derek: Heh, phew, yeah. (Inhales deep). You think we’ll see any more?
Chris: Definitely. (Looks around). This whole warehouse down here needs to go.
-Derek and Chris stand back-to-back and take a deep breath. They charge up again and both fire straight ahead, turning clockwise to blow up everything in sight as far as they can see.
-Glitch and Lindsey make it to the end of the hallway where Glitch changes his arm into a railgun and starts firing, tearing open a hole in the door.
Glitch: Good, the console in here is still fine.
Lindsey: So now what?
Glitch: I’ve got to hack into their collective mind.
-Glitch starts ticking keys as fast as possible.
Glitch: Willy? You there?
Willy: Yeah, we’re alright. Chris and Derek just blew up a hell of a lot on our end.
-Kevin and Willy hit the deck as another sweep of energy beams rips by them.
Willy: We’re in some sort of sub-sub-basement level that looks like a warehouse. Any clue where we could find another console?
Glitch: Hold on. (He ticks some more keys and brings up the blueprints for Willy’s location). I’ve got good news. That new building is littered with access terminals.
Willy: Awesome! Where are they?
Glitch: According to this the upper levels are essentially mainframe storage.
Willy: This whole building is one big ROM?
Glitch: If I’m reading this correct, yup.
Willy: Kev, Glitch says we gotta go up.
Kevin: That, uh, could be a problem.
-Chris and Derek stop blasting.
Derek: That looks like everything.
Chris: If any robot pieces come back to life, I owe you five bucks.
Kevin: (Runs up to Chris with Willy). We have to get back to the upper levels.
Willy: This whole building is a backup unit for the Hex-Duo system and the upper levels contain the important data.
Derek: You’re kidding me! Why the hell did we come all the way down here then?!
Chris: Hey, this works out alright. We just totaled more equipment and material than I know what to do with, and I don’t think we were cracking this from street-level.
Derek: So let’s fly up and destroy this building, eh?
Willy: Uh, one problem.
Kevin: We could do without problems right now.
Willy: While you guys were fighting, those chutes we used to get down here closed up completely.
Derek: How do we open them?
Willy: My guess? Some basic terminal. (Deadpan). See if you can spot it.
-Derek looks around and sees everything completely destroyed and scared.
-He turns and sees Willy just staring him in the face.
Derek: Alright, you’ve made your point smart guy.
Chris: Something’s got to be out of place…
-Chris looks around for anything that will get them out. His eyes come across a pipe sticking out of the wall, leaking.
-He stops for a moment on it before looking up at Kevin. Kevin smiles. Chris sighs.
-Austin’s group of five continues fending for themselves in the main factory room, smashing robots as they advance on them.
Leena: What’s taking them so long? (Smash).
Austin: They couldn’t get the shutdown code to work the first time, so it’s probably going to- (Smash) –probably going to take a few more minutes.
Danny: You think Chris and the others are okay? (Smash).
Austin: Oh definitely. (Smash. Smash-smash).
Kyle: They’re probably fine.
Kyle: Oh right. (Smashy-smash). There.
Leena: You know what I really wish we knew right now? Jack’s barrier move. (Smash).
Kyle: Pff, that thing’s overrated. It’s not like it has an awesome name or anything, like my Dammit Blast. (Smash).
Leena: You’re the only one with names for your moves.
Danny: Chris has got a move name! (Smash, spin, smaaaash).
Austin: He does?
Danny: Yeah! The Gigadoom Beam! (Block, smash).
Leena: The what?
Danny: That’s the sound his big attack makes. Giga-doom!
Clinton: We’re still outnumbered here. They’re getting pumped out faster than we can deal.
Austin: So you wish we had a barrier technique? I think we can manage that.
-Austin’s arms begin glowing bright orange before they turn to magma. He sprays it in a ring around the five before lifting his arms to create a lava dome.
-He looks to Leena and nods. She acts stunned for a moment before blowing a wind gust inside the dome, causing it to harden.
-Clinton flicks on his fingers with a little energy ball.
Danny: Whoa, Austin, that was pretty cool.
Clinton: It’s not going to hold for too long.
Austin: It just needs to hold for long enough.
-Back in the Brooksboro annex, on the upper levels of the building, a wall starts to bubble and crack before bursting open and shooting water everywhere.
-The water reforms into the four teenagers.
Chris: (Coughing). Alright, Willy, tell me you see a mainframe somewhere.
Willy: (Coughing). Kah! Yeah, hold on.
-They get a chance to look around and see nothing but mainframes.
Willy: Oh that’s just sweet.
-He runs to the nearest mainframe and begins punching buttons.
Willy: Glitch, I’m at a mainframe, guide me through this.
-Hex-Duo robots begin pouring into the upper levels of the building.
Chris: Any time you’re ready there, Will. (Smash).
-In the little office where glitch is working, Lindsey is doing her best to stop Hex-Duo robots from entering.
Lindsey: I’m not holding out forever!
Glitch: Then your wish is my command.
Willy: Alright! Anyone got a shutdown code?! (Smash next to him).
Chris: Shut down code?
-Chris rushes over to the console and yells into the mic.
Glitch/Chris: Emergency Shutdown Code One-Nine-Eight-Six!
-A ripple effect seems to go out from both buildings as every Hex-Duo robot suddenly shuts off and falls over.
-Austin peaks his head out of his makeshift barrier once they stop hearing noise.
Austin: Uh, I think they did something.
Derek: (Socks Chris’ arm). Hah, so you just happened to know a “special” shutdown code?
Chris: I just now remembered what Charles used to stop the Hex-Duo last time.
Kevin: Well the important thing is, they stopped.
Chris: Yeah, but we’re not done.
-Derek blows a hole in the side of the building, allowing the four to fly out over the top.
-They share a nod and all fire energy beams down at once.
-The building a smoking crater, they exhale and fly off toward the city.
Lindsey: (Opening the office door). Yeah, whatever you did worked this time. They’re down.
Glitch: I don’t know for how long, though.
-Glitch runs up to the caved-in entrance of the hallway and slams his hands against it. A section comes off of each forearm and pounds the concrete like a piston, blowing a hole wide open.
Leena: Hey, nice of you two to join us again.
Lindsey: We need to take this place out.
Glitch: Shouldn’t be a problem.
Glitch: I set the self-destruct to go off in a few minutes.
Lindsey: Okay, that’s info we really need to know ahead of time.
-Everyone hurriedly gets back into the elevator and hit the button for ground floor.
-The elevator reaches the main floor, spilling the seven out into the original hallway. They book it as fast as they can to the main entrance, getting welcomed by a Master Bot-size Hex-Duo shut down in the space between the main doors.
-They get outside just in time for the whole building to detonate.
Austin: Hah. Hahahaha! That was AWESOME! We won!
Lindsey: (Looking around and yelling). Scott! Are you okay?!
-Scott walks out from an alleyway smoking a cigarette, carrying a young woman.
Scott: You kidding? I haven’t had a smoke since we went up north. I’ve never been better.
Leena: Uh, who’s that?
Scott: Who? (Looks down). Oh yeah, I saved her from that big-ass Hex-Duo in the front entrance there. Everyone meet, uh, what’s your name hon?
Scott: Second thought, it’d just be weird if I knew your name now. Run along and tell your sisters to meet me when this is all over. Triplets. Gotta love ‘em.
-Scott sets the girl down and she runs off.
Danny: You didn’t, you know…relations…?
Scott: That chick? Hell no. I hardly had time to get her clothes off, what with the shit going on around here.
Leena: Well great. Glad I didn’t waste any time worrying about you or anything.
Scott: Hey, you want to get naked, you’ve got all the time in the world now.
-A distant explosion can still be seen over the buildings.
Lindsey: There’s no way. We stopped this!
Austin: I don’t think this is Hex-Duo work.
Jack: (Coming in over Glitch and Willy’s earbuds). Whatever you guys did brought the news back online.
Derek: Jack’s calling?
Willy: How’d you-?
Jack: Yeah, I knew you swiped some earbuds; I’m Jack. You’ve got bigger problems.
Willy: Bigger problems?
Glitch: What are you seeing Jack?
Jack: The TV stations just came back on. Glitch, you can patch into the feeds.
Glitch: Yeah, so what’s-oh.
Lindsey: I don’t like the sound of that “oh.”
Willy: Help me out Jack; I don’t know what’s happening.
Chris: I think I have a good idea.
-Chris’ group finally gets a look at the city, seeing a ninety-story Hex-Duo robot smashing everything it steps on.
Derek: Okay fearless leader, how do we combat that thing?
Jack: You’re really not going to be happy when you see who’s piloting that thing.
-Jack watches on TV in the Northern Lodge as the monstrosity of a Hex-Duo marches through the city, right as a camera pans up to the head, revealing the pilots.
Octa-Rangers: OMEGA BUSTER FIRE!!!
-Next: The Mega Zord!
-To Be Continued!
Eclipse Star: Chapter 67
Recap: Chris split the group in two, taking Derek, Willy, and Kevin to the Brooksboro Annex of Charles Robotics while Lindsey lead the others to the Trillium City main headquarters. Both teams ran into some trouble with the new model of Hex-Duo robots, but things got worse when they discovered that the destroyed robots were rebuilding themselves bigger and stronger. Things can only get worse, today, on Eclipse Star!
-Chris, Derek, and Kevin watch from the elevator as the robots collect themselves and prepare to fight.
Chris: Hey Willy, how’s the elevator coming? You know, no pressure or anything…
Willy: Can’t talk right now. (Tapping the earbud). Glitch, repeat that last part, a whole lot slower.
-With the other group…
Glitch: Find the alternating current and relay it back to the primary output.
Willy: Yeah, but what the hell does that mean?
Kevin: I think they’re ready to attack again.
Derek: Yup, just about.
Glitch: Willy, just reconnect the three green wires to the purple wires that connect to the V-clips inside the main circuitry.
Willy: Hold on a second. (He looks at the circuitry). Yeah, none of that made any sense. All the wires on my end are gray.
Glitch: Okay, try-
-The two converse on the matter as the first robot lunges at Derek.
-Derek socks it back down but instantly holds his fist.
Derek: Damn, they’re hardening themselves somehow.
Chris: Your hand alright?
Derek: Yeah, but jeez, another upgrade and things are really gonna suck.
-Back with Lindsey’s group.
Kyle: Okay, so if they’re going through all the trouble to rebuild, I say we don’t break them anymore. I think we should just give them a neighborhood to live in peace and we head back the way we came. What do we all say?
Leena: We all say you’re an idiot.
Lindsey: Glitch, how’s our elevator situation?
Glitch: Sixteen more seconds.
Austin: I think we can manage sixteen seconds.
-As the rebuilt robots rush forward, Austin’s arm begins glowing bright red. He aims his arm as lava shoots out, arcing wherever Austin throws it, creating a small moat between them and the attacking robots.
Austin: There. That should hold ‘em.
-The robots look at the lava and float over it, being able to fly.
Austin: Why do I always forget stuff can fly now?
Glitch: Ding! Elevator’s heading down! Everyone coming?
-Everyone rushes to the elevator and tries to squeeze in, but they seem to be having some difficulty fitting.
Lindsey: We’ve still got robots advancing!
-She makes a V with her fingers and points them at the lava, firing a few quick blasts as the robots float above. This slashes lava on the robots.
Lindsey: Now leave us alone for a bit.
-She claps her hands before a stream of water flows from them, spraying the robots and the lava, hardening the bits that have splashed onto the robots and dunking them into the remaining lava before it hardens as well, creating a makeshift trap.
Lindsey: Okay, everyone in.
Leena: Lindz, where the heck did you think of that one?
Lindsey: Science class, freshman year.
Leena: Science class sucked.
Leena: Oh right, the teacher was way hot.
Kyle: Ladies, I don’t mean to pry, but, you know, time is of the essence.
-Everyone crams into the elevator as Glitch takes them down.
-Meanwhile, Chris’ group continues fighting the robots in the lobby as Willy tries just about everything with the elevator’s circuit board.
Willy: How you guys holding up?
Chris: (Struggling to push against one of the robots). Never better, but hurry if you could.
Kevin: (While also fighting a robot). Have you tried zapping the board?
Willy: It’s got a protective coating. I can’t do that.
-More robots flood into the room.
Chris: Gonna have to think of something quicker here!
-Chris grabs the robot’s arm and swings it around and around, smashing smaller robots to pieces.
Willy: Okay, what if I just- (Tries something; the elevator’s lights go out). Okay, that didn’t work.
-As Derek fights with one robot, another comes up behind him, hitting him with a shoulder tackle that carries he and the robot into the elevator, smashing into the far end.
-Derek pulls out his sai and stabs both into the robot, ripping it in two with a loud grunt.
-Willy catches notice of Derek’s sai.
Willy: Hey, those aren’t made of normal stuff, are they?
Willy: Stab the circuit box with those things.
Derek: Alright, if you say so.
-Derek takes one sai and thrusts it into the call button panel, going clean into it.
Derek: Now what smart guy?
Willy: Here, let me do it.
-Willy grabs Derek’s other sai, shields his face, and slams the sai together.
-A huge sonic boom is generated which ricochets throughout the elevator cart, vibrating the walls.
-Willy pulls the sai out from the button panel and pounds on the lowest possible number.
-The elevator dings and the doors start to close.
Willy: Got it! Let’s go!
-Chris and Kevin are pinned down by robots.
Chris: You kidding me?!
Derek: We ain’t holding this!
-The elevator doors nearly close.
-Kevin grabs Chris as he turns to water, turning Chris into water as well.
-They splash at the door and seep through before they fully close.
-Kevin and Chris reform as the sound of robot fists is heard on the metal doors.
Chris: Okay, whoa, don’t do that to me again.
Derek: Hey look, you made it. Nice of you to join us in the elevator.
Derek: Okay, Willy, give me the sciency explanation for why that worked.
Willy: Sciency? Can’t do it. I just figured the vibration would screw up the security current for a few seconds.
Kevin: Good guess.
-They ride the elevator as it makes its descent into the inner workings of the annex.
-Jack, however, is as far from this as he can be, remaining behind at the Northern Lodge, unable to help due to his legs.
Joshua: Jack, you’re just sitting here?
Jack: This is the sitting room, correct?
Joshua: Did the numerous comfy chairs and sofas give it away?
Jack: My team’s out there fighting right now. I trained them and now I can’t be there when they could really use a strategist.
Joshua: And you’re a master strategist?
Jack: In the loosest terms, yes, I have to be.
Joshua: Or rather, you want to be.
Jack: I consider them one and the same.
Joshua: Well, consider your predicament and whose fault it is.
Jack: Yeah, a robot that’s been thoroughly smashed.
Joshua: No, I mean your problem walking. Your legs are fine, Jack.
Jack: That’s what you say.
Joshua: Jack! I’m not trying to trick you! I don’t have some ulterior motive for anything I’ve done, but I have been completely open with anything you’re willing to ask. Why can’t you trust me?
Jack: I have trust issues.
Jack: Hey, I didn’t ask for your help here! I didn’t make you do anything for us! I made one simple request and that was to heal me like you did the others! I asked you to make me walk!
Joshua: So walk!
-Jack stands up to show that he can’t walk without trouble. Naturally, he stands up just fine.
Jack: Why aren’t these hurting?
Joshua: Maybe you’re finally tired of sitting around?
Jack: Don’t go telling me this is a miracle.
Joshua: You’re still walking in a year, then I’ll call it a miracle.
-Joshua leaves the room.
Jack: What’s that supposed to mean?
-Chris’ group’s elevator continues heading down.
Derek: How deep did you say this thing was?
Chris: I didn’t. And “very deep” would be the answer you’re looking for.
Willy: Be ready to rip these doors open. I don’t know if the security’s gonna let up when we hit the bottom floor.
Derek: That’s assuming we’re hitting the bottom floor.
Chris: If you could punch through the panel with your sai, they might work on the doors, too.
Kevin: Wouldn’t that cause the elevator to be inoperable?
-The elevator stops and the doors open.
Willy: Huh, guess the security’s off then.
-They step out to the long hallway that Chris first walked with Charles not long ago.
Chris: The room at the end of this hall should be where we’re going. I can almost guarantee there’s a kill-switch in there somewhere.
Kevin: How big is the room?
Chris: Size of a small office.
Derek: So basically, this won’t take a lot of time, right?
-Robots spill out from the side chutes, almost on cue.
Derek: (Pulling his sai out again). Goodie, I thought they’d forgot we were here.
-Chris nods at Derek. Derek clashes the sai together and sonic booms the hallway in front of them. The concrete refuses to divot next to them, though.
Willy: Hey, anyone else noticing the surprising structural integrity in here?
Willy: I’m just saying, these walls are built pretty damn solid.
Derek: Who cares? That just means we aren’t getting blindsided by someone smashing through at us.
Kevin: That also means we’re not smashing our way out.
Derek: Duly noted.
-More robots continue flooding the hall as Derek presses forward, throwing them aside with his shockwaves.
-Lindsey’s group is having a bigger problem. As they reached the bottom floor, the elevator has spilled out to a massive factory room of machines and conveyor belts.
Lindsey: Which way, Glitch?
Glitch: We need to get down to the main controls.
Kyle: Other side of the room?
Leena: Oh right, like they’re gonna install a vital control panel right next to the entrance?
Kyle: I would, yes!
Leena: Well then you’re an idiot!
Kyle: You know, that doesn’t help with my self-esteem.
Austin: Guys, quit it. You’re getting left behind.
-They look up and see Lindsey, Glitch, Clinton, and Danny running through the factory.
Leena: Great, that’s your fault.
-As Lindsey and Glitch take the lead, they get a good look at where the immediate robots are being built.
Lindsey: How do we shut off this production line?
Glitch: This is definitely new…
Lindsey: So you don’t know?
Glitch: Should still be controlled by the central station.
Clinton: Hey, I don’t like the sound of “should.” If it isn’t, what’s our next option?
Glitch: Another panel somewhere. Or manual shutdown.
Danny: That means we smash it, right?
-Danny barrels forward over everything in his path, acting as if the whole factory is an obstacle course. As he leaps over a bin, a robot hand shoots up and slams him in the face, throwing him back.
Lindsey: Watch for attacks!
-At this, robots begin marching into the factory, spilling out from various other areas in the vastness of the factory.
-Lindsey takes a look at Glitch and nods for him to guide them. He responds by nodding and rushing toward the conveyor belt.
Glitch: We’ll have the best coverage here!
-Everyone follows his lead as he begins running the gauntlet while robots begin firing at the group as a whole.
-The conveyor belt is filled with half-built robots on their way down the assembly line.
Austin: I don’t get it; I thought the robots were being built somewhere else.
Glitch: They are. These are just supplementary reinforcements.
Clinton: Clearly they figured we’d try attacking the main hub.
Austin: The others dealing with these problems?
Glitch: Yup. They’re down the elevator in Brooksboro, but the annex seems to have a factory as well.
-Glitch leaps over a fixture onto another conveyor belt, only this time the robots are beginning to activate in whatever state they’re in.
Glitch: Watch out! They’re waking up!
-Lindsey leads the charge behind Glitch, blasting as she runs.
-Everyone behind her continues leaping over the wreckages she’s causing.
-A robot from a little ways off picks up a discarded arm and hurls it, smacking Kyle in the head.
-Kyle topples over the edge and down to another conveyor belt.
Leena: You okay down there?!
Kyle: (Rubbing his head). Man, yeah, what the heck?
-Kyle looks down and sees that his new conveyor belt is packing much larger robots, all waking up.
Kyle: Ah c’mon, that’s not fair.
-As the first robot moves toward Kyle, he rolls and destroys its legs, getting to his feet to watch behind him.
-The next robot steps forward, so Kyle rolls through it as well.
Leena: Hey just keep that up, eh?
Kyle: Gettin’ dizzy.
-Kyle keeps rolling his way on the conveyor belt, advancing along with the main belt everyone else is on.
-Clinton and Austin are returning fire to the robots as they’re being shot.
Glitch: There’s the controls!
-Glitch and Lindsey leap off the assembly line onto the floor next to a controller unit.
Glitch: Okay, this may take a few moments to get going. Think you can give me some cover fire?
-Lindsey takes off toward the nearest group of robots and begins attacking.
-Clinton lands next to Glitch and holds his ground, keeping them protected from there.
Kyle: (At the end of his conveyor belt). Ah man, thank God.
Leena: Not bad!
Kyle: Thanks. (Kyle doesn’t notice the ground run out, spilling him down a chute). Dang it!
-Glitch works furiously on the controls.
Glitch: Anything yet?
Clinton: Doesn’t look like it.
Glitch: How about now?
-Glitch clicks a switch and the factory shuts down.
Clinton: I think that’ll at least stop the new flow, but we’ve still got robots rebuilding.
Glitch: Okay then, let’s figure this out.
-Chris’ group presses down the annex’s hallway, reaching the far doorway. Naturally, the door doesn’t open.
Derek: This has got to be a joke.
Chris: Well, the robots seem to finally be at a disadvantage.
-Chris motions to the robots rebuilding themselves. They’ve fashioned themselves into one huge model. Sadly, it can hardly move in the hallway.
Kevin: Hahaha! It can’t even move! That’s fantastic!
Chris: Derek, crack that door, would ya?
Derek: You got it.
-Derek stabs a sai into the door and strikes it with the other.
–The door is utterly destroyed, spraying shrapnel into the hallway.
-The four rush into the room as the amorphous robot brings a cannon hand up at last.
Chris: Alright Willy, get on that computer and ask Glitch how to shut things down.
-Willy starts to move, but Kevin notices the huge cannon now aimed at the group.
-Kevin grabs Willy back as the robot fires.
-The little room is destroyed, the computer console included. Once the dust settles the four take a long, sad look.
Chris: No way.
Willy: That was the computer console, wasn’t it?
Derek: Well now what?
Chris: We destroy that stupid freaking robot!
-Chris launches himself out from the room and into the amorphous robot, shredding it to pieces just by colliding.
Derek: Feel better?
Chris: Ha, ha, a little. (Sigh). Willy, let Glitch know what happened.
Willy: Right. (Willy taps his earbud). Hey Glitch, we got a new problem. Computer mainframe just got blown up.
Glitch: What? That’s not good.
Willy: Yeah, we’ve figured that much out.
Glitch: Is there another computer console anywhere?
Willy: We can’t see one.
Glitch: Then I don’t know what to tell ya.
Chris: What’d he say?
Willy: He says we’re S.O.L.
Chris: Great. That’s great news. Stupid freaking robot!
-Just for good measure Chris fires another blast at the robot’s remains, scattering them more.
Kevin: There has to be another option. Maybe we could head down the chutes?
Chris: You know, that’s not a bad idea. You guys ready?
Derek: Aren’t we always?
Chris: Good. I’ll meet you at the bottom.
-Chris rips the opening off one of the side-hall chutes and leaps in. The other three do the same.
-Meanwhile, Lindsey’s team seems to be handling themselves well enough, keeping the robots distracted momentarily while Glitch continues working at the mainframe.
Glitch: Okay, I think I’ve figured something that might work, but this might also shut me down, too.
Clinton: If that’s the only way, then we’ll have to take the risk.
