Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 5

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy managed to initiate a trade for Astralyn, but Astralyn is not sure how it’s going to work out.

Episode 5: The Crystal Eggs, Part V- Mixed Messages

Sundance piloted the StarTango toward the Nugget’s open docking bay. Once the ship safely touched down, Sundance and Timmy prepared for the trade. Timmy opened the carrying case to make sure that the Crystal Egg was, in fact, still inside it.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Timmy said. “I’m having one of those feelings in the pit of my stomach again.”

“That’s probably just indigestion,” Sundance replied, looking out the window. He saw the Chicken Queen enter with two guards; they were armed with laser rifles. “Looks like they’re ready to start the show.”

“I’m usually never wrong about these things, Captain.”

“Hurry up and bring the case, will ya?” Sundance patted Timmy on the back and headed for the back door. Timmy gave one last look out the window before he finally followed him.

The Chicken Queen stood in the middle of the docking bay surrounded by all of her fighter ships. Sundance briefly entertained the idea they were all manned and ready to fire if anything funny should happen.

“It is nice to finally meet you in person, Captain,” The Chicken Queen called out.

“Likewise,” Sundance replied.

As Timmy and Sundance approached the center of the docking bay, they realized they couldn’t see Astralyn anywhere. Timmy’s bad feeling soon spread to Sundance.

Chickadee gazed at the case and clucked curiously. “Is that the Egg?”

“Where’s Astralyn?” Sundance asked. “You don’t see the Egg until we see her.”

“Of course.” Chickadee clucked an order and one of the guards left the docking bay. A minute later, it returned with Astralyn bound and gagged. “There she is. Now let’s see the Egg.” She rubbed her hands together in anticipation.

Sundance nodded to Timmy to acquiesce. As Timmy opened the case, Sundance looked over at Astralyn who was subtly shaking her head. She kept eyeing the case and then back up at him. Sundance winked at her and nodded his head.

Timmy held up the Egg for the Queen’s inspection. The silver shine reflected in her eyes.

“I don’t see what the fuss was about,” Sundance said. “If all you wanted were the Eggs all you had to do was say so. I’m sure our government would have been more than happy to oblige you.”

“I’m sure,” Chicakdee said dryly. “Let’s get this over with, shall we?”

The guard pushed Astralyn into the center. Timmy carefully handed the Egg over to Chickadee. After Sundance unbound Astralyn, he checked with the Queen to see if the trade went as planned.

“Well, if everyone’s happy then we’ll be off,” Sundance said. “It was nice doing business with you. I hope the Eggs bring you infinite happiness and joy.”

Astralyn, Sundance, and Timmy turned around and headed back towards the StarTango. The chickens watched.

Astralyn took the cloth gag off and asked, “So, Captain, how do you plan on getting us out of here?”

“That’s what we’re doing right now,” Sundance replied.

“No, I know, but how are you planning to get past the chickens in the ships?”

“What?!”

As if on cue, the cockpits of the fighter ships opened and chickens armed with laser rifles stood up. The three heroes stopped and placed their hands in the air. Sundance did his best to ignore the ‘I Told You So’ look in Astralyn’s eyes. The Chicken Queen clucked in amusement as they were taken back into custody.

———————–

On the bridge of the Nugget, Sundance, Timmy, and Astralyn sat in an electrified cage as the Space Chickens went about their duties. Chickadee sat on her throne and sighed as she stared at the image of New Earth.

Sundance and Astralyn whispered to one another while Timmy just stared up at the top of their cage.

“I thought you knew it was a trap,” Astralyn angrily whispered.

“The thought had crossed my mind,” Sundance admitted.

“I was trying to tell you. I kept trying to shake my head at you.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not good at reading body language.”

“Next time I’ll bring some semaphore flags.” Astralyn sighed. “I mean you even winked at me. I thought you got the message.”

“I thought you were scared and I wanted you to know everything was under control.” Sundance said.

“This is definitely under control,” Astralyn mumbled.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Timmy added.

Sundance and Astralyn glanced over at Timmy and shook their heads.

Chickadee stood up and approached the cage. She chuckled at them as she folded her arms. “So, you’re probably wondering what this is all about. It’s funny that you should ask. Long ago, The Space Chickens and the humans came to a truce. For years we honoured that truce, until you humans came and destroyed our home, Freerangia! Now we wander the stars looking for a new home and revenge.”

“I can speak for New Earth when I say that we had nothing to do with the destruction of your planet,” Sundance said.

“Oh, but you did, S.P.A.C.E. Agent.” The Queen glared at Sundance. “A fleet belonging to S.P.A.C.E. came and eradicated the entire planet, but not before stealing our eggs. But now the tables have turned! With the Eggs, I can finally exact our revenge.”

“I thought the Eggs where a symbol of Solidarity and Chicken Pride,” Timmy said.

“Oh, and they’ll be that and more when we’re done.” Chickadee clucked and a chicken brought her a tray carrying all five Crystal Eggs. “These will power the laser drill we’ve developed that will exceed the power of the one you used to destroy Freerangia! Power the laser!” The chicken left with the tray of eggs and prepared to carry out the order. “Say goodbye to your precious planet.”

To be continued…

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Heroes of Lunde, Episode 2

What’s Kraken, Part 2

The Heroes liked to travel by train. The seats were comfortable and gave ample leg room for the tall ones, the drinks were cheap, the scenery was great once they left the kingdom limits, and it beat riding horses. Quil wanted to reserve the VIP area, but since it was a last minute booking, the VIP area was not an option. Reese commented that she liked riding coach anyway. The others were ambivalent to how they traveled; they were thankful that the train was air conditioned.


They didn’t have any trouble finding seating because as soon as people realized who they were, they gladly offered their seats to them and sat elsewhere. Quil felt slightly guilty about this, but Jaco was only too happy to accept on the team’s behalf, much to Quil’s chagrin.


Once the team sat down, Reese noticed Everett was staring out the east facing window. He appeared more agitated than usual. She gave him a soft pat on the head and asked, “What’s wrong, Everett?”


Everett took out his flask and took a gulp. “We’re not going to get there in time.”


“Why do you say that?” Andrada asked. She pressed the button that allowed her seat to lean back. “This is the fastest train on the continent.”


Everett shook his head. “There’s another train in the south that’s faster, but that’s not really the point, is it?” He tightly gripped his satchel to his chest. “Whomever is behind the theft of the statue is working fast against us. I can feel it.”


Quil was never quite sure how to assuage Everett’s constant worrying, but he felt that as team leader, he should say something comforting and inspiring. “Everything will be fine. You’ll see.”


Everett glanced at him with an eyebrow sarcastically raised. “And the sun will come out tomorrow? Was that supposed to make me feel better?” He could tell by the slightly saddened expression on Quil’s face that it was supposed to. The poor sap. “Well, you suck at it. Stop it.” Quil shrugged his shoulders.


Everett returned to the window and looked for any sign of impending doom on the horizon. He knew that time was against them. It didn’t matter how fast this train was; they were going to be too late to stop anything. He felt his stomach tighten. He wouldn’t be able to eat anything for a while. All he could do was hope that things didn’t go to shit too badly to where they wouldn’t be able to clean it up.


The train zoomed through the countryside all through the day. The team mostly rode in silence after Everett’s prediction of doom. They all thought about what might be awaiting them when they got to the Hyleian Mountains. Without a lot of information, they didn’t know what they might be stepping into, hopefully nothing too deep.


It wasn’t until night fell that they all felt a strange energy in the air. They couldn’t put their finger on what was going on, but they knew it wasn’t good. Everett took another sip from his flask as if to say, ‘I told you so.’ There was nothing they could do about it. They had to just endure the uncomfortable feeling until it went away, if it would go away. No sleep was had by anyone.

                                                                                      ***

Tidas ran as fast as he could through the forest, occasionally taking small breaks, until he finally reached the village of Lagrimos just before nightfall. He fell to his knees and panted heavily just outside the village border. He hadn’t run like that since secondary school. The coach always pushed him to run faster than he thought he could. He chuckled because it appeared the coach had prepared him for this day.


There were some people working the fields nearby who saw him approach. They called out to the others to let them know that a stranger had arrived. A few minutes later, two men came over and helped him off the ground. One of the men kept asking him if he was okay and if he needed water. He couldn’t get enough air to properly respond yes to all of his questions. He just concentrated on not passing out.


The two men escorted him to a small single room house. He was surprised by the bright yellow walls and teal carpeting. While he wasn’t an interior designer, he knew better than to paint a house yellow if he had teal carpeting. Maybe the people who lived here were color blind, that would certainly explain it.


The men led Tidas to a soft bed that had a red cover on it. Again, the colors were striking. He sat down and gladly accepted a glass of water. He quickly gulped it down and asked for another. The taller of the men gladly obliged.
The shorter of the two crossed his brawny arms as he examined Tidas. “What business do you have here?” he asked, his voice was deep and commanding.


