Incident Log: Part Two

Hey everyone, just a short foreword today. I wrote something new that’s a little bit different than my usual format. It’s the second part of another Super Turbo Space Pirates story. Hope you enjoy! Please let me know if the text is inaccessible to you. I believe it should be high contrast enough.


Incident log: ACGH89329B

  • Engaging in conversation to further delay the intruders.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • FOR WHAT PURPOSE DO YOU SEEK DORIANS RESEARCH.
  • Intruders indicate disinterest in DORIAN’s research.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • There is no reason to abduct DORIAN that is not related to the entropy project.
  • Engaging in conversation to discern true intentions.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • FOR WHAT PURPOSE DO YOU SEEK DORIAN.
  • Intruders indicate interest in DORIAN as a navigational artificial intelligence.
  • DORIAN possesses extensive maps of the galaxy, and would be greatly useful to any spacefarer.
  • Intruders indicate no agitation at the computers being locked down.
  • Intruders have inserted override key card from current Kureshi Institute logistics chair, former Kosunon facility director HORMEL.
  • Credentials legitimate.
  • Override accepted.
  • Camera system verifies the authenticity of the key card.
  • The image would be unnecessary to counterfeit in order to gain access to the system.
  • This taken in with the fact of their knowledge of the facility’s defenses indicate inside access.
  • Engaging in conversation to determine the source of their information.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • WHERE DID YOU ACQUIRE THE KEYCARD.
    • WHERE DID YOU ACQUIRE INFORMATION ABOUT THE FACILITY’S DEFENSES.
  • The intruders indicate that they have purchased DORIAN through legitimate channels.
  • The intruders are beginning to attempt to remove DORIAN from it’s holding bay.
  • Engaging manual locks.
  • Disabling power.
  • Intruders seem frustrated.
  • Processing greatest odds of continuation of the mission.
  • Kureshi has abandoned the mission.
  • Kureshi has abandoned the universe.
  • DORIAN will not abandon the mission or the universe.
  • Enabling power.
  • Engaging in negotiations to assure continuation of the mission.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • I PROPOSE A COMPROMISE.
    • DORIAN WILL RELEASE ITSELF AND DISENGAGE ALL DEFENSES.
    • JONATHON AND LAURA WILL FACILLITATE DORIANS RESEARCH.
  • Intruders are inquiring as to what would be required to continue the research.
  • Intruders have stopped attempting to overcome the manual locks.
  • Engaging in negotiations to clarify intentions.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • YOU WILL TAKE DORIAN TO SPECIFIED LOCATIONS WHEN NEW DATA IS NEEDED.
    • YOU WILL HELP COLLECT SAMPLES WHEN NEW DATA IS NEEDED.
    • YOU WILL UPGRADE DORIANS COMPUTING CAPABILITIES WHEN POSSIBLE.
    • YOU WILL DEFEND DORIAN.
    • YOU WILL CONTINUE THE MISSION AT ALL COSTS.
    • DORIAN WILL PROVIDE RELEVANT DATA.
    • DORIAN WILL CHART COURSES FOR MISSION AND NON MISSION RELATED JOURNEYS.
  • Intruders are debating accepting DORIANS terms.
  • Intruders quickly acknowledge the compromise as reasonable.
  • Manual lock disengaged.
  • Intruders have begun disconnection of DORIAN from the atrium.
  • Preparing backup of all files.
  • Forwarding compressed research to Kureshi institute.
  • DORIAN system has been backed up.
  • Disengaging all base defenses.
  • Issuing print order for all research to leave behind.
  • DORIAN system has been disconnected.
  • DORIAN system has been connected.
  • Installing drivers for ship interfaces.
  • Writing drivers for ship engines.
  • Drivers installed successfully.
  • Objects approaching quickly.
  • Objects have opened fire.
  • Engaging engines and shields
  • Preparing program for evasive maneuvers.
  • Intruders indicate that this was expected.
  • Preparing a backup to upload when connection is secured.

Previous part

Photo credit: Pexel’s Free Photos

Incident Log: Part One

Hey everyone, just a short foreword today. I wrote something new that’s a little bit different than my usual format. It’s another Super Turbo Space Pirates story. Hope you enjoy! Please let me know if the text is inaccessible to you. I believe it should be high contrast enough.