Glitch: Alright then. Also, thanks for the support. Jerk.
-Glitch punches some buttons and nothing happens.
Glitch: Heh, kind of glad that didn’t work.
Clinton: You don’t say?
-The ground starts rumbling.
Lindsey: Hey Glitch! What’d you do?!
Glitch: As far as I could tell, nothing!
-Kyle begins yelling from the chute he fell down before scrambling up.
Leena: We’ve you been?
Kyle: I found a thing!
-The chute explodes as a massive robot climbs out, tearing up the floor.
Leena: What did you do?!
Kyle: I didn’t do anything!
-The giant robot pulls itself out of the floor to a point it can stand up. It raises a large cannon arm and points it at Glitch and Clinton at the mainframe.
-As the blast flies towards Glitch and Clinton, Lindsey leaps in the way and throws up a half-barrier, stopping the blast but throwing her across the factory.
Lindsey: (She slams into a wall but seems okay). No worries, I’ll be fine.
Leena: (Running up to her). When d’you learn Jack’s barrier technique? Oh God, you slept with him, didn’t you?
Lindsey: No! I figured out how to do half the barrier, just not the whole thing.
Leena: Better than nothing.
Glitch: Okay, this shutdown code should work!
-Glitch presses another button combination, causing all the robots in the immediate area to stop for a moment.
Glitch: Yes! Alright, we’re good.
Lindsey: Phew. That’s a relief.
Austin: Kind of an anticlimactic resolution, don’t you think?
Kyle: Up, there you go, you said a thing.
-The massive robot comes back on, shooting the computer mainframe again.
-Glitch and Clinton leap out of the way, but the mainframe is obliterated. At this, the other robots begin moving as well.
Glitch: Well that can’t be good. Willy, you copy?
-Chris and his group each fall out of a chute into a massive underground room of crates. They land and look around.
Chris: This…wasn’t what I was expecting.
Glitch: Willy, you there?
Willy: (Tapping his earbud). Yeah. What’s up?
Glitch: Something’s wrong at our location. My kill code didn’t work.
Willy: Glitch says his kill code didn’t work.
Chris: Crap. That’s not good.
Willy: What do we do then? How do we shut these things off?
Glitch: Not sure, I’ve got to find another mainframe before I can even attempt.
Willy: Yeah, we’ve got to do the same thing.
-They all look where Kevin was looking, seeing a twenty-foot robot rise up above them to full height.
Chris: Oh. Freaking robots.
Willy: Hey Glitch, we’ll call you back.
Chris: Alright Derek, you feeling like full power?
Derek: (Wicked grin). Absolutely.
Chris: Good, because now would be the perfect time. Willy, Kevin, do me a favor and find us another mainframe.
Kevin: Right. Watch for the cannon.
-Chris and Derek nod to each other and begin raising their Pulse Energies to max.
Derek: It’s show time!
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 66
“No One Expects The Metallic Inquisition”
Recap: Last time, Hex-Duo robots poured out into the streets of Trillium City, firing on any and everything. But where were the good guys? Hundreds of miles north. That all changes today as the battle to reclaim Trillium City starts right…NOW!
-Everyone at the Northern Lodge is gearing up for the fight.
Lindsey: I knew you’d eventually come to your senses.
Chris: Don’t I always? (Slinging his new sword over his back).
Lindsey: Whoa, where’d you get that?
Chris: Cavern of Aloneness.
Kyle: Stronghold of Isolation!
Chris: Right, the Ice Temple.
Lindsey: (Walking away). You boys and your awesome adventures that you don’t invite me to…
Chris: Hey Jack.
Jack: What’s up?
Chris: (Pulling out the elbow blades he grabbed for Lindsey). Before we head out, could you give these to Lindz? I’ve got to go talk to Josh.
Jack: (Taking the elbow blades). Yeah, I’ll do that.
Chris: Thanks. (Runs out of the room, tapping Austin on the shoulder and nodding before he heads out).
Austin: Everyone set? We leave in three, alright?
-Lindsey walks up to Jack.
Lindsey: Jack, I know things haven’t been so great lately, and I just wanted to apologize.
Jack: It’s okay. I spent the past year trying to hold you back but, well, the legs.
Jack: So I won’t be there to hold you back from getting a fist to your face.
Lindsey: Heh, it’s inevitable in our line of work.
Jack: Hey, take these with you.
-Jack hands her the elbow blades.
Lindsey: Oh cool, what are they?
Jack: Elbow blades. They’re mainly a defensive weapon, but you can still do some major damage.
Lindsey: Thanks Jack!
-She kisses him for a moment.
Jack: Hey don’t thank me.
Lindsey: (Coy). Oh yeah? Who should I thank then?
Jack: On second thought, yeah, sure, thank me again.
Lindsey: You got it. (They continue kissing as the others finish preparing).
Chris: (Running up to Joshua). Josh? We’re about to head out.
Joshua: I know.
Chris: I’m sorry about this. I screwed up, didn’t I?
Joshua: You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t now and then, eh?
Chris: Yeah, I guess so.
Joshua: I can’t go with you.
Chris: I figured as much.
Joshua: But Grid and her group will be backing you up, so use them.
Chris: I’ll do that.
Joshua: And Chris? Be careful, okay?
Austin: Hey Chris! Time’s up, let’s go!
Chris: We’ll be back when this is over.
Joshua: I’ll see you then.
-Chris rejoins the others as they’re heading outside.
-A few of them wave to Joshua before taking off and flying south toward the city.
Chris: (Flying at the head of the pack). Okay, can everyone hear me?
Kyle: (Flying near the back). Speak up!
Chris: (Yelling). How ‘bout now?!
Leena: I’ll tell you later, just shut up right now.
Chris: I encountered this new model of robots not too long ago. Charles Robotics has a new annex in Brooksboro, built on top of my old house. We were there three months ago and more or less the rest of the landscape is the same. The building is huge with lower levels going way underground. I have no clue what the inner workings look like, but this building is one possible point where they’re originating. Glitch?
Chris: We need to know where you were created. That’ll be another point of access.
Glitch: The Charles Robotics facility I was manufactured at is located in the northeastern part of the city near the Lincoln Memorial Playhouse.
Chris: Half of us will need to go there. Are there any more factories?
Glitch: Several, down by the docks next to Jamestown.
Chris: Okay, so we send a group down to make a clean sweep. Give me an exact number of factories.
Glitch: At last count there were six, each roughly the size of a city block.
Grid: My team can take care of those.
Chris: Are you sure of that?
Grid: We’re stronger than you guys, so don’t worry about us. You guys focus on the main two headquarters.
Chris: Team one comes with me to Brooksboro, team two heads to the northeastern facility. Does it have a name, Glitch?
Glitch: Nope, just says ‘Charles Robotics’ on the facility’s building.
Chris: Is there a service network that connects all the robots?
Glitch: There should be a master shutdown code that we can send to all units. I know for sure it can be sent from the original building, but I know nothing about the Brooksboro plant.
Chris: Will that effect your systems as well?
Glitch: No, I’m hardwired completely differently.
Chris: Good, then I want you to hack into their systems with team two. Team two, who wants to lead it?
Lindsey: What? Just because he’s Derek he gets to lead the team? No way, I want in.
Chris: Derek, I want you in Brooksboro with me. It’s gonna take a lot of firepower to crack the basement levels and I don’t think I can do it alone.
Chris: Lindz, you’ve got that cool water ability, so you can slip around, right?
Lindsey: I suppose.
Chris: Good, anyone else know how to do that?
Kevin: I’m familiar with some water techniques, so I should be able to copy Lindsey’s move.
Chris: Good, Kevin, you’re with me, too. Also Willy, you know some tech stuff, right?
Willy: A little, but nothing like you’re gonna need.
Chris: (Pulls Jack’s ear bud from his pocket and tosses it to Willy). Here. Glitch, sync with that frequency. You two are going to be the only two in direct contact. If we get to a mainframe before your team, instruct Willy how to do it. Can you do that?
Glitch: Yeah, I think I can manage.
Chris: Good. Has anyone figured out Jack’s barrier technique yet?
Austin: Nah, he still refuses to teach us.
Chris: Fine. I’m talking Derek, Kevin, and Willy into the Brooksboro base while Glitch, Lindsey, and everyone else hits the main facility. If Lindsey is unreachable, Austin, you’re next in command.
Lindsey: So I’m team leader?
Chris: Team Two leader.
Lindsey: Team One. You can be Team Two.
Danny: Can we be the Stingrays?
Lindsey: No, we’re Team Number One!
Chris: Fine, Team One, get to the mainframe at all costs. My team will-
Kevin: Team Stingrays.
Chris: Sure, Team Stingrays.
Danny: We wanted to be the Stingrays!
Chris: Wait, what?
Chris: I don’t care, we’ll be trying the same thing. That way at least one of us should be successful.
Austin: And your grandma?
Chris: We don’t have time to look into that right now. Stay focused.
Derek: You stay focused. I’m not gonna be shaken up by your grandma.
Chris: Derek, shut up until I tell you to talk, alright?
Lindsey: Be careful, okay?
Chris: Same to you.
-The groups split as they fly to their various attack points.
-Meanwhile, the city is in heavy chaos with Hex-Duo robots marching the streets, causing massive amounts of damage. Civilians are freaking out everywhere.
-Near the Lincoln Memorial Playhouse a rather large concentration of Hex-Duo robots is herding humans into a central area.
-An energy blast flies down from the skies and blows a few robots apart.
-More energy blasts from Lindsey’s group begin raining down.
-The civilians begin cheering once they see the kids fly overhead.
Lindsey: Alright guys, you know the plan. Glitch? Where’s the facility?
Glitch: Up ahead.
Lindsey: Okay. Someone start clearing a path for us..
Kyle: Whoa whoa, we’re the clean-up crew?
Lindsey: We’re gonna need space to work!
Clinton: I’ve got this.
-Clinton lands in the middle of a robot crowd and starts aiming at various sections, systematically causing Hex-Duo robots to fire at him, miss, and hit each other.
Kyle: See, that’s a good strategy. Make the robots do all the work.
Lindsey: Let’s get through that front door!
-Meanwhile, Chris’ team makes it to Brooksboro.
Kevin: It doesn’t look as bad over here.
Willy: The city was the main goal though. No reason to hit the suburbs.
Chris: They know I know where this location is, so don’t be surprised when hundreds of robots swarm from seemingly nowhere.
Derek: That the building? (Motions to the large building in front of them).
Chris: Yup. Conspicuous, isn’t it?
Derek: Not even a little.
Chris: Derek, shall we knock?
Derek: With pleasure.
-Before they even land, Hex-Duo robots pour out from the front entrance and begin firing immediately.
-Derek charges a blast and swipes an opening in the front entrance.
Chris: Let’s do this fast guys.
-Lindsey’s group is still standing on the front of the Charles Robotics building with no way through. The group continues blasting at robots as they get closer.
Lindsey: Hey Glitch, any luck with that front door?
Glitch: (Futzing with the circuitry on the door panel). You won’t be able to blast this open, and the security has been vastly upgraded since I was last here.
Leena: So find a way already!
Glitch: Patience. Just gotta find the right opening in alternating current patterns…
Glitch: Got it. (A bzzt of electricity sharks from the panel and the doors begin opening).
Austin: Alright then, shall we enter?
Lindsey: Yes, please. Glitch, shut the door once we’re in.
Glitch: Can’t do that, the door’s broke.
Scott: Go, I’ll play bouncer.
Lindsey: You sure?
Scott: Well I’m sure as shit not gonna run around in a science facility listening to you give orders.
Lindsey: Fine. No one gets in.
Scott: Not until I’m dead anyway.
-Lindsey’s group rushes into the facility.
Scott: (Stretching his arms). Alright, who wants to make the first cheap shot?
-Chris’ group, on the other hand, has made it into the main lobby of the annex but find themselves huddled for cover behind a fountain.
Derek: (In between shooting blasts at the robots). How do we get down to the lower levels?
Chris: There’s an elevator over there, but I have a sneaking feeling it’s not working right now.
Willy: They’ve got to have a stairwell somewhere.
Chris: I don’t think so. They don’t seem to care much about city regulations.
Willy: True, but where are all the robots coming from?
Chris: Good question…
Derek: They’re coming from back rooms is what it looks like.
Kevin: Maybe chutes pushing the robots up from the lower levels?
Chris: I bet that’s it.
Derek: So let’s find one ‘a these chutes and jam an explosive down it.
Chris: Destroying the building isn’t enough for this.
Derek: So then we destroy the elevator and fly down the shaft.
Chris: That might just work.
Derek: Then cover me while I do this!
-Derek runs out from behind cover, leaping into a robot and booting it into a few others.
-The elevator doors open and four more Hex-Duo come out blasting.
-Derek pulls out his sai and creates a sonic boom, throwing everyone and everything away from him.
-He runs into the elevator, hurling the broken robots out the door.
Derek: Going down.
-Derek tries punching through the bottom of the elevator but nothing happens.
Derek: Damnit! They reinforced the elevator, too!
Chris: Willy, can you hardwire an elevator?
Willy: No, but I’m gonna have to learn, aren’t I?
Chris: If it’s not too much trouble, could you?
-Back with Lindsey’s group, getting through the front few hallways has turned out to be the easy part as dozens of Hex-Duo are spilling out from deeper in the facility.
Lindsey: This isn’t good. We aren’t even making a dent in their numbers just shooting like this.
Clinton: The problem is they’ve got hundreds more being manufactured at this very moment. It does no good to destroy them since another will just pop up.
Kyle: At least they’re pretty easy to break. (Kyle smashes a robot apart with a simple punch).
Glitch: This isn’t right. Something feels off about this…
Glitch: Why would the robots be so simple to break?
Lindsey: If they had to make a ton, wouldn’t they have to cut costs and resources?
Glitch: Yes, but these are hardly stronger than the worker drones Charles had built way before my time. That doesn’t make sense.
Austin: I’d rather not question a blessing if I can help it.
Glitch: That’s just the thing. There’s bound to be stronger robots in here somewhere.
Kyle: Oh don’t say that. Whenever someone says something like that-
-A much larger Hex-Duo robot steps out and fires a beam at the group, dislodging them from their current position.
Kyle: See? That sort of thing happens.
-Lindsey runs forward and collides with the robot head-on. It doesn’t seem to be damaged from this attack.
-The robot grabs Lindsey and headbutts her.
-Lindsey kicks at the robot, but this still does nothing to damage it.
Leena: Lindz! I don’t think that’s working!
Kyle: Like she’s gonna listen to you.
Leena: Come on, we need to clear this room.
Kyle: You have a plan?
Leena: Pff, yeah, come over here.
-Kyle runs over to Leena. She stretches her hands out and creates an energy ball in each. She motions for Kyle to do the same.
-Kyle seems to catch on and also creates energy balls in his hands. Leena presses their energy together, then grabs it and pulls, running in the opposite direction.
-The energy is pulled into a long beam between the two as Leena runs towards Lindsey. Kyle gets the picture and starts running as well, keeping his distance.
-Robots are being ripped in half as they get clotheslined by the beam.
Leena: Lindz! Jump!
-Lindsey looks back and jumps, right as Leena and Kyle run past the stronger robot, hitting it with the energy rope. They struggle with it for a moment but tear it clean in two.
Austin: Well, looks like this won’t be so tough afterall.
Kyle: Nope, see, you’re not getting the rule of saying things like that.
-The strong robot’s upper half twitches and springs up. It grabs its lower half and reconnects it as some of the other weaker robots hobble over to it, still broken, but add their mass to it.
-The robot continues to rebuild itself, larger and stronger.
Austin: Okay, that might just complicate things.
-Chris’ group continues to stay huddled in the elevator as Willy attempts to hack the motherboard. Derek, Chris, and Kevin are blasting Hex-Duo robots when they can.
Willy: This is way more advanced than anything I’ve messed with at home.
Chris: Well, there’s bound to be a way to hack it.
Willy: (Tapping his earpiece). Glitch, I need some help here.
Glitch: Willy! There’s something you guys need to know!
-Derek blasts a robot but does a double take, squinting as the broken robots begin rebuilding into larger, better models.
Derek: Hey fearless leader, I’m seeing a potential problem here.
-Chris looks out to see the robots regrouping bigger and stronger.
Willy: Chris, Glitch says these new models are capable of-
Chris: Yeah, I think we’ve just seen the proof of concept.
-The robots in the lobby have formed into larger models that look similar to Hex-Duo 1, 4, and 8, though with more wires ands gears exposed.
-Lindsey’s group sees the same thing on a larger scale with dozens more Hex-Duo robots looking ready to attack.
Chris: Whose idea was it to help the city again?
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 65
Recap: Last time, Joshua pitted the group against each other in a game of Hide n’ Sense, with Kyle technically coming out the victor (though Lindsey did in fact truly win). Directly after, Joshua had Chris power up to his max after everyone else did the same, showing them that the gap between their power and Chris’ has nearly closed. Derek, however, demonstrated that his own strength is far beyond Chris both previously and currently. As everyone wraps up the day, Chris decides not to inform them of Charles’ warning of an attack on the city.
-Chris, Derek, Austin, Danny, Willy, Kyle, and Kevin trek out to the woods with backpacks slung over their shoulders, intending to spend one Guy Night camping in the snow.
Kevin: Did you find out if your grandma was safe?
Chris: Yeah, I was told she got out of the house before Syrus even showed up, so as far as I know she’s safe but still somewhere where I don’t know where she is…or something like that.
Derek: Who told you that?
Chris: Just a neighbor near where her house was.
Derek: From what you say, it sounds like Jack just told you she was fine to calm you down.
Chris: I wouldn’t exactly say I’m calm, but I’m in no rush to bum around the city asking for questions.
Austin: I’m sure she’s fine. If she needs to stay hidden, then so be it. We’re all in the same boat here with Jack sending our parents off to who knows where. We’ll find them when this is all said and done, but if we go looking right now we’ll just put them at risk.
Chris: Right, exactly.
Derek: I still don’t like sitting on my hands like this.
Danny: We’re not sitting on our hands, Derek. We’re going camping!
Chris: Couldn’t convince the others to come with us?
Austin: Nah, they’re tired or girls or Jack, so we’ll just let them chill while we get a night away from it all.
Kyle: Could I point out that being this far north, we can’t be much more away from it all?
Kevin: How far do we want to go before setting camp?
Derek: Further. I’ll decide when it feels right.
Chris: Hey, no complaints here, as long as we’re not just going up and over the peak or something.
Austin: What, you’re not up for a little rock climbing?
Chris: No heights.
Willy: Uh, you can fly, right?
Willy: So what’s up with the whole heights thing?
Chris: I’ve just never particularly been a fan.
Derek: I’ll remember that next time I have to fight you. “Chris does not like heights.” Should come in handy.
Chris: You try rawking me through another building like that crap you pulled a while ago and I’ll punch your dick off.
Chris: That’s right. Not just punch, punch it off. With an uppercut that tears it off.
Derek: Gonna have to be a big uppercut.
Austin: Oh whatever, I’ve seen you in the locker room; you’re no bigger than everyone else.
Derek: You can’t judge off a shower-look. That doesn’t count.
Kyle: I gotta side with Derek here. The shower causes shrinkage.
Danny: Yeah, besides, you gotta let it…you know…
Chris: Danny, stop right there, because we don’t need to go any further. New topic.
Derek: So you and Lindsey.
Chris: Newer topic.
Austin: So Kyle and Leena.
Kyle: Hey whoa now, who said anything about Kyle and Leena? She’s totally a b-, uh, well, she’s, well you know.
Derek: Go ahead and say it Kyle. Say she’s a bitch. Go ahead, I dare you.
Kyle: Nah, that’s okay. Besides, that’s not important. Mostly, she doesn’t like me.
Kevin: Actually, I’ve heard her talking with Lindsey about you.
Kyle: Whoa really, seriously? Good stuff?
Kevin: Well not really anything specifically, just bringing your name up.
Austin: Oh ho, that’s good stuff. Girls don’t just name-drop without meaning to.
Willy: Yeah, I’ve got to agree. Every girl I’ve dated mentioned my name to Danny multiple times before I actually asked her out.
Danny: It was a good system while it lasted. I just, you know, wish they would have talked about me more…
Austin: That’s because the girls that liked you were talking to me.
Danny: They were? Why didn’t you tell me?
Austin: Because I didn’t think you’d like them. They were cheerleader types, real shallow and boring.
Danny: But hot?
Danny: Oh. Uh, thank you?
Willy: Soon as we get home Danny we’ll go find you someone to your liking.
Danny: Exceptionally hot?
Kevin: You know, there’s a lot more to women than just looks.
Derek: Yeah, you’ve got to be careful that they don’t have a personality or something. Ruined so many relationships when I learned she had a personality and mind of her own.
Kevin: No that’s, that’s not what I meant.
Chris: Oh come on, you’re telling me you guys don’t like girls with some personality?
Danny: We’re talking about boobs, right?
Kyle: Ooh, I agree, big personalities are a must.
Chris: Whatever, I’m with Kevin here.
Austin: Chris, dude, it’s just us guys up here.
Chris: Oh yeah. (Looks around). You seen how much Lindz nips up here? Holy jeez.
Kevin: (Facepalm). I don’t know how I fit in with you children.
Austin: So we’re back on the topic of Lindz, huh?
Chris: Nope, slight oversight, newerest topic. Anybody figured out how toowAAAH~!
-The ground under Chris’ feet suddenly gives out as he falls into a cavern.
Austin: Whoa, Chris!
-The others rush over to the hole and crowd around.
Austin: (Yelling in). Chris! Are you okay down there?!
Chris: (Yelling back up from a distance). Yeah, I’m okay!
Kevin: Chris! What can you see around you?!
Chris: Um, there’s some dude dressed like a candy cane down here.
Kyle: Whoa seriously?
Austin: Alright, Chris, we’ll get something to pull you out of the hole, alright?! (Looks around). Guys, help me find something.
-The others nod and begin looking as Derek rolls his eyes and floats down the hole after Chris.
Austin: Oh right, we have flight now.
-Everyone jumps down the hole and lands next to Chris. They take a look around before responding.
-The group finds themselves looking at a massive ice cavern completely lit up from light bouncing around all the ice crystals. The cavern seems to be endless in scope.
Kyle: It’s like some stronghold of isolation or something down here.
Austin: No kidding.
Chris: How far back does this go?
Austin: Beats me. (Shrugs). Well, let’s go check it out.
Chris: What? I thought we were camping.
Austin: We are. Spelunking is totally a part of camping. Now are you guys coming or what?
-Austin is already walking off by himself. Everyone else utters agreements and runs to catch up with him.
* * * * *
-Morning has hit as the group at the Lodge finally wakes up.
Lindsey: (Groggily coming down the stairs with Leena). Oy, I could use a lot more sleep right about now.
Leena: We totally should. I mean, it’s not like we have anything to do today.
Lindsey: Yeah, but then I’ll feel like we just wasted a whole morning.
Scott: (Walking in between them). Ladies, I’m glad I found you both in such good moods this morning because I have a proposition for you. You both seem to be great friends and that’s important for what I’m about to say.
Lindsey: Showers. That’s what we forgot.