“I’m here to meet someone to give something to them,” Tidas wasn’t thinking clearly otherwise he wouldn’t have revealed his purpose. It wasn’t until he finished the second glass of water he realized what he’d done. A chill traveled down his back as he thought about the possible consequences. Would his employers threaten to break his legs, arms, or neck? It was best not to think about that too much right now. Maybe these men wouldn’t care.


“Oh, that’s fine.” the man said. “We’ve been expecting you. Someone else arrived today looking for you.” He offered Tidas a warm smile. “They’ll be here any minute. In the meantime, relax.” The two men regrouped by the front door. “Fred and I will be right outside if you need anything.” The two men left the house and could be heard talking excitedly.


Tidas was expected and the village people knew about it? He didn’t see that coming. Did the village people know about the statuette he stole? Were they in on the plan? This was just too bizarre.


Suddenly, he felt something move in the satchel. It startled him. He took the satchel off and threw it across the room before he could stop himself. He could hear it vibrate on the floor. He got up from the bed and slowly approached the satchel. It was visibly shaking. He reached down and picked it up. He opened it and pulled out the statuette. It shook violently in his hand. It tickled and caused him to giggle a little bit.


He felt a sense of dread wash over him as him examined it. There was a weird energy being released from it. Every fiber in his body told him he shouldn’t be touching it, that he needed to be as far from it as possible if he wanted to live. He listened to this sense and put the statuette back in the bag. Whatever it was doing, he didn’t want to be a part of it. He tossed the bag on the bed and headed for the door.


The door opened and he was met by the two friendly men. “You’re leaving?” the taller one asked.


“Just needed some air,” he lied.


“You will remain where you are,” said an old woman’s voice. The men separated to reveal the woman who had spoken. She was a really old woman, maybe eighty years old. She wore a long, tattered brown robe, and dirty sandals. Her stringy grey hair flowed onto her shoulders from the hood she was wearing. She looked like the quintessential wicked witch one might have seen in children’s picture books. “I’ve waited all day for you. I would hate to see you leave now.”


Tidas took a step back to allow the woman to enter. The men smiled at him and closed the door behind them. Tidas didn’t want to be alone with this woman, but it appeared he had no choice.


“Do you have it?” she asked, holding her grey, veiny hand out.


“Yes,” he replied.


The hand beckoned. He gave the woman the bag. He didn’t want to touch the statuette with his bare hands ever again. He watched as the woman hurriedly opened the bag and retrieved her prize. The statuette was still now. Somehow the woman’s touch had calmed it. He was amazed.


“You have done well,” the woman said. She grinned to reveal that despite the stereotype, she had a mouthful of glistening white teeth. She stared into the eyes of the statuette and licked her lips. She chuckled as she went through the plan in her head.


It was a few seconds before the woman realized that Tidas was still there. She gazed at him with her glassy eyes and smiled. “You must be waiting for your reward, aren’t you, dearie?” She signaled for him to come forward. “Don’t be afraid.”


Tidas didn’t trust this woman as far as he could probably throw her. He wanted to push past her and run out the door. Once he decided that was the plan, he found that his feet would not obey him. He found himself slowly approaching the woman. When she commanded him to kneel before her, he was on his knees instantly.


The feeling of not being in control of his body frightened him. His heart beat faster. There was a chill that caused goose pimples to rise on all over his skin. His eyes found their way to the woman’s. He didn’t like the malevolent glint they had in them. He also didn’t like the wicked smile she wore. He wanted to wince and turn away as the woman placed her hand on his forehead. His eyes immediately widened, and the pupils dilated. He instantly felt lightheaded.


“Sleep,” the woman whispered.


Tidas had no choice; he had to obey. His eyelids suddenly felt heavy. He struggled to keep them open, but they eventually shut. He fell to the floor, the impact softened by the teal carpet. At first, it felt like he was just going to sleep, but after a few seconds, he had difficulty breathing, then he stopped all together. It was as if his body had somehow forgotten how to breathe. Suffocation was instant. His body convulsed for a minute before it ceased. A minute later, he was gone.


The woman looked away from her work and held the statuette above her head. She laughed as she stared the relic in the eyes. “Oh, the horrors we will unleash!”


Her laughing was interrupted when her talkie rang. She stopped laughing and answered her device. “Hello?”


“Is it done?” asked a soft woman’s voice.


“Yes, mistress. I have the statuette.”


“Excellent, Maltrice. Begin working on removing the spell. I want total chaos by day break.” And with that, the line was dead.


Maltrice put the talkie in her robe pocket. She eyed the statuette and grinned. She was going to enjoy unraveling the Master spell that guarded it. If Mistress wanted to see chaos, her wish was Maltrice’s command.


She promptly sat down next to the body and set the statuette down in front of her. She closed her eyes as she waved her hands over it. She felt the positive energy swirling around it push against her negative energy. It started off strong at first, but as her power continued to interact with it, the positive energy weakened. It was only a matter of time before it was eradicated entirely. There wasn’t a Master spell she couldn’t break. She wasn’t a supreme witch for nothing. She just had to be patient. Time was definitely on her side. She hoped to meet the deadline, but what she didn’t want to tell Mistress L was that Master spells take time to break. Things would happen by mid-afternoon at best. The mistress may be upset, but she will be pleased with the results.

                                          ***

The sun was slowly rising in the east as the train sped toward Wrightstown, the final destination. The Heroes had stayed up all night wondering what was causing the strange feeling they were experiencing. It had unsettled all their stomachs. None of them could eat a bite, even though they wanted to. They were not the only ones; the rest of the passengers felt the same thing. Something was building, growing stronger, but none of them could put their finger on what exactly.


Quil had spent most of the night staring at the picture of the statuette. What was its purpose? What did the person who stole it hope to do with it? He regretted his need to look like he had things well in hand that he didn’t dare to ask questions. Did his father know more than he let on? He didn’t know, but he made a mental note to ask more questions next time.


As the sunlight hit the paper, it reflected the bright white into Quil’s eyes. He looked up to clear his eyes and they landed upon Reese, who sat across from him. She appeared to be studying him. It always made him nervous to see her staring at him in this way. What was she doing? Was she trying to look into his soul? Could elves do that?


“You seem puzzled,” she said softly. “What is troubling you?”


Quil shook his head. “I’m just trying to wrap my mind around this statuette. Who would want it? What do they hope to accomplish?”


Reese’s eyes focused in on him, her eyelids narrowed. “Do you not know? Your father said that the statuette held the power to repel the Gogo-Kraken. There is a high-powered spell cast on it to ensure it stays out of this dimension. It’s obvious that the person who stole it is hoping to break the spell and unleash the Gogo-Kraken upon the land.” She finally blinked and broke her focus.


“You didn’t know that?” Jaco asked incredulously. “Geez, babe, get with the program!” He snapped his fingers in Quil’s face. “To think you’re our leader.” He pretended to scoff in disgust. He squeezed Quil’s right thigh to let him know that he was joking, but not really.


“The strange energy we’re feeling must have something to do with the spell being tampered with,” Andrada added. “It’s been getting stronger the closer we get to it. Everett might be right, we might be too late.” She twiddled her thumbs as she attempted to release some of her nervous energy. “What will we do if the Gogo-Kraken is released before we get to the mountains?”


Quil didn’t want to think about that, but he knew that he had to have a plan in place, or at least pretend that he had a plan in place. “We’ll have to deal with that bridge when we get to it. Let’s hope that we are able to get to the monastery before that happens.”


Just as Quil finished saying that, the train lurched as the emergency brakes attempted to slow it down. The passengers were jostled in their seats, some even spilling into the aisle. The Heroes stood up as soon as the train came to a complete stop. They made sure that the people who had fallen were alright before they made their way to the front of the train. A couple of the ushers tried to reassure them that everything was fine, but they eventually allowed them to pass.


Only Quil was allowed to actually enter the driver’s cab. He slowly opened the door to see the conductor staring out the windshield quizzically. He looked outside and saw something was obstructing the way. It was a large multicolored bubble that seemed to be growing bigger with each passing second. Was this due to the statuette?


“What the hell?” Quil said, successfully startling the driver. “Oh sorry. What is that?”


The driver shook her head and sighed. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It just appeared on the tracks moments ago. I thought I could drive through it, but the closer I got, the more solid it looked.” She wiped the sweat from her brow and sighed. “I don’t know what else to do.”