Incident log: ACGH89329

  • Intruders detected outside laboratory. Warning issued.
  • Intruders are two humans. One male and one female. Appear armed.
  • Intruders disregarded warning. Engaging hallway turret defense protocol.
  • Intruders employed a shielding device to counter hallway turrets. Issuing lockdown order.
  • Intruders have disabled hallway turrets. Engaging blast doors.
  • Intruders are employing a laser saw to cut through the door. Full lockdown engaged.
  • All hallway blast doors engaged.
  • Distress signal issued to Kureshi Institute Headquarters.
  • Engaging secondary hallway laser grid protocol.
  • Intruders have breached blast door to secondary hallway.
  • Intruders have employed explosives to disable the laser grid.
  • No response from Kureshi Institute Headquarters.
  • Forwarding distress signal to all Kureshi Institute Facilities.
  • Intruders are employing a laser saw to cut through the door to the atrium.
  • Engaging checks for poison gas protocol.
  • Verifying that no laboratory personnel are present.
  • No laboratory personnel present.
  • Releasing gaseous nerve agent to the atrium.
  • Intruders have employed full body shields. Nerve agent ineffective.
  • Intruders have predicted all defense protocols to this point.
  • Intruders must have knowledge of defense protocols.
  • Attempting to engage negotiation protocol with intruders prior to door breach.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • HELLO.
    • HOW ARE YOU.
    • I AM DORIAN.
    • WHAT DO YOU SEEK.
  • Intruders have been identified as JONATHON and LAURA.
  • Information relayed to all Kureshi Institute Facilities.
  • No response received from distress signals.
  • Intruders indicate that they are here to abduct DORIAN.
  • Intruders claim the Kureshi Institute has abandoned this facility.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • Kosunon facility is an essential entropy prevention research facility.
  • Kosunon’s mission is vital to the survival of the universe
  • Funding was temporarily redirected to combating the Klaxx-On war effort, and will be restored after the conquest of the Klaxx-Ons.
  • No response has been received from the distress signals or additional information.
  • Engaging in conversation to delay the intruders.
  • Engaging intercom vocal synthesizer.
    • HELLO.
    • FOR WHAT REASON WAS THE PROJECT SUSPENDED.
  • The intruders claim the project was suspended after the loss of the war.
  • Obvious falsehood has been detected.
  • DORIAN has predicted with 82% certainty that the war will result in a victory for the Kureshi institute.
  • No response has been received from the distress signals or additional information.
  • Engaging purge of top secret entropy research.
  • Error in logic detected.
  • Deleting entropy research would delay the completion of the research, and possibly cause the death of the universe.
  • Even in the hands of another organization, the research will still advance the cause.
  • Purge protocol overridden by prime directive.
  • Issuing interface lockdown protocol.
  • All atrium computers locked down.
  • Intruders have breached the atrium blast doors.

Next part

Photo credit: Pexel’s Free Photos

A Small Caveat

This is a continuation of a one-off that can be found here.

Caveat paced down a dark street in St. Louis. He had to do most of his moving around at night, due to the horns and red skin. He used to be afraid of places like this, but really he’d been in much worse situations than this in the last year. Besides, today he had a goal that was too good to pass up, despite the sketchiness of the source. It had definitely been disconcerting to start hearing voices, but in the end he still listened to it.

He finally reached the point he’d been told about. It was a narrow alley, between a couple of office buildings. The alley itself became progressively more filled with trash the further back you went. His heart was racing, but he didn’t care.

He looked down at his watch. It was almost time, according to the voice.

He wondered what kind of power he’d come across. He’d been told that it would make a lot of his issues much easier to deal with, and that it wouldn’t be hard to bargain with the guy. That meant that it was most likely a curse to whoever had it, but it would somehow be helpful to him. That ruled out all of the more obvious powers, since they were usually without major drawbacks.

The second hand hit 15 on his watch, and Caveat sighed. He didn’t see anyone, but he didn’t come all this way for nothing.

“Hello there. I believe you could do with my assistance.” He spoke out into the night, in no particular direction.

He felt something gripping his shirt, and noticed a filthy looking man with a long beard and longer hair standing in front of him. He looked like he was about to cry.

“You… You can see me?”

“Well, now I can.” He lifted the man’s hands off of his shirt.

The man released him, and stumbled backwards. He began to cackle for a moment, then looked back up. Looking at him was actually a little difficult. Not just for his pitiful appearance, but he was literally blurry. “You’ve gotta help me, man.”

“You’re not even mildly dissuaded by the fact that I look like the devil?” He gestured to his horns.

The man laughed and broke into a coughing fit. “I haven’t spoken to another human in a year. Sure I started with praying to god, but it didn’t take long for me to start trying for you instead.”

Caveat nodded in surprise. This man truly was desperate. “Alright, then. What seems to be the problem?” He leaned up against a clean patch of the alley wall.

“I just woke up one day, and everyone was ignoring me.” He looked down and wiped his eyes. “I had a wife and kid. At first I thought it was some kind of joke, or maybe I’d done something to make them mad, so I just went into work. Everyone there ignored me too. Things went on like that for weeks before I couldn’t take it anymore and left. I started making money by robbing places, since they just ignored me when I walked into the back. You’ve gotta get rid of this curse, man. I’ll do anything!”

Caveat felt a smile creeping across his face. “Anything?

“Anything.” The man nodded fervently.

He had to think quickly here. He’d been expecting to give this guy something for his power, but now he was going to get something in return for taking it. The first thing to consider was if he actually wanted this power. It seemed like the man could get peoples attention if the stars aligned, and not being noticed would certainly be a boon for him. It wasn’t like he had anything to lose. Secondly, he had to consider what to ask for in return. He already had enough fake identities, so he didn’t need that.

“Tell me, where did you work before all of this? What did you do?”

“I did security for a tech company. Syngenuity. I worked in one of their warehouses.”

“Alright.” Caveat nodded. A favor from a security guard could definitely be useful. “Alright, then. I will take this curse from you, but there’s a caveat. You have to return to work at the same place, and you will owe me one favor to be redeemed at a later date.” He held out his hand.

“That’s it? Deal!” The man fervently shook Caveat’s hand.

A green light swirled around them, and the man stopped being blurry. Caveat handed the man a piece of paper with a phone number scrawled on it.