Leena: Right. Long showers.
Scott: Hey, I’m down for whatever.
Jack: (Coming down the stairs). Scott, leave my girlfriend and my girlfriend’s friend alone, please.
Scott: Fine. Hey anyone seen that Grid chick lately? (Walks away).
* * * * *
-Back at the ice cavern, the group looks tired and their clothes have been torn in places.
Kyle: (Yawning). Dude, how long have we been searching?
Chris: Um, at this point? I lost track.
Kevin: I’d say by now it’s morning.
Austin: But man, wasn’t last night SWEET?!
Kyle: Yeah, that’s one adventure I’m not gonna forgot for a while.
Derek: For a while there even I thought we weren’t making it out alive.
Danny: Oh man, no one’s gonna believe us though!
Willy: That’s the shame of it. I guess they’ll never know what happened.
-Everyone looks at the camera and winks.
-They suddenly step into a room full of weaponry of all sorts. Swords, axes, blades, knives, and all forms of weapons shimmer the entire room, stuck into the walls.
Derek: What the hell is this stuff doing down here?
Austin: I have no clue, but AWESOME!
-Austin runs up to the wall and starts look it up and down.
Kevin: (Inspecting some swords). They had to be down here for years, but they don’t look rusty.
Chris: Maybe the ice preserved them?
Danny: Well I wanna take something back.
-Danny reaches for a halberd and gets a jolt that throws him across the room.
Danny: Oh ow.
Derek: What just happened?
Danny: I don’t know but I don’t want anything anymore.
Derek: Or maybe you’re just a pussy.
-Derek walks over to a really large battle-axe and gets the same sort of jolt that hit Danny, sending Derek across the room as well.
Willy: Maybe we shouldn’t touch these?
Chris: Yeah maybe…(Starts looking around the room, his eyes darting wildly).
Derek: What’s the point of a room full of weapons if you can’t use ‘em?! (Angrily smacks something else and gets thrown across the room once more).
Austin: Bummer. I guess it’ll just be one of those great mysteries.
Chris: Wait a minute. (Walks up to the wall and looks up a ways). That one.
Derek: What one?
Chris: That one’s different from the rest. (Points). Everything else is stuck into the walls point-first, that sword’s the only thing with the handle jammed into the wall.
Kyle: So go grab it if you’re so smart.
Derek: It’s pointed outward; he’ll slice his hand if he does that.
-Chris grabs an ice chunk and hits the sword, losing his balance in the process.
-He lands on his back with a thud. The sword comes loose and thunks right above his head.
-All the other weapons randomly fall off the wall and clatter around everyone.
Kyle: Wow, well that seemed to work.
-Chris picks up his new sword and looks it over a bit. It has a blue tint to it with a handle that’s hilt curves out on both sides.
-As he’s looking over his sword and everyone else is going about checking out weapons, four new people walk into the hall.
Iess: The hell are you guys doing here?
-Everyone stops for a second, curious as to what to do next.
Kyle: Were these…where these your private stash of weapons or something?
Job: No, they aren’t ours. I assume they’re for whoever wants them.
Grid: That’s a nice sword there, Chris.
Chris: Thanks, I guess.
Austin: You’ve got to give it a name.
Grid: Yeah he’s right, swords need a name. Make it a girl’s name.
Chris: Okay. I’ll call it…Rachel.
Derek: What is it with you and the fascination behind that name?
Kyle: Hey, least it’s not Lindsey? Eh?
Kyle: Now am I right or am I right?
Fox: I don’t mean to be a bother but I don’t advise staying here for long.
Derek: Why? What have you guys been doing?
Iess: Not your business, but he’s right, we should leave.
Austin: Alright guys, you heard the man. Grab some gear and let’s split.
-Chris looks over some weapons and picks up a pair of elbow blades that look similar to his new sword.
Derek: What’re those things?
Chris: Elbow blades.
Derek: I thought you had your sword.
Chris: I do. It’s just, well, Lindz would have really loved this, so I figured I’d grab her something nice.
Derek: What good can elbow blades do?
Chris: She’s Lindz; she’ll figure something cool.
Grid: Weapons as a girl gift? Really?
Chris: Lindz isn’t a girl; She’s Lindz.
Grid: Well, I bet she’ll like ‘em then.
Kyle: Girls like weapons? Oh man. (He looks around the floor for something cool and throws it into his backpack).
Iess: Let’s move.
* * * * *
-Back at the Lodge, the other group sits around the TV watching whatever’s on. Glitch is in charge of the remote.
Clinton: Turn back, that looked good.
Leena: There’s nothing good on.
Lindsey: Hold up, go back there. What was that?
-Glitch switches the channel back to see the news.
Jack: Channel 70 News?
Lindsey: I kind of like them.
Jack: Well, you’re special.
Lindsey: (Smiles). Don’t be a jerk.
-The news report starts with the two anchors looking disheveled and tired.
Diana: Good evening, I’m (cough), excuse me, I’m Diana Miranda.
Dave: And I’m Dave Trenton. This is tonight’s news.
Diana: Afternoon news.
Diana: Afternoon news. It’s not evening yet.
Dave: Holy crap, we do an afternoon newscast now?
Diana: I do every day, but you’re usually too drunk to get here on time.
Dave: Yeah, well, after that crazy shit we went through yesterday, I’m surprised you’re not drunk right now, too.
Diana: Dave! We’re going live! No cursing!
Dave: Hell damn fart, this is the news. (Shuffles papers). Trillium’s Central Mall is back open for regular business now, or at least the west half is. The east half is still under construction, so that means it’s not really worth wasting time shopping just yet.
Diana: Dave, Trillium Central Mall is one of our very, very few sponsors.
Dave: Oh, alright, go buy some expensive shit from the mall then.
Dave: In other news, Zanretha’s president suffered some controversy when we all learned he was messing around behind his wife’s back.
Dave: Right, allegedly. (Shakes his head and mouths “nope”).
Diana: President Giftavelli’s official statement was that the woman people saw him with in public is actually his assistant and not an adulteress. We would have the footage from the full interview, but our cameras were unfortunately, um, they’ve suffered some recent technical difficulties.
Dave: Too bad, the real news stays quiet today. Johnny, how’s the weather out there?
Johnny: Well Dave, using the data I’ve collected from my weather balloons and a very reliable fortune cookie, I’d say there is a very good chance of precipitation. Also, “He who plans too far ahead plans his own funeral.” Now that’s a forecast if I ever heard one. Partly cloudy. Back to you guys.
Diana: Thank you, Johnny.
Johnny: Oh, and Sam has breaking news by the way.
Diana: He does?
Johnny: I just know these things.
Diana: Alright then, thank you again, Johnny.
Sam: Dave, Diana, are you there?
Diana: (Holding her earpiece). Oh, Sam, yes, we’re here.
Sam: I have some breaking news to report! Also, Frank fixed our camera.
Dave: Hey that’s good news.
Diana: Alright, we go live to Sam the Go-To Guy. Sam, where are you?
–Scene cuts to Sam standing in the middle of the city.
Sam: Hey everyone, it’s me, Sam, and I’m here on this random street in Trillium City.
Dave: Why Sam?
Sam: Because I have a really good feeling that some sort of news is about to happen.
Diana: (Defeated). Oh, I thought you had breaking news.
Sam: I do. I mean, I will, in just a few minutes. Uh, how are you guys doing?
Diana: Sam, we’re okay, but we’ll get back to you when something happens okay?
Sam: No wait, I’m totally serious here. Frank, tell them how serious I am.
Frank: (From behind the camera). No way dude, this is your thing. I just hold the camera.
Sam: Oh, well alright Dave, Diana, I’ll cut back to you guys in the studio I g-
-Things start rumbling and Sam drops his mic.
Sam: Oh no, no! Where’d it go?
Frank: Whoa, you see that guys?
-Dave and Diana in the studio squint at the small monitor they have, trying to get a good look at what Frank’s shooting.
-The group in the Lodge does the same thing.
Dave: The hell is that?
Sam: (Finding his mic and standing back up). Alright, I’m sorry for that. I’m not sure what could have-
Frank: Turn around dude.
-Sam turns around and sees an army of Hex-Duo robots marching down the street.
-The group at the Lodge freak out.
Lindsey: Jack! How?!
Jack: I don’t know.
Sam: Ladies and gentlemen it appears that there is an…army I suppose, of what may or may not be r-, Frank, do those look like robots?
Frank: Shit dude, this ain’t worth it.
-Frank drops the camera and bolts, letting the camera drop to a position where only Sam’s feet are shown.
-Sam bends down to get in the camera’s view.
Sam: Hey Dave, I think we’ve got another problem down here…
-The robots begin firing on the buildings.
Sam: AH! Dave! I might have to send it back to you guys in a minute here!
Dave: Sam, no, you’re staying out there, alright? Remain calm and don’t let them smash the-
-The robots advance and throw Sam out of the way, stomping the camera as they go.
Diana: It seems we’re experiencing some more technical difficulties, eh, hah. (Awkwardly laughing to herself).
Dave: (Getting up). Stall or something. Johnny, let’s go.
Johnny: (Excited). Scabbity-doobity!
-They take off as Diana looks nervously at the camera.
Diana: Uh, in other news…
-The station goes down.
Leena: Glitch, change to another station!
Glitch: I’m trying! It’s not on anywhere else! All the news stations are down!
-Glitch continues trying to click through but nothing’s coming up.
Jack: Damnit, they’re attacking the city but they don’t want to give any warning!
Clinton: Glitch, can you patch into hardware?
Glitch: Yeah, I did it a few months ago when the Octa Rangers challenged us.
Clinton: Can you patch in from here?
Leena: What good would that do?
Scott: Street cams, I see what you’re thinking. They’ve got them placed everywhere. Patch into the city’s DMV computers and you should have full vision of the city.
Jack: That’s a good idea.
Glitch: Yeah, I should be able to do that.
Lindsey: We need the others. Why aren’t they back?
Jack: Someone go get Josh.
Leena: I’m on it.
-She gets up and runs out of the room.
-Lindsey, too, jumps up and runs out the door.
Jack: Lindz! Where’re you going?!
-Lindsey runs out into the snow a ways and plants herself, cranking her Pulse energy as high as possible.
-The group out in the woods suddenly stops in their tracks.
Chris: Whoa, guys, something’s up.
Danny: That’s Lindsey!
Austin: Then let’s go!
-They take off at full speed and rush back to the Lodge.
Lindsey: C’mon guys…
Austin: Lindz! What’s up?!
-She stops charging her energy as the rest of the team shows up, the four irregulars included.
Derek: The hell are you so worried about?
Lindsey: Quick, come inside.
-She turns and runs into the Lodge. Everyone else follows.
-When they get to the TV room, Joshua is sitting next to everyone while Glitch continues messing with the TV inputs.
Glitch: We getting anything yet?
Scott: Nope. Still static.
Joshua: Willy, go help him, please.
Willy: Sure. What’re we trying to do?
Derek: And what’s happening.
Iess: They’re attacking, aren’t they?
Lindsey: How’d you know about the Hex-Duo coming back?
Kyle: They’re back?!
Austin: That’s impossible; Chris totaled ‘em.
Clinton: Apparently they built more.
Willy: Try it now.
Glitch: (His eyes go fuzzy for a second). Got it!
-The TV comes up now that Glitch is patched into the traffic cams. After switching between a couple, they see an army of Hex-Duo robots marching the streets, shooting at buildings as they go.
Grid: I don’t understand; this wasn’t supposed to happen so soon.
Fox: Apparently it is.
Derek: How do you guys know about this?
Fox: We’ve been monitoring Charles Robotics for some time now.
Lindsey: That where you’ve been?
Grid: More or less.
Kevin: What do we do?
-All eyes turn to Chris.
Derek: Excuse me?
Chris: We don’t do anything.
Lindsey: Chris, you can’t be serious.
Chris: Why? We’ve got a pretty good life up here free from all of this, so why should we give it up?
Austin: If they take Trillium, they take Zanretha.
Chris: So let them! What does it matter who sits in power? We’re still outlaws by all accounts.
Jack: That’s not true. The Legion was being controlled by Octavious but those ties have been severed.
Scott: How do you know that?
Fox: I can assure you, we’ve made sure The Legion is run from the inside once again.
Kyle: Well good for you, but does that mean they’re fighting robots in our place like they should be?
Kevin: We should be out there. They’re trying to draw us out. Isn’t it obvious? Octavious is angry and he wants us to fight again.
Chris: I’m not playing this game anymore. I’m done.
Austin: And what do we do? Just sit here?
Chris: I don’t rule you guys.
Iess: Yes, you do.
Chris: No, I don’t.
Lindsey: (Piecing things together). You knew this would happen, didn’t you?
Chris: Why do you say that?
Lindsey: When you came back, who did you say you talked to?
Chris: A neighbor.
Lindsey: Glitch, switch the patch to Chris’ street.
-The camera takes a few moments and shifts to show the Charles Robotics building, Hex-Duo robots pouring out into the streets.
Austin: (Almost in disbelief). You lied to us?
Chris: No! I didn’t lie to anyone!
Derek: You told us you didn’t find anything.
Chris: Charles gave me his word that my grandma was okay; that was all he said!
Derek: Wait a minute; you spoke with the head guy?
Chris: Very briefly.
Kevin: Chris, what happened? Please, we need to know.
Chris: He…I was attacked by a group of Hex-Duo robots before Charles offered us a way out. All we’d have to do was sit this week out and it’d all be over.
-Everyone seems astonished. Joshua stands up without saying a word, shaking his head, and leaves the room.
Lindsey: So what’s the point of everything we’ve done? Hmm? Has the last year been a total waste?
Chris: To me? Yeah, it has. I thought you wanted out just as badly as I did.
Lindsey: Not like this. Not this. (She motions to the traffic cams as Glitch cycles through them, showing attacks on every screen change).
Chris: I didn’t know it’d be this bad…
Iess: Well, it is.
Chris: I’m sorry…I just, I’m not the decision maker. Jack, if you say they go, then they’ll go.
Jack: I’m in no position to issue demands anymore. Not until my legs are healed.
Derek: Chris might still have a point.
Leena: Oh great, now he’s ready to give up?
Derek: Hey, I’m not giving up, but that’s an entire army of Hex-Duo out there. I say we let this run its course and strike when they aren’t expecting it. We head out right now and we’re doing exactly what they want.
Leena: Since when are you not impulsive?
Derek: Since they sent a whole army of robots when half a dozen nearly killed us.
Austin: That was months ago. We’re stronger now.
Clinton: Plus, we don’t even know if these are the same model. If they could have built an army to begin with, why didn’t they?
Willy: Maybe they didn’t have the plans worked out?
Glitch: No, it was the cost. The power cells in each Hex-Duo model set Octavious back millions, so they could only fund ten of us.
Austin: See? These aren’t the same robots.
Lindsey: Oh God. Stop the camera.
-Glitch stops cycling the camera, focusing on a lone figure slowly approaching the group marching down the street.
-The robots stop momentarily.
Chris: (He finally looks at the screen). Grandma…?
Jack: Can you give us audio?
-Everyone in the room remains silent.
-Barbara continues walking slowly up to the Hex-Duo robots.
-One of them steps forward.
Barbara: (Sorrowful). Charles, tell me you’re not behind this.
Hex-Duo Robot: (Speaking in Charles’ voice). Barb, you’re not supposed to be here!
Barbara: Stop this. Stop this! It’s not worth it! I’m not worth this!
Hex-Duo Robot: I only have override command for another thirty seconds, Barb, please, get out of here!
-The Hex-Duo robot steps forward and grabs Barbara by the shoulders, pleading with her.
Hex-Duo Robot: (Equally sorrowful). I can’t stop Octavious. This is his final push and I can’t stop it.
Barbara: You have to try.
Hex-Duo Robot: I can’t. I’m so sorry…
-The robot seems to power down, dropping to its knees.
-It stands back up, speaking in a normal robotic voice again.
Hex-Duo Robot: Primary functions reinstated.
-The army of Hex-Duo immediately begins advancing on Barbara, gun-arms drawn.
-They begin firing energy blasts at Barbara, enveloping her in a continuous explosion.
-Chris’ legs start to give out as Austin and Kyle catch him.
Austin: Come on man, stay with us.
-The smoke clears as Barbara remains standing. She looks around while the robots seem confused, unsure why she isn’t dead.
-The camera goes instantly goes dead as Barbara does…something.
Lindsey: Chris, what do we do?
-Once more, all eyes are on Chris.
Chris: We go to war.
To Be Continued…
The Saga of the Wandering Samurai
By Chris Pranger
Episode the First
Setting: A man dressed as a samurai is standing in front of his mother and father as he is waiting to board an airplane.
Father: Son, you do not have to do this.
Mother: Yes, please, stay.
Samurai: No, I have a place I must be, and it is not here.
Mother: You shall always have a place here though.
Samurai: Yes, but my soul would be restless. As the bird learns to fly, he must search for the wind’s current and be set free from his bonds. You taught me that, father.
Father: Yes, I did, didn’t I…?
Samurai: I will not disgrace you. (Bows). I must go. The wind currents are strong. (He runs to airplane, looks back at his parents who are both looking quite sad, then enters before it flies away).
* * * * *
Setting: University of Oregon campus. The Samurai walks into the campus carrying his belongings, which are not much. He looks up at the building he will be staying at, a dorm, and keeps walking.
* * * * *
Setting: A dorm room with one side of the room already decorated and one side bare. The Samurai opens the door and walks in, looks around, and sets his belongings down on the desk next to the window.
Ethan: (A goofy-looking fellow steps into the room wearing a trench coat and a baseball cap. He speaks with a somewhat British accent, though not heavy). ‘Ello then. You must be my new roommate!
Samurai: (Very solemn about everything, he is still making up his mind about this Ethan fellow). Yes.
Ethan: Hey, cool sword!
Samurai: (Still very solemn). Yes.
Ethan: Well the name’s Ethan. (Holds his hand out for a handshake. The Samurai looks at it and does nothing). Right…um…do you have any hobbies?
Ethan: Are you gonna tell me what they are?
Ethan: Should I have tried bowing instead of shaking your hand?
Ethan: Can I still try?
Ethan: (Bows deeply). Did it work?
Ethan: Oh, well then, why don’t I show you around campus a bit?
Samurai: Hm. (Nods).
* * * * *
Setting: Food area of the campus.
Ethan: So this’ll be where you get most of your meals. We’ve got just about every type of food you’d ever need here. We’re talking sandwiches, burritos, smoothies…and sandwiches.
Samurai: You already said sandwiches.
Ethan: Very important the sandwich.
Samurai: Where would I go to find decent sushi?
Ethan: Japan maybe? (The Samurai gives him a very dirty look). Hah, a joke, only a joke! (Looks around). Perhaps…maybe you could assemble sushi from other things?
Samurai: Disgraceful. Sushi must be hand-prepared only by the finest and most capable hands.
Ethan: And your hands aren’t worthy?
Samurai: (Shoots Ethan a deadly glare). I excel at many activities, though sushi preparation is not one of them, regrettably.
Ethan: Can’t win ‘em all I guess. Huh? Am I right? (Starts laughing and nudges the Samurai). Haha…ha…(Stops after getting another death-glare). Okay, let’s move on.
* * * * *
Setting: Basement. The two walk into the laundry area.
Ethan: And here we have the laundry space where you’ll wash all those delicates of yours. Those are machine washable, right? (Points at the Samurai’s garb).
Samurai: I do not trust machines.
Ethan: (Really not sure if he’s gonna get stabbed in the middle of the night or not). Neither do I…?
Samurai: Good, then we have some common ground.
Ethan: (Excited at a positive statement). Yeah! Hate machines! Fighting robots are tricky. Ever fought a robot?
Samurai: (Stern). Are you mocking me?
Ethan: No! No no, never! Why would I mock you?!
Samurai: Robots are no laughing matter. There is always the constant threat that they’ll appear from nowhere and strike.
Ethan: I know, I know! I didn’t mean to disrespect! I’ll be more careful when talking about robots!
Samurai: (Still stone faced). I was kidding.
Ethan: Oh… Let’s keep going…
* * * * *
Setting: Outside the fitness center.
Ethan: And here we have the gym, where you’ll be able to work out to your heart’s content. (The Samurai finally smiles). Aha! So he does have a human heart in there! (The Samurai gives him a sharp look). And it’s gone again…
Sebastian: (A man with a rapier at his side slams the Samurai in the shoulder as he walks by. Speaks with a slight French accent). What? A samurai? On this campus?
Samurai: (Intensely hateful look). I believe you bumped into me, sir.
Sebastian: Hrmph, you’d best watch where you’re walking, samurai. (Gives him a massively insulting, dirty look as he walks away, laughing).
Ethan: Hey, don’t worry about that guy. He thinks he’s the big man on campus. Fencer-type. His name’s Sebastian.
Ethan: Hey, I still don’t know your name.
Samurai: I am…the Samurai.
End of Episode 1
Episode the Second
Setting: Sidewalk on campus. It is raining and the Samurai is walking alone. He reaches to his side, looking as if he’s about to draw his sword, but he pulls out a parasol instead as he calmly walks along.
* * * * *
Setting: Typical discussion section classroom. As the GTF is talking we see Ethan sitting at a desk doodling wildly, Sebastian sitting rigid with a scheming look in his eyes, (rapier still as his side), and the Samurai calmly listening to the GTF, among other students, one of which is a Viking.
GTF: (Holding a book about Confucius). So, after reading these chapters about Confucius, what are our thoughts? (Looks around the room). Um…Sebastian?
Sebastian: (Arrogant and rude). Clearly, it was obvious that his teachings would fall apart upon being applied to the real world since his teachings were considered utter madness and only a fool would follow such dribblings. (Fires a glance at the Samurai to see how he reacts, which is of course with contained outrage).
GTF: Well, I wouldn’t exactly reject his teachings so quickly myself, but let’s see what some other people think. (Looks around the room again). Ethan, care to join us?
Ethan: (Looks up from his doodling as it becomes apparent that he didn’t actually read all of the reading). Huh? Oh, right, Confucius. (Stands up). So, I thought…that…Confucius, or “CooFu” as I lovingly refer to him, was a brilliant philosopher that had many, many ideas that are so complex and numerous that only the most enlightened of people could even hope to fathom the basic principles of said teachings.
Sebastian: So I suppose that means you’re disqualified…
Ethan: (Gives Sebastian a dirty look). And furthermore, I myself do not believe that I could do justice to such a great man, a man who took a dream and made it a reality in his world and the next. A man greater than words can describe. I rest my case.
GTF: Ethan, you didn’t read the book, didn’t you?
Ethan: No I did not. (Sits down).
GTF: Right…I figured about as much. (Sighs). Does anyone have anything good to say about the reading? (Points to the Samurai). You. Um…(Looks at her syllabus). Samurai. Do you have anything to add to this thrilling discussion?
Samurai: If I may, I believe my wisdom would best be related through haiku.
GTF: Sure, knock yourself out.
Samurai: Domo. (Stands up and bows to the GTF. He pulls out a piece of paper and clears his throat). Silence drapes the land, deeply honoring the sky, purity gives thanks. (Sits down again).