Quil saw that the bubble threatened to bump into them. “You should probably go backwards for the time being,” he suggested. He was going to think about a way to surpass the bubble when he saw something move across the track outside. He focused on the movement and found that there was someone standing in front of the train. They were dressed in a long black hooded robe. He wasn’t able to tell if it was a woman or a man. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he saw that the bubble was threatening to envelope them. “Look out!” he cried out. He realized that it was useless because they couldn’t hear him. He gasped as he saw the person turn around and simply raise their hand. The bubble stopped growing instantly. Quil’s brows furrowed as he watched the bubble take the command. That person wasn’t in trouble, they were trouble, trouble that needed to be dealt with immediately.


“Keep the engines running. I’m going to take care of this,” Quil said as he left the cab. He raced through the cars to get back to his team. He found them in the observation car attending to the people who were frightened by the sudden turn of events. “Guys, we got work to do.”


“Please tell me we get to kill something,” Andrada said with a grin that was a little too frightening for Quil to handle.


“It’s possible there could be some killing,” Quil said delicately. “Let’s go!”
Quil led the team to the nearest exit. They were greeted by a warm breeze that tingled on contact that let them know that something unnatural was about. They stepped off the train and made their way to the front of it. They saw the person and the bubble, big as life.


“What the hell is that?” Everett shouted.


“Well, it appears to be a giant bubble, Ev,” Jaco replied condescendingly. He ignored the death glare he received.


Andrada cracked her knuckles and reached for her sword resting at her hip. “The best thing about bubbles is that they all pop!”


They approached the robed person. They did not acknowledge the Heroes’ presence until Quil cleared his throat. They slowly turned around and faced them.


“I don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to have to stop,” Quil declared.


“And you’re going to stop me?” the robed one said, the voice deep and gravely.


“You betcha!” Quil was excited for some action. He took a deep breath and prepared for a fight. His team did the same.


The robed one let out a chuckle before they raised their hand into the air. They whispered a foreign word and then suddenly lightning came down from the sky, which was clear blue and cloudless.


The lightning struck the ground around the Heroes, but none of them were hit. They checked their bodies and each other to make sure they were all okay.


“That was a warning, Heroes,” the robed one said. “Leave now and you may continue your lives until which time they will end.”


“Quit toying with us and get it over with!” Jaco shouted. He tensed his muscles and they began to enlarge and bulge. He grew in height as hair sprouted from his chest and extremities. Before too long, Jaco had fully transformed into a massive six-foot seven werewolf with deep black fur. His mouth hung open, issuing forth unpleasant dog breath and drool, which his teammates were accustomed to now. He stood ready to rip into some man flesh.


The robed one watched as Everett took out his bow and readied an arrow. Reese summoned her earthen warhammer and it materialized in her left hand. Andrada unsheathed her sword and let the sunlight glint off the blade. Quil’s fists began to glow bright pink. The robed one grinned as they tried to decide which one to kill first. The dwarf looked like an easy target.


Before the robed one could think of a spell to cast against Everett, Jaco roared and charged toward them. He sprinted right for them, teeth at the ready. Just as he was about to reach the mysterious robed one, they placed both hands in Jaco’s direction and an invisible force shoved him back, flinging him back toward the train. He gave a yelp as he collided with the windshield and slid to the ground.


“Jaco!” Quil ran to the werewolf to make sure he was alright. Jaco groaned for a moment before he found his way to his feet. “You okay?” Jaco nodded his head. He couldn’t speak in his current form. Quil returned his attention to the robed one. He felt that he owed them one.


Andrada and Reese both raised their weapons and ran for the robed one. Andrada brought her sword up and prepared for the downward strike as she neared them. When she got a foot away, the robed one simply flicked their wrist and she went flying backward, her sword falling from her hand. She landed on her back just next to Everett.


Reese stopped her approach just in time to avoid being hit by Andrada. She didn’t stop her hammer. She threw it at the robed one. It spiralled in the air as it raced toward the robed one. They tried to deflect it, but they found their magic was ineffective as the hammer slammed into the back of their head. The robed one gave two flips before they landed on their face. Reese summoned the hammer back into her hand.


Quil ran to arrest the robed one. He knelt down next to them and grabbed their arms and pulled them back. “You are done here,” he said, feeling confident that they had wrapped this up rather nicely. “You’re going to undo this bubble and then we’re going to talk about your involvement in…”


Suddenly, the robed one’s arms went limp, like cooked pasta noodles. A second later, the arms withered away and left Quil with a handful of sleeves. The entire body dissolved away leaving a puddle of robe. Quil threw the sleeves into the mass and stood up. He wiped his hands on his pants as if he had gotten something on them. He grimaced as he stared down at what used to be a person. How disgusting!


“Aww, is it over?” Everett asked. “I didn’t even get to shoot anyone!” He lowered his bow and arrow. “You guys got all the fun!”


“The next time you want to be flung about like a rag doll, I’ll let you go first,” Andrada said, standing up. She popped her back into alignment. “Are they dead?”


To answer that question, a loud boisterous laugh echoed through the air above them. They all looked up to find a man floating above the train. He was dressed in a white cotton bodysuit, like underwear. He had his hands on his hips as he laughed heartily.


“You can’t get rid of me so easily, Heroes!” the man boasted. “I am superior to you in every way!”


“Oh great, we got a braggart,” Everett said. “Well, let’s see you brag about this!” He raised his bow and released an arrow in the man’s direction. He gasped as he watched the man snatch the arrow out of the air before it hit him.


“Ha, you see!”


Everett smirked.


The arrow then exploded, and a blast of ice hit the man in the face. The man lowered so that he landed on top of the train. He snapped the arrow in half while his face defrosted. “You will pay for that, little man!” His eyes glowed a bright red. He raised his right hand and made a fist. Instantly, Everett was raised ten feet off the ground, clutching his throat, gurgling. “You will be the first I send to the afterlife.”


Quil reached out his right hand and a stream of pink light shot from it. It raced toward the man and hit him square in the face. Sounds of sizzling were heard as the light seared the man’s face. The man lost his concentration and the magic holding Everett diminished, dropping the dwarf to the ground. Reese and Andrada ran to him as he gasped for air.


As the man suffered from his burns, Quil noticed that the strength of the bubble shield also weakened. Quil knew instantly that the shield was a concentration spell. He just had to break the man’s focus on it and it would disappear. That should be fun.


Quil turned to Jaco and issued the command, “Up!” Jaco grunted as he picked up Quil and together they leapt on top of the train, where the man was laying on his back clutching his smoking face. Jaco set Quil down gently. Quil gave him a few pats on the belly. Jaco panted joyfully. “Good boy!”


Quil took a cautious step toward the man. He could tell that the man was recovering as there was not as much smoke coming from his face now. In a moment, he would be up to his old tricks again. That could not be allowed to happen. He could tell that Jaco knew this as well. If Quil gave the command, Jaco would finish the job and things would settle down. But Quil wanted to question the man and for that to happen, the man needed to be taken alive.


“Jaco…” Quil uttered, intending to tell him to stand down. Before he could finish his sentence, Jaco ran down the top of the train and tackled the man. His long claws ripped into the man’s soft body before Quil could stop him. Quil shut his eyes as blood and viscera spilled down the sides of the train. When Jaco had had his fill of blood and guts, he turned to Quil and smiled with his dripping tongue hanging out like some dumb puppy. Quil opened his eyes and saw this and his heart skipped a beat. “Good… boy.”


The man was still conscious. He gurgled something as he spat up some blood. Jaco turned around, grabbed the man’s head, and beat it on the roof until he was cured of being conscious… and alive.


The bubble shield disappeared instantly, and the train was free to follow through. Quil looked down at his teammates on the ground and gave them a thumbs up. They gave him uneasy looks for they had seen the gore dripping down the side of the train. They knew nothing good had happened. Quil grinned weakly and shrugged his shoulders. All in a day’s work, right?


After the Heroes gathered together to check wounds, they alerted the train staff of the mess on the roof. It took about an hour to clear up before the driver was given the go ahead to continue on to their destination. The passengers in the car where the blood and guts ran down were terrified and inconsolable. Even though the worst had been cleaned up, the images were burned into their minds forever. For this, Jaco, now in human form, felt completely awful. The other Heroes tried to console him, but he was just as inconsolable. The rest of the ride was traveled in silence.

                                        ***

Maltrice hadn’t moved all night. She worked diligently on cracking the Master spell on the statuette. The two men who lived in the house offered her water and food, but she declined; her concentration could not be broken. She knew that she was behind schedule, but she was so close.
She felt the life force of her comrade dissipate into the wind. She hadn’t expected the Heroes to dispose of him so soon. It didn’t matter. He had given her the time she needed. She was only minutes away from completing her task.


Her talkie rang, but Maltrice ignored it. She knew it was Mistress L, but not even she could stop her now.


She waved her hands over the statuette, that was now floating in midair in front of her. She could sense that the barrier was weakening, shriveling until finally, the barrier snapped. This released a large wave of magical energy to fly out in all directions and pushed Maltrice back into the wall, over Tidas’ body. The statuette fell to the floor, broken with a slight crack.


