Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 32

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Timmy saved Sundance and friends from the robots. Sundance and Timmy stayed behind in hopes of disabling the ship, but did too good a job.

Episode 32: Return to Mechatropolis, Part IX: Crash and Burn

“Timmy, I need something! I’ll take any power you can give me!” Sundance tapped on the navigation console in the hopes that it would come alive.

Timmy looked around and couldn’t find anything right away. “Umm… umm…” He looked at the Electromagnetic Blaster. If it worked once…

He disconnected the blaster from the weapons console and moved it over to the navigation console. He reached down and pulled a few errant wires from it and wrapped it around the blaster.

“I don’t know if this is going to work,” Timmy said as the ship took a drastic nosedive. “Here goes nothing.” He pressed a button on the console and nothing happened. He tried it again, but the result was the same.

“But it worked the first time,” Sundance said.

“All the systems were on the first time,” Timmy replied. “We fried everything with the electromagnetic pulse.”

Sundance slammed his fist on the console. “Dammit! We go through all this trouble to save these people only to put them right back in harm’s way.” Timmy gave it a quick tap before Sundance slammed on it one more time and then the console came alive.

“Captain, you did it!” Timmy patted Sundance on the back. “You made it work again.”

“All it needed was to know who it was working for,” Sundance said, reveling at the moment. “Let’s see if I can make this baby fly!”

He pushed a button on the console and a little screen popped up with the robotic language displayed on it. He couldn’t make out what it was saying, but he had a pretty good idea. Piloting consoles hadn’t changed much throughout the ages. While this flying saucer was a really old model, the basics were still the same– he hoped.

“Hold onto your butts,” Sundance said.

He took the controls and tried his best to keep the ship from crashing into Citadel City. The ship shook with extreme violence as it slowly soared over the city. He felt the front of the saucer dip lower just as they reached the border of the city, threatening to take out a tall building. The ship passed without incident.

The console started to blink on and off. “Timmy, what does that mean?” He knew what it meant. 

“The console is losing power, Captain,” Timmy confirmed.

“Wire the weapon now!”

“It’s already wired, sir. We’re draining the weapon.” Timmy picked up the blaster and sighed. “It wasn’t meant to power an entire ship!”

“Fine, I’ll see if I can set her down gently.”

Sundance strained to retain control of the ship. As soon as it was safely away from Citadel City, Sundance looked for a suitable place to crash. He spotted the place the ship had lain dormant for centuries.

“The crater,” Timmy said. “That’s brilliant!”

“You’re just saying that.” Sundance winked at Timmy as he piloted the ship towards the crater.

The console stopped blinking and the display slowly faded away. There was no more power. Sundance stepped away from the controls and threw his hands in the air.

“That’s all I got,” he said. “Let’s get out of here and hope Astralyn was able to get most of those people out of here.” He turned around and left the bridge. Timmy picked up the blaster, unraveled the wires, and then followed Sundance out.

They ran down the corridors to the best of their ability with the ship continuing its nosedive. It threatened to make them walk on the ceiling. With strong determination, they raced down the corridors until they reached the docking bay. Astralyn and Kjartan were waiting for them.

“It’s about time,” Astralyn said. She handed the boys jetpacks, then she put on her own. “I thought the captain always went down with the ship.”

“It depends on whose ship it is,” Sundance said, smirking at her. Astralyn looked disgusted.

They all jumped out of the docking bay and used the jet packs to get as far away from the crashing ship as possible. When they were a safe distance away, they watched the saucer crash back into the crater it had previously occupied. There was a large explosion and debris flew everywhere.

Sundance, Kjartan, Astralyn, and Timmy piloted their jet packs back to Citadel City, not wanting to have anything more to do with the remains.

———

“Is it really over this time?” Admiral Graves sat in his chair in the war room. Astralyn, Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy all stood beside him looking at the viewscreen. The image of the destruction of the ship was haunting to look at. “Are those suckers really dead?”

“I believe them to be so, Admiral,” Sundance reported.

“And what about that book?” Admiral Graves looked at Kjartan and Astralyn.

“If it was on that ship, it’s been obliterated,” Astralyn replied. She looked over at Kjartan and he nodded at her.

“If?” The admiral did not look pleased.

“It was on the ship, sir,” Astralyn amended.