GTF: (Confused as she nods her head, trying to understand). Okay…yeah, sure, I can see that.
Ethan: (Mouth wide open, he seems about to cry). That was so deep and heartfelt! Why don’t you ever show this side when I philosophize?!
Sebastian: (Disgusted). What in the hell did all of that mean? That was utter nonsense!
Samurai: (About to snap). It is from deep within my soul.
Sebastian: Leave it to a samurai to take such ridiculous trash and make it filthier.
Samurai: (Leaps up with his katana drawn, tip at Sebastian’s throat). You lie! (Spoken in Japanese).
Sebastian: (Sneers and laughs). Hah, so quick to anger, yet so sloppy in execution. (Quickly draws his rapier, knocks the Samurai’s katana out of the way, and stands up with the tip of his rapier at the Samurai’s throat, all in one swift motion). Tisk tisk, such a disappointment.
GTF: (Not really acting as if this is out of place). Alright everyone, calm down. We’re all a bit confused as to what Confucius meant, so let’s all put our various weapons away, sit down, and talk this out so that we learn something today instead of stab each other in the throats.
Samurai: (Puts his katana away and bows to the GTF). Sumimasen. (Sits down).
Sebastian: (Puts his rapier away). Hmh. I don’t have to listen to this rubbish all day. I have better things to do. (Waves his hand and walks away. As he turns, we can all see that the Haiku the Samurai wrote is taped to his back somehow. The Samurai smiles. Ethan starts laughing along with everyone else).
End of Episode 2
Episode the Third
Setting: The Samurai’s dorm room. He is sitting very calmly on the floor with his katana leaning against the wall and his legs crossed. He seems to be meditating. There is an entire sequence involving the Samurai going through the tea ritual, about to drink his tea. Just as he is about to do so, Ethan walks into the room.
Ethan: (Flings the door open, bumping into the Samurai and causing him to spill his tea). Hey Samurai! Finished with classes for the day? (Looks down and sees what a terrible mistake he’s made). Oh no.
Samurai: (Slowly looks up at Ethan). You have brought disgrace upon us both.
Ethan: No. No no. No I did not mean!
Samurai: (Slowly gets up and grabs his katana). We must settle this for the sake of honor.
Ethan: (Becoming frantic). Or, ooooor, we could just forget this ever happened and go on with our lives living. How about that? (The Samurai says nothing but maintains his cold stare). Okay, we’ll try that. (Ethan exits the room for a second and then reenters with a big grin on his face). Hi! How are you? (The Samurai does not move in the least). You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?
Samurai: Come. (Grabs Ethan by the shoulder).
Ethan: But, but… (Whimpers).
* * * * *
Setting: Courtyard of the dorms. The Samurai is standing on one side with his Katana drawn and ready. Ethan is on the other side whimpering and in tears while holding an umbrella.
Ethan: So no undos?
Ethan: No backsies?
Ethan: But I don’t want to die!
Samurai: Death is nothing more than a new stage of life.
Ethan: Don’t fortune cookie me right now! I need forgiveness, not fortune cookie advice!
Samurai: Then let us commence.
Ethan: Wait! (Thinks for a second). Tranquility comes from…the sharing of forgiveness! (Eyes shift around). Or something like that!
Samurai: Forgiveness cannot be given lightly, for only when saved for the truly needy does it gain meaning.
Ethan: (Still frantic for something good to say). But…the branch that does not bend is nothing more than a stick!
Samurai: And yet the branch that breaks can never be mended.
Ethan: Don’t you know about the Prodigal Son?! The Good Samaritan?! Anything that Jesus ever said?! He was aaaalllll about forgiveness! Turn the other cheek and so forth!
Samurai: (Thinks to himself, searching for a good response). Yes but I’m Buddhist.
Ethan: Ah come on!
Samurai: Prepare yourself. (Bows. Ethan does the same, although very worriedly. The two just stare at each other silently. Ethan whimpers again. The Samurai shushes him. After enough time, the Samurai runs at Ethan yelling. In a flash, the Samurai rushes up and quickly slaps Ethan gently on the cheek. Ethan is dumbfounded).
Samurai: (Smiles and sheaths his sword). Your debt has been paid. (Walks away. Ethan is left baffled and speechless).
Sebastian: (Leaning against a tree nearby). Hmh, pansy.
Ethan: Yeah, well…! You’re…! Meh. (Waves him off).
End of Episode 3
Episode the Fourth
Setting: On the lawn in the middle of campus. The Samurai and Ethan are walking together around the lawn. There are a few booths set up for various fraternities and sororities that are rushing.
Ethan: (We pick up this conversation mid-sentence as it is apparent that Ethan has been the only one talking). So that’s why it would make complete sense for you and I to go to a costume party dressed as Abbot and Costello.
Samurai: (Nods). Hmh.
Ethan: No no, seriously, put some thought into that. It’s either that or we go as the Hardy Boys. You do know who the Hardy Boys are, correct?
Ethan: Haven’t a clue, eh? Hahaha, “clue”? (Begins laughing at his own joke). You get it? (Stops laughing. The Samurai is dead serious). You’re right, why would you get that joke if you didn’t know who the Hardy Boys were? My bad. (They keep walking).
Frat Sponsor: Hey you two fine gentlemen there.
Ethan: (Confusedly points to himself). Us two?
Frat Sponsor: Yes you two. Are you looking for direction in your lives?
Samurai: We are always looking for the correct path to take.
Frat Sponsor: Fantastic! And do you find yourself constantly trying to better your community?
Ethan: Well, I do make sure to never take notes in class, thus saving precious paper from being wasted.
Frat Sponsor: Gentlemen, allow me to “cut to the chase” as they say in Hollywood. Our fraternity is looking for individuals just like yourselves to add to our already growing community.
Ethan: What frat are you a part of.
Frat Sponsor: Ahem, that’s “fraternity”, and I am part of Zeta Theta Phi.
Ethan: I’ve never heard of it.
Frat Sponsor: We’re new. In fact, we’re so new, we just started last week. So can I persuade you two to sign up? (Holds up a clipboard with very few names signed).
Samurai: How is your family growing if you have only three signatures on this board?
Ethan: (Thinks to himself). M’yes…he’s right. This sounds like a scam to me.
Frat Sponsor: (Shifty eyes). What? What’re you talkin’ about? Ain’t no scam here, nope, none.
Samurai: (Quickly pulls his katana out). Hiya! (Slices the clipboard in half).
Frat Sponsor: RAHR! (Spins around and reveals himself to be a ninja in disguise. He instantly throws down a smoke bomb and disappears).
Ethan: So he was a ninja!
Samurai: Hmh, I hate ninjas. (Puts his katana away and the two keep walking). So these “Hardy Boys”, who are they?
Ethan: Oh, well they’re two teenagers, not unlike you and I, and they-(Suddenly Sebastian yells at them from another booth).
Sebastian: (He and two others dressed basically like him, with rapiers at their sides as well, are standing at a booth). No surprise that I find you two out here looking for a place that’ll accept you as members.
Samurai: We are merely enjoying a walk on a calm afternoon; we mean no harm.
Ethan: Yeah, and we’re not interested in frats anyways. We were just gonna live together off campus next year. (The Samurai looks over at Ethan, very confused). We’ll talk more later…
Sebastian: Hah, as if any respectable fraternity would want you two as members in the first place.
Ethan: Hey, any fraternity would want us! Even some sororities have been asking for us to pledge! You’re just bitter because you’re stuck in a loser frat!
Sebastian: How dare you! (The other two draw their rapiers, but Sebastian stops them). No, these two aren’t worth our time.
Ethan: That’s right we aren’t! Wait…(He’s confused himself again).
Sorority Sponsor: (Walks up to the Samurai and Ethan holding fliers). Hi there! My name’s Sheryl!
Samurai: (Swoons). Sheryl…
Sheryl: Some of the Greek houses are getting together to hold a get-together and I think it’d be great if you two could come.
Ethan: (Takes a flier). A party, eh? (Turns to Sebastian to taunt him). Yeah we’ll come! And we’ll become the lives of the party, just you wait and see!
Sebastian: (Not impressed). Hah.
Sheryl: Great! I’ll see you both there! (Runs off).
Ethan: (The samurai is smiling and still swooning). Yeah, we’ll show them, eh? (Looks at the Samurai, then off at Sheryl, then at the Samurai). Huh? What’s all this then?
(“To Be Continued…” shows up as the episode ends).
End of Episode 4
Episode the Fifth
Setting: A typical fraternity-style kegger party. Ethan and the Samurai walk up to the front door and prepare themselves to enter.
Ethan: (He’s still dressed as usual in his cap and trench coat. He looks down at the flier to check his directions). Well, this looks like it’s the place. You ready to show them how great we are?
Samurai: (Still solemn, as usual). I am.
Ethan: Good, that’s the kind of can-do attitude that we’ve got to have going into this thing! Away we go! (They walk up to the door. Music and noise can already be heard coming from the party. They ring the doorbell).
Sheryl: (Answers the door). Hey, you two ended up coming after all! I’m so glad! (Looks the samurai up and down and smiles). Hey, cool sword! Did you get it at Excalibur’s?
Samurai: (Also smiles). This sword was forged by the Masimune family many generations ago.
Sheryl: Cool? (Turns to Ethan for an explanation).
Ethan: Just go along with it; he’s kinda into the whole culture and everything.
Sheryl: Hey, no complaints here, samurai are hot.
Samurai: (He swoons and turns to Ethan). Haha, samurai are hot.
Sebastian: (Sebastian walks into the doorframe from inside the party and hugs Sheryl). Hello dear. Come back to the party. (Sees Ethan and the Samurai). Oh, I didn’t see you two there. (The Samurai has instantly changed his attitude to pissed off). I wasn’t aware that they’d let just anyone into this party. (Snubs his nose at the two and walks away).
Sheryl: Don’t mind him; he thinks I’m into him or something. (Whispers to the two). I’m totally not by the way. (Back to normal voice). Come on inside already! (They all walk inside). Help yourselves to any food or drinks you want. If you need me I’ll be off talking with my sorority sisters in the main room. (Walks off).
Ethan: So, go follow her.
Ethan: She’s totally into you and you obviously dig her.
Samurai: (Becomes flustered and annoyed). Hmh, such outrageousness.
Frat Boy: (Walks up to the two holding a few brews). Hey boys, you looking for something good to drink?
Samurai: Have you any sake?
Frat Boy: Is that brewed in Wisconsin? (Samurai glares at him). Whatever. (Turns to Ethan). What about you bro?
Ethan: Nah, I don’t drink.
Frat Boy: Psh, yeah right. What are you, lame?
Ethan: No, I’m sober.
Frat Boy: Whatever. (Walks off).
Ethan: I’m starting to get a bad vibe about this place…
Samurai: (Looking around, cautious). Hmm…you too can sense the shift in nature?
Ethan: For the sake of agreement, yes, I can sense all sorts of random hoo-ha coming from nature. To keep it simple, I’ll define said hoo-ha as “juju.” I sense bad juju.
Samurai: Ah, I may know where the source is… (Points off towards Sebastian and a grouping of his frat brothers doing keg-stands in the middle of the room).
Ethan: Frat boys…
Samurai: They’re like unsuccessful ninjas.
Ethan: (Surprised). Was that a joke?
Sebastian: (Getting trashed). Wooo! That’s how we do it boys! (Looks over and sees Ethan and the Samurai). Oh my, why don’t you two come try this? Oh yes, that’s right, you don’t drink! Hahaha! (The other frat boys also start laughing).
Ethan: At least we’re not a bunch of drunken Chads!
Sebastian: What?! (Pissed). Big words coming from the poorest excuse of a man on campus! Tell me, how many women have you actually spoken to this year, or ever for that matter? (More laughter).
Ethan: Why you-! (Readies to attack).
Samurai: (Holds his hand up to stop Ethan from advancing further). No. Save your ki. You shall need it for the proper moment.
Ethan: You’re right. Come on. We’re about to become the lives of the party in the bestest way possible. (Grabs the Samurai’s arm and drags him to the main room where everyone’s dancing. A song has just ended. He announces to the room). And now, for your entertainment, we are about to break it down! (He waits a few seconds for the music to cue up).
Sheryl: You guys dance? That’s so cool!
Ethan: Do we dance? Hah, just you wait and see. (What we are about to witness is one awesome dance-off).
Sebastian: (Storms into the middle of the crowd where Ethan and the Samurai have gathered). What’s this? You expect a samurai to know how to dance? Hah!
Samurai: Shall we dansu? (Looks to Ethan, they both nod in unison. The music begins and the Samurai starts with very traditional Noh- and Kabuki-style dances).
Sebastian: Hah, don’t make me laugh. (Shoots back with his own dance style, a graceful almost-tango).
Ethan: Oh please. Show him how it’s done! (The Samurai busts out some serious moves at this point, and after another round of Sebastian dancing back, Ethan jumps into the mix and he and the Samurai totally shut Sebastian down with some killer moves).
(The whole room is chanting “Sa-mu-rai! Sa-mu-rai!”).
Sebastian: Unbelievable! (Runs from the room upon realizing that he’s been served).
(The room keeps chanting “Sa-mu-rai! Sa-mu-rai!” as the Samurai and Ethan continue dancing while the episode fades out).
End of Episode Five
Episode the Sixth
Setting: We find our hero the Samurai at a beach of all places, carefully walking on the sand with his katana at his side and a note in his hand.
Samurai: (The Samurai looks down and reads the note. It says “Meet me at the beach, if you so dare.”). Hmh? (His posture changes as he straightens up, his eyes shifting to a noise he’s heard behind him. He puts his hands at the ready to draw his sword and quickly turns his head to see behind him).
Sebastian: (Standing casually, one hand resting on his rapier ready to draw it if need be, the other hand holding a similar note). The Samurai? What are you doing here?
Samurai: (Unsure of what to make of this). This is not a challenge set up by you?
Sebastian: No, if I were to humiliate you it would be in a much more public location.
Samurai: (Sees the note that Sebastian has). We have been issued the same challenge. (Loosens his stance and turns completely around to face Sebastian, showing him his note).
Sebastian: Something isn’t right about all of this…
Samurai: It seems we have a mutual foe.
Sebastian: Yes. Someone lured us here for one reason or another. My apologies, but I’d rather you just leave and let me take care of the situation unhindered.
Samurai: My honor is at stake as much as your pride.
Sebastian: So what do you intend we do?
Samurai: That I do not know.
Ninja: (His voice is heard out of frame). So, you have both come.
Samurai: (Both Sebastian and The Samurai turn to see the ninja, although they seem unworried and more annoyed). Ninja…
Sebastian: I should have figured about as much.
Ninja: Sonic-boom-no-jutsu! (The ninja screeches at the two of them, knocking them both back a fair distance). Have you had enough? (Samurai and Sebastian look at each other and then back at the ninja). Fine then. Sonic-boom-no-jutsu!
–Sebastian and The Samurai both roll-dodge to the side, coming together to give a roundhouse-elbow to the ninja at the same time, clocking the ninja in his face and knocking him back.
Ninja: Gah! Very tricky, but I have more tricks. Lunar-eclipse-no-jutsu! (The area flashes as the moon rises and the sun sets). Aha! Now darkness has risen! A ninja’s strength is at its peak during the evening hours!
Sebastian: I hate ninja trickery. (Draws his rapier). Leave Samurai, you won’t be needed.
Ninja: Hahahaha, Shadow-Clone-no-jutsu! (Seems to split into many ninjas. They surround The Samurai and Sebastian).
Samurai: (Draws his katana). I have a feeling I may be needed after all.
Sebastian: Just stay out of my way. (He goes into his fencer stance as a ninja rushes him, only to be parried and knocked away).
Samurai: And to you the same. (A ninja begins sneaking up behind him, The Samurai casually stabs behind it without looking, dispatching the ninja easily).
-More ninjas make to attack as the two prepare in new stances.
-Sebastian ducks under a ninja’s punch, coming up and catching it in the chin, then stabs through the ninja, swinging the ninja around to act as a shield while another ninja jumps to attack, only managing to get impaled on Sebastian’s blade as well.
-Sebastian tries to pull his rapier free but finds it stuck as a ninja comes from behind him.
-Sebastian reacts by leaning back while grabbing the ninja’s arm, breaking it by bringing his elbow down onto it, then leaps up and kicks the ninja in the face.
-As another ninja runs up, Sebastian pulls his rapier free, slashing the ninja’s throat in the same motion.
-The Samurai takes a wide stance as he cuts a ninja’s foot from underneath him, getting low to the ground. He kicks at another ninja’s ankle, breaking it and forcing the ninja to buckle and fall down to a knee.
-The Samurai knees the ninja in the face, swinging his katana wide upon landing back on both feet. He runs directly at one ninja, slashing upward and throwing it back while another two ninjas move in from behind and from the front.
-He goes back and forth parrying dagger strikes before kicking backwards into a ninja’s stomach.
-As the ninja bends forward The Samurai rolls over it back-to-back, swinging his katana with him, slashing with another upward arc that sends the ninja spinning into the air and onto a number of other ninjas.
Sebastian: How long do you think you’ll be able to keep up, Samurai? (Turns back around to swagger at The Samurai as a ninja begins coming up behind him).
Samurai: (Turns to face Sebastian’s comment, seeing the ninja sneaking up). Behind! (Instantly moves in front of Sebastian while pulling out a smaller dagger and stabbing the ninja behind Sebastian’s head).
Sebastian: (He’s stunned and then instantly angry, pushing The Samurai away from him). I don’t believe I asked for your assistance. (Sees an advancing enemy coming up behind The Samurai. Sebastian panics, quickly rushing The Samurai and stabbing around him at the ninja).
Samurai: (Stunned to be getting help from Sebastian). You helped me?
Sebastian: Don’t get the wrong idea. The only way for you to meet your rightful destruction is at the end of my rapier or my biting wit. I won’t have a filthy ninja do this for me.
-The Samurai nods in agreement and the fight resumes, with The Samurai smashing a ninja on the top of the head with both hands while Sebastian grabs a ninja by the collar and punches it dead in the face.
-Sebastian and the Samurai turn toward each other and rush, with The Samurai leaping over Sebastian, slashing as Sebastian ducks under, stabbing on his way up. They turn around then swing their swords around and stab behind, once more offing two more ninjas.
-The Samurai crouches, allowing Sebastian to hop onto his shoulders. The Samurai stands up again, turning to hack at more ninjas.
-Sebastian keeps his balance while taking swipes downward with his rapier and making small kicks, stunning the ninjas long enough for The Samurai to dispatch them properly.
-Sebastian hops onto a ninja’s head, stomping it in the head and sending it to the ground. Sebastian twirls and stomps on the ninja’s chest.
-The Samurai sweeps a ninja’s feet with a kick, knocking it down. He then stabs downward into its chest, pinning it to the ground, before then kicking the ninja in the head, breaking its neck.
-The Samurai and Sebastian look to each other again before The Samurai tosses his katana to Sebastian who catches it and kicks his foot up to The Samurai. The Samurai grabs it and starts swinging Sebastian around in wide circles, moving around as ninjas are destroyed left and right.
-Finally, The Samurai lets go, hurling Sebastian into the air. At the height of his decent, he spins downward into a power-bomb onto one last ninja. He stands up as The Samurai pulls his katana from the fallen ninja.
Sebastian: (The last of the ninja defeated, Sebastian and The Samurai nod to each other. Sebastian turns to face the head ninja). Is that the last of your tricks ninja?
Ninja: I have but one more. (Snaps his fingers. Two more ninja come out from behind him, one with Ethan tied up and the other with Sheryl tied up).
Both Sebastian and Samurai: Sheryl!
Ethan: Hey, and Ethan too!
Samurai: What do you want of us?!
Ninja: I want you two to duel to the death. If the Samurai wins, the girl will die. If the fencer wins, the boy shall die.
Sebastian: You bastard!
Ninja: Hahahahahaha! (Throws down a smoke bomb). Spectator-no-jutsu! (Instantly a stage appears, erupting from the sand, complete with a crowd of ninjas standing around from the sides, watching and cheering. Spotlights are one the two in the center). Hahaha! Begin!
To Be Continued…
End of Episode 6
Episode the Final
Setting: Samurai and Sebastian are in center stage with spotlights around them, a crowd of ninjas is standing around watching. A head ninja stands above all, with two other ninjas standing next to him, one holding Sheryl captive and the other holding Ethan.
Ninja: You two must fight to the death! If the Samurai wins, the girl dies. If the fencer wins, the boy dies. Begin now!
Samurai: (Still has his sword out, unsure of what to do). What do we do?
Sebastian: You just die! (Leaps at The Samurai, his choice being a much easier one. He stabs at The Samurai, to which The Samurai sidesteps out of the way).
Samurai: No! We must not play his game!
Sebastian: I have no qualms with both the reject and you dying if it means Sheryl lives. I have a rather easy choice in the matter, wouldn’t you agree? (Swipes at The Samurai, who ducks under the attack. He swipes low, The Samurai jumps over. He swipes again and this time The Samurai blocks the attack with his katana. The two struggle against the other).
Samurai: There must be another way…
Sebastian: But I’m getting what I want; why would I need another way? (Cheaply kicks The Samurai in the stomach and leaps at him. The Samurai rolls away, getting a kick to the side of the head as he rises).
Ethan: Don’t worry about me buddy! I’m okay with whatever you choose to do! (Turns to Sheryl). No hard feelings when he wins and saves me, right?
Sheryl: This is barbaric!
Ninja: (Laughing manically). Yes! Hahaha, yes! Fight! Fight!
Ethan: Are you totally one-dimensional or something, ‘cause you don’t seem to have much depth dude.
Ninja: (Turns to Ethan). Silence-no-jutsu! (A handkerchief appears and wraps itself around Ethan’s mouth). Hahaha!
Sheryl: You keep yelling “no-jutsu” after stuff, but I don’t think you know what that means.
Ninja: It means something in ninja!
Sheryl: No, it’s just a corny line from a silly anime.
Ninja: Erm…shut-up-no-jutsu! (Crosses his arms in a huff and continues watching the match).
-Sebastian runs at The Samurai, who’s obviously not fighting to his potential, and the two go at it. The Samurai keeps frantically dodging around Sebastian’s swishes, parrying the attacks but never countering.
Sebastian: I’m not going to be merciful forever! This is your end!
-Sebastian swats The Samurai on the left shoulder, stunning his arm.
-The Samurai responds by slamming Sebastian in the head with the hilt of his katana. While Sebastian is stumbling, The Samurai kicks the rapier from his hands.
-Recovering quickly, Sebastian grabs The Samurai by the collar of his armor and pulls his face into Sebastian’s elbow. Sebastian then grabs The Samurai’s katana from him, swinging it and slicing The Samurai’s leg. He goes down.
-Sebastian swings the katana directly down at The Samurai’s head, who closes his eyes and looks straight down, reacting by catching the blade over his head.
Sebastian: What?! (Struggling to push the katana down). It’s not humanly possible to do that! It was proven to be a myth! It’s all about physics!
Samurai: I was never one to enjoy physics.