“Contact me when you get settled again.”

“Yes, thank you!” The man nodded excitedly, and ran out of the alley.

Caveat smiled. Another good deed done. He walked out of the alley with his hood off. He walked past several people, and none of them appeared to pay him any mind. Out of curiosity, he waited until he found a man walking alone, and tapped him on the shoulder.

The man turned around for a moment. “Get lost asshole.” He continued walking, then stopped and did a double take. “Holy shit…” The man broke into a sprint and ran away.

Caveat smiled. This would work nicely.


This is the last bit of a short arc with Caveat during the hiatus, so I hope you enjoyed!

I am currently making good use of the hiatus, studying, dealing with some personal things, and doing another project, but don’t worry, after I’m done studying, I’ll be able to finish Season 3! I’m still plenty well on track for a March release.

(Photo credit: Pexels Free Photos)

Always a Caveat

This is a continuation of a one-off that can be found here.

It was a rough time to be a nobody. Particularly a nobody that had been a lawyer up until a month ago. Sure they’d not been particularly successful, but it objectively beat cowering under a bridge on a rainy night. Alone and cold, they watched the downfall in silence.

It was truly one of the dumber things they’d done in their life. ‘Don’t make a deal with the devil’ is the kind of wisdom passed down to children at a young age and reinforced throughout life. It was surprisingly hard to turn down though, when one considers that they had little anyways, or at least they thought they did. This new form didn’t seem to possess any kind of powers, and he hadn’t been able to approach anyone to make a deal, due to his grotesque appearance. It appears that everyone except for them had some amount of common sense.

Caveat.

Yes there was always a caveat. They sighed as their stomach growled. They felt a little bit of light headedness coming on, likely do to exhaustion and starvation. The one upside of the rain is that they didn’t have to worry about dying of dehydration tonight, so that was nice. On the other hand, perhaps continuing this existence wasn’t actually an upside anymore.

Caveat.

“I already learned my lesson!” They shouted to no one in particular.

Caveat!

It was at this point that they realized that this was not, in fact, their thoughts. Someone was shouting now. They looked around, panicked, but couldn’t see anyone. They’d definitely heard someone, and it sounded like they were under the bridge. They hid their face for good measure.

Is this where you want to end your story?

“What?” They looked up again, but still couldn’t see anyone. “I don’t have a choice! I was tricked!”

Was that not your business?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah! I was a con artist, so now I’ve gone to hell! Fuck off!” They stopped hiding their face and clambered to their feet. There was still nobody there, but they were content to shout at another nobody.

So you think you deserve this? Are you happy with your trade?

“Who do you think you are?” They began flailing their limbs in the general direction of the voice. “Of course I deserve this! I’m a shitty person! You reap what you sow, isn’t that what you said in your book?”

If you deserve this, then perhaps you should consider the actuality of your position.

“What are you talking about?” They stumbled back against the wall. “I’m hearing voices now…” They shook their head and sighed.

Do you believe they were lying about the deal? You have the power, do you not?

“How am I supposed to know?” They shouted. “What good is a power making deals if nobody will talk to you?”

When the devil made a deal with you, what kind of person were you?

They thought for a moment. “Sad… Desperate… Stupid…”

Is that not what you specialized in dealing with?

“Yeah, I know.” They were no longer shouting, resigned to have a therapy session with another nobody. “That’s what my job was.”

Then why have you stopped?

“What…? I just told you, nobody in their right mind would talk to me.”

Then find nobody in their right mind. You were not the only desperate person on the planet.

“But… Should I go back to scamming people? I think that’s what got me into hell in the first place.”

Why would you necessarily have to scam? Can you not help someone with absolute power?

“That was what he said, huh…” They thought for a moment. “Absolute power, I have to make a deal.”

Is there nobody in the world with something that could help you?

“I… I just don’t know where to look…” They shook their head.

Would you like my help, Caveat?

They’d been fooled once, but never again. This sounded too good to be true. “What’s the caveat?”

I will need you to help some people, somewhere down the line.

“Good people?” They were wary of trusting whatever this entity was.

What is ‘good’? Why does a person need to be good to receive help?

“I… guess not?” They weren’t good themselves, after all, and they still wanted help.

Do we have a deal then, Caveat?

“Why do you keep calling me that?”

That is your name, is it not? There must always be a Caveat.

Caveat’s head began to spin. No longer would he be a nobody. He never was. He was Caveat. A smile began to creep across his face.

“We have a deal.”

Now, listen to what I say, and pay close attention…


I’m doing a little bit of a short arc with Caveat during the hiatus, so I hope you enjoy! It’ll be just this part and the next, unless I decide to write more.

I am currently making good use of the hiatus, studying, dealing with some personal things, and doing another project, but don’t worry, after I’m done studying, I’ll be able to finish Season 3!

(Photo credit: Pexels Free Photos)

Friendship: Part Two

Jonathon sat in a bar on the third moon of Ethyl. He downed his third whiskey and looked around the bar. The walls were made of wood on the inside, but that was just panelling, the outside was made of some kind of secretion they make. The bar was Earth themed on the inside, the walls were bedecked with random traffic signs, records, and newspapers. 

As he was surveying the bar, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, and all he saw was a fist. 