“Good!” Admiral Graves stood up from his chair and smiled. “Then I can take a piss. I’ve been holding it all day! Astralyn, always a pleasure. Gentlemen.” He swiftly exited the war room. “Try not to resurrect anything while I’m gone.”

Kjartan let out a sigh of relief as the admiral walked past him. “You don’t have to tell me twice. At first, I was happy to go out in the field, but now? I’m never leaving the office again. You can count on that!”

“It all comes with the territory if you hang around Sundance long enough,” Astralyn joked.

“No offense, Captain, but I hope I never see you around the office. Good day.” Kjartan half-heartedly saluted Sundance and Timmy and saw his own way out of the war room.

“Say, let’s all go get some dinner!” Sundance said.

“Are you buying?” Timmy asked.

“I think dinner will be on the museum tonight.” Astralyn fished a green credit card out of her pocket. Sundance and Timmy cheered as the three of them left the war room.

————

At the crater, S.P.A.C.E. agents were combing the area for all the pieces of scrap metal. Anything and everything was picked up, that was if it wasn’t on fire.

“I don’t see why we always have to clean stuff like this up,” complained one worker.

“Because it’s our job!” replied another worker.

They both walked by a piece of metal that once belonged to a robot. When they had gotten far enough away, a little red light began to flash off and on.

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 31

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance tried to play the hero and rescue his friends, but the robots quickly foiled his plan. Now he stands in line to be slaughtered with everyone else.

Episode 31: Return to Mechatropolis, Part VIII: Timmy the Robot Slayer

Two of the menacing robots reached down and pulled Sundance to his feet. They stripped him of the jetpack and threw it away. Sundance was too sore to fight back. He looked up, defeated, and saw that the robots had found the others. They rounded them up and made them line up in a single file. His robot captors pushed him into the line, conveniently next to Astralyn and Kjartan.

“That was a brilliant plan,” Astralyn said, rolling her eyes.

“It worked for a little bit, didn’t it?” Sundance shook his head and sighed. “It should have worked. There were more robots that I realized.”

“I was rooting for you,” Kjartan said. He patted Sundance on the back.

“At least some people are appreciative,” Sundance said.

The line marched tragically forward. Sundance dared to step out of the line to see where the

line was headed. The people at the front of the line were climbing a flight of stairs connected to one of the large silver silos.

“Looks like we’re going back upstairs,” Astralyn said.

“What do you think they’re going to do to us?” Kjartan asked.

“They’re probably going to make us fall into that silo, which will have a device that will either mash us or grind into a gooey paste,” Sundance answered candidly. Kjartan whimpered.

“Do you have any more bright ideas?” Astralyn asked.

“Timmy.”

———

Timmy flew up into the docking bay with the Electromagnetic Blaster primed and ready. When he saw that there wasn’t anyone there, he landed. He quietly took off his jetpack and tiptoed down the corridors. He carefully peered around corners to see if any robots were nearby. They were eerily empty, just the way he wanted it.

Timmy heard the loud whirring noises of the processing plant and knew where he needed to go. As he neared the plant, he began to see more robots headed in the area. He likened it to people hanging out in the kitchen when food is ready to be served.

The plant was right around the corner. Four robots were guarding the door. Timmy sighed and said, “This is it.” He jumped out into the corridor and blasted two of the robots dead. They fell to the floor and exploded. Before the other two robots could figure out what had happened, Timmy blasted them. They exploded seconds later. Steaming robot chunks were everywhere.

“Cool beans,” Timmy said.

He stepped over the remains and entered the plant. The three robots at the end of the bridge were startled, but he quickly shot them. More explosions.

By this time, the robots on the floor noticed that their brethren had just been killed. They all turned their attention away from the line and focused on Timmy, firing their lasers. Timmy ducked and dodged each laser while blasting the robots on his way down the stairs.

Sundance saw this and shouted, “NOW!” He immediately rushed the robots monitoring the line. The people followed suit and toppled over their oppressors. Some of the robots even tried to run away, but the people tackled them to the floor.

When Timmy reached the end of the stairs, he tucked and rolled off of them and shot two

robots that were coming his way. They collided into each other and exploded. He ran over and helped the people take down more robots.

“Timmy, you did it!” Sundance said. “I knew you could do it!”

“Thanks, Captain,” Timmy said. “You should really thank Doctors Rothery and MacFadden. They came up with…”

“Timmy, behind you!” Astralyn shouted.