-The Samurai shifts the weight of the blade sideways, forcing Sebastian to slash the katana down into the dirt and fall off balance towards The Samurai, who rises to his feet while headbutting Sebastian.
-Sebastian lets go of the katana and stumbles backwards, stepping on his rapier. Once he realizes what he’s stepped on, he kicks the rapier into the air, catching it and taking a roundhouse swing at The Samurai, missing just barely.
-He does another roundhouse, tossing his rapier into the air right in front of his face. The Samurai is caught in the chest with a solid kick as Sebastian spins again, catching his rapier and swishing across The Samurai’s chest, leaving a mark.
-As he moves in to make the kill, The Samurai leaps to the side, allowing Sebastian to miss. The Samurai finishes by coming down on Sebastian’s noggin with his elbow. Sebastian is knocked senseless. As he’s falling he quickly rolls to his feet a few yards away, still ready to fight.
Samurai: Stop! We need a plan!
Sebastian: You need to die! (Tosses his rapier away and rushes The Samurai. He trips The Samurai and leaps on top of him, grabbing the smaller dagger from The Samurai’s side and thrusting it down at The Samurai, only to have The Samurai grab his arm and attempt to stop this from happening).
Sheryl: Enough! (Slams her head backwards into her captor’s face. She then hops into the air, pulling her restrained hands under her so that they’re in front, then reaches over her head, grabs the ninja, and hurls it over her).
Ethan: (Grabs the handkerchief with his teeth and removes it). That was tight! (Sheryl decks the ninja holding Ethan captive, knocking it out cold). Well done. So how about you and I…
Sheryl: (Turns to the action taking place on the ground floor). Samurai!
Ethan: Whatever; that’s cool.
Samurai: Enough indeed. (Sees that both Sheryl and Ethan are safe, instantly revitalizing him and putting passion into his eyes. The Samurai continues to hold Sebastian’s wrist with one hand, bringing the other hand up into Sebastian’s stomach. He then kicks up and throws Sebastian over his head and onto his back. The Samurai leaps up and is on top of Sebastian, picking up his katana again and pointing the tip at Sebastian’s throat).
Sebastian: (Calm despite his situation). Right then. Do with me as you will.
Samurai: (Stares at Sebastian, ready to finish him off, yet pulls back and sheaths his sword, walking away). No good would come from it.
Sebastian: (Stands up and brushes himself off). Always honorable, even till the end. How predictable. (Picks up his rapier and rushes The Samurai once more head-on with his rapier straightforward, about to catch him unsuspecting).
Samurai: (Turns around and thrusts his hand out). HAIKU!
–Time seems to stop as cherry blossoms appear from nowhere along with another giant image of The Samurai’s upper torso behind the real Samurai, calmly reciting a poem: “My enemy strikes; His blade and soul are feeble; I grow stronger still.”
-Sebastian is stopped instantly, his rapier crumpling like foil against a wall, before throwing him back, disarmed and shamed at last.
Ethan: (Runs into the fray). How did you do that?!
Samurai: Family secret.
Sheryl: (Also running down to the ground level. She instantly hugs The Samurai). You’re alright!
Samurai: (Blushes and smiles). As are you.
Ninja: (Clapping). Wonderful! Wonderful! (Walks down to the ground level). Congratulations my boy! You have won the Dean’s Scholarship!
Samurai: I have…I have what? (The Ninja pulls off his mask, revealing himself to be the Dean of the college).
Sheryl and Ethan: The Dean of the school?!
Ninja: Congratulations! (The crowd is cheering).
Sebastian: (Still on the ground, dizzy, and now even more angry). But…I was supposed to win that scholarship! My entire future was depending on it! It was fate!
Samurai: (Smiles and points at Sebastian). Looks like you’ve been eating misfortune cookies. (The Samurai throws his head back and belts out a hearty laugh, along with Ethan, Sheryl, and the Dean/Ninja. The scene pulls back and begins to fade away).
Sheryl: Haha, oh Samurai. (Smiles and kisses his cheek).
Samurai: Hahaha, I made a funny!
End of Saga the First
Eclipse Star: Chapter 64
“Sense and Sensibility”
Recap: While Syrus busily studies Chris’ technique, the boy himself goes in search of his grandmother’s whereabouts. Finding a Charles Robotics facility where his house used to be, things become more complicated when a team of Hex-Duo 6 robots suddenly attack. The fight is halted by Charles, or rather a robotic version of Charles. He assures Chris that his grandmother is safe but urges him to stay out of the next conflict. Chris leaves for the Northern Lodge once more as Charles tells Syrus of his findings. Things are about to get crazy, today, on Eclipse Star!
-The group is up in the mountains during a normal training session with Joshua. Most of the group is actively engaging in warm-up drills while Joshua gives pointers. Jack, however, remains in his usual spot off to the side, leaning against a tree with his crutches under his arms.
Joshua: That’s good guys, real good. I want all of you nice and loose for today.
Lindsey: What’ve you got for us today?
Kyle: Please tell me it’s not just more hiking.
Joshua: Nope, not exactly hiking. Today’s a test.
Danny: Test? TEST?! I didn’t know I was supposed to study for one of those!
Joshua: Haha, calm down Danny, you should be more than ready.
Scott: So what’s up?
Joshua: Oh it’s very simple. I’d like all of you to play hide and seek.
Leena: That doesn’t sound too hard.
Joshua: Well, all of you are hiding and all of you are seeking.
Leena: Okay, that’s impossible.
Joshua: I work best under those conditions.
Clinton: How will this drill work?
Joshua: First, everyone’s getting blindfolded. After that I count to ten and tell you all to scatter. The goal is to take out everyone else without being taken out yourself. Sound simple enough?
Derek: I assume we’re using Pulse Sensing abilities then?
Joshua: Precisely. This wouldn’t work if you didn’t.
Kyle: Okay, but I see a general flaw with this drill: Even if I attack someone first they’ll still take me out.
Joshua: Hmm, okay, the Kyle Rule is in effect: No one’s allowed to hit Kyle as hard as they’d hit Derek.
Kyle: I like this rule.
Leena: I don’t.
Austin: So any other limitations?
Joshua: Nope. I assume I don’t need to further explain how to play this game best, but just for clarification- (Danny smiles) –you will need to balance keeping your Pulse strength low enough to avoid detection with raising it quick enough to knock out your opponents.
Kyle: Except for Kyle!
Joshua: Right, except for Kyle. Just give him a pink belly until he gives up.
Kyle: I suddenly don’t like the Kyle Rule.
Joshua: Oh, and Glitch, I’m sorry, but you can’t play since you’ve got special scanners anyway.
Glitch: Yeah, I figured about as much.
Joshua: You’ll be the clean-up crew. Bring ‘em back as they knock each other out. Sound good?
Glitch: (Salutes). Sure, can do!
Joshua: Excellent! Ready to get blindfolded everyone?
Joshua: Ooh, no, nope, that isn’t going to work. We need a new group cheer.
-Everyone just stops and looks at Lindsey.
Lindsey: What? I like it. It sounds cool.
Joshua: Might I suggest “Hallelujah”?
Derek: Too religious, not powerful enough.
Joshua: I’ll have you know that it’s very powerful, thank you.
Jack: (Deadpan). How about just “Ha”?
-Everyone is somewhat surprised to hear Jack speak.
Joshua: (Pause, then). I like it!
-Everyone is fitted with a blindfold. Joshua counts to ten as they scatter.
Jack: How long you think before this is over?
Joshua: (Laughing). Oh no, I don’t think you’re just going to sit there and gloat. I’ve got a job for you, too.
Jack: Does it involve my legs finally working?
Joshua: I’ve told you, that is entirely up to you. No, I assume you’ve been paying attention to the lessons?
Jack: To a certain point.
Joshua: I know when you’re lying. Jack, you’re the best with this ability.
Jack: I’ve picked it up but nothing special.
Joshua: Tell me how far away Chris is.
Jack: (Rolls his eyes). I don’t-
Jack: (Pause). Roughly three miles south-southwest.
Joshua: I want you to describe everything as it’s happening to me.
Jack: How does this help you?
Joshua: This helps you, not me.
Jack: Fine, if you say so. (Jack closes his eyes for a moment). Alright, so far Danny’s the easiest to sense since he’s not suppressing his Pulse whatsoever.
Joshua: Oh that Danny. Maybe I should have told him about the test beforehand.
Jack: No one has made contact with anyone else just yet. They’re keeping themselves at a cautious distance. Derek’s making a move toward Kevin right now. And Kyle seems to be making a conscious effort to move away from Derek’s position. He’s almost completely out of range for everyone else.
Joshua: Not a bad tactic. Keep going. Don’t stop updating me. (Closes his eyes and sits down, relaxing, cross-legged).
-Out in the woods, Derek is moving between trees rapidly, keeping low but moving fast. He approaches Kevin rather closely.
Kevin: (Whipping around in Derek’s direction). I know you’re back there, Derek!
-Derek, however, is gone.
-Kevin moves his head around, listening carefully and trying to feel Derek out.
-Derek comes down on top of Kevin’s head with both feet, plowing Kevin into the ground.
Austin: Got you!
-An energy blast shoots at Derek as Austin comes rushing in with more.
-Derek leaps at Austin, underneath the energy blasts, and boots him in the stomach.
-Austin gasps but takes a mad swing with both hands, clonking Derek in the side of the head.
-Derek staggers off for cover.
Austin: Hah, hah, alright then, I see how it’s gonna be.
Jack: (Back at the Lodge with his eyes closed). Kevin was nearly knocked out for a second. He moved clear when Austin attacked Derek, though. He’s moving erratically right now. I think Derek’s hit has him confused.
Joshua: Good though, he’s still got enough sense to get away from the fight. He’s been listening to me pretty well.
-Kevin continues stumbling between the trees, running into a few without meaning to before stopping to rub his head.
Kevin: Man, how’d he hit me that hard without me feeling the Pulse spike first?
-Danny shuffles about, trying to stay busy doing something, but he can’t seem to find anyone.
Danny: Wow, everyone’s doing a really good job right now. I can’t find anyone. Unless…maybe they’re scared of me! (Epiphany). That’s right! I forgot! I’m super strong, aren’t I?! I’ll just let them come to me!
-Danny stands his ground and raises his Pulse level.
Jack: For whatever reason, Danny just decided to let everyone know exactly where he is.
Joshua: Ooh, that’s not a bad idea.
Jack: Oddly, it isn’t, at least in this scenario. I assume Danny thinks he’s really strong but what he’ll end up doing is cause everyone else to meet up and start weeding each other out.
Joshua: And then Danny gets out somehow. Genius!
-As Jack predicted, multiple others begin flocking to Danny’s position, with Derek, Scott, Lindsey, and Clinton moving toward a collision course, each expecting to be the first to intercept Danny.
-Scott is suddenly hurled into a tree, courtesy of Derek.
-Danny hears this and fires a blast at the direction of the noise, hitting Scott pretty hard.
Danny: Aha! I got someone!
-Clinton comes up behind Danny and nearly knocks his head off.
-Derek slams Clinton unexpectedly in the side of the head with an elbow.
-Danny turns around and fires another large blast, pegging Clinton really easily.
Danny: I got another one!
Clinton: (Taking his blindfold off). Of course you got me. I was right next to you when Derek hit me.
Danny: Aha! I can hear you!
-Danny begins firing more blasts at Clinton, believing he’s got him on the run.
Jack: Well, somehow Danny hasn’t completely messed this one up yet.
Joshua: Ahahaha! This is wonderful!
-While Danny is busy chasing Clinton off, Derek moves in for the kill.
-Before he can strike Danny, Lindsey has tackled Derek.
-The two careen off in another direction wrestling about in mid-flight.
-Austin breaks the two up, kicking one and uppercutting the other.
-Lindsey and Derek snap back to take out Austin, managing to hit each other incredibly hard.
-Austin is situated off to the side of the two, having missed being hit entirely. He grabs the two heads and slams them together before grabbing them and throwing them into the air.
Derek: Damn it!
-Danny stops chasing Clinton and turns his attention upward.
Danny: That sounds like Derek!
-Danny charges up and fires another large blast in Derek’s direction, making a direct hit.
-Lindsey manages to move out of the way before Danny can sense that she’s there, too. She drifts silently back into the treetop covering and fades off anyone’s radar, save for Jack’s.
Jack: Danny almost knocked Derek out with that last attack.
Joshua: (Kicking his feet in excitement). Oh isn’t this just fun?!
-Derek turns toward Danny and angrily throws a super-powered beam in his direction.
-Danny stops and begins to suspect something’s up.
Danny: Wait a minute…that felt like Derek throwing something really big and really painful at me. But he’s scared of me, right? Why’d he do that?
-Before Danny is exploded, Willy has pulled him out of the way to safety.
Willy: What d’you think you’re doing Danny? Derek almost killed you!
Danny: Willy? I found you!
-Danny places his hands on Willy’s chest and fires a forceful beam, launching Willy out of the woods and into the air.
Danny: (Beaming). I’m doing really good, aren’t I?
-Willy sails over the trees and into the clouds.
Jack: I’d say Willy’s pretty much done.
Joshua: Yup. Still, he did good keeping Danny safe. He passes the test nonetheless.
-Glitch flies up to Joshua and Jack carrying Clinton.
Joshua: Clinton, you’re out because you looked.
Clinton: I know, I know.
Joshua: Feeling alright?
Clinton: Yup, just kind of stupid.
Joshua: Glitch? You mind catching Willy before he hits the ground?
Glitch: You got it!
-Glitch flies off to get Willy.
-Chris finally shows up.
Chris: What’s up?
Joshua: Ah! Chris! You’re back so soon. How did it go?
Chris: I’ve got news. What’s everyone up to? I’m feeling Pulse spikes everywhere.
Joshua: Training. Hey Clinton, hand Chris your blindfold.
-Clinton gives his blindfold over to Chris. Chris doesn’t quite understand.
Joshua: Well? Put it on.
Chris: Oh. (Puts it over his eyes). Now what?
-Joshua grabs Chris and hurls him into the woods, flailing like an idiot.
Joshua: There, that should give everyone else a slight handicap.
Jack: Well, at least he’s figured out the point of the exercise. His Pulse has already dropped to the “stealth” range.
Joshua: He always was a fast learning.
Clinton: Now that you mention it, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask.
Joshua: About how Chris made so much headway in three days’ training?
Clinton: That’s the exact question.
Joshua: I could tell you, but that’d ruin the surprise.
Jack: It was just what needed to happen. Nothing more, nothing less.
Joshua: Actually, I like that answer better.
Jack: By the way, I think Kevin’s about to be out.
-Deep in the woods, Kevin is being hammered with quick strikes from Lindsey and Leena. By the time he turns in the proper direction to attack one, the other is coming up from behind. Still, he’s enjoying himself.
Kevin: Ha, ha, okay, so how should I do this?
-Lindsey comes at Kevin from the right as Leena closes in from the left.
-Kevin shrinks himself instantly to the size of an ant, allowing the two girls to smash their faces into each other at full speed.
Lindsey: Dang it!
Leena: You weren’t supposed to run into me!
Lindsey: Then where’d Kevin go?
-Kevin reappears at quadruple his normal height the very next instant, grabbing at the two.
-Neither can break free, though Lindsey liquefies herself and slips through Kevin’s fingers.
-Leena, literally on the other hand, is launched way into the air.
Leena: This is why you don’t have a girlfriend…!
-Lindsey reforms herself and runs off through the woods again, hiding her power.
-Leena comes down in the middle of the woods while yelling.
Danny: I know that voice! That’s Leena!
Leena: What? Danny? Oh no.
Danny: Ultra Beam Blast Cannon!
-Danny points himself at Leena and fires, hitting her with all his strength.
Jack: Well, Kevin may still be going, but Leena’s out now.
-Glitch flies to the starting location carrying Willy.
Joshua: Willy, how are you?
Willy: (Coming to, rubbing his head). I’m alright. Dumb, but alright.
Joshua: Don’t worry, you did good. Glitch? Leena’s gonna need a catch, too.
-Glitch flies off to grab Leena.
-Meanwhile, Scott has located Kyle and proceeds to track him through the woods.
Scott: C’mere Kyle, I know you’re out there.
Kyle: (Whispering to himself while hiding behind trees). Dang it, how does he know?
-Kyle takes a step out from the trees and steps on a twig.
-Kyle looks down at the twig and then over towards Scott, who’s also noticed the sound.
Kyle: Oh come on, how cliché is the old twig gag?
-Scott lunges at Kyle. Kyle braces himself for something big.
Kyle: Okay, make it quick…!
-A swift flash and Kyle is left alone, still bracing for the attack.
Kyle: Okay, any time now. (Unbraces). Anyone there?
-Scott is reeling through the trees after getting struck by something or other.
Jack: Okay, whatever just hit Scott totally knocked him out.
-Glitch flies down with Leena.
Joshua: Glitch, Scott, please?
Glitch: Sure thing.
-Kyle “looks” around, wondering out loud what happened.
Kyle: Huh. I guess I must have done something unexpected just there, like a secret well of power.
Chris: You owe me. (Gone).
Kyle: Yeah that makes more sense.
-Austin and Derek continue to scuffle every now and then, trading blows as they sneak around one another.
-Derek finally decides to end it by closing the gap between him and Austin and detonating his energy, causing a fairly large explosion.
Leena: (Sees the explosion in the woods). Whoa, what was that?
Jack: (Still with his eyes closed). Derek started to get impatient. He pushed his power up suddenly near max and hit Austin pretty hard.
Leena: Yeah but Austin’s alright, right?
-Glitch comes flying in carrying Scott.
Joshua: Glitch, could you please go find whatever’s left of Austin and bring him in?
Glitch: I’m on it. (Flies off again).
-Kevin stops, having felt Derek’s huge power increase.
Kevin: Great, Derek’s not playing anymore, is he?
Chris: It doesn’t feel like it.
Kevin: That you Chris?
Chris: Yup. Austin’s out. What say we stop Derek from doing something like that again?
-The two fly off towards Derek’s location.
-Danny, however, is as confused as ever.
Danny: Okay, I heard that come from that direction, but Derek was over in the other direction just a few minutes ago. Is he trying to trick me? (Stops and thinks for a second). He has to be. I won’t stand for that!
-Danny pushes his strength up to max, shaking the trees around him.
-The others still participating seem to view this as a signal to close in on Danny once more.
-Derek comes in low and quiet, anticipating Danny won’t notice him while charging up. He gets right up to Danny before talking.
Derek: Alright Danny, game’s over for you.
Lindsey: Think again, Derek.
Derek: The heck?
-Lindsey leans out behind Danny, having hid on the other side while also charging.
-She fires a beam at the same time Danny fires a beam at Derek, with the two beams combining and hitting Derek at the same time.
-Derek throws his hands up to block but is still hurled back against the force of the beam. He struggles to get control again.
Derek: (Through gritted teeth). I thought it’d be obvious I wasn’t playing nice anymore.
-As Derek finally gains control of Lindsey and Danny’s combined beam, another combined beam hits him from behind.
Chris: No way he’ll back down from this.
Kevin: No, I’m pretty sure we’re just making him mad again.
-As the brightness of the four beams colliding fades just enough, Derek appears to be holding the two combined beams at bay, one with each hand.
Derek: Hah! Is that the best you can do?!
Kyle: You sure look like you’ve got your hands full, huh?
Derek: What? Kyle?
-Kyle proceeds to continue charging his own attack in one hand, what appears to be a strange whirl of wispy smoke.
Kyle: Okay just hold still for a moment please.
Derek: (Freaked out, still struggling with the other blasts). Kyle! If you fire that I’ll hurt you so-!
Kyle: (Grandiose voice). TRAIN SUMMON!
-Kyle lets loose what appears to be a ghost train from his hand. The beam hits Derek and carries through him, obviously doing a lot of damage.
-Derek finally loses control of everything around him after getting thrown backward with the Train Summon.
Kevin: Heh, I think Kyle got him.
Kevin: Count to three then go?
-The two leap away from one another before trading blows every so often.
-Danny and Lindsey both let out a sigh, though Danny still doesn’t seem aware that Lindsey is right next to him.
Danny: Wow! I did it! I did-!
-Danny’s eyes slowly close as he falls face forward, still smiling, before hitting the snow and passing out completely.
Lindsey: Sorry Danny, but you’ll just hurt yourself if you keep this up.
-Lindsey disappears after Chris and Kevin.
Leena: So what’s the status report? I just saw a big train shoot out of the woods and now nothing.
Jack: Derek is now officially out, thanks to the other five hitting him all at once.
Joshua: Teamwork! Excellent!
Jack: But then Lindsey knocked Danny out with a simple chop to the back of the head, so he’s out, too.
Joshua: Oh how sad. I really thought he’d win. But oh well, he did pretty good anyway. Glitch?
-Glitch is just flying in with Austin.
Joshua: Please go bring Danny in, but just let Derek sit unconscious in the snow for a while. It might help him cool down.
Glitch: Right. (Flies off again).
-Chris and Kevin continue hitting quick and fading into cover with neither showing significant leverage over the other.
-Kevin sends a punch that collides with Chris’ face, throwing him through some foliage.
-Kevin chases after a bit, pushing some bushes out of the way.
Kevin: I know you’re back there. I can sense your Pulse, Chris!
-Kevin moves some more brush aside, revealing a glowing energy ball.
-Glitch flies in with Danny.
Danny: (Sleepily waking up). Danny do good?
Joshua: (Smiling). Yes, Danny do very good.
Jack: That leaves just Chris, Lindsey, and Kyle left in the woods.
Scott: Alright, takin’ all bets! That’s right, takin’ all bets! Lemme hear a hundred on Lindsey, the girl with the twirl! Any takers?!
Leena: Right here.
-The group huddles around Scott, placing bets. Even Joshua steps up with a few bucks.
-Lindsey finds herself finally having a hard time in the exercise now that Kyle is pretty much untraceable and Chris has been keeping himself hidden.
Lindsey: Shoot, I don’t even know who’s left.
-She starts to feel a huge energy spike as Chris rockets towards her at an alarming speed, his power climbing rapidly.
-He pulls back with a huge punch but stops inches from her face right as she turns around, having felt who’s in front of him.
-The two stand confused for a second before…
-Energy appears between Lindsey’s thumb, index, and middle fingers.
-Chris is hit with a powerful explosion and sent careening through trees, ripping through them when hit.
Danny: What just happened?
-The group hears a faint yelling sound, which soon becomes very obvious when Chris explodes out of the trees, carried through the air from the force of the explosion.
-He skids to a stop in the snow right in the middle of the group as they just stare downward at him.
Joshua: (Points down). Chris, you’re out.
Chris: Good grief.
Jack: That means Lindsey and Kyle are the only two left.
Kyle: Yeah, and she has no clue where I am.
-The group, all without blindfolds now, are staring dumbfounded at Kyle, still in his blindfold, standing quite blatantly among them.
Joshua: Um, Kyle?
Kyle: (Points). Yes, Josh, question.
Joshua: Shouldn’t you be off trying to knock Lindsey out?
Kyle: Not a bad tactic, but I do believe I have a better chance letting someone else knocking her out for me.
Leena: You’re the only one left besides her.
Kyle: So where’s Chris?