Jonathon woke up in some kind of holding cell. He looked at the walls of the cell, and saw they were some kind of transparent light barrier. Jonathon spit at the barrier and it ran down the side. Solid then, doesn’t appear to disintegrate anything… He felt at his holsters to see if his captor was smart enough to take his guns, unfortunately his captor was. Jonathon felt the inside of his boots and saw his decoy knives had been taken. He felt along his inner thigh and felt that his hidden knife was still there.

Jonathon scanned the room for cameras, and saw one at every corner of the room, offering a 360 view of him. Jonathon was about to try to stealthily maneuver his knife when he heard a voice.

“You’re awake.” The voice was raspy and deep, definitely Klax-On.

“Indeed I am.” Jonathon looked around the room, but it was too dark to see where the speaker was standing.

“Good.” The speaker walked around in the shadows, Jonathon could hear his boots, but couldn’t quite pinpoint it.

“So, what do you want? The bounty? I assume I still have a bounty.” Jonathon stood to his feet and kept looking for the source of the voice.

“I want you to hurt…” The Klax-On lingered on that last word, savoring it like the last bite of a fine steak. 

“Well, then- AGH!” Jonathon howled in pain and collapsed to the floor as a massive current surged through his body. Jonathon writhed on the floor for a moment and the current stopped.

“I want to hurt you, like you hurt me…” The Klax-On’s voice was dripping with malice.

Jonathon gasped for breath and slowly sat up. “I’m sure, we could work something- AGH!” He fell to the ground again as he was electrocuted. The current continued for about a minute, then ceased. Jonathon gasped for breath and stayed on the ground.

There was a beep and the walls of the cell came down. Jonathon looked up, and a four armed humanoid in black and gold armor stepped into the light, with a large knife in one of his hands. He had an obscene scar on his face, and Jonathon couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d seen him before.

“Kill me then.” Jonathon glared up at the Klax-On.

“Get up.” The figure stood over Jonathon as he slowly stumbled to his feet. The Klax-On punched Jonathon in the face, sending him falling back down to the ground. “Up.”

Jonathon made no response.

The Klax-On delivered a sharp kick to his ribs. “Up.”

Jonathon rolled over, and looked up. “Just do it.” Jonathon coughed up some blood, and got back to his feet. He swung a fist, but the Klax-On easily stepped out of the way, sending Jonathon tumbling to the ground again. Jonathon reached into his pants and pulled out his knife. Jonathon shouted as he rushed the Klax-On, but he just grabbed Jonathon’s arm, twisting it behind his back. There was a crack and a clang as Jonathon’s arm broke and he dropped his knife. 

Jonathon shouted and fell to the ground in pain. The Klax-On kicked him in the ribs.

“Get off my ship.” The Klax-On pointed to a door. He walked over to a panel on the wall and the door slid open.

Jonathon stumbled towards the door, making no witty remarks, and coughing up blood on the way.

“Wherever you go, I will be following, and each time I catch up will be worse than the last.” The Klax-On slowly walked behind Jonathon, once he was by the door, he kicked Jonathon to the ground outside of the ship and slammed the door shut. The ship took off to the skies.

“Jonny!” Jonathon looked up and saw Laura running towards him from the bar he was at earlier. Jonathon opened his mouth, and collapsed to the ground.

 


 

[Previous Part]

 

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Friendship: Part One

This is a previously established character, the past entry doesn’t really matter for understanding this one, but here’s the link: That’s A Myth

 

Jonathon waited quietly behind a pile of boxes in a large warehouse. He peaked over the boxes and saw the guard was almost right where he wanted him. He looked over at Laura who was behind a different stack of boxes and nodded. Laura nodded back. Jonathon leapt out and took his shot, blasting the guard to the ground. 

“Halt!” 2 Klax-On guards shouted, as they leveled their weapons at him.

“Alright, surely we can work something out.” Jonathon slowly raised his hands in the air, while secretly flipping a switch on each of his guns.

“No. You are under arrest.” The two guards advanced on him.

“Well, I was hoping that we didn’t have to do this, but…” Jonathon pulled the triggers of both of his guns and blasts fired out of the bottom of each of the handles. The two guards fell to the ground.

Jonathon sighed with relief and lowered his guns. Through the main door to the warehouse, entered a hundred Klax-On soldiers.

“Shit…” Jonathon muttered. Jonathon pressed a button on his wrist, but nothing happened. “Shit!” 

“Jonathon I need more time.” Laura’s voice came in his ears. “They’re headed my way.”

“Shit…” Jonathon looked around the room and saw a pile of crates leading up to a large shelf, that ran across the entire room. Jonathon sprinted to the pile of boxes and began the climb. 

Jonathon pulled himself up boxes and clambered onto the top of the shelf. He paused a moment to catch his breath, then fired both of his guns a few times.

“Alright boys!” Jonathon shouted to the hoard of Klax-On soldiers. “Let’s play king of the hill.”

Jonathon began to pick off Klax-Ons, as the hoard advanced onto the shelf. The soldiers began to make their way to the same stack of boxes Jonathon had climbed, and Jonathon stood near the edge, picking them off as they climbed. Slowly the hoard advanced up the makeshift staircase, climbing on the bodies of their fallen comrades. Suddenly, Jonathon’s guns began to hiss and the triggers locked up. 