Maltrice pushed back her hood and revealed her decrepit face, she had a wide, toothy smile on it. She had done it! She grabbed her talkie and answered it. “It is done, Mistress.” She immediately hung up. She closed her eyes and held the talkie to her chest. She listened to the panic that was starting to arise outside. The sound of the fabric of time and space being torn apart was like a pair split pants, only louder. It was music to her ears. The end of the world was coming… and she helped. Now she could go to sleep. She had earned it.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 4

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy arrived at the museum only to find they were too late, Astralyn was already kidnapped. Meanwhile in space, Astralyn came face to face with Queen Chickadee to report she no longer had the Egg in her possession, much to Chickadee’s chagrin.


Episode 4: The Crystal Eggs, Part IV- The Trade

Admiral Graves stood in the middle of the war room in S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters watching the officers hurriedly go about their daily duties. The idea that an enemy ship was floating just outside their security system rattled them. “Anything yet?” he asked.

“Nothing yet, sir,” said Ensign Harriman. “If the Space Chickens are out there, they are scrambling our long range scanners.”

Graves was going to give the order to unscramble the scanners when the room began to shake. Everyone braced themselves against whatever they were next to. The shaking stopped momentarily, enough time for everyone to recover.

“What the hell was that?” the admiral asked.

“Sir, we are taking fire!” Harriman replied. He pressed his earpiece into his ear. “We are getting reports from across the city of laser shots from above.”

“Find that SHIP!” Graves shouted.

Ensign Harriman immediately got to work. Admiral Graves sat down in his chair in the middle of the room as it shook once again.

The doors to the war room slid opened and Sundance and Timmy ran in. They both approached the Admiral’s chair.

Sundance was about to report their findings at the museum when Harriman chimed in instead. “Sir, we’ve managed to pinpoint the ship’s location.”

“It’s about damned time!” Graves said, standing back up. “BLOW IT TO HELL!”

“You can’t, sir,” Timmy objected.

“The chickens have the curator,” Sundance informed. “She’s on the ship.”

Graves face grew increasingly grim at this news. “Our planet is being pummeled right now, Sundance.” The room shook once again. Dust sprinkled down upon them. “I’ve got to defend an entire planet.”

“I can go get her back, sir.” Sundance beamed with confidence. “We have what the chickens want.”

“The Crystal Egg,” Timmy added.

Graves knew where they were going with this. He nodded his head and sighed. “Fine, but hurry it up! Ensign, power up the Final Cannon.”

Sundance and Timmy ran out of the war room and headed straight to the vault where the last Egg was placed. Once they showed their clearance to the guard, they were able to retrieve the Egg from its locker.

With the Egg in tow, the two heroes raced to the docking bay where many small rocket ships sat waiting to be of service. Sundance ran past all of the newer models to come to an old, rusted, and well loved rocket ship, the StarTango. Sundance and Timmy rushed to the back door as it lowered into a ramp. They stepped onboard and shut the door behind them.

“Do you really think that the Space Chickens will release Miss Winner without a fight?” Timmy asked as they made their way up to the cockpit.

“Or at least stop firing at the base long enough to make a trade,” Sundance replied. He jumped into the pilot’s seat and started up the engines. “Buckle up, Timmy. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

“My favorite kind, sir.”

-—————–

“Look at your precious little planet, lady,” Chickadee said. She pointed to the large view screen and cackled. “This is your fault, you know.” She looked back at Astralyn who was bound and gagged and being held by two massive chickens. “All you have to do is tell me where to find the last Crystal Egg and you can go.” Astralyn growled a muffled, angry response. She leaned forward to make out what she said. “That doesn’t sound a location I know. Send another volley of lasers!”

A chicken at a control panel pressed a button and a barrage of lasers flew toward the planet. Astralyn struggled to get away, but her captors held her tight. She cried as she watched the bright orange marks hit the planet. She began nodding her head, signaling that she was ready to talk.

“A smart woman,” The Chicken Queen said. “Let her speak.” One of the chickens untied her mouth gag. Astralyn took a deep breath and let out a sob. “So, you were saying?”

“I gave the Egg to one of the S.P.A.C.E. agents,” Astralyn admitted. “I don’t know what they did with it. I don’t have it anymore.”

“You had better hope they had the good sense to keep it intact.” The Chicken Queen walked over to another chicken at a communications console. “Send a message to the S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters.”

“Actually, my queen, a message is already coming through from them,” the communications officer reported.

“On screen!”

The viewscreen’s image changed from the planet getting a beating to Timmy and Sundance’s faces. Astralyn expressed excitement upon seeing them. Her captors put her gag back on and hid her from view.

“Space Chickens, this is S.P.A.C.E. Agent Captain Sundance Starmont. You have a prisoner aboard and we demand that you release her.”

“I am Chickadee, Queen of the Free Range Chickens. I believe you have something that belongs to us.”

“Belongs to you?” Timmy asked. “The Ovarium Crystal Eggs were given to us as a sign of peace and prosperity by the Chicken King Chanticlair!”

Chickadee laughed. “Those eggs weren’t given to you; they were stolen from us by you humans! Those eggs were a symbol of Chicken Pride and Solidarity for us and you came and stole them from us!”

“Well, we could argue about this until the cows come home,” Sundance said.

“You leave the Bovinians out of this,” Chickadee shouted. “Just give us the Egg and we’ll cease fire on your pathetic planet!”

“And return the prisoner?” Sundance asked.

“And we’ll return the woman to you.”

“See, that wasn’t so hard.” Sundance clapped his hands. “I’m assuming the trade is happening at your place.”

“We will meet you in our docking bay,” Chickadee said. After she commanded the cease fire, she turned to Astralyn and cooed. “How cute. See how quickly they came for you? Come.” She led the way off the bridge. Astralyn struggled as her handlers dragged her away. While she was happy to see Sundance and Timmy, she knew they were heading into a trap.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 3

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy reported to Admiral Graves about the theft of the Crystal Eggs only to realize Astralyn might be in danger should the Space Chickens return for the Egg they missed. Astralyn learned she might not be alone in the museum.


Episode 3: The Crystal Eggs, Part III- The Hunt

Sundance and Timmy pulled up to the New Earth Museum of Artifacts in their hovercar and parked. They had tried to find the curator at her apartment, but no one answered the door. The next logical place she’d be was the museum.

Sundance didn’t wait for the car to power down before he jumped out and raced to the front door. Timmy was close behind. When they reached the glass front doors they found them to be locked. Sundance placed his hand on the window and tried to peer through the shadow. He couldn’t see anything wrong; that’s what disturbed him the most. He knocked on the glass loudly in the hopes that Astralyn would answer. When a minute passed with no sign of anyone coming to answer the door, Sundance took out his laser pistol. Timmy looked surprised.

“Sir, you’re not thinking of breaking in.” Timmy took out his cell communicator and started looking up the number for the museum. “It’s possible that she’s on the other side of the building.” He found the number and pressed dial. The line beeped for a minute, but no one answered.

“Something’s not right.” Sundance cocked his gun and shot the lock on the door. A white laser beam shot out and melted the lock. He quickly yanked the door open before the lock cooled. Timmy hung up his communicator and sighed. He followed the captain inside.

The lobby was dark. There were a few displays of rocks mined from one of the moons orbiting New Earth under glass. None of them were disturbed.

Sundance pulled a small flashlight from his utility belt and shined the light on the exhibits placed throughout the lobby.

“Miss Winner?” Sundance shouted. “Miss Winner, it’s Captain Sundance!”

“Maybe she’s in her office.” Timmy walked toward the stone column located in the centre of the lobby which served as a directory. He looked for a “You Are Here” indication on the map. The map listed where each exhibit was, but not  where the staff offices were. “Oh, check it out, they still have the Venus Lizard Exhibit here!”

“Focus, Timmy,” Sundance said. He focused the beam of light on the floor. It was so nicely polished that the light reflected back into his eyes. He searched the lobby for any signs of life. He stopped when he found a yellow feather resting by the directory. “Timmy!”

Timmy looked where Sundance shined the light and gasped. He pulled out his laser pistol and cocked it. “The Space Chickens were here.” He looked on the floor behind him and found another. “There’s a trail.”

The two of them followed the trail down the hallways that specialized in Old Earth exhibits, took a left to the hallway about the presidents of the United States of America, a right to the hallways about the dress of people in a Japanese district called Harajuku. At the end of the hallway, they saw the emergency exit door was wide open.

They ran outside and found themselves in a grassy courtyard where people could sit and have a picnic lunch. Instead of little tables, there were scorch marks where a small shuttle had been. Sundance and Timmy lowered their pistols.