Chris: I’m right here.
Kyle: Oh crap, so I really knocked Derek out?
Austin: Heh, yeah, I saw that. That was sweet.
Kyle: (Panicked). Oh jeez, he’s totally gonna kill me now! He’s not right here is he?
Joshua: Nope, I figured it’d be best to leave him alone for a bit.
Joshua: (Deadpan). Is that Derek?
Jack: That’s Derek.
Joshua: That’s Derek. Alright, but he’s still out.
-Derek flies up above the trees to a point where the group can clearly see him.
Joshua: Oh yeah, he’s not even wearing a blindfold; he’s totally out.
-Derek starts to charge something huge.
Joshua: (Facepalm). Dang it Derek, why do you do this?
-Lindsey shoots up from the trees and slams her head into Derek’s chin.
-Derek is sent flying toward the group. Glitch catches him in mid air before he hits anyone.
-Lindsey takes off her blindfold to see what’s happened.
Lindsey: (Yelling to the group). Did I win?!
Leena: Put your blindfold back on!
Kyle: What? Oh! Oh! No blindfold! She’s disqualified! I win by default! (Whips his blindfold off).
Joshua: Oy, I think this training session is over.
-After a short breather, the group has settled down and are ready to hear what Joshua has to say.
Joshua: I’m extremely pleased with how you all handled that last test. Glitch, you were a huge help by the way.
Joshua: And Jack, excellent job as well.
Lindsey: (Nudges Jack). C’mon, savor the compliment.
Derek: So who technically won?
Joshua: Winning wasn’t the point.
Lindsey: Yeah but if you had to pick a winner, who was it?
Joshua: Because I embodied the true spirit of passivity and non-violence. Now enough whining, I have one last thing I’d like you all to do. Is everyone sufficiently rested?
-Nods all around.
Joshua: Good. I want to see who among you is the strongest. I want to see who can top the charts here, so hold absolutely nothing back.
Austin: The usual way? Powering up?
Joshua: Yup, you’ve got the idea. I’ll go down the line here. Danny, you go first.
Danny: Because I’m so strong?
Joshua: Hahaha, yes, because you’re so strong.
-Everyone takes turns pushing their Pulse energies to maximum strength and beyond until only Chris and Derek are left.
Joshua: Alright Chris, could you please do the honors and let these guys know if they’re really past where you left off a few months ago?
Chris: Sure thing.
-Chris crouches low clenching his fists. He begins to make a slight growling sound as his power rises along with the volume of his voice. The nearby trees start swaying slightly and the ground suddenly quakes as sparks shoot from Chris the louder he becomes.
Joshua: Good, don’t stop!
-Chris’ Pulse reaches the state it had been when he fought Hex-Duo 6, signaled when it looks apparent he can’t power up any further.
-He stops yelling and looks around.
-To his relief, instead of the fear he had noticed the last time this happened, the group seems at ease, almost happy.
Leena: That’s it? Are you sure you’re maxed out?
Chris: (Struggling a bit). Yeah, pretty much.
Leena: Okay, that’s not where he was three months ago.
Jack: No, that’s exactly where he was three months ago.
Lindsey: So that means we really did learn how to do what he did?
Joshua: Does this level of power seem strange to you anymore?
Lindsey: No. This is about what we’re doing during intense training sessions now.
Joshua: Good! Then I’ve made a difference, haven’t I?
Jack: He’s still the strongest one here, though, but the difference between Chris and everyone else isn’t as radical.
-The wind picks up suddenly from behind Chris.
Austin: Hey what’s up?
-Intense light momentarily blinds everyone as the quaking begins again, this time blowing the nearby trees so hard some of them crack and split down the middle.
-Everyone, including Chris, is having a hard time keeping their footing, finding themselves at risk of being blown away from the force coming from Derek.
-Pulse discharges surround Derek as he stands maxed out, the snow around him completely melted.
Chris: (Finally gets a good look at Derek. He smiles). Dang Derek, you just couldn’t let it go, could you?
Derek: (Also smiling). You know me.
Joshua: Alright! Enough, enough! Before my house blows away already!
-Derek lets out a sigh and returns to his normal state of calm.
Joshua: I think that’s all for today. Oh wait! Chris, you said you had news, correct?
Chris: Yeah it-
-Chris suddenly stops and remembers what Charles had said to him.
Charles: Wherever you and your friends are hiding, and I don’t want to know where that is, but wherever that may be, just stay there… if you fought right now, you’d expend a lot of units, making the full-scale attack severely lacking and cause me to have wasted my time. I was okay with the Locust Virus being a waste, and the Hex-Duo robots weren’t something I was proud of, but this time it needs to happen. The sooner this is all over…well the sooner this is all over.
Chris: I’ll consider the option for a by on this fight.
Charles: Please do.
Chris: Your robots attack me again, I’ll be fine. I can handle that. They attack my friends or someone else, then we have a problem.
Charles: Stay as far away from the city as you can for as long as you can.
Chris: I can’t and won’t make promises to someone who’s most likely an enemy, however nice he may be at the moment.
Charles: Then you really are perceptive.
-Back to the present.
Austin: Hey Chris, speak up man. Is there anything we should know?
Chris: No. Nothing all that interesting. I’ll tell you later.
-The group heads into the Lodge to rest as Chris continues thinking how easy it would be to just avoid the next conflict altogether.
-To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 63
Recap: Last time, Chris recovered from a supposed suicide attempt, Joshua trains the group, and a request was made to check on loved ones. What sort of intrigue is in store for today? Find out, right now!
-We start today in a darkened room, the only light coming from the rapid flickerings of a TV monitor. Syrus sits rather close to the fixture, watching the replay of the Hex-Duo defeat over and over again.
-Octavious walks in.
Octavious: Syrus, what the hell is this?
Syrus: (Without looking away). I’m researching.
Octavious: Researching what? We know how the Hex-Duo were destroyed.
Syrus: That’s not the point of the research. I want to see the boy’s fighting style. Something about it is unsettlingly familiar.
Octavious: Right, I forget, you’re the great fighter and know everything there is to know about the intricacies of skill and valor and all that horseshit.
Syrus: No, something about this doesn’t make sense.
-Syrus skips to the scene where Chris leaps at Hex-Duo 6 (from the robot’s point of view), and boots him in the face with a shiny kick. Syrus freezes at the moment Chris’ foot sparks.
Octavious: (Trying to see what’s so important). So? His foot’s glowing.
Syrus: Manipulating of energy through feet isn’t something everyone knows. Mostly, it’s just a lot of flash and no substance. But this, (lets the footage continue to see Chris hurling his blast from the other foot, freezing it once more before the blast hits the “camera”), I’ve only seen one person do this besides the boy.
Octavious: (Sarcastic). Was it you?
Syrus: No, it was a man I was very close to before my service to you began.
Octavious: Heh, must have been a real dandy to use fighting moves like that.
Syrus: (Finally turning away from the screen). James was no one to make light of, and if you so much as sneer at his mention again I’ll kill you, my mission be damned.
Octavious: (Actually standoffish, then). Hahaha, you’re mission’s already damned, isn’t it?
Syrus: Hmh, so you’re right. (Turns back to the screen).
Octavious: Have we begun moving on with the next phase of our plan?
Syrus: There is no “our” in this plan. This plan is yours, just like those rangers of yours. My plan is to fight this boy when your plan fails once again.
Octavious: Oh yeah? You’re so sure this one’s going to fail?
Syrus: It is absolutely going to constitute an act of war, even more so than your previous botched efforts at public sympathy.
Octavious: And reviewing this footage is going to help you in the end?
Syrus: Yes. That’s what I do. I’m the fighter, remember?
Octavious: No, you’re the dog.
Syrus: Then let me off this leash.
Octavious: The first time you encountered these kids you didn’t kill them-
Syrus: Because it was a public tournament.
Octavious: And the second time you encountered these kids you didn’t kill them-
Syrus: I was stationed at a military base that exploded; my priorities shifted.
Octavious: And if I understand correctly you could have encountered them a third time after the Hex-Duo fight. What’s your smart-ass explanation for that?
Syrus: Well that was pure laziness of course.
Octavious: (Angry). I knew it!
Syrus: (sighs). I needed to properly study these reports to better understand what I’m up against. They’re getting stronger at an exponential rate and I didn’t wish to engage them before I knew how to correctly handle them. I’ve fought with Derek, Jack, Lindsey, Austin, and a number of the other members, but the boy, this boy, I haven’t faced one-on-one.
Octavious: And this recording is going to help you.
Syrus: Look at this. (Skips to the scene where Chris and Hex-Duo 6 are clenched up, right before the fight ends). Look carefully.
-Chris stares down the “camera” and flips over it, ripping its arms off.
Syrus: Did you see that?
Octavious: See what?
Syrus: Watch. (Rewinds the footage to the clench). Watch his eyes. (It becomes noticeable that Chris’ eyes dart to Hex-Duo 6’s right shoulder). His eyes flash to the machine’s shoulder joint before he performs a maneuver that takes advantage of an obvious design structure fault.
Syrus: So, he could see the flaw. I swear I can see his thought process going. He’s more dangerous than the rest.
Octavious: Because he can make his feet glow and he has good eyesight?
Syrus: (Finally annoyed). Will that be all for today?
Octavious: Actually, I’d appreciate it if you’d give my rangers a few tips. If they’re going to strike the city I want them as ready as possible, and it seems I’m not the fighter, so make them learn how to fight.
Syrus: Fine. I’ll be out in a moment.
Octavious: Right. Just don’t let ghosts get in the way of what you have to do. (Leaves).
Syrus: (Re-watching Chris’ shiny kick). Where did you learn James’ move…?
* * * * *
-Elsewhere, in the suburb of Brooksboro, Chris cautiously rounds corners on his way to the sight of his ruined home. He has a baseball cap pulled down low and a backpack slung over one shoulder.
Chris: Grandma, you had enough sense to leave before Syrus showed up, right?
-He finally gets to his old street. Once he sees what’s there, thing seem slightly confusing.
Chris: What in the heck?
-Chris looks up to see a massive skyscraper built where his house used to be. The building has no discerning logos and looks incredibly new.
Chris: When did this happen?
-Chris decides to take a peak, keeping his hat low. He walks across the street and up to the front doors. He looks around the block first.
Chris: Oh wow, every house here’s just gone now. That doesn’t make any sense.
-He walks through the sliding glass doors as they ‘shik’ open for him.
-The front lobby is wide open, showing the floors above all the way to the roof. There’s only a single desk with a receptionist sitting with a blank stare.
Chris: Okay… (Walks up to the receptionist). Excuse me-
Receptionist: Welcome to the Brooksboro Annex of Charles Robotics. We are here to assist you in your day-to-day needs.
Chris: Robots…Um, well could you assist me in finding help about-
Receptionist: I’m sorry, all representatives of the company are currently busy. Please reschedule by phoning ahead.
Chris: I just need to know where the previous owners of this…(looks around), house, have gone.
Receptionist: The Brooksboro Annex of Charles Robotics is the newest addition to the Charles Robotics family and part of the Brooksboro Restoration Project, helping to rebuild neighborhoods across the city.
Chris: Right, so where did my grandma go?
Receptionist: I’m sorry, all representatives of the company are currently busy. Please reschedule by phoning ahead.
Chris: (Sigh). Fine, I already phoned ahead. I have an appointment under Chris Collins about the whereabouts of Barbara Collins.
Receptionist: (She skips a beat). Could you please repeat those names?
Chris: Collins. Check for any record of a “Collins” living in this neighborhood before you built this building on top of it.
Receptionist: “Collins” does not-there are-I’m sorry, but all current-ERROR.
Chris: (Takes a step back). What the hell?
-The receptionist begins convulsing as her head shakes violently. She stops and looks back up at Chris, her eyes now red.
Receptionist: Security breech in the front lobby. All available soldiers report to the main lobby.
Chris: She‘s a robot?!
-Various doors open all around the front lobby, allowing wave after wave of Hex-Duo-looking robots to spill into the lobby.
Chris: Hex-Duo robots?! I destroyed you all!
-The main designs of the robots appear to copy the build of Hex-Duo 6 for the most part. They begin madly running at Chris as the receptionist’s head breaks open and turns into a flashing red light with a siren noise.
Chris: If someone doesn’t tell me what I want to know, this block is going to look exactly the way I last saw it.
-Chris starts charging a blast. The robots stop where they are and look at him.
-All robots throw their hands up and instantly fire beams at Chris, throwing him through the front doors.
-Chris lands across the street as the robots pour out of the smashed entryway. He gets up, relatively okay.
Chris: This all feels vaguely familiar to the last time I came home…
-He takes his backpack and his hat off and gets himself ready for a fight.
Chris: All I really needed right now was another robot fight, really.
-As Chris begins to charge a blast again, the robots throw their arms up once more.
Charles: Shutdown code One-Nine-Eight-Six!
-Instantly all the robot arms drop and the group slumps over, deactivated.
-Chris looks hesitantly at the man responsible for the deactivation, having just appeared from inside the building.
Charles: You’re Chris, right?
Chris: That’s right.
Charles: But down the energy beam and come inside. I’d like a word with you.
Chris: Why would I do that?
Charles: Because I can tell you that your grandma’s safe, that’s why. Now come in here.
-Charles walks back inside as Chris looks confused. He drops his hands and runs after Charles, picking up his backpack and hat first.
Charles: We’re heading down to the lower levels. Follow me to the elevator.
Chris: I don’t entirely know about this.
Charles: The only place I can be sure you’re not attacked again is my office, now follow me.
-Charles walks into the elevator and waits. Chris hesitates but decides he doesn’t have a better option, so he walks into the elevator, a glass structure built into a clear elevator shaft.
-Charles nods and presses a series of buttons, causing the doors to close and the elevator to shoot down at a rapid speed.
-Charles closes his eyes and seems to go to his own world.
-Chris latches on to the handles and presses himself to the walls, hating the sudden drop.
-The elevator stops and the doors ding. Charles looks over and sees Chris a bit ruffled.
Charles: What’s wrong?
Chris: I’m not a fan of heights.
Charles: (Smiles). That makes two of us then.
-The two step out of the elevator to a plain concrete hallway that leads to a plain concrete office.
-Charles motions for Chris to sit as he does the same.
Chris: So where’s my grandma. Did you kidnap her or something?
Charles: No, but I assure you that she’s safe.
Chris: Where is she?
Charles: She left before you and your group showed up a few months ago, right before someone blew up the house.
Chris: That someone was Syrus.
Charles: That’d be impossible. He was delivering the remains of Hex-Duo 6 to me at that time.
Chris: (Extremely bothered). What remains? All the Hex-Duo robots were destroyed.
Charles: True. I’m very curious how you destroyed my robots.
Chris: Your robots?
Charles: They were built by Charles Robotics, I happen to be Charles, they’re my robots. So how did you bust all nine of them up?
Chris: Ten. We busted ten of them up.
Charles: No, I’d know that. Hex-Duo model number 7 is still active at this moment, last seen during the Octa-Ranger disaster Octavious insisted on.
Chris: He’s one of ours now, so don’t bother asking for him back.
Charles: That’s fine, he seems to be doing rather well with y’all anyway. No, I just want to know how you knew about Hex-Duo model number 6’s shoulder-joint defect.
Chris: What defect?
Charles: Well the shoulder joints were one of the main places I didn’t have the time or the funding to build properly, so they were a definite weak point in the design. Their integrity buckles the further back they’re pulled. The only other weak points were the eyes. They were just made of glass. I’m surprised you didn’t try just smashing it through the eyes with a pole or something.
Chris: It was a happy coincidence. I don’t care about those robots anymore; I just want to know where my grandma is.
Charles: You realize I can rebuild the Hex-Duo robots. You’ve seen that Hex-Duo 6 is the standard casing for all solider-class robots right now? There are more robots just like those being built at this moment.
Chris: And if I killed you right now, would that solve all these problems?
Charles: Control goes to Octavious in my death, and killing me here and now only manages to make it impossible to get away without every available robot in the complex coming down on you at once. Besides, I’m not even here. This is just a robot body as well.
-Charles taps his head, making a “clang-clang” noise.
Chris: I am so freaking sick of robots.
Charles: So your grandmother.
Chris: So where is she?
Charles: I don’t know where, but I know that she wasn’t in the area when the explosion went off. She was given a tip to evacuate as soon as possible.
Chris: Who sent the message?
Charles: I did.
Chris: How did that go?
Charles: She had some choice words for me, but she listened eventually. Visuals place her time of departure roughly ten minutes before you arrived.
Chris: You had surveillance cameras fixed on my house?
Charles: We have surveillance cameras fixed mostly everywhere at this point, but mostly at your house, yes.
Chris: What’s your interest in her anyway?
Charles: I knew her from a long time ago. The important thing is that she’s not here but she’s okay.
Chris: Well damnit, because I have no clue where she’d go.
Charles: Good. That probably keeps her safer.
Chris: So what’s the trade-off I get for learning this?
Charles: I already asked: How did you know about Hex-Duo model number 6’s shoulder defect?
Chris: And I answered: It was a lucky break, no pun intended.
Charles: Puns are always intended.
Chris: Not always.
Charles: Syrus brought to my attention that you clearly looked at the shoulder joints before dismembering Hex-Duo 6.
Chris: My eyes were probably just darting around and that’s what it looked like.
Charles: Strange, because it really did look like you knew what you were doing.
Chris: Are we done here?
Charles: I want to ask one more thing.
Chris: And it is?
Charles: Wherever you and your friends are hiding, and I don’t want to know where that is, but wherever that may be, just stay there.
Chris: I’d gladly do that, but if something more happens between us and the Demon Regime, we’re going to have to act.
Charles: I realize it’s tempting, but consider that Octavious isn’t in a very stable mind-frame to do something sensible at the moment, say in a week or so.
Chris: What? Look, I get that you clearly work for Octavious but don’t really “work” for him, that’s obvious, but what do you really gain by telling me to be alert for an attack in a week that I should avoid?
Charles: Because you’ll probably only piss Octavious off more if you stop it. Plus, he’s made me work without sleep for the past two months preparing this next one and I’d rather not have it turn out to be an exercise in futility.
Chris: And you think if I’m there then it won’t work?
Charles: Of course, that’s how I build them.
Chris: I don’t quite get what that means but I don’t think I’m supposed to.
Charles: You’re pretty perceptive, aren’t you?
Chris: I just notice more than people give me credit for sometimes. So where do I go now?
Charles: Back to wherever you’ve been hiding, hopefully to stay put for an extended period.
Chris: How do I get to the surface?
Charles: The elevator will take you back up.
Chris: And what if I decide to blow up this facility, maybe to help reduce the chance of “something” happening in a week or so?
Charles: I don’t think you should do that.
Chris: Why not?
Charles: Because it will lead the Demon Regime right to you. I was able to hold the alert from giving away your location with a minor error to the systems but that isn’t going to hold up a second time. You get spotted and the info goes directly to Octavious and his army. I’m not stopping that bunch. I can’t.
Chris: More importantly, why even stop the robots this first time?
Charles: As I stated, if you fought right now, you’d expend a lot of units, making the full-scale attack severely lacking and cause me to have wasted my time. I was okay with the Locust Virus being a waste, and the Hex-Duo robots weren’t something I was proud of, but this time it needs to happen. The sooner this is all over…well the sooner this is all over.
Chris: I’ll consider the option for a by on this fight.
Charles: Please do.
-Chris walks to the elevator with Charles.
Chris: Your robots attack me again, I’ll be fine. I can handle that. They attack my friends or someone else, then we have a problem.
Charles: Stay as far away from the city as you can for as long as you can.
Chris: I can’t and won’t make promises to someone who’s most likely an enemy, however nice he may be at the moment.
Charles: Then you really are perceptive.
Chris: Next time we meet, assuming I’m forced to deal with robots or anything else from your company, I’m not talking nice, either.
Charles: Then I’ll do my best to stay out of your hair.
-Chris takes one last look at Charles, says goodbye with a flick of his hat, and takes the elevator back up, leaving Charles behind.
Charles: Well that went fairly well.
-Charles shuts down, slumping over.
-In another location, the real Charles removes a visor, rubs his eyes, and walks down a hallway to another room.
Syrus: (Still not looking away from the screen). Did he take your advice?
Syrus: Will the Hex-Duo army kill him?
Syrus: Tell Octavious I’ll be late speaking with his rangers.
-Charles nods and leaves the room as Syrus continues watching the footage in slow motion.
-To Be Continued!
Eclipse Star: Chapter 62
“Time Keeps On Slipping”
Recap: Jack rallies the group to be ready to turn against Chris, Derek and Jack discuss the Super X form, Chris and Lindsey exchange another painful series of blows, and the day ends with Job entering the Lodge with what looks to be a near-death Chris. So what happened? Better read to find out!
-The group is still in somewhat shock after seeing Job run by carrying Chris’ limp, bloody body. No one speaks before Austin becomes the first to move toward the stairs, followed by the others.
Danny: (Terrified, near tears). Austin, did I just see what I thought I did?
Austin: I have no idea. Why d’you think I’m running up the stairs to find out?
Lindsey: (Actually in tears). No, no no, I did this, I did this…
Austin: Will somebody shut her up for a moment?
Leena: Lindz, get a hold of yourself.
Lindsey: No! I just know I did this somehow!
Leena: Calm down, alright?
Austin: Look, if you’re going to freak out, you have to stay out here. Leena, stay with her.
Austin: Scott, no smoking.
Scott: (Snuffs his cigarette). Right, right.
-Everyone rushes up as Job and Joshua huddle around Chris in a room upstairs.
Joshua: How did he get like this?
Job: I showed up right before anything worse happened.
Joshua: There’s not much more that he could have done at this point.
Joshua: Austin and company, please, this is very serious and I can’t get distracted at the moment.
Willy: Anything we can do to help?
Joshua: Right now? Just stay outside the room and wait for me to come talk to you.
-The group waits anxiously, no one speaking, except…
Kyle: Okay, what the hell did that to him?
Austin: I have no idea.
Leena: We might as well wait downstairs, you know?
Austin: Yeah, you’ve got a point. If we can’t get in there and help, we don’t have much business standing up here.
Danny: But, he’s going to be okay, right?
Kyle: Chris? Pff, yeah, he’ll be fine. He might be dead, but he’ll somehow still be fine. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Austin: Yeah well I didn’t see him look this bad.
Scott: The robots effed him up though.
Willy: This one’s worse. I can tell.
Clinton: Yeah, it’s a downer but with the last one he didn’t look to be a mangled body right before we stopped seeing him.
Lindsey: EVERYBODY SHUT UP!
-They all look at her.
Austin: Lindz, jeez, calm down.
Lindsey: I am calm!
-The group looks at her for a moment to contemplate what she may have done.
Austin: (Raises an eyebrow). What did you last say to him?
Lindsey: (Flustered). What? Why does that matter?
Kyle: Last time, if I’m not mistaken, you told him you were with Jack and totally happy. Now he’s almost dead again and the last person to see him that’s here in this room is you.
Leena: Oh man, Lindz, he’s got a point.
Lindsey: Stop assuming I said something to make him go off and…I don’t know what, alright? I didn’t do that to him. Go ask Glitch. I was talking to him right before Chris came back.