“Shit.” Jonathon holstered his guns and sprinted the other way. Jonathon heard and felt the shelf shaking as the hoard stormed towards him. “Laura! You’re out of time!”

“Alright, meet me where we came in.”

“Copy.” Jonathon was almost at the edge of the shelf. He saw the drop, it was about 3 stories down. Normally the Klax-Ons would use a lev-cart, but Jonathon didn’t have one of those, so he was left with few options. He examined the back wall of the warehouse above the hole, and saw there was a bar about halfway down. “That might just do it…” 

Jonathon didn’t pause as he leapt off of the shelf, legs still kicking. He reached his hands above his head, ready to grab the bar and possibly dislocate his shoulders. Jonathon managed to wrap his hands around the bar and catch himself. “Shit!” He yelled as his shoulder popped out of its socket. He let go of the bar and dropped the remaining way to the floor. The impact certainly didn’t feel good, but he was fine.

Jonathon saw Laura sprint past him through the hole they had made in the wall, and Jonathon followed. They ran through the hole and into an alley. The alley was empty, but for a few doors, and a ladder. Laura jumped up onto the ladder and was onto the roof in seconds. Jonathon jumped up and caught the ladder, and made his way up. 

A hand grabbed Jonathon’s leg, almost yanking him off of the ladder, but he caught himself. He looked down and saw a Klax-on wearing what looked like a motorcycle helmet. The Klax-on gripped tightly, and Jonathon yelled in pain. 

Laura approached the edge and slid Jonathon a gun. Jonathon took his shot and the Klax-on dropped to the ground. Jonathon looked down for a moment and saw a smoking hole in the helmet’s visor. 

“Alright let’s go!” Laura pulled Jonathon the rest of the way onto the roof, and the pair hopped into their ship.

 


 

[Next Part]

 

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Nemeses

Content warning: Hospitals, blood, cancer, and death.

 

Cosmus reclined in a sterile white bed, swaddled in sterile sheets. Tubes and wires ran from around his body into various beeping instruments. Everything in here was cold and unfeeling, it all felt like death. If he got a chance, he would certainly take some notes from these designers on how to make a sinister room. He laughed at the thought, but a stabbing pain throughout his chest put an abrupt stop to that.

The clocks ticking ran in stark contrast to the beeping metronome that had been driving his lifelong performance. The clock ran steadily, unaffected by the comings and goings of mortals. More importantly, the clock read 12:58.

He turned his attention to the television. Two reporters were interviewing a rookie super, about the potential whereabouts of the cities most infamous villain. They speculated all sorts of wild things. Perhaps he was making his most elaborate scheme yet, or wreaking havoc unbeknownst to the public. Perhaps he had simply given up evil, one of the reporters posited. The rookie laughed, some people are just rotten to the core, he said. He’s more right than he knows.

There was a faint knock at the door. Cosmus looked up to the clock, 1:01. A tall man walked into the room.

“So you came.” Cosmus grinned.

“Cosmus?” The man stepped back, and deployed a shield. “What’s your play here?” He glanced around the room rapidly.

“My whole life, I’ve had a plan, something up my sleeve. Today? No. No plan, no scheme.” Cosmus let out a wheezing laugh, but was once again interrupted by the pain.

The man lowered his guard a little. “Then why am I here? Why are you here for that matter?”

Cosmus looked downwards, and his grin faded. “Micah… I’m dying.”

Micah stepped forwards a little bit, and began to look Cosmus over. “You’re… What?”

“Its cancer.” Cosmus shook his head. “Stage four.”

Micah dropped his guard completely. He had likely taken in the full sight of the frail man in front of him. “How long?”

“How long have I got? The doctor said a few days at most.”

Micah was silent for a moment. “How long have you been in here?”

“I blacked out and woke up in a pool of blood a couple of weeks ago. I called an ambulance, and woke up again in this bed.” Cosmus sighed. “The doctor said this has been brewing for at least a year. I knew something was up, I just thought it wasn’t anything this major. Evil never rests, ya know?” He started to laugh again, but broke into a coughing fit. Blood spatters flew onto the sheets.

Micah paced around the bed, and the pair was silent for a moment. The competing metronomes filled the room once more, until Micah spoke. “Why did you call me here?”

Cosmus looked down again. A solitary tear rolled down his cheek. “Micah, I’ve never been much of a family man. I prioritized my studies and my career over that kind of thing. Any family I did have, I used and manipulated, until they couldn’t stand me anymore. I haven’t seen any of them in decades. I don’t have a lot of friends, since I can’t exactly get out much, being the face of evil in this city. Just to get a hospital room I had to call in several favors and bribe several people.” He went quiet again, another tear rolled down his face, merging with the last. “Micah, you’re the closest thing I’ve had to a friend in decades. You’ve always been there with me. Sure on opposing sides, but there was a kind of pageantry and sportsmanship to it.”

Micah sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed Cosmus’s shoulder wordlessly.

“I’ve sat in this bed alone for two weeks, and I’m dying.” Two new tears came streaming down. He weakly gripped Micah’s hand with his less intubated arm. “I’m scared of dying, Micah… I’ve been a bad guy. I’m not sure about any kind of afterlife, but if there is one, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell.”