Without even looking, Timmy fired a shot over his shoulder. The robot that was sneaking up on him exploded instantly. He looked heroic as his silhouette stood out against the fiery backdrop of the explosion.

Timmy looked around and found that most of the robots had been destroyed. “I love this thing!” 

“What we need to do now is to stop the processing plant,” Sundance said. “And I know just how to do it. Timmy, we need to find the bridge.”

“I got it!” Timmy said. “Stop the ship, stop the plant.”

“And don’t forget about the robots on the ground,” Astralyn reminded.

“You and your intern help the people jet pack it out of here,” Sundance commanded. “Timmy and I will stop the ship.”

“Aye aye, captain.” Astralyn mock saluted him before she and Kjartan left to follow his orders.

Timmy and Sundance ran up the stairs and across the bridge to arrive at the entrance to the plant. Timmy led them down several corridors, blasting robots as they came.

It took them a while, but they finally made it to the bridge. Timmy wiped out all of the robots that were there. When the smoke cleared, Timmy and Sundance tiptoed through the remains to reach the weapons console.

“Can you patch that weapon into the ship’s weapons system?” Sundance asked.

“Can I? How is that even a question?” Timmy immediately went to work. He crawled underneath the panel, pulled out some wires and attached them to the blaster. He typed in a few commands and the blaster was ready. “When I press the button, the blaster will send the command to…”

“Great!” Sundance pressed the button and the ship emitted a huge amount of energy. Like a tsunami wave, the electromagnetic pulse swept across the land below and ravaged the robots. On the ground, robots everywhere shorted out and then exploded into a million fiery pieces. The people cheered and celebrated.

“Uh oh,” Timmy said.

“Uh oh? What uh oh?”

In response, all of the systems on the ship powered down at the same time. Timmy looked at Sundance and smiled weakly. “I forgot that the ship would be affected as well.”

“That’s not good.” Sundance scrambled to the navigation control panel to see if he could turn it back on somehow, but it was dead. The pulse had knocked it out of commission. There was nothing left to do but let the ship crash to the ground.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 30

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: While Sundance attempted to free Astralyn and the townsfolk from the Robot ship, Timmy was left behind to acquire a weapon he hopes will prove useful in the robots’ defeat.

Episode 30: Return to Mechatropolis, Part VII: Blasted

Timmy managed to make his way safely from the museum to S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters. He ran down the halls until he reached the Research and Development laboratories. He slammed open the doors and stood in the doorway panting. The two researchers in the lab were startled, almost dropping the beakers of fluid they were holding.

“Help,” Timmy gasped. “I need help!”

Dr. Rothery ran to him and escorted him to a seat. “Are you alright, sir?” she asked.

“There are giant man-eating robots on the loose; of course I’m not alright!” The other researcher, Dr. MacFadden gave Timmy a glass of water, which he quickly drank. “I need something…” He took another deep breath and tried again. “I need something that will defeat the killer robots. The laser pistols aren’t working.”

Dr. Rothery looked confused. “There are killer robots outside? Why doesn’t anyone tell us these things?”

“I think the admiral made an announcement,” Dr. MacFadden said, rubbing his hands. He walked over to his desk and rifled through a stack of papers, many of them doodles and blueprints. “I think I was working on something in case of a giant robot invasion over here last week.”

“Really?” Timmy asked.

“Well, you want to be prepared for anything.”

Dr. Rothery joined the search. “Reptilian attacks? No. Amphibian attacks… Oh, here’s the Space Chicken attack… I guess we’re a little late on that.” She grabbed another sheet of paper. “Ah-ha! Robot invasion attack.”

“It’s always in the last place you look,” Dr. MacFadden said.

“Of course it is,” Rothery replied matter-of-factly. She brought the blueprint over to Timmy and let him take a look at it. “In theory, this weapon should allow the user to create an electromagnetic blast which should disable any mechanoid. We called it the ‘Electromagnetic Blaster’. Catchy, isn’t it?”

“In theory?” Timmy asked. “Nevermind. It sounds great. How soon and how fast can you make this thing?”

“Oh, it’s already done.” Dr. MacFadden pointed to a cabinet where they kept all of their prototypes. Timmy stood up and walked over to it. When he opened it, he saw many gadgets and gizmos. He immediately found the weapon.