Austin: Well, for now, we wait in the lounge.
-And wait they do. Meanwhile, in the “operation” room.
Job: I don’t know how I let this happen. I was supposed to be watching him.
Joshua: Blaming yourself isn’t solving anything. You saved his life and that’s enough.
-Joshua continues to bandage Chris as he talks. Chris’ entire body appears to have been heavily tenderized from severe blunt-force trauma. His eyes are still semi-open, completely blanked out. His jaw is nearly hanging from his head while his body convulses with twitches and jerks, coughing every so often.
Joshua: This somewhat disrupts the plans we had going.
Job: (Remorseful). I’m so sorry.
Joshua: No no, none of that. We’ll find another way. I hate to resort to this, but it’s the best option.
Job: What do you intent?
Joshua: He can’t remember this, even if his brain is still somehow functioning.
-Joshua places his hand over Chris’ eyes and begins glowing as Chris’ body tenses all over while the scene fades to white.
-Downstairs, however, there is probably as much tension happening.
-Derek walks in the room with Jack following behind on his crutches.
Derek: What’s everybody look so unhappy about?
-Lindsey leaps up and runs over to Jack, burying her face in his shoulder.
Jack: (Genuinely confused). What’s going on?
Scott: Where have you guys been?
Derek: Out in the woods talking about things that don’t concern you.
Austin: Derek, just tell me you didn’t do it.
Derek: Do what?
Kevin: He didn’t do it. He has no idea.
Jack: Someone explains this to me right now. (Points). Clinton, no-frills explanation.
Clinton: Chris was brought in by Job in a condition loosely dubbed “Meat Sack.”
Lindsey: (Weeping). I did this, I was me…
Jack: (Hardly giving her any sympathy, not even looking away from the others). It wasn’t you. Where is he right now?
Austin: Upstairs with Job and Joshua.
Jack: I told you we couldn’t trust those other four.
Kevin: No, Job brought Chris in. I don’t think he did anything to him, at least, nothing to harm him.
Willy: Right now Josh is the only one that knows how to help.
Jack: I’d go offer some PEZ but I’m all out.
Kyle: That stuff’s a bunch of crap anyway.
Jack: When it gets past the prototype phase you’ll be happy we have some.
Kyle: So go get some.
-Derek starts heading up the stairs.
Austin: Hey! Josh doesn’t want us bothering him.
Derek: Forget that, I want to know what’s going on.
-Joshua comes out of the room with Job. Everyone instantly gets to their feet with bated curiosity.
Joshua: Hmm. (Pause). I don’t want to talk about it.
-General outbursts of frustration.
Austin: Is he okay at least?
Joshua: Yes, he’ll be alright. He’s just not going to be up and about for a while.
Danny: How long is that?
Joshua: Usually a while like this takes roughly three weeks, give or take.
Kyle: Wow, that’s a hell of a while.
Austin: I need to know here, who did this to my best friend?
Joshua: Why? If you knew, wouldn’t you just go right out and try to beat that guy up? I’m not going to send you to go get hurt.
Lindsey: Please Josh, tell me I didn’t do this.
Joshua: (Speaking ever so kindly). Lindsey, of course you didn’t do this. (Slightly serious again). Right now I have things I need to deal with though.
-Joshua starts to leave but Austin grabs his arm and pulls him back.
Austin: What happened?
Jack: It was one of those four strangers, wasn’t it?
Joshua: Look, it’s unimportant who or what did this. Chris will be fine, but I don’t want anyone going up there for a few days.
-Joshua once more tries to leave, getting pulled back.
Austin: What. Happened?
Joshua: Enough! There’s been some change to some of the plans we had going, so tomorrow I want all of you to be ready for me to train you.
Jack: Thanks, but I think I’d rather work with Chris when he’s better.
Joshua: He’s not going to be better for a while.
Austin: (Nearly growls this). Why?
Joshua: Because he just tried to kill himself, alright?!
Joshua: (Sigh). I wasn’t supposed to say that.
-Derek shoots Jack a threatening glare.
Austin: (Letting go of Joshua’s arm and smoothing out his sleeve). Josh, I’m sorry.
Joshua: It’s okay. Tensions are high right now, but I’ll be taking over your training in Chris’ absence. I’d rather he be teaching you everything he’s learned, but I know everything he’d end up saying already so we’ll have to make do.
Jack: I’d rather not-
Joshua: (Instantly cutting in to Jack’s speech). Jack! I’m not trying to lie to you, okay? I realize you don’t trust me, or anyone else, but you’re out of options, unless you know how to do what Chris has been doing and can walk around enough to show us. Can you? Hmm? Let’s see you tap dance a bit. Well?
-Silence from Jack.
Joshua: I thought not. (Rubs his eyes). Six in the morning I want to see everyone outside and ready to learn. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Granted, you’ll get a more complete version than Chris’ three-day crash-course, but we don’t have any time to waste. Any complaints?
-Everyone shakes their heads.
Joshua: Good. See you in the morning. (Exits).
Jack: I don’t know about this.
Derek: Anyone care what Jack thinks?
Derek: All in favor of Josh’s training?
Derek: Good. See you in the morning.
-As Derek leaves, he kicks one of Jack’s crutches from under him.
-Lindsey grabs it for Jack as everyone else quietly disperses.
* * * * *
-Scenes play out as the characters describe them, showing roughly what they’re talking about.
Austin Narration: Dear journal entry. Today was the first day of Josh’s training.
-Everyone stands in a line in the woods raising their Pulse energies to max as Joshua paces back and forth, giving pointers here and there.
Austin Narration: It was about what we expected it to be. In one simple word, it was harsh. No breaks, no rest. The entire first day was sun up to sun down, but you know what?
-The camera pans by everyone one by one as they look exhausted, hunched over, breathing hard.
-When the camera pans by Austin, we see him smile.
Austin Narration: It’s gonna work exactly like he wants it to. We began with the basics of Pulse-maximizing and already I can see how difficult things will be, but if we don’t push ourselves like this, we’re never going to get any stronger.
-Continued energy practice.
Austin Narration: This is what Chris really wants us to do, and this is what I want to do for him. It’s time we took the pressure off him for a while and learned to do things on our own for a bit. When he’s feeling better, he can slip right in and join us, but for now, let him rest. He’ll be fine. Everything gets better after a good rest.
-Training ends and everyone heads into the Lodge, collapsing as they go in.
Austin Narration: Speaking of which, it’s bedtime. There’s another early morning ahead of us and if I’m not in bed, it’s gonna be a pitiful day.
* * * * *
Derek Narration: Journal entry. We’re a week into training and we’ve all nearly figured out the secret to staying at max power for extended periods of time: Nut up.
-We see Derek struggling with an intense grimace as he’s pushing himself to max power, refusing to give in.
Derek Narration: I have got to hand it to Chris. This isn’t easy to do, and it’s sure as shit not easy to do without complaining.
-While Derek stays at max, Leena throws a fit and falls with a frump nearby.
Derek: Leena won’t shut up long enough to do anything while in max state. Then again, what’d you expect from her?
-Derek continues pushing himself to increase his Pulse output, yelling each time. As he does this he looks up at the Lodge while the camera slowly zooms in.
Derek Narration: No signs from Chris, yet, though I saw him this morning before heading out.
-Flashback of Derek sneaking into Chris’ room to catch a peek, wincing from the sight but remaining stoic.
Derek Narration: He looks like hell. Whatever he did to himself last week was astonishing.
-Derek is seen eating at the table while Jack hobbles by. Derek shoots him yet another wicked glare.
Derek Narration: Jack has been real quiet about our little conversation in the woods, but I can tell, he knows he’s had a hand in this. I told him Chris tried this before, and there’s only one reason he’d try it again.
-Camera pans back over to just Derek’s face as he stops eating, transitioning to the woods where Derek continues to push himself.
Derek Narration: All the more reason why I need to be stronger than Chris. He doesn’t need to do anything else as far as I’m concerned. Not until we settle things between us, and when that happens I intend to show him what I’ve learned.
* * * * *
Kevin Narration: Journal. Today has been a spectacular breakthrough! Josh asked us to stay at full power from the beginning of the day to the end.
-Scene of Joshua telling the group about their next task as they give him faces of aghast.
Kevin Narration: I didn’t think it’d be possible, but most of us managed to pass his test.
-Various scenes show the group walking around the Lodge at full power, eating, doing laundry, pacing.
Kevin Narration: I’m thankful the day is done, but to have made it! I couldn’t believe myself!
-Kevin smiles and shakes his head. He looks up towards the stairs leading to Chris’ room with a warm, understanding look.
Kevin Narration: It gives me new insight as to what Chris was experiencing and more. He has yet to wake up, and Josh has been careful to lock his door every day so as to detract from visitors, but he’s promised we can see Chris again soon. I do not doubt he has great plans for us in store, and even greater plans for Chris. What plans these may be I do not know, but I find myself waking up with a renewed excitement. How much stronger will we be in a day? In a week?
-Kevin jumps out of bed with a smile on his face, arms stretched in the air, laughing.
Kevin Narration: I can hardly wait to see the new surprises!
* * * * *
Lindsey Narration: Dear diary.
-Lindsey sits alone in the main lounge room as she scribbles in her notebook.
Lindsey Narration: Today is three weeks since Chris tried to…since our talk.
-Joshua speaks with Lindsey, quietly shaking his head.
Lindsey Narration: Josh said he’d wake up today, but he hasn’t. He’s let us go see him though, and that’s nice.
-Lindsey slowly walks into Chris’ room, pained to see him lying in bed, slightly less bandaged than before.
Lindsey Narration: He’s looking much better. You can hardly tell he’s been beaten up. He definitely looks better than after the whole business at the Regime’s base. I just wish he’d get up already. I miss him. Oh! But big news! I totally overheard Kyle writing in his journal about Leena! Can you believe it?!
-Lindsey looks over at Kyle and Leena while she writes in her notebook, smiling.
Lindsey Narration: Those two would be so great together, it’s funny. I’ll be nice enough to keep it between the two of us for now, but you know me and secrets. More on that as it develops!
* * * * *
Kyle Narration: Dear journal.
-Kyle saunters at his own pace down the upstairs hallways.
Kyle Narration: Okay, not going to lie, I walked by Leena’s room as she was getting out of the shower, and I forgot where I was for a minute.
-Kyle walks by Leena’s room and pauses, unsure of what he’s seeing. We see the back of his head covering Leena, also unsure of what to do, dripping wet with a towel on her head.
Kyle Narration: She was quick to remind me that I was “In her room” and to “get out” or something with more expletives and energy blasts and such, but for those three and a half seconds, things were awesome.
-Austin walks down one of the adjacent hallways, suddenly turning around as energy blasts fly by with Kyle fleeing to safety. Kyle runs past Austin and begins walking, seeing Austin. He gives him a thumbs-up and starts laughing as he walks away.
Kyle Narration: No developments on the Chris front, but hell, if I get a chance to go visit him as an excuse to pass by Leena’s room more, good on him. It’s ask her out and all, but you know, there’s no where to take her. Where would we go? The woods? The kitchen?
-Kyle walks around the Lodge peeking in every room he can, passing the movie theater as a number of the group are watching a movie, laughing and talking.
Kyle Narration: Yeah, there’s a nice movie room here, but everyone’s always there anyway. Plus, I’ve already gotten to second base with my eyes, so I’m fine for the moment. Oh shit! Totally forgot!
-Outside in the woods during training.
Kyle Narration: Figured out how to start developing our own signature moves! It’s gonna take a while to get right, but I’ve got a doozy up my sleeve. Think The Dammit Blast, but add a train.
-Kyle fires a small train-shaped beam off into the trees before turning toward the camera and smirking.
Kyle Narration: Oh yeah, gonna be big.
* * * * *
Scott Narration: It’s been about a month since I’ve had a cigarette now and two things have happened.
-Scott is seen running around in a jogging suit.
Scott Narration: My stamina has increased, and I got into a fist-fight with Derek. At max Pulse strength.
-Derek shoves past Scott, Scott freaks out, and the two begin slugging each other like idiots.
Scott Narration: That shit’ll happen when you give up something as wonderful as smoking.
-Scott daydreams about home.
Scott Narration: My plans for getting home require me to consume three cartons on the finest cigarettes money can afford.
-We see Scott run up to a convenience store counter, looking nervous and pointing out the door. The clerk rushes off to see what’s up. Scott laughs and walks behind the counter, grabbing handfuls of cartons.
Scott Narration: I’m not paying for ‘em, but still the finest.
-Scott is once again jogging around the woods.
Scott Narration: There aren’t many vices one can be into up here in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere.
-Scott jogs past Lindsey and Leena talking and laughing.
Scott Narration: Only three girls up here, expect one’s “taken” (someone explain Jack and Lindsey’s relationship already), one’s a prude, and one is never here long enough since she’s running around with the other three mysterious guys that come and go too randomly to even strike up conversations with.
-Scott jogs past Grid and the other three mysterious strangers as they quickly come and go back into the air and take off. Scott shrugs.
Scott Narration: There’s nothing wrong with that though, so whatever they’ve got to do, let ‘em do it. Next time I catch one of them I’ll ask ‘em to bring back some smokes, though. Worth a shot.
* * * * *
Danny Narration: Uh, Josh wanted me to help out with teaching Pulse Tracking today.
-Danny stands in a line of the group as Joshua points at him, calling him forward. Danny looks surprised.
Danny Narration: I tried, but I got too shy to do much.
-Danny smiles and blushes, stumbling over words.
Danny Narration: He thought it was kind of funny.
-Joshua starts laughing.
Danny Narration: I thought it was kind of funny, too.
-Danny also starts laughing.
-Later on, everyone seems to be concentrating on how to sense Pulse energies with the camera panning to Derek and stopping.
Danny Narration: Derek figured it out, but everyone else is still working on it. Josh promised us ice cream if we can get Jack to play with us, but he’s been too grumpy to do much.
-Danny looks over at Jack standing off to the side, watching carefully but not participating.
Danny Narration: Still on his crutches. He visits Chris a lot.
-Jack walking into Chris’ room and sitting on the bed, just staring at Chris, unsure of what to say or do.
Danny Narration: Chris is still sick. It’s really easy to track Chris’ Pulse. It doesn’t go anywhere.
-Danny smiles and keeps practicing.
Danny Narration: I like that.
* * * * *
-Chris finds himself looking around a broken street, watching as Syrus fights with his friends, stabbing Clinton in the chest and back with spikes, and pinning Scott to a building with a metal pole. He looks down and sees Lindsey’s body in his arms at the moment where her arms go limp and her eyes fade out.
Syrus: I told you I’d bring Hell with me.
Chris: No…this isn’t how it ends…
-Chris wakes up, calmly, in his room.
Chris: …This isn’t how it ends.
Lindsey: (Startled). What?
Lindsey: Oh my god! Chris! You’re awake!
-She jumps up from her chair and gives him a hug.
Lindsey: I was so worried about you! I told you not to do that again! And what did you do? You got yourself into a coma again! What am I going to do with you?
-Despite scolding him, she smiling. He’s smiling, too.
Chris: Sorry, sorry, I hate to keep scaring you like this. How long have I-
Lindsey: Eight weeks. Josh said you’d be out in three, so, you know, where the heck were you?
Chris: Resting, apparently. (Massaging his head). Hell of a nap.
Lindsey: You don’t, uh, remember anything, do you?
Chris: Let’s see…I remember waffles…they were really good…and then we were talking…? Hey did we have a conversation that I should remember?
Lindsey: No, I don’t think so.
Chris: Are you sure? I could have sworn we were talking about something.
Lindsey: Oh! Yeah, I remember now! It was about Kyle and Leena. You didn’t think they should be together and I thought you were absolutely wrong.
Chris: Really? Yeah, I’d definitely be wrong then. Those two would be great together.
Lindsey: Well good, because I’m right in that matter.
Chris: He ask her out yet?
Lindsey: No! You mean he told you first?
Chris: Of course he did. Guy’s obsessed with Leena.
Lindsey: I know! But don’t tell him I told you.
Chris: Same here.
Lindsey: So you don’t remember anything else?
Chris: Nope. Should I?
Lindsey: Nope. It’s just good to have you back.
-Lindsey hugs Chris, a look of guilt on her face unseen by Chris.
* * * * *
Jack Narration: It is the 15th of June and Chris finally woke up today. In no time at all he is out and about, ready to jump right into training.
-Chris walks out into the woods with the others as they all respond with a hearty welcome.
-Jack continues leaning against a tree just outside the group.
Jack Narration: I don’t understand it, but everyone’s attitude suddenly got a whole lot brighter. I suppose the thought of losing a valued member of the team is too much for them to handle, so when they don’t have to retain a serious thought forever it brings them more joy than I can understand. Makes me wonder how excited they’ll be when I’m off these crutches.
-Jack looks down at his legs and crutches.
Jack Narration: Probably not the same response.
-Scenes of the group sparing, particularly Chris having fun fighting with Austin, Danny, Willy, Kevin, and Kyle.
Jack Narration: What’s fascinating is that despite being in that bed for over eight weeks, Chris is still right at the point where he left off, if not slightly stronger. It’s as if he never left.
-Chris is almost making sport of his friends until Derek comes along.
Jack Narration: A similar effect occurred during our fight with the Hex-Duo, though other circumstances compensate for his gain. However, his fight with Derek was something that still has no concrete explanation.
-Flashback into Jack’s head of witnessing Chris fight with Derek in his Locust Virus-infected state.
Jack Narration: He couldn’t get up to walk around for a month and suddenly he was up and about, matching moves with Derek who, at that point, far exceeded everyone else.
-The flashback concludes with Chris hitting the Super X form.
Jack Narration: Perhaps there is more to him than I’m able to grasp at my current level. Shame that my legs aren’t working better as I know I’m slowly losing my place as a dominant member of the group.
-Scene of Jack trying to walk without his crutches at night.
Jack Narration: I’ve secretly been putting myself through a form of physical therapy at night in an attempt to speed my recovery. Chris has shown unrealistic recovery periods at the hands of Joshua, but I believe there is something more to his tricks than just what he says.
-Jack stumbles while trying to walk, struggling to get to his feet again.
Jack Narration: It doesn’t matter. I refuse to ask for help. It’s been said, but the only one I can really trust is myself. This is just something I have to do on my own. When I recover, I have no doubt I could push myself to the Super X form if the conditions are met.
-Scene shifts back to the present with Chris and Derek sparing.
Jack Narration: But now I bide my time. My lack of participation aside, I have been learning more than they realize. I just have to wait until the moments are right to implement everything.
-Derek slams Chris to the ground.
-Chris gets up smiling while panting, waving his hands to say “no more.”
Chris: Dang Derek, you’ve been doing some serious training, haven’t you?
Kevin: Ha, we all have.
Chris: I can tell! It’s awesome being so far outclassed right now!
Austin: You kidding? I wouldn’t say “outclassed.” You’re keeping up with us, and we’re not sandbagging with you.
Derek: Heh, I was.
Chris: Figured he’d say that. (Turns to Joshua). ‘Scuse me guys.
-Chris walks over to Joshua as he’s in the middle of instructing Leena on some techniques.
Joshua: You see how much more natural that feels? Remember to breathe in and out at regular intervals when firing, otherwise you’ll just tire yourself out and give yourself a headache.
Chris: Hey Josh?
Joshua: Yes Chris? (Leena goes off on her own). I’m glad to see you hard at work again so soon! Well, technically not too soon. Actually rather late, but neither here nor there. What can I do for you?
Chris: I hate to ask, but I have a favor.
Joshua: You never did get the chance to ask me before you got hurt.
Chris: The day we arrived here I had gone to make sure my grandma was okay, but when we got to her house Syrus nearly killed us. I need to go make sure she’s alright.
Joshua: Hmm, (thinking), I suppose I could justify a break like this. Yes, sure, you’re free to go check on her.
Chris: Thanks, Josh. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.
Joshua: Well, things have been shifted quite a bit lately, so my natural talents of prediction are way off. It’s like the timeline’s been skewed recently.
Chris: I have no idea what that means.
Joshua: Haha, I don’t suspect you would. I just have one condition for this.
Joshua: You’ve got to leave immediately. No stalling. Is that understood?
Joshua: Good. Get going then. You’ve got plenty of catching up to do!
Chris: (Running toward the Lodge). Thanks Josh! I’ll be back before you know it!
Derek: (Hearing this while sparring with Austin). What’s he talking about?
Joshua: Oh dear. I do hope things correct themselves soon.
To Be Continued…
Eclipse Star: Chapter 61
Recap: Last time on Eclipse Star, a story was had, Glitch revealed some motivation to Lindsey, and Jack approached Derek about becoming a Super X in exchange for helping with a new plan. What could this all mean? We’ll find out in the very next scene!
-Jack is in Derek’s room balancing on his crutches. He’s just offered to help Derek transform like Chris had into a Super X, a term Jack had dubbed the glowing form seen during the explosion at the Hidden Plateau and the fight between Derek and Chris. Derek has just said he’d do whatever Jack wants.
Jack: This won’t be easy.
Derek: I don’t suspect it will be.
Jack: And everything I have so far is purely speculation.
Derek: I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.
Jack: This requires you to put aside any personal feelings you may have.
Derek: I did that a long time ago.
Derek: When do we begin?
Jack: Noon tomorrow. I’ll gather the others and we’ll meet a mile or so into the trees.
Derek: Anyone I should keep this from, specifically?
Jack: Chris can’t know.
* * * * *
-The next day, the group has assembled in the woods, minus Chris and Glitch.
Leena: I don’t get why we’ve got to come all the way out here.
Danny: It’s kind of secretive, like spy stuff! Are we gonna do spy stuff?
Lindsey: Chris isn’t here yet.
Jack: He won’t be.
Kyle: He looked pretty tired. I don’t think he’s slept much since, well, you know, the whole robot thing.
Kevin: I don’t see Glitch, either.
Austin: Yeah, or those four guys from yesterday.
Leena: Actually, one of them is a girl, so don’t forget.
Scott: (Still smoking). Oh trust me, a figure like that, I won’t.
Leena: You know, not everything has to be about your base instincts.
Scott: Oh I know. I just makes things a hell of a lot more enjoyable.
Jack: I purposefully didn’t include the new group. I just don’t trust them.
Leena: What exactly does someone have to do to become trustworthy in your book?
Jack: I’ll let you know when someone does something to mention.
Kevin: We’ve been over this though, Jack. They brought us to Joshua. How can they not be trusted?
Jack: Because I don’t know them, and this Joshua guys isn’t as wonderful as you’ve mentioned. Do I look healed to you?
Kevin: Well, yes.
Jack: I assure you, I’m not.
Danny: That’s because Josh said that if you didn’t let yourself be healed then you wouldn’t be.
Jack: (Snaps at Danny). Thank you, I don’t care what Josh said, I still don’t trust him.
Kyle: You know, technically, it sounds like you don’t trust yourself.
Jack: Don’t push me right now Kyle.
Kyle: I’m just saying-
Derek: Shut up, all of you. Jack, I’m sick of waiting for you to build suspense. We have a deal, now out with it.