“We’re too late,” Sundance groaned. “They already have her.”

“Now what do we do?” Timmy asked, placing his pistol back in it holster.

“We bring the fight to them.” Sundance walked back inside the museum. He was angry with himself. He should have been there earlier. He could have saved her. Hopefully, it’s not too late.

—————————–

Astralyn awoke to the sound of clucking off in the distance. She found she was lying in a nest inside a holding cell. The floor was completely covered in straw. The cell was placed in the center of a large room, lined with electrified chicken wire. She didn’t remember how she got there, but she had a pretty good idea why she was there. Two large yellow chickens stood guard by the door and stared at her with bemusement.

She knew what she was about to do was a bit trite, but she figured she would try. “Let me out of here! Please! I don’t have what you want!” The chickens just clucked and cocked their heads as they stared at her with their stark black eyes. She sat up and sighed in frustration. “Can I at least have some water?” The chickens just stared at her. “I suppose not.”

The door opened and the two chickens stepped out of the way as the pink feathered chicken walked in. Astralyn instinctively knew this one was in charge, plus the crown helped a little.

“So, you’re the New Earth woman with the Egg,” the Chicken Queen said, folding her wings. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Astralyn replied, folding her arms as well. “Maybe you can elaborate.”

Chickadee laughed at her. “Your little game isn’t going to work with me, lady. I won’t think twice about throwing your body out into the cold reaches of space if you don’t give me what I want.”

“I don’t have it with me, obviously.” Astralyn glared at the Chicken Queen. She was not impressed by Chickadee’s threats. 

“We searched the museum, the Egg isn’t there. Where is it?” Chickadee got dangerously close to the cage. Astralyn took a step backward.

“I don’t know.” Astralyn resisted the urge to spit in the Queen’s face. “You know I wouldn’t tell you.”

Chickadee straightened her posture and sighed. “Bored now.” She motioned to the guards. “Bring her.”

The two guards approached the cage and turned off the electricity. They opened the cage and stepped towards Astralyn. She backed away until she hit the back of the cage. When they grabbed her, she fought them tooth and nail. They were too strong for her to fight off. They dragged her off to meet whatever fate the Chicken Queen had for her.

To be continued…

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Heroes of Lunde, Episode 1

What’s Kraken, Part 1

In the Hyleian mountain range, a henchman in a black body suit scaled the rocky landscape. Tidas didn’t have the appropriate mountain climbing gear because he thought he was a hotshot and didn’t need no stinkin’ gear. It wasn’t until he was halfway up the main mountain he realized how much he regretted that decision. He had boasted about being a master mountain climber and how no mountain provided enough of a challenge for him. That’s how he got this job. He hadn’t scaled the Hyleians before. How could he have known it was considered one of the most dangerous and difficult mountains to climb? It was so dangerous, it surpassed the Diamond Rating Scale. No one in their right mind would even consider attempting to climb these mountains. That’s why the Ancients put the Gogo-Kraken shrine there, to keep people from seeking it. Tidas’s employers thought he was the perfect person to achieve this task. 

Tidas’ body ached as they climbed. Each muscle cried out in pain the further up he went. He tried to think beyond the pain. He believed pain was just weakness leaving the body. But with each tier he climbed, his body threatened to break down and collapse. He pushed himself past the pain and somehow kept going.

The cold winds and thinner air didn’t make things any better for him. He tried to convince himself that the brisk air was refreshing, but after twenty minutes of unrelenting wind, he soon decided that the wind was for the birds.

Upward he climbed. He looked up toward the summit of the mountain and saw a dark opening. It had to be about ten to fifteen yards from his current location. He felt his body begin to relax as the end was in sight, but he steeled his strength and kept the urgency in his muscles to keep going.


Thirty minutes minutes later, Tidas made it to the ledge of the opening. Once the last leg was over on flat land, he collapsed and laid on his back, panting, taking great big gulps of thin air. He’d done it. He’d scaled the largest mountain in the Hyleians. He couldn’t wait to brag to everyone back at the Reveling Horseman Tavern.. This would earn him the respect of his peers and even a couple rounds of drinks.


He laid on the ledge for a good ten minutes before he got the strength to stand up again. He stared into the deep darkness of the cave entrance and gulped. He didn’t like the darkness. It reminded him of his childhood fear of something monstrous lurking in the shadows, just waiting to gobble him up. He wished he had the foresight to bring a light source with him. With another gulp, he ventured into the darkness.


He slowly stepped forward blindly, groping at the cave walls. He cautiously put his left foot out to test for traps or a sudden drop. Afraid to trigger a weight trap, he put the least amount of weight on his feet as he tiptoed through. The darkness seemed to be thick as pea soup. He imagined it congealing around him, covering him like a blanket, only it was cold and wet instead of warm. The sooner he got to the shrine and got out of there the better.


The cave took a slight right turn before it came to an abrupt end. He stumbled onto the shrine and fell backward. From the feel of the impact, the shrine was only waist high and made of stone, possibly carved from the mountain itself. He sat up and felt around.  To him, it felt like a shelf. There were small objects on each of the landings, but he wasn’t able to discern what they were. They didn’t feel too important, though he didn’t know if the target object felt any different.

He finished fondling the figures on the lower landings and moved up to the top of the shrine. That was when he found the desired object resting on it. He moved his fingers along the statuette. It was smooth and cool to the touch. The shape was hard to figure out. What was it supposed to be? There were a lot of curls, maybe tentacles? He imagined the shape of an octopus. What would his employers want with a statuette of an octopus? Was this really worth almost dying for? He shrugged and took the statuette from the shrine. 

He waited for a brief moment to see if he had triggered a trap. He listened for a click or a snap, but only the sound of the wind outside was heard. He was scared to let his guard down, but after five minutes of inactivity, he decided that if he was going to die, something would have happened by now. He finally felt safe enough to let out the breath he was holding. He stepped away from the shrine and followed the curve to the cave opening.


He stepped to the edge and looked down. He couldn’t see the ground below because of the clouds obscuring the view. He took a deep breath and prepared for the trek down. He knew going down was easier than going up, but that was the problem. If he wasn’t careful, he could reach the bottom much quicker than he planned.  May the gods be with him.



***

All was calm in the kingdom of Lunde. The sun’s warm rays shone down intensely on the villages that surrounded the main castle where the royal family lived. The people were going about their day to day duties, opening their shops for business, farming the lush fields that supplied the food for the kingdom, bar-keepers enabling the village drunks, constables ensuring the safety of the people, and so forth. People were out and about trying to catch up on tasks, running errands and purchasing things. Despite the summer heat, people were hustling about outdoors. It was promising to be quite a boring day. The people hoped that it would remain this way.


Lunde had been far too exciting the past few months. Warring kingdoms had gotten ornery and started attacking Lunde. The attacks were never severe and no one was ever hurt too badly. Troops from invading kingdoms mostly taunted the monarchy with threats of being overthrown. A couple of large rocks were catapulted into the villages, but nothing too serious. The monarchy of Lunde often wondered why these other kingdoms even bothered coming in the first place. This problem was usually handled by the King’s army chasing the enemies away. Once they enemies left, life returned to normal.


For more extreme threats, the kingdom depended on a small group of heroes called The Heroes of Lunde. They were the first line of defense in all supernatural and magical matters.


The Heroes of Lunde consisted of five members: Jonquil Balthazar Theophilous III, second prince of Lunde, the leader of the Heroes. He was a 5’11” man with dark brown skin. He wore his black hair in short, pristinely managed locs that were his pride and joy. Being the second prince, he decided since he wasn’t going to be crowned king, he needed to do something else to serve the kingdom. He went to private school to learn magic and graduated near the top of his class.  If one wanted to get on Jonquil’s last gay nerve, all one had to do was call him Jon or Jonny. He preferred to be called Quil or nothing at all.


Second in command was Princess Andrada of the Severtine, or Andy as Quil liked to call her. She hailed from a warrior tribe of fierce women in the Severtine Jungle. She was the team’s strongest fighter. The tallest of her line at 6’1”, she was built like a house with hands that could strangle a tiger, and muscles that could snap the thickest neck of a wrestler. She had light brown skin and long black hair she liked to highlight with streaks of blue and purple. Her eyes were the color of sand, her most stunning feature if one were to ask her. Andrada looked intimidating, but upon meeting her, one would find she was the kindest person they would ever meet.


Next was Jacobus Wentworth, Jaco to his friends. He was a six foot man with fair white skin, which he hated because he couldn’t be in the sun for very long. He had blond hair and green eyes. He isn’t the most muscular man ever, but what he lacked in muscle, he made up for in fangs. He was cursed by the bite of a werewolf. He used his canine fangs to fight for the kingdom of Lunde instead of joining a pack. He liked to make snappy comments about the many things that displease him. While he doesn’t trust the monarchy, he is the loving partner of Prince Quil, a perk he uses to its full advantage.