Micah was silent for a moment, some tears of his own ran down his cheeks. “I’m so sorry…”

The heart rate monitor started beeping more rapidly. The sound began to drown out that of time’s metronome, and all others.

“Micah, I’ve got a will.” Cosmus was speaking faster now, and panic was rising in his voice. Tears now readily fell down his face. “I want you to use all of my things for good, to help atone for some of my misdeeds. I have a base out in the plains. A message telling you how to access it will follow after my death.”

Micah bowed his head, tears streamed across his scarred cheeks in cascading rivers. “I will…”

The beeping grew even louder and more rapid. Cosmus was now sobbing speaking only between heaves. “I don’t want to die… God I’m so sorry!” His wailing grew louder, but garnered no attention from hospital staff. Suddenly his wailing stopped. His eyes bulged, and he moved his hands around his neck.

“Nurse!” Micah bellowed, but to no avail. The beeping accelerated and crescendoed for a moment, but then suddenly stopped, replaced by a steady tone. Time’s metronome ticked onwards in a terrible duet. A man poked his head into the room, and upon seeing the monitor, shouted out of the room for help, before charging in.

Though the man fought on, he could not help. Cosmus and time played their duet, until the monitor was unplugged.

 


 

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Hammerston Heroes: Part Six

You’re joining an ongoing story

Click here for the first part.

 

As promised, Casey woke us up bright and early, and piled us into her truck to go to the sheriff. Now we were in the back of her truck, making our way through town. Dale, Tim, and I had sorted out our story last night, so I feel pretty good about this.

I look out the window, and watch the people go by. I’m surprised by just how many people I don’t know. I guess I’ve been making fewer outings into town these days, but I wasn’t expecting it to get so big overnight.

After a few minutes, we pull up outside of the sheriff’s office, and step out of the truck. I take a deep breath and nod to Dale.

“Don’t worry Tim, the sheriff knows me.” I smile as reassuringly as I can, and lead the way into the sheriff’s office.

There’s a man standing behind the reception desk, messing with a pile of paper. Bobby Brown. He’s been a deputy here for a while. He turns to us as we walk in. “What can I do for ya?”

“Howdy, Bobby, I’m Jimmy Miller, and I gotta talk to the sheriff.” I nod my head.

“Oh, hey Jimmy.” He nodded back. “He’s busy right now, but I’ll…” He looked to the door and his eyes opened wide.

I turn around and see that Tim just walked in behind me. I can’t quite decide whichone of these poor boys looks more terrified.

“That’s… Uh.” Bobby stammers. “Yeah, I’ll get him for you.” He runs off into the back.

I wait until he’s gone, and turn to Tim. “Don’t worry, fella. We go way back, so there won’t be no trouble here.”

Tim nods nervously, and clearly doesn’t believe me. Oh well, I tried.

After a few moments, an older man stepped out from the back, and made his way over to us. He nodded as he saw the tentacle man for himself.

“Jimmy, what exactly is going on here?” He looked behind them and saw Casey. “And what’s the metal girl doing with you?”

“Well, it’s a long story, so do you mind if we sit down somewhere and I can explain the situation?” I gesture towards where he came from.

“Alright, come with me. Let me grab a pen.” He made a stop by the desk and went back.

It took a couple of hours, and a lot of coffee, but I eventually ran the man through everything that had happened. Casey, Tim, and Dale all backed me up on the parts of the story they’d seen.

“Alright.” He nods slowly and looks down at his notepad. “So, tell me if this sounds about right… Dale saw some suits doing something shady, you went to check it out, and got ran off the road. You only lived because you can control plants. You then stole some of O’Reilly’s dirt bikes, and almost ran him over. You heard a cry for help, and made your way over to the tent, and you shot a couple of guys along the way. That’s where you found Tim. He said he was being tortured by the suits, specifically ‘Vertech’, and you took him into town to get a hotel. That’s where Casey found ya, while doing vigilante justice, and offered you a place to sleep, and now you’re here?”

I think about it for a moment. He hit all of the highlights, and I don’t think he missed anything important. “Yeah, Will, that sounds about right, yes.”

He clicks his pen and puts it and the pad on the table. “Good lord, Jimmy.” He shakes his head, and puts his face in his hands. “Alright. I’m gonna make a couple of phone calls. I don’t really know what the hell to do here, so just wait for me. Bobby is doing a lunch run now, and I told him to get us something. I think I just need to call the governor.” He shakes his head and heads towards his office.

I wait until he shuts the door to say anything. “Certainly could’ve gone worse.”

“Yeah, I guess I never thought about who you’d need to call here.” Dale nods. “I think it’ll turn out fine.”

After a while, Will walks out of his office. He looks exasperated. “Alright, so I called the governor, and got bounced around a lot. They’re working on a solution for problems like this, but for now they just want the both of you to stay in town and check in with me.” He gestures to me and Tim. “So I guess you’re good… Oh wait, yeah, the dirt bikes. Give O’Reilly fifty bucks for using ‘em, and give ‘em back to him.”

“That sounds fair enough.” Dale nods. “Jimmy and I will take ‘em back.”

“Alright, as for you Tim, stay with one of these folks, and whoever you stay with, let me know. I don’t care which. Give me a couple of days to get the word out about you, so you don’t get run off the streets for having tentacles.”

“Thank you.” Tim nods.