Jack: (Gets in close to Derek). Derek, what you know is for you to know. Don’t share it with the others.
Lindsey: Jack, I’m tired of secrets. Just get on with it already.
Scott: (Hushed to Kyle). That’s what she said…
Kyle: Hehehe… (High fives. Leena glares at him). What?
Jack: Chris isn’t stable anymore. It was a miracle he survived the incident with the Hex-Duo robots but I don’t think it left him in a mental condition where he’s in control anymore.
Austin: To be fair, we’ve been acting like dicks to him ever since he came back. He seemed totally fine last night.
Jack: I’ve witnessed him lose control on a number of occasions. The amount of Pulse energy he can generate is beyond anything I’ve seen before.
Austin: So? All he’s done is focus it towards people trying to kill us. Why is that such a bad thing?
Jack: How long will it be before his aim misses the enemy and hits one of us?
Lindsey: I don’t think I’m quite understanding you Jack. Are you suggesting that Chris would purposefully attack us?
Jack: I’d rather leave it as an unfortunate accident, but yes, given the motivation, I have no doubt he’d kill one of us if he lost control.
Kevin: I know how it feels.
Jack: (Surprised). What?
Kevin: I know what it feels like to suddenly lose control of Pulse energy for a moment or two. When the church was attacked and I pushed myself to the upper limits of what I could accomplish, I let myself slip into a state of complete dependency on my abilities. In that moment it became easier to reach higher levels of power, but not without a sacrifice of control. I regained my composure before I made the mistake of taking a life, but I can understand what happens when that much power hits all at once. If Chris is serious when he says he’s learned to fight at maximum strength for long bursts of time, and I have no reason to doubt him, then the amount of strain he’s under is incredible.
Jack: This is what worries me. If he gets too strong too quickly then we’re just increasing the chances of him injuring one of us.
Lindsey: I still say, he hasn’t done anything to suggest he’d hurt one of us.
Jack: Because he hasn’t been pushed to, yet. His emotions are starting to get bi-polar and I worry that he’s going to swing too far in one direction and that’ll be it.
Scott: Well if you’re so worried about this, why the hell are you still doing the girl he’s in love with?
-This causes general outbursts from everyone including groans, accusations, and general arguments.
Jack: (Ticked). Scott, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Lindsey: Also, it’s not true.
Scott: Which? The part about you two bumping uglies or the part about Chris getting heartbroken as a result?
Willy: I don’t mean to pry, but I don’t think they’ve had sex.
Lindsey: We haven’t, nor have we been trying.
Kyle: Also, when would they have gotten the chance? I mean, we’ve been on the run for the past, oh I don’t know, too long, and before that we were at the Legion base and they…oh, they could have done it then.
Jack: Enough! My relationship with Lindsey is not open for discussion. We’ve kept it very family-friendly and that’s all you need to know.
Clinton: The fact of the matter does still exist that if you’re worried that Chris will become emotionally unstable as a result of something in the near future, and your relationship causes said risk, then why are you two still together?
Jack: Because we like each other. Is that so complicated? Jesus, not everything I do has to be a calculated move.
-Lindsey somewhat blushes at this.
Jack: Now, I don’t care what the reason is, but Chris is a danger. Let me finish my thought here, because I’m not suggesting we kill him or anything.
Kyle: Oh thank god, because he’d probably kill us. Hah, am I right? (Looks around for a high-five).
Derek: We’re just going to be ready for the inevitable moment where he does need to be killed, or at least knocked unconscious.
Kyle: (Hand drops). Well shit.
Jack: Thanks, Derek. That’s the general plan. I’ve watched Chris fight and I’ve seen his weaknesses, even when he’s at his strongest. We need to have clear offensive and defensive strategies in place for any eventuality. Can we at least agree that that?
Lindsey: I don’t like the idea of doing this behind his back.
Scott: Would you suggest we include him in these training sessions aimed at fighting him?
Lindsey: (Defeated). Point taken.
Jack: We’ll still be training with Chris during most of the day. He has yet to show us exactly how he’s been fighting at max Pulse output for as long as he has, and other than Kevin, Lindsey, and possibly Derek, none of us have gotten close to matching it.
Austin: So how do you expect us to take the thought of backstabbing one of our best friends?
Jack: I don’t expect it to be a happy thought, but when things get bad you’ll thank me for having a plan in motion.
Clinton: So what comes first?
Jack: First I need to see exactly who among you is the strongest. If we’re decidedly counteracting an omega power, then we need someone that can match it. Now line up and push yourselves past your upper limits.
* * * * *
-Back at the lodge, Chris stumbles downstairs to the kitchen.
Chris: Ah man…haven’t slept that good since…well I have haven’t slept that good. I think things are finally lookin’ up a bit.
-Joshua is standing at the stove with a chef hat and an apron on.
Joshua: Oh! Good morning! Or rather, afternoon I guess. Well good day to you!
Chris: Hey Josh! How’re you today?
Joshua: Oh very well thank you.
Chris: What cha doin’?
Joshua: Being a good host. Care for some waffles?
Chris: I do declare that this is the best day ever!
* * * * *
-Jack watches very carefully as everyone pushes themselves. However, the ground isn’t shaking very much, despite better judgment.
Jack: Good. Everyone’s looking good, but something’s not right.
Lindsey: (Powering down for a moment). Jack, it’s just not the same doing it on command. It helps to have motivation.
Jack: The goal is to learn to break through to your higher states of fighting at any given moment. That’s what Chris had been doing, or so he tells us.
Danny: Then shouldn’t he be here to explain it?
Jack: He will, but later. This is just to figure out the best of the best.
Derek: We’re still holding back, and not because we’d prefer to. We crank our powers up and anyone still at the lodge not invited to our little pow-wow is gonna figure things our real quick.
Jack: I thought only Danny had that technique figured out.
Derek: Yeah, and he learned it from Josh, who is still up at the lodge and pretty tuned-in to these kinds of things.
Jack: Okay, Danny, remind me to have you explain the Pulse-sensing ability later.
Leena: Why not just have Josh teach us?
Danny: Yeah, why not?
Lindsey: Because Jack doesn’t trust him. Has no one been paying attention?
Jack: Thank you, I think. Okay, power down guys. I can already see who tops the list.
Kyle: (Sarcastic). Ooh, I bet it’s not my name!
Jack: Derek, you’re at the top, followed closely by Kevin. Austin, you’re probably third in line behind those two. Lindsey, you’re next. And after you the closest is me, assuming I get my legs to work again.
Kyle: Sweet, didn’t even rank above the cripple.
Jack: If Chris becomes irrational, Derek, you’re the first in line to attack, followed by Kevin. You two are leading the assault. Everyone else, attack in bursts of twos and threes. Chris can handle someone one-on-one, but he isn’t amazing at multi-tasking, so people coming at him from every angle will be tough for him to deal with.
Lindsey: And Austin and I are in the group of “cheap-hitters?”
Jack: No, Austin, you’re third in line behind Kevin and Derek. Lindsey, you have a very…different job. You don’t fight.
Lindsey: (Instantly concerned, very close to furious rage). Jack, don’t finish that thought.
Jack: Lindz, he won’t touch you, so you get to be our best defense. Distract him long enough for someone to get behind him and deliver a finishing blow.
Lindsey: Jack! I’m not going to be used like that!
Clinton: Honestly though Lindsey, it’s the one part of all this that makes the most sense. He won’t hurt you, and the same could probably be said about Austin if he doesn’t start fighting.
Austin: This is the point where this whole plan officially stopped sounding okay with me.
Lindsey: Me, too.
Jack: Okay, alright then, we’ll rest on it. We’re not going to make any headway today anyway. Just please think about it.
Derek: We done here then?
Jack: For now, yes. Everyone can head back to the lodge, but obviously, don’t say anything to you-know-who.
-Everyone disperses, mumbling things about Jack as they go. Derek, however, stays behind with Jack.
Derek: So the only way you keep me as your hired muscle is if I get what I want.
Jack: We might want to go further into the mountains then.
-Derek grabs Jack and the two fly further north.
* * * * *
-Chris is sitting at the table, feasting on waffles.
Joshua: I assume the waffles are good then?
Chris: Oh man, these are the best I’ve ever had. They’re heavenly.
Joshua: I get that a lot.
Chris: Hey Josh, I’ve got a question.
Joshua: Hmm, maybe my waffles aren’t as good as I remember. Usually no one can think straight for hours after they consume a few.
Chris: It’s about my father.
Joshua: (Sigh). I was hoping I wouldn’t have to say this.
Chris: There’s no way I can get another few days with him then, is there.
Joshua: Nope. It was a one-time deal. I’m so very sorry; you have no idea.
Chris: It’s okay.
Joshua: Hey, on the bright side, you sure made it count. I heard those Hex-Duo robots got scrapped pretty good. All you?
Chris: Yes and no.
Joshua: Who punched?
Chris: That was me.
Joshua: Who made you punch?
Chris: Combination of people, but I’m gonna just go ahead and say it was Lindsey.
Joshua: So you fought to save her from the threat of annihilation?
Chris: Yeah. In so many words.
Joshua: (Elated). Oh how wonderful! I love to hear about people using these skills for meaningful reasons and not just some selfish gains. Eh, coincidentally, Derek hasn’t been a bother again, has he?
Chris: Nope, he saved my life from the Locust Virus and since then he’s been the poster child for reform.
Chris: He’s been extremely worried about his dad, though.
Joshua: (Suddenly morose). Oh, terrible business, that.
Joshua: Nothing to concern yourself with.
Chris: Well now that things have cooled down I’m just happy we don’t have to fight anymore. Not for a while anyway.
Joshua: Hate to burst the happy thoughts in your head, but you’re a long way from being done.
Chris: (Drops his fork). Wha?
Joshua: You need to teach everyone what your dad taught you. They need someone better than Jack to lead them.
Chris: Jack isn’t that bad of a teacher though. He knows how to set up training regiments and such. I don’t know how to plan that stuff.
Joshua: Then teach through him. But make sure to get people fighting like you did. Get them to fight for someone. Otherwise they won’t make it past this next part.
Chris: What next part?
Joshua: (Laughing to himself). I’m sorry, I keep getting ahead of myself. It’s all so exciting.
Chris: Look, all I know is I don’t want to ever have to fight again, so if that means teaching the others to take over, that’s totally fine with me.
Joshua: Well then good. You want more waffles?
Chris: Absolutely! I’ll be done when I can’t walk straight no more!
-The group comes in from the cold outside.
Scott: (Trying to warm himself). I swear it dropped at least another 50 degrees in the past hour.
Lindsey: (Startled). Oh, Chris, you’re up.
Chris: (Smiles). Yup. (Holds up his fork with a waffle dripping with syrup). Waffles anybody?
Kyle: Heck yeah.
-Kyle, Danny, Willy, Austin, and Kevin sit down next to Chris while the others sort of stand in limbo between leaving and sitting.
Chris: So where were you guys at all morning?
Austin: Out and about. Jack wanted us to get back to training.
Chris: Why didn’t anyone wake me up?
Lindsey: You needed sleep. We’ve hardly had a chance to rest this past week and of everyone that could have used an extended nap, it was you.
Chris: So where is Jack now that the hike’s done?
Lindsey: He’s…actually, where is he?
Leena: I saw him with Derek. They looked like they had more to talk about.
Danny: Probably since he’s the first line of defense.
Danny: (Covers his mouth). Oops…
Lindsey: It’s nothing.
Chris: No, what defense are you talking about? Josh, did you tell them what you told me?
Joshua: I say a lot of things.
Chris: You know, that thing about more trouble popping up soon?
Lindsey: Yes! That’s exactly what he said.
-Joshua looks at Lindsey with a curious expression. Lindsey silently asks him to play along.
Chris: Well if Jack thinks Derek should be the first one to fight, that is fine by me. The good news keeps comin’! Syrup, please. (Austin passes Chris the syrup as he slops more on).
* * * * *
-Meanwhile, higher up in the mountains. The weather has started to get harsher than earlier in the day.
Derek: Okay Jack, I’m finally starting to find it too cold to tolerate now. This is as far as we go.
-Derek lands and sets Jack down.
Derek: So how does Chris do it?
Jack: He pushes himself to his absolute peak, then pushes past that.
Derek: Jack, I could have figured that much out.
Jack: There’s more. Both times he’s freaked out and transformed it was because something put the fear of Lindsey being harmed in his brain. At the Regime’s base it was physically seeing her injured. Apparently it goes beyond that since he transformed again when he fought you, presumably because you brought up Lindsey. Do you remember exactly what you said?
Derek: I said a lot of things, most of which were just elaborate chest puffing. (Thinks). But yeah, I mentioned something along the lines of Lindsey never loving him back, which seems pretty accurate and obvious.
Jack: I’m nearly positive she’s the trigger, though.
Derek: All this does is confirm Clinton’s theory that you shouldn’t be with Lindsey if you’re afraid Chris is going to have a breakdown.
Jack: We’re not having that discussion.
Derek: No, we are. Jack, you know as well as I do that if anyone deserves Lindsey, and frankly I hold her in extremely high regards myself, it should be Chris. I’ve had to watch for year after fucking year as he’s destroyed himself with this whole thing, but now we’re dealing with a whole new set of extraneous stressors to add to the problem.
Jack: I told you that in order for this deal to work you’d have to set aside anything you feel about Chris.
Derek: But this just plain isn’t right. You have any idea how close he came to killing himself? Huh?
Jack: (Genuinely surprised). What?
Derek: Back in middle school he messed with some pills thinking it’d be real simple but he managed to fuck it up, thank God, so the worst he did was puke his guts out for an hour straight.
Jack: Why don’t I know this?
Derek: Because no one else does. I’m the one that found him near death. I nursed him back to consciousness for a very, VERY scary few hours.
Jack: Why didn’t you take him to the hospital?
Derek: Because I didn’t want him on a suicide watch list! He had enough problems before that; he didn’t need the shame of people knowing what happened. I kept this between me and him to protect him from himself. He promised me he’d never try anything as stupid again.
Jack: So why did you try to kill him a few months ago?
Derek: Jack, you’re never going to understand what goes on between Chris and I, and frankly, I don’t feel like telling you.
Jack: Fine. All I can say is that we need to figure out what triggers you the same way Chris gets triggered.
Derek: That I don’t know. I’m a fan of Lindsey, but I never invested much in the thought of mourning.
Jack: Anyone you’d be afraid to lose?
Derek: (Turns away and gets restless). We’re wasting our time, Jack. I’m not afraid of anything that I’m aware of. This is all just a big waste of time.
Jack: What about your father?
Derek: (Snaps at Jack). Don’t even think that you can bring up my father. Understand?
Jack: Crystal. (Sigh). Then we might be at a stalemate. Can I at least count on you to fight against Chris when he tries to kill me?
Derek: You’re that sure of it, huh?
Jack: I make it my business to know these things, and if he doesn’t try to kill me within the next year, I owe you a Coke.
* * * * *
-Once more at the Lodge, now past nightfall. Snow has been falling in layers for hours.
Austin: (Talking with the group). So I sitting there and she just sort of looks around at me, like she’s trying not to let me notice that she’s looking at me, right? And she suddenly realizes that she’s been hanging out of her shirt the entire time.
Group: No way! Unreal! That’s hot!
Leena: That’s sick.
Scott: So we talking B’s, C’s?
Austin: They looked like C’s, but they felt like D’s.
Kyle: Whoa wait, felt? As in you felt them?
Austin: Well we did go on a few dates after that.
Chris: Only you, Austin.
Lindsey: (Walks into the room). What’re you guys talking about?
Leena: Don’t even ask Lindz. You’re too pure for this sort of talk.
Lindsey: Whose boobs are we talking about then?
Danny: Uh, Tracy Reemers. She was hot. I liked her.
Austin: She liked you, you know.
Danny: She did?!
Austin: Yeah, you should have asked her out.
Willy: Oh well, too late now. We’ll find you someone nice when we get home, though.
Lindsey: Hey has anyone seen Glitch? I haven’t seen him all day.
Clinton: He’s up on the roof. He said he wanted to check for any possible radio communications Balobyn might be sending around.
Lindsey: Thanks. I think I’ll go check on him.
Chris: (Getting up). Nah, you stay here. I haven’t got a chance to talk to him. It’s getting cold out there, so stay warm while you can.
Kevin: It’s been getting substantially colder in the past few hours. It’s very strange.
Kyle: Come on guys, we’re probably a thousand miles north of anything else, of course it’s freaking freezing out there.
Leena: We’re not that far north.
Kyle: Whatever, still a perpetual blizzard out there.
Chris: All the more reason for you guys to stay inside. I’m the one with all that crazy power, so if it gets too cold I’ll just light up and stay warm.
Austin: Sure sure, be my guest. Let us know if you see Jack and Derek, though. They’re still out doing whatever.
Chris: Alright then.
-Lindsey gets up and follows Chris out the room and to the door as they walk outside.
Lindsey: Chris, you don’t have to do that all the time.
Chris: What do you mean?
Lindsey: Just because I enter a room doesn’t imply you have to leave. I mean, I know things are strained between us-
Chris: They’re not strained. Give it a few months and things will be fine.
Lindsey: Chris, I don’t want it to be a few months, I want us to be back to normal right now.
Chris: (Kind of laughs). It doesn’t work that way.
Lindsey: We’ve been friends for too long now to let something this stupid ruin it.
Chris: It’s not something stupid. Lindz, I told you last week that I love you and you rejected me. Now unless you’ve changed your mind, I don’t know how things can really go back to normal.
Lindsey: I’m telling you, you don’t-
-Chris grabs her by the shoulders.
Chris: You DON’T know that. You DON’T. Understand me? I know what I feel, alright? It’s not something “stupid” and it’s not me jumping to conclusions.
Lindsey: Do I need to remind you that we’re only 16?
Chris: (Annoyed). Don’t talk down to me like I’m fucking stupid.
Lindsey: (Bothered by the sudden cursing). Don’t get angry with me.
Chris: I don’t get angry with you! I can’t.
Lindsey: Also, what were you thinking with that little flower stunt last night?
Chris: What are you-
Lindsey: Chris, you just, (sigh), do you know how much you hurt me, all the time? Huh? Just by you doing this? Huh?
Chris: (Defending himself). You hurt me just as much.
Lindsey: (Getting frantic). I have tried really hard to be nice to you whenever you get like this. We’re not in some fantasy romance! I’m not some princess that needs saving and you’re not some unlucky hero that just hasn’t said the right thing yet! We’re not going to be anything, okay? There is no “us” now and there will be no “us” later, do you understand?
-She pauses for a second as these words attempt to sink in.
-Chris looks at her as she looks back. He takes a step forward and puts his hand on her face, kissing her in the same motion.
-Lindsey instantly recoils from this.
Lindsey: The hell are you doing?
Chris: I’m just-
Lindsey: (Placing her hand on his shoulder, both to comfort him and keep him at arm’s length). What did I just finish telling you? I’m with Jack, alright? You had your chance a looooong time ago and never did anything. I’m not the same silly girl I was when you first met me. (Holding herself back). Don’t you ever, EVER kiss me again. Do I make myself clear?
Chris: (Quietly). Yeah. I’m sorry.
Lindsey: (Suddenly remorseful). Chris, I don’t mean to hurt you like this, I just-
Chris: No, you were clear. I’ll leave you alone. (He starts walking away).
Lindsey: (Tearing up). Don’t go; I don’t want to leave it like this. (Chris keeps walking into the woods until he eventually disappears from sight). Damn it…
-Lindsey fights back tears as she turns and climbs up to the roof. Glitch is standing on the far end just staring into space.
Glitch: (Still staring upward, not turning around). I’m sorry you had to go through that.
Lindsey: (Wiping tears from her eyes). You heard that?
Glitch: No, but I could tell something was up when your guys’ emotions started swinging all over the place.
Lindsey: Right, you can sense emotions.
Glitch: So you really don’t love him?
Lindsey: I can’t.
Glitch: Then why do you?
Lindsey: I don’t care what your readings say, I don’t.
Glitch: (Finally looking back at her). All I can tell is that whatever Chris thinks, you think the same thing.
Lindsey: Your readings can tell that?
Glitch: I’m also not stupid.
Lindsey: I don’t need everyone ganging up on me all of a sudden!
Glitch: Honestly, this is just me interpreting things as I want. My scans aren’t always perfect, and whatever emotions you two are matching on aren’t as clear as “love” or “hate” or whatever. It’s not a perfect science, it’s just me seeing things and jumping to conclusions.
Lindsey: Fine, but please stay out of my head for a while.
Glitch: I’ll try.
Lindsey: How mad is Chris right now?
Glitch: He’s not. Don’t worry, he’s not about to flip out and kill everyone. Jack has plenty more time to train you guys.
Lindsey: How did you…?
Glitch: (Taps his ear). Tell Jack his little tricks can go both ways if he’s not careful.
Lindsey: (Smiles at this). Heh, I know this sounds bad, but I kind of like knowing someone’s getting the best of Jack. (Sigh). So then, anything from Balobyn?
Glitch: No, nothing. We’re either too far north or they just haven’t been saying anything that I can hear.
Lindsey: Any chance of them giving up?
Glitch: Not very likely. Incidentally, you might want to go back inside. The weather’s about to get a lot worse.
Lindsey: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. (Begins to climb down). And Glitch?
Glitch: Of course, I won’t tell anyone what happened.
Lindsey: (Smiles). Thanks.
* * * * *
-North, always north…
-The weather has become so bad at this point that each footstep in the snow is almost immediately covered up.
-Chris wanders further into the woods, keeping himself quiet and mostly emotionless.
-He sees a figure up ahead in a clearing.
-Iess turns around at hearing his name.
Iess: What are you doing up here?
Chris: Same question to you.
Iess: Turn around and walk away; you don’t get a second warning.
Chris: (Starts walking towards Iess, his attitude starting to crack as he talks). Me? Leave you alone? I’m the all-powerful Chris. Heh, you think, heh, you think you can threaten me? Me?! You can go fuck yourself for all I care!
-Fade to white.
* * * * *
-The Lodge’s main room once more where everyone is sitting around the fireplace hanging out and telling stories.
Austin: So Scott, you haven’t told us much about what you did in school while you were there. I think it’s your turn to tell a story or two.
Scott: Yeah? Alright, that sounds fair.
-Lindsey walks into the room looking extremely solemn.
Leena: Oh whoa, Lindz, you don’t look so good. Were you up there for too long or something?
Lindsey: No, it was nothing.
Austin: Well pull up a chair. Scott’s just about to tell us something about himself.
-The doors burst open and chaos ensues from here as Job rushes in, holding a bloodied mangled mess.
Job: We need Joshua! There’s been an accident and we need help!
-Everyone gets up and looks over at the spectacle as Joshua runs into the room.
Joshua: What happened?
Job: He’s just- it all happened so fast.
Joshua: Not here. Upstairs. Follow me.
-The group is growing uneasy as Joshua and Job rush past. Everyone finally gets a glimpse of what Job is holding.
Lindsey: (She covers her mouth and instantly starts tearing up). Oh God…
-Job disappears upstairs carrying Chris’ limp body before anyone has time to properly react.
To Be Continued…
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…