“Is this a modified shotgun?” Timmy pulled the gun out of the cabinet and tested its weight. The doctors nodded. “Nice. Thanks a lot, you guys!”

Timmy ran out of the lab. The doctors tried to warn him that it hadn’t been tested and that they weren’t even sure it had a power supply in it, but they figured he’d find out soon enough.

———

Timmy ran out of the headquarters and back into the chaos and mayhem happening outside. He saw some robots ganging up on a few S.P.A.C.E. agents and thought it would be the perfect time to try the weapon out. He confidently cocked the shotgun and pulled the trigger. A big blue wave of energy flew out of the barrels and hit the robots. They froze in place for a moment and then sparks spewed from their bodies. They collapsed to the ground and twitched.

“Bullseye!” Timmy said.

The S.P.A.C.E. agents thanked him and commented on his new toy. They asked if he had any more.

“Ask Dr. Rothery and MacFadden,” Timmy replied. “In the meantime, I have a date with a couple of robots.”

He walked over to one of the defunct robots and stole its jetpack. It wasn’t using it anymore.

———-

Sundance watched as the robots herded the people out of the docking bay and towards the processing plant in a single file line. He maneuvered himself to the back of the line while he tried to come up with a plan. He felt frustrated for not having done so earlier. He couldn’t let the robots process those people into food. He frantically looked around him to see if there was anything he could use to fight off the robots. Underneath the jetpack he had just used, there was a long metal pipe lying there.

“How convenient,” he said aloud.

He picked up the pipe and examined it. He supposed it would have to do. He was about to head back down the hallway when he stopped and looked back at the jetpack. “Hmmm…”

———

“Do you think he’s just gonna leave us here?” Kjartan asked. A robot prodded him with a staff to move him towards the processing plant.

“He’s not going to leave us to die, Kjartan,” Astralyn replied. “That’s not his style. I don’t know what plan he’s got, but I sure hope it’s a good one.” She looked ahead. The processing plant was just around the corner to the right. She hoped Sundance would arrive soon.

A few minutes later, they reached the processing plant. The smell of oil and steam filled the room. The heat was oppressive. They crossed a bridge and then followed the stairs down to the lower level.

There were robots lined up against the walls, making sure no one stepped out of line. She looked at Kjartan and saw that he was thinking about running away. She shook her head, indicating that he wouldn’t make it very far before they caught him. He sighed and kept walking. 

“Everybody run!” Sundance’s voice was heard from up above. Everyone looked up and saw that he was flying around using a jetpack. As soon as he swooped down, the people quickly dispersed throughout the plant.

The robots raised their arms and fired lasers at the fleeing people and up at Sundance. The captain deftly maneuvered past the laser beams and swung the pipe, breaking their lasers. He

zipped back up again to get out of their reach.

“How do you like them apples?” Sundance gloated.

More robots entered the plant from the entrance above and shot Sundance’s jetpack, setting it on fire and rendering it useless. He immediately fell to the floor with a thud. The robots swiftly gathered around him. All Sundance could see were their evil red eyes staring down at him.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 29

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy go to check on Astralyn and Kjartan only to be met with resistance from the robots.

Episode 29: Return to Mechatropolis, Part VI: Into the Lions’ Den

As Sundance and Timmy arrived at the museum, they noticed there was a large group of robots congregated in the front. “We’re too late,” Sundance said.

“Again,” Timmy added.

The robots turned around in unison and stared at them with their glowing red eyes. This sent shivers down Timmy’s spine. They all slowly marched towards them. Knowing that they weren’t going to do much if any, damage to them, Sundance took out his laser pistol and began firing at them.

“Stupid robots think they’re better than us,” Sundance said. “Hold on!” He revved the engine of his hovercar and took off at breakneck speed. “If this doesn’t stop them, nothing will.”

He steered directly towards the robots and knocked them over. Robots went flying left and right. When he reached the steps of the museum, Sundance turned the car around and plowed through the remaining robots. The courtyard was full of dented and prone robots. He stopped the car and let it settle to the ground.

“Be impervious to that!” Sundance shouted triumphantly.

Suddenly, there was a scream from up above. Timmy and Sundance looked up and saw that two robots were flying up towards the mother ship with Astralyn and Kjartan in tow.

“Astralyn!” Sundance called out. “They’ve taken Astralyn!”

“Again,” Timmy added.