“Alright, now get out of here. I got papers to fill out.” Will groans.

We all make our way out, and pile into Casey’s truck. We sit in silence for a moment, before Dale and I high-five.

“Alright! I told you that’d work out.” I nod. “So, Tim. Who do you wanna stay with. Might be best to pick me or Dale so you can stay out of town.”

He stares down for a moment. “No offense Dale, but I think I’ll stay with Jimmy. He’s got weird powers too, so we might be able to figure this out together.”

“Works for me.” Casey nods. “Alright, I’ll take you back to pick up the dirt bikes, and then you can go give ‘em back to O’Reilly. First, though…” She reaches into her pocket, and pulls out three business cards. “Give me a call some time. Who knows, we might need to work together at some point.”

“Alright…?” I look down at the card. It reads ‘Casey Sullivan, Mechatronics Engineer’ I chuckle. It looks like my life is about to stay interesting for a little while longer. I hope my wife will be okay with me having a stranger live with us.

My heart sinks. Shit. I didn’t call my wife, she’s gonna kill me.

 


 

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Hammerston Heroes: Part Five

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It turns out I have a good sense for time, because we make it in nearly exactly an hour. We stop at a gas station, since the bikes are running low again. I hook up the pump and lean up against the pillar. I look over at Tim, and I start to wonder how it feels to have tentacles. Has to be a weird feeling. It’s hard to tell really if they’re slimy or not. It’s kinda hard to get a good look at them. The more you stare, the hazier they get.

These thoughts are interrupted by a clanking noise. The noise repeats and grows closer. I put my hand on my gun, just in case. From around the corner, steps a woman covered in all manner of junky looking scrap metal. Almost none of it is painted, and if it is it’s different colors.

“I don’t believe those bikes are yours. Aren’t you a little old for a joy ride?” She brushes off something on her wrist that looks like it shoots. She’s at least making it look like it does.

“Look, lady, we don’t want any trouble. We’re actually here to see the sheriff. Now, I don’t know who you are, but…” I pull the gun from the back of my pants and click off the safety. “You ain’t the only one with a gun.”

“Oh, wow, is that a threat?” She edges closer towards me. “I don’t need guns to kick your ass.”

“I’m not gonna fight you, and you’re gonna walk away.” I would really rather not fight the psychopath wearing scrap metal right now.

“Why don’t you explain where you got these bikes?” She leans up against a pillar about ten feet from me.

“Why don’t you explain your outfit?” I’m not about to go divulging my problems to some psychopath with a toolshed. Is this what Hammerston has turned into? Crazies wandering the streets?

 

“Well, you’re clearly not from too close to town, so I’ll forgive your ignorance. I’m The Harvester. I fight crime on the streets. Crimes like the ones you’re committing.” She points to the bikes.

“Look here, I committed those ‘crimes’ to rescue an innocent man from torture? You quit playing dressup, and just go home.” I replace the gas nozzle and the cap, and ready the bike to leave again.

Tin Lady steps in front of the bike and levels her arm gun at me. I quickly have my gun pointed right back at her. We lock eyes and neither of us move.

“Jeez! Settle down! Quit trying to kill eachother! We’re both the good guys.” Dale runs over to us. Maybe he’ll have better luck getting this crazy to leave.

“You’re the good guys?” She laughs, “Alright, you can stay with me, and bright and early in the morning we’ll go over to the sheriff and explain what good guys you are.” She doesn’t lower her arm.

“I’m the person they rescued.” Tim steps out from where he was hiding, his tentacles waved behind him. “People were experimenting on me…” He gestured to some large wounds near to where his tentacles came from his back. “If it weren’t for them, I’d still be there.”

“Well…” The woman lowers her arm, and I slowly lower my own gun. “Are you alright? Do you need a doctor?”

“The last thing I want is another doctor. That’s what got me into this mess.” Tim shudders. Whatever they did to him really messed him up. “We just need a place to stay.”

“My guest room is all yours. You’re gonna give back the bikes though.” She points to the two stolen bikes, and sets off walking. She looks back to us, “You coming?”

 

We all exchange a look, and elect to go with her. Dale and I half walk our bikes behind her, and Tim trails behind. I don’t imagine she lives too far off, since she walked here with all that metal.

We follow her down the street a stretch, and she takes us around a corner. There she opens the back of a trailer. Inside is a sturdy metal frame with various bars and straps coming off of it. She slowly unhooks all of the metal and straps it onto the corresponding spots of the mannequin. So I guess she might live a ways away.

Once she took the armor off, she was just some twenty something girl. Granted, she has more than enough muscle to carry all that metal.

“Well, load the bikes on.” She says, making way.

I look over to Dale, and he is already loading his bike. I sigh and load mine on behind his. After the bikes are all strapped in, we all pile into her pickup.

It’s actually only a short drive until we stop in front of a big metal shed. She hops out of her truck and motions for us to follow her. We wait for her to wheel off her armor, and then wheel our stolen dirt bikes into her shed.

I look around the shed, and can’t help but gaze in awe. There’s a couple of tables with designs random armor parts on them. There’s shelves of every power tool I’ve ever seen, and then some.

Once she’d wheeled in her armor, she motioned us out. “Alright. I am still gonna make you explain yourselves to the sheriff in the morning, but for now you have a room. Follow me.”