Next is Everett Arbalest, a beardless dwarvish man with bright red hair. He was the team’s weapons expert. If it killed people, he could use it. He was also the brains of the team. He liked to make plans and was easily flustered when they eventually fall apart. He was an anxious man and took medicine every so often to calm his nerves. He is often mistaken for a gnome, which will earn one a swift kick to the nuts.


And finally there was the elvish priestess, Amareese, or Reese for short. She was as tall as Andrada and had long flowing blonde hair. She quite often wore it in a ponytail. She was a stoic person who only said what needed to be said. She is the best user of elemental magic in her clan. She sticks particularly close to Everett and feels that she must protect him from harm since he is so small.


Yes, Lunde was pretty lucky to have these folks around, especially today.


In the royal castle, a messenger rushed through the halls carrying an important piece of paper. Even though he was in a hurry, he made time to make eye contact and say hello to the people he passed along the way. There were many royal servants in the halls today, so he felt obliged to greet every one of them until he reached the throne room. The doors were closed, which meant the monarchy did not want to be disturbed, but this was urgent. The messenger had a small crisis of faith for a few seconds, wondering what he should do. He finally closed his eyes and knocked quietly four times. He half hoped they wouldn’t hear him, allowing him the chance to run away with his head still on his shoulders. He knew that was a bit dramatic. The monarchy was quite benevolent and would never resort to beheadings, but he knew he was risking being yelled at for disturbing them.


“Hello?” said a young man’s voice. It belonged to the first prince of Lunde, Chrysanthemum Bartholomew Theophilous the Second.


The messenger winced at the idea that he had interrupted something important. “My apologies, Your Grace, but I have a message that demands your immediate attention.” He heard the sound of chair legs being scraped across a tile floor. Soon footsteps approached the large red, wooden double doors. A second later, the doors opened to reveal a large room heavily decorated in blue and silver drapes, shields, and painted walls. On the immediate left was a long rectangular table complete with a blue and silver table cloth. There sat the king, Oleander Bartimaeus Theophilus the First and the queen Jasmine Catherine Palmer-Theophilous, eating breakfast. The messenger immediately bowed and presented the prince with the paper. “I apologize for the disruption.”


Chrys just smirked and winked at the messenger. “No big deal. We’re just talking about how we can somehow crush our enemies and bathe in their blood, nothing important.” He took the paper and gave it a glance before shutting the doors in the messenger’s face.


The messenger heard Chrys walk back to the table and sit down. He let out a sigh of relief. His job was done. Now he could go back to the office and work on those reports that were overdue. He made haste as he left the castle and hoped not to return for a long while.


Chrys gave the paper to Oleander and watched him read it. The somber look on his father’s face piqued his interest. “Something bad?”


“Something bad,” Oleander said. He scratched his greying beard. “Very bad.”


“There’s that superior college vocabulary at work,” Jasmine said, rolling her eyes. “Spit it out, honey.”


“Assemble the Heroes at once,” Oleander commanded.


It was Chrys’s turn to roll his eyes. “Are you sure we need them? Maybe I could take care of it.” His father gave him a condescending grin, which was the equivalent of a pat on the head. Chrys knew he had been denied. He shook his head and bit his lip. “Fine.” He stood up and stormed out of the room, slamming the doors behind him. The echoes filled the open spaces of the throne room.


Oleander and Jasmine glanced at each other in confusion. “Was it something I said?” he asked. She just shrugged her shoulders and went back to eating her omelette, which by now was cold. She supposed that breakfast was over anyway. It was a shame, it had been a good omelette.

                                          ***

Chrys stomped through the halls of the castle mumbling under his breath. It wasn’t fair that his father called on the Heroes so often when he was perfectly capable of handling whatever was going on. There was no need to suck up to his brother and his friends. Sure, they fough monsters and stuff, but the Heroes destroyed far more than they saved. The cost of repairs had skyrocketed since the Heroes got together last year. It galled him that the kingdom lauded them with high praise while he was the one who had to pick up the pieces when the Heroes were done wrecking everything.


Lunde used to be a place where nothing exciting ever happened. Since the Heroes got together, Lunde had become a point of interest for their enemies, solely because of the Heroes. Every low-level villain thought they can gain infamy by being the one who took out the Heroes of Lunde. This unwanted attention had put the lives of the surrounding villages in constant danger countless times. In Chrys’s opinion, the Heroes ought to be disbanded, but his father won’t hear of it. This was just another thing that his brother got away with.


He arrived at Quil’s quarters sooner than he expected. His sour mood made the journey from the center of the castle to the far east wing quicker. He knocked on the door strongly. “Quil! Are you in there?”


There was the sound of rustling sheets and “uhh’s” on the other side. “Wait a minute,” Quil said.


Chrys didn’t have a minute; the fate of the kingdom could be in jeopardy. He grabbed the door handle and pushed open the door.  He immediately wished he hadn’t. He was graced with the view of his younger brother and his lover in bed in a precarious position. “Oh, god!” He closed his eyes and shut the door.


“You deserved that!” Quil shouted.


“Goddammit, Quil!” Chrys shouted back.


“What do you want?”


“Father has requested for the Heroes to assemble at once.” The words felt like lava as they poured out of his mouth. “Assuming you have time, that is. I’m sure we can wait until you’re done fucking around.” He banged on the door, which forced it open again. He didn’t look this time, he just left. He growled as he tried to expunge the images from mind. He didn’t even know a human could bend that way.


In the bedroom, Jaco and Quil quickly jumped out of bed and searched for their clothes.


“Why does he hate you so much?” Jaco asked, stuffing himself into his tight black pants. “I mean, if looks could kill, we’d be dead.”


Quil shook his head. “He’s been a real pain in the ass since we got together, the Heroes, that is.” He couldn’t find his underwear. He looked on the floor by the bed where they should have been, but they weren’t there. He searched the sheets, but they weren’t there either. He decided that maybe he wasn’t meant to wear underwear, he was always losing them. He found his blue pants with the silver belt and put them on. He found his blue shirt and shoved it on. He went to his closet and pulled out his leather armor and his shiny silver cape.


“There’s your Captain Lunde costume,” Jaco teased.


Quil rolled his eyes. “You know I hate it when you call it that. It’s not a costume, it’s a uniform.”


“Whatever you say, Cap’n.” Jaco saluted.


Quil finished getting dressed. All Jaco needed were his pants. He didn’t wear shoes or a shirt because they always got shredded when he transformed into his beast mode. He invested in some spandex pants that stretched to fit his alternate form. It was hard walking around without shoes, but his feet had grown calluses, so it didn’t hurt as much as it used to.


Quil looked at his nightstand and saw the black talkie resting on it, next to his red pair of underwear. He grabbed the device and pressed the number 8 on the number pad and it opened a channel. A second later, he heard the replies from the other Heroes. “It’s time to suit up. We got a mission!” The others confirmed that they would arrive at the castle soon. He closed the channel and put the device in his pocket. “We shouldn’t keep Father waiting.”


“Heaven forbid,” Jaco said, winking at Quil. “But I think he can wait just a little bit longer!” He approached Quil and kissed him full on the lips. Quil gave in. A servant came to the door and started to enter, but she saw what was happening and quickly found somewhere else to be. Quil lifted a finger and the door magically shut, giving the two of them some privacy.

                                        ***

King Oleander sat in his silver throne complete with crushed red velvet cushions as the Heroes filed into the throne room. He smiled at his youngest son as they approached him. He couldn’t be prouder that his son was defending the city and the leader of a band. He had yet to be disappointed with the Heroes’ results. They really got things done.


Chrys stood next to his father with an obvious scowl on his face. He had no idea what Oleander was going to ask of them, but he was confident that he could do a better job of it than the Heroes. He didn’t want to look, but he couldn’t stop staring at Quil and the smug look on his face. He felt his body temperature rise. He told himself that he had to find a better way to deal with his feelings. Jealousy? Sure, for lack of a better name.


“Father, how can we be of service to the kingdom?” Quil asked.


Oleander held up the message that had been delivered earlier. “Are you familiar with the Gogo-Kraken?” He studied their faces as the Heroes tried their best to look knowledgeable, but ultimately failed. “It’s okay if you don’t. For many centuries, the Gogo-Kraken was a myth that village leaders told their people to frighten them and get them to act right. Unfortunately, it is not a myth.” He paused for dramatic effect. “What is the Gogo-Kraken you ask? It is a creature that is able to travel through different dimensions devouring worlds. It once resided here. Very powerful wizards were able to lock it away just outside our dimension. Strong magic kept it at bay. A tiny statue held the spell to repel it. That statue was stolen yesterday by forces unknown.”