Sundance jumped out of the car and ran to one of the damaged robots. He saw they had jet packs strapped to them. He didn’t question why the robots had jet packs; he just knew that he could use them.

“Timmy, come and help me get the jetpack off this robot,” Sundance commanded.

“Why does it have a jetpack?” Timmy got out of the car and helped Sundance roll the robot over.

Sundance retrieved the jet pack and promptly started putting it on. Once he was buckled in, he started the engine.

“Wait for me,” Timmy said. He quickly started to look for a jet pack as well.

“No, Timmy.” Sundance placed his right hand on Timmy’s left shoulder and shook his head. “I need you to get back to headquarters.”

“I can do this!”

“I know you can, but I need you to help come up with something that will stop these robots.” Sundance looked up at the space saucer and sighed. More robots were flying back up there with people in tow. “I need to go up there and save those people. When you’ve got something, let me know!”

“I’ll do my best, Captain.” Timmy saluted him.

“Good luck, sir.”

Sundance nodded his head. He pressed a button and he flew into the sky.

Timmy looked at the metallic carnage and sighed. Some of the robots sparked and twitched. With each pop, Timmy jumped. “Screw this noise.” He hopped into Sundance’s car and drove back to headquarters.

————

Sundance arrived at the docking bay of the robot’s spaceship. He was more than a little irritated that he was back on the ship. He turned off the jet pack and threw it on the ground. He quickly scanned the area and found a pillar to hide behind. As he hid, another stream of robots with a fresh batch of humans flew in. They screamed as the robots led them towards their doom.

Sundance carefully peered out from behind the pillar and watched as the robots ushered the humans into a holding room. Once they were safely deposited, the robots locked them inside and walked further down the corridor. He waited for a few minutes before he dared to come out into the open.

He tiptoed over to the holding room and knocked on it. People inside shouted for help. He quickly shushed them and told them to be quiet. “I’m going to get you out of there. Stand back.” He heard them take his advice. He took out his trusty laser pistol and aimed it at the locking mechanism. The lock sparked and the door opened.

People quickly ran out and pushed him aside. They ran back to the docking bay and stopped when they realized that they couldn’t go anywhere. With no other jet packs to use, the forty-

plus people were stuck on the ship.

Astralyn and Kjartan approached Sundance. Kjartan looked grateful, but Astralyn looked irritated. “So what’s the plan?” she asked.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t really think that far ahead,” Sundance admitted. “I just wanted to get you out of there.”

“Well, thank you, but next time…” Astralyn started.

“I’ll just leave your butt up here,” Sundance smirked at her.

“I hope you didn’t set off an alarm or something,” Kjartan said.

Suddenly, a klaxon sounded. Astralyn and Sundance turned and glared at Kjartan.

“What? I didn’t do it!” Kjartan put his hands up in the air.

“So what now, O fearless leader?” Astralyn asked sarcastically.

Sundance didn’t know what to do. He thought about asking everyone to get back in the room, but then what? He should have stayed with Timmy. He was just so focused on saving Astralyn… He never said that planning was his strong suit.

“Sundance!” Astralyn snapped him back into the moment.

“Hold on, I’ll think of something!” Sundance could hear the sound of the robotic footsteps approaching. He needed to act fast. He scanned the bay and saw that there wasn’t anything that he could use as a weapon, not offhand. The only thing he had was his laser pistol and that wasn’t going to do anything to them at all. At this moment he wished he had thought this out more.

“We need to get back in the room,” Sundance said. “Everyone, back into the room.” The people protested. “Or would you rather jump?” The people mulled it over. “Just get into the room!” The people reluctantly agreed and walked back towards the holding room.

The robots arrived too quickly and blocked their approach. Ten robots were gnashing their teeth, arms outstretched. Sundance ran to the front of the crowd and pulled out his laser pistol, ready to defend. He fired a few warning shots, but the robots kept coming. With each menacing step forward, the people would take a step backward. This continued until they reached the open door, with only open-air and the ground below. Sundance knew that he had run out of time. There was nothing left to do but surrender.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 28

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: While the robots have vacated New Earth, Astralyn discovered Kjartan kept a souvenir.