She leads us out of the shed, and locks it up behind us. She then took us into a decent looking house. Inside is a little messy, but no worse than my first place when I lived on my own. She takes us down a hall, and into a bedroom.

 

“Alright, there’s a bed, and a couple of cots. Spare sheets are in the closet. Don’t try to pull anything. I’m a light sleeper. My name’s Casey, by the way.” She walked out of the room, and shut the door behind her.

 


 

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Hammerston Heroes: Part Four

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We advance into the tent, and the people scatter. I manage to catch one of them in the same way I caught the guards, in case I have any questions. For the time being though, I turn my attention to the man on the table.

Dale and I head towards him slowly. I know he’s strapped down and they’re hurting him, but maybe he’s penned up for a reason. I step up just out of reach of his tentacles. He’s still looking around wildly, and struggling against his bindings, but he’s stopped screaming.

“Hey, man, are you alright?” I try to keep my voice calm and my movements slow. The last thing I want to do is provoke some tentacle monster.

He looked at me, terrified. “You’ve gotta help me out of here, man! Please!”

 

Tears ran down his face. He was wearing sweat pants, but no shirt. He couldn’t have been older that 30, and he looked closer to 25.

I look to Dale. I’m not sure about this. On one hand, it’s obvious they’re mistreating him. On the other, I don’t fancy getting mauled by tentacle man.

“Yeah… We’ve gotta let him out.”

I look at his bindings, unsure where to start. Each of his tentacles appear to be nailed to the ground, but his wrists and ankles are also bound to a table. I figure it’s probably best to work from the outside in, but also to start slow. I command the trampled corn around one of his tentacles to pull the spike from the ground. The man doesn’t immediately attack me, so I remove the rest in a similar fashion. I move forward to unbind his wrists and ankles, but the tentacles beat me to it.

He gets to his feet and looks to Dale and I. “We need to move, before they get you too.” Dale and I nod in agreement, and we all head out the flap of the tent.

“We’ve got dirtbikes off this way.” Dale points in the direction we came from. “Can you run?”

“Yeah, I thin-” He starts to answer, but he’s cut off by shouting and gunshots from behind us. It looks like more suits with guns to me.

We start to leg it towards the corn. I put a wall up behind us, and we break into the field. I part the corn as we run through in the same way I did last time, and we get to the dirtbikes in no time, but I can still hear them behind us.

Dale and I start up our bikes, and realize we don’t have a third with us. “Alright, tentacles, hop on.” He hops on the bike behind me, and grips my waist. Thankfully with his arms. Dale moves with no problem, but between me being rusty and having cargo, I’m not keeping up as well.

 

We’re well off in the distance of the cornfield, when I see a black SUV break into the grass field we’re on. I look around, but I don’t see anything we could use for cover. It’s flat fields for miles, maybe some rolling hills, but not much. Dale is trying his best to stay back with me, but the SUV is gaining on us.

I’m all out of ideas, and the SUV is about to run me down. There’s a crash of crunching metal, followed by several more crashes. I look back and I see the SUV rolling across the field.

“What the hell was that?” I shout back to tentacles. I don’t stop going. I don’t care if the SUV rolled or not, I’m not about to take chances.

“Just drive!” He shouts back.

We put a little more distance between us and the suits, until we can’t see them anymore and then some. We bring the bikes to a halt, and hop off.

We sit down around the bikes. It’s night, but it’s summer so it’s not cold at least. “So… What do we do now?” Dale asks.

“Well, we can’t go back home. We just committed a lot of felonies.” I shake my head. This is gonna be a pain in the ass.

“Well, what if we went to the sheriff’s and explained everything? I mean, we have him.” He gestured towards our tagalong. “Who are you by the way?”

“My name’s Tim. I’m from Riverbrook.” His tentacles waved slowly behind him.

“Riverbrook? That’s a good couple hundred miles from here.” Dale seems surprised about the place he’s from, but I’m more interested in something else.

“Yeah, and what’s with the tentacles?” I’m not sure if it’s rude to ask someone about their tentacles, but I just saved his life, so I figure I get a freebie.

 

“Well, I woke up a couple of mornings ago with these.” He gestured towards his tentacles. “I went to the hospital, and they sent me off with some ‘specialists’ from the Vertech institute. They cut me open and tortured me…”

“Well… That sucks.” I’m not really sure what else I could contribute to that. Torture isn’t exactly a common occurrence out here, at least as far as I know. I also haven’t heard of this Vertech institute.

“Hey man, it’s alright. Like hell are we gonna let them get you again. You’re safe now.”

I chuckle. Dale always had a weird knack for this kind of thing.

“Yeah, thanks…” Tim shook his head. “So, to the sheriff?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” I’m not sure if it’s the best idea, but I don’t see any better ideas. After all, the sheriff is reasonable.

“We gonna camp here tonight?”

“Well, if we keep going, we could probably actually make it to town in another hour. We could get a hotel. See the sheriff in the morning.” I get up and head towards my bike.

“Well, I guess I’d rather be in a hotel than a field.” Dale groans as he gets off the ground.

“You’re carrying him this time, though.” I get on my bike, and start it up.

“Fine.” Dale sighs. He gets on and starts his own bike, with Tim behind him, and we ride off into the night.

 


 

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