“Who steals random statues?” Andrada asked, flexing her muscles. “That person has no respect for the arts.”


“Someone who knows the power of the statue,” Oleander replied. “I need you to find the person who stole the statue, kill them, recover the statue, and return it to its resting place.”


“Oh, is that all?” Jaco asked. “Would you like us to pick you up anything while we’re gone? Dry cleaning? Groceries?”


Oleander chuckled at Jaco’s snarky comments. This surprised everyone, especially Chrys. It wasn’t just anyone who could mouth off at the king and get away with it. “No, I think that will be all, Jaco. Thanks for the offer.”


“What does this statue look like?” Quil asked.


Oleander handed the paper to Chrys, who walked it down to Quil. He examined the content on it and saw the plea for help from a Father Masonley and a picture of the statue. It looked like a bizarre octopus with tentacles curling every which way. Not only were there tentacles, there were four legs that looked like they would be as thick as tree trunks in person. It was expertly etched in charcoal, which gave its crisp, black edges a lifelike appearance. It made him shiver with dread. He hoped that he wouldn’t have to see this thing in the flesh.


“We’re on it, Father,” Quil said, rolling up the paper and handing it to Andy. “We won’t let you down!”


“You never have, son.” Oleander saluted them. This was met with an eye roll from Chrys. “Good luck, Heroes!”


Quil led the Heroes out of the throne room. The double doors shut behind them triumphantly. Quil was pumped for this mission, just like he was for every other mission. Though he felt he should have asked more questions this time. Where was the statue resting when it was stolen? Who was Father Masonley? What magic was keeping the Gogo-Kraken away from their dimension? What the hell kind of name was Gogo-Kraken? It was like someone gave up halfway through naming it and slapped any random syllable in front of the word ‘kraken’. He supposed he would have to find out these answers on his own. It would be far too embarrassing to go back now and ask for more information. He had faith that he and his teammates would figure it out.


“Gogo-Kraken?” Andrada snorted. “What a ridiculous name! I guess they couldn’t come up with anything better.”


“No wonder why it wants to eat our world,” Jaco added. “It’s pissed at us for giving it a stupid name.”


Everett cleared his throat dramatically and said, “I think we would do well not to antagonize the creature. We should just focus on getting the statue back where it belongs… which is where?”


“Hell if I know,” Quil replied.


“You didn’t think to ask?” Everett’s voice had the slight twinge of irritation. Quil shrugged. “This thing could be from anywhere! How are we going to narrow this down? We could be wandering the entire world before we could even come close to where this thing originated from, let alone finding the person who took it! I can’t believe that… I… I… I need a drink.” He reached into his satchel and pulled out a silver flask. He unscrewed it and took two big gulps before replacing the cap. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Sorry.”


Everett’s freak out had taken them from main courtyard to the castle entrance. The guards acknowledged their arrival and saluted them as they passed through the archway leading to the neighboring village. The group stood outside and waited for Everett to calm down.


“Are you alright, friend?” Reese asked, patting the dwarf on the head.


“I feel fine,” Everett lied.


“Princess, please allow me to look at the message,” Reese requested. Andrada handed her the paper gladly. Reese studied it intensely, looking over every inch of it, even inspected the sides. “This is from a small monastery by the Hyleian Mountains. It is about two days’ travel from here. If we leave now and keep a good pace, we can be there before sundown on the second day.”


Quil and Everett stared at Reese in amazement. Did she just pull that out of thin air or what? Reese stared back at them with a knowing smile. “What?”


“That was amazing! How did you do that?” Quil asked.


“It was my duty to know every region of this planet. It was a regular part of my duties to know the peoples and customs of every land.” Reese tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Child’s work. Shall we procure transportation?” She stepped away from the group and headed into the village. The others just stood there stunned for a moment before they eventually followed her.

                                          ***

Tidas found shelter under a large Davidian tree in the forest that surrounded the Hyleian Mountain range. He was so exhausted from the climb down that he immediately fell asleep once he found a good spot to make camp. It was mid-afternoon now. He awoke when he felt something crawl across his face. He slapped himself in the hopes of squashing whatever it was, but only succeeded in hurting himself. That definitely woke him up.


He sat up and scanned the area for any signs of the person he was supposed to meet. It appeared he was alone. That was almost disappointing. He wanted to be done with this job as soon as possible. The employers were shady. They were literally shady. In the viewing globe he used to communicate, the people were shrouded in shadow, only their silhouettes were visible. If they had somehow found him now, it would be comforting to know that they were actual people and not shadow demons or whatever.
He didn’t know how long it had been beeping, but eventually, he heard his talkie going off. He reached into his small pocket and procured the device. “Hello?”


“Do you have it?” whispered a woman’s voice.


“Yes, mistress,” Tidas replied. “It was really hard to get to. I’m afraid my rates will have to go up.”


There was a long silence. He wasn’t sure if it was a happy silence, an angry silence, or an ambivalent silence. He just knew the silence was making him nervous.


“Money is of no consequence,” was the response given. “Bring it to the village of Lagrimos by day’s end and you will be rewarded.”


The line went dead before he could happily say that he would do it gladly. He put the talkie back in his pocket and sighed. Lagrimos wasn’t exactly close to where he was now, but if he hoofed it quickly, he could get there by day’s end.


He stretched and yawned. As he did, he felt something shake inside the satchel. He stood still and waited for it to happen again. It didn’t. He opened the satchel and looked inside. The statuette was housed snugly. It didn’t look like it had moved, but had it? Was it doing something magical now that its resting place had been disturbed? He suddenly got the creeps. What if it had a curse associated with it? What if he was now being cursed because he stole it? He dismissed the idea as he closed the satchel. No time to think about curses now. If he didn’t get a move on, he was sure to be cursed by his employers. He quickly embarked on his journey without looking back. 

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 2

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Captain Sundance Starmont and Lieutenant Timmy Falken attended a gala event at the New Earth Museum of Artifacts to celebrate the unveiling of the Silver Ovarium Crystal Eggs. Soon after the unveiling, angry Space Chicken came to reclaim the eggs. They got all but one.


Episode 2: The Crystal Eggs, Part II- One Egg Short

On the bridge of the Space Chicken ship, the Nugget, the three thieving chickens presented the tray of Ovarium Silver Crystal Eggs to their queen. They knelt as the crown wearing pink chicken rose from her throne to inspect them. The silver light emanating from the eggs danced in her pitch black eyes. She picked up two and held them up against her face. They were cool and smooth. She sighed as she placed them back onto the tray. She looked at the remaining two and counted them. Her head jerked to the right and then straightened as she glared at her three lackeys.

“YOU FOOLS!” she shouted. The three chickens shuddered at the sound of her voice. “There are supposed to be FIVE eggs. FIVE! Where is the other one?”

“Bawk…They all should be there, Queen Chickadee,” one of the chickens mumbled.

“LOOK FOR YOURSELF!”

The three lackeys looked for themselves and counted only four eggs. “We don’t know how this could have happened, your highness.”

Chickadee huffed as she walked over to the viewscreen window, displaying the blue and green planet that was New Earth. “I send you to do one simple task and yet you fail me.”

“That human woman must have taken an egg before I was able to get away,” the chicken holding the tray admitted. “She attacked me twice. She must have it.”

Chickadee spun around dramatically and faced them. “Then you must go back and find this New Earth Woman. Bring me the egg!

“Yes, your majesty.” The three chickens stood up and flapped their way off the bridge.

Chickadee was left to stare out the window. Her black eyes glared at New Earth. “Oh, you will pay dearly for your insolence.” She let out a shrill cackle as if madness suddenly took her.

—————————–

Meanwhile at the S.P.A.C.E. Force Headquarters, Captain Sundance and Lieutenant Timmy knocked on the door of Admiral Grover Graves with distressing news.

“Come in,” the admiral commanded. Sundance and Timmy opened the door and stepped into the elaborately decorated office. Patriotic banners of blue, gold, and red hung on all the walls. A shelf containing all of the admiral’s medals and certificates was placed just behind his desk so that anyone walking in couldn’t miss it.

Graves, a slightly rotund black man, leaned back in his burgundy executive chair as the two space heroes entered. “I heard the news about the Unveiling Event this afternoon,”Graves said. “Nasty bit of business.”

“Yes, sir,” Sundance replied. Graves offered them to sit in the chairs in front of his desk. Timmy and Sundance obliged. “The Space Chickens came out of nowhere and started shooting up the place. They were after the New Earth Museum’s newest acquisition. Timmy.”

Timmy placed a silver carrying case on the Admiral’s desk and opened it. He reached in and carefully pulled out the Ovarium Silver Crystal Egg. Graves eyed it suspiciously. “The curator there was able to save this one, but I’m afraid the Space Chickens took the other four.”

“The one thing that disturbs me is how did they manage to sneak past our satellite security system?” Admiral Graves asked. “They shouldn’t have been able to get close enough to the Crystal Eggs to begin with.”

“I suspect they used some kind of jamming technology unknown to us,” Sundance suggested.

“If that’s true, then they could still be out there and we wouldn’t know it,” the Admiral said. “I’ll get the scientists to remedy this right away.”

“Another question is why now?” Timmy asked. “We’ve had the Eggs for almost a century with no incident. Why would they suddenly turn on us?”

“Sir,” Sundance stood up. “When the Space Chickens realize that they’re one egg short of an omelet, they’ll surely be back for it.”

“I’ll put the base on high alert.” Graves pressed a button on his red phone. “Prepare the laser cannons for attack. There are enemy ships in orbit. I want them shot down.” He released the button and looked at Sundance and Timmy. “Put the egg in a high security vault. When those sons of bitches come back, I want them to work for it.”

“Yes, sir,” Timmy and Sundance replied.

“And find that curator. The egg might not be the only thing the chickens are after.”

“But sir, we don’t usually play babysitter,” Sundance said.

“It’s nothing you two hotshots can’t handle!” Graves winked at them. He enjoyed the annoyed look on Sundance’s face. It was good to be king.

Sundance and Timmy saluted. After Timmy packed the Crystal Egg away, they hurriedly left the office.

“Do you really think the chickens will come back for the curator?” Timmy asked while trying to keep up with his partner’s fast pace.

“I’d bet my breakfast on it,” Sundance said.

————————————–

Astralyn was still a little shaken up by the afternoon’s events. She had never encountered a Space Chicken before, nor had she experienced a theft of that magnitude. She knew she should have gone home, but she felt better being at the museum. She found that if she kept her mind busy it would keep her from thinking about unpleasant things.

It was evening, so the museum was closed. Astralyn was able to do some paperwork she wouldn’t have gotten to due to the Unveiling. The Board of Directors were not going to be happy about the theft. She dreaded telling them as she typed up the report. When she finished, she walked around the building to make sure the museum exhibits were in order. She took inventory and made notes on her clipboard.

As she jotted down notes about the Eustace Diamonds, she heard the sound of a door shutting. It sounded like it came from the lobby. “Hello?” She placed the clipboard on a glass case belonging to another exhibit and left to investigate the noise.

Maybe it’s the cleaning crew coming in, she thought. Or maybe it’s the police looking to get a statement.  

When she reached the lobby, she didn’t find signs of the police or the cleaning crew. She checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked, they were. She was about to dismiss the noise as something her mind created when she spotted something on the floor by the soda machine. She slowly walked over to it. She gasped when she saw that the object was a yellow feather. But by then, it was too late.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 1

Perils of S.P.A.C.E.

Episode 1: The Crystal Eggs, Part I- The Unveiling

The intrepid galactic space heroes Captain Sundance Starmont and Lieutenant Septimus “Timmy” Falken joined the crowd of people gathered at the steps of the New Earth Museum of Artifacts. There was a table with black velvet coverings set up at the top of the first set of steps. On it was something covered by a red sheet, obviously the reason they were there.

“Isn’t this exciting, Captain?” Timmy asked excitedly. While the lieutenant was twenty one years old, he still had the tendency to revert back to a teenager when he was excited. He was a tall, yet skinny lad with short black hair which was parted down the middle, fair skin, and stunningly blue eyes. He proudly wore his S.P.A.C.E. Force uniform that were black and grey on top with, yellow stripes on the sleeves and a sun emblem over his left breast, and black slacks, patent leather shoes.

“In a word,” the captain replied. Sundance was twenty eight years of age, a little shorter than Timmy and well muscled. He had tan skin and deep brown eyes. His dark red hair was military cut with his bangs styled up.  His uniform was identical to Timmy’s except for the pink hot shorts he wore.

“These unveiling events are all the same,” Sundance continued, taking a sip of champagne. “People show up, the staff talks, they show off the shiny thing, the staff begs for money, and everyone goes home.”

“If you hate these events so much, why did you come?” Timmy asked.

“Because you were so excited about it, I thought I’d come and see what you were drooling about.” Sundance patted his comrade hard on the back, causing Timmy to spill his glass of champagne onto the woman in front of him. She turned around and glared at them as she tried to dry her hair.

A woman wearing a light blue dress stepped onto the podium in front of the covered table. Sundance’s gaze was brought immediately to her. Her blonde hair was done up in an executive looking bun. Her skin was like porcelain. He couldn’t quite make out what colour her eyes were, but he was sure they were a sight to behold. She tapped on the microphone and asked for everyone’s attention.

“Thank you, everyone, for coming today! My name is Astralyn Winner. I am the Chief Curator for the museum. Welcome to history in the making!” She clapped her hands, which prompted everyone else to clap. “Today is a very important day. We here at the New Earth Museum of Artifacts are very happy to bring you something we thought had been long lost during the Free Range War.” More people clapped. “As you know, a hundred years ago, the Space Chickens and the Old Earth Fleet fought for dominance of the Milky Way Galaxy. In the end, we won, but lost our planet in the process. When we moved to New Earth, as a sign of peace and hope for future peaceful meetings, the King of the Space Chickens gave us the Ovarium Silver Crystal Eggs!”

Astralyn motioned to a staff member who approached the table behind her. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you… the Ovarium Silver Crystal Eggs!” She nodded and a man wearing a black three piece suit grabbed the red cloth and yanked it off the display. An elaborate tray was revealed. It was propped up so that the five large ostrich sized, shiny eggs could be seen by the crowd. The eggs were beautifully crafted out of what looked like solid ice. The crowd ooh’d and ahh’d as they shone in the intense sunlight. Astralyn led the crowd in applause. “May their presence inspire all of us across the galaxy to hope for peace!”

“That was beautiful,” shouted a voice from behind Sundance and Timmy. “But what about the Space Chickens? Whatever happened to them?”

Astralyn approached the microphone and replied, “Well, if you remember from the history books, the Space Chickens went back to their galaxy and lived the rest of their days in peace and harmony.”

“The cluck they did!”

The sound of laser fire caused everyone to duck and instantly run for cover. Sundance and Timmy immediately whipped out their S.P.A.C.E. Force laser pistols and armed them to stun. They scanned the panicked crowd for the attackers, but there was too much movement.

More laser fire sounded and the panic increased. As the courtyard emptied Sundance was finally able to see who the culprits were: two seven foot, very yellow mutant chickens. They shot into the air with their large laser rifles.

“Space chickens!” Timmy shouted as he hid behind a cement planter.

“The oversized chicks are back!” Sundance dove behind the planter with Timmy and shot at the closest chicken. His opponent ducked behind another planter with a palm tree in it. The other space chicken took shelter behind a pillar in the courtyard. Sundance took a moment to look back at the podium and saw that Astralyn was hiding behind it.

“Give us the Crystals!” one of the chickens shouted.

“NEVER!” Astralyn shouted. “They are a symbol…”

A chicken shot at the podium. Astralyn screamed.

Sundance and Timmy stood up and shot at the two laser happy chickens. The chickens ducked behind their respective shields and waited until the enemy’s fire ended.

“HELP!” Astralyn shouted. Sundance looked back and saw another space chicken had appeared and snuck up behind Astralyn. It pushed her aside and made a grab for the Crystal Eggs. “They’re taking the eggs!”

Timmy tried to make a move to stop the chicken, but he was shot at. The blast almost hit him in the back of the head. He immediately got down on the ground and placed his hands on the back of his head.

Astralyn jumped up and attacked the thieving chicken. She attempted to wrestle the tray of eggs out of its hands, but once again, she was pushed to the ground. She watched as the chickens finally retreated. Timmy slowly stood up and surveyed the courtyard. It was completely empty. There was no sign of the chickens… not even an errant feather.

“Captain, should we chase after them?” Timmy asked, replacing his pistol into his hip holster.

“No.” Sundance walked over to Astralyn and helped her up. He saw that she had green eyes. He couldn’t help but smile. “I’m S.P.A.C.E. Agent Captain Sundance and this is Lieutenant Timmy. Are you hurt, ma’am?”

“No, I’m fine, thank you.” she replied. “They sure made a mess of things.”

“Sorry about your ceremony,” Timmy said. “They took your eggs.”

“Well, not all of them.” Astralyn reached underneath the podium and pulled out a Crystal Egg. “I managed to save one of them.”

Sundance looked at the egg and sighed. As the sunlight danced inside the glassy object, Sundance knew that the chickens would come back for it.

To be continued…

Hey! Thanks for reading! If you’d like to ensure I keep motivated to create content like this, please consider becoming a Patron on my Patreon! It would be super special awesome! Many thanks!