Episode 28: Return to Mechatropolis, Part V: Robots of Menace

In the war room, Ensign Harriman sat at his console, monitoring the satellite system in space. It was supposed to be a routine shift. He and his coworkers usually sat at their desks drinking tea, coffee, even hot chocolate on occasion while they read the paper, played word games, or watched old TV shows from Old Earth, nothing too exciting. With Captain Sundance running around pissing off Space Chickens with giant spaceships, things had become more exciting than he could bear. The giant spaceship this morning got everyone upset. The thought of a spaceship full of homicidal robots in their backyard was terrifying. Ensign Harriman just hoped for a quiet evening.

“Ensign Harriman, I’m picking up something on long-range scanners,” said a crewman. “Putting it on screen now.”

“No, no, no!” Ensign Harriman muttered under his breath.

On the large viewscreen, an image of a giant saucer appeared. Ensign Harriman recognized it as the one from earlier. He immediately picked up the phone and dialed a number. “Admiral, you need to see this.”

Before Harriman hung up the phone, the admiral walked in and sat down in his chair.

“That thing again, eh?” Graves said, shifting the cushion of his seat. “Fire lasers!”

Ensign Harriman pressed a few buttons and the lasers fired. On the screen, they were able to see that the robots’ shields kicked in and stopped the lasers before impact.

“How is that possible? It’s older than dirt!” Admiral Graves ordered another shot, but it yielded the same result. “What’s the point of having a satellite laser system if everything is impervious to it?”

The spaceship flew right through the satellite defense and headed towards the S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters. It hovered overhead for a few minutes. People all over Citadel City looked up into the night sky and saw the saucer hovering there. They screamed when they saw robots were rappelling down from their ship.

The robots landed all over the city and started to round people up. When they caught them, they activated their jetpacks and flew back up to the ship.

“All S.P.A.C.E. agents please report for duty,” the admiral said over the loudspeaker. All the agents gathered and immediately left to fight the robots.

Sundance and Timmy arrived at the scene downtown and shot at a group of robots that were trying to corner a nice couple.

“You there, robots!” Sundance called out as he hopped out of his hovercar. “You leave those people alone!” He and Timmy fired at them. The robots were distracted long enough to allow the couple to escape. The lasers bounced off the robots’ chests.

“They still aren’t working!” Timmy exclaimed. “What kind of robots are these?”

“I don’t know, Timmy, but just keep firing!”

The robots lost interest in them and walked away.

“Hey! I’m shooting you! Pay attention to me!” Sundance shouted.

“Man, who knew going to visit Astralyn would result in mass chaos?” Timmy asked, shooting at the now bored robots.

“I should have known,” Sundance mumbled. Then he slapped his forehead. “Astralyn! Timmy, get in the car!” He ran back to the car and started it up. Timmy was barely able to hop in the car  

before Sundance sped off.

“Where are we going?” Timmy asked. He looked behind them and saw that other S.P.A.C.E. agents were taking care of the robots they left behind. “What about the robots?”

“Do you ever stop asking questions?” Sundance replied. “We’re going to check on Astralyn. If the robots returned, I bet it has something to do with that book.”

————

Astralyn and Kjartan heard the sound of the giant space saucer hovering above the museum and instantly shut the metallic book.

“Make it stop blinking,” Kjartan said, pushing the book in Astralyn’s direction.

“What makes you think I know anything about how this book works?” Astralyn replied. She pushed it back in Kjartan’s direction. “You opened it, you figure it out!”

“I’m just an intern!”

A loud thump sounded from above. The robots had landed on the roof. Astralyn looked out the window and saw robots floating down from the sky. They were massing in front of the museum. One of them looked her way and she instantly shut the curtain.

“They know we’re here,” Astralyn said. Kjartan was still looking at the blinking light and silently panicking. “We need to either get out of here or hide.”

“Maybe if we just give them the book, they’ll take it and leave us alone.”

“They’re a group of nomadic, carnivorous robots,” Astralyn said. “I don’t think they’re just going to call it a day. Come on!”

Astralyn grabbed Kjartan and pulled him out of the office. They traveled in the shadows to the back of the building. They stopped when they heard thumping and then a buzzing noise on the roof.

“What is that?” Kjartan asked.

“It’s our cue to shut up and hide.” Astralyn led them to the basement near the back of the building. There was a code needed to open the door. She punched a five-digit passcode and the door clicked open. She pushed Kjartan inside and shut the door behind her.

Kjartan turned on a light, but Astralyn quickly turned it off. “No lights!”

They sat in the dark and listened to the sounds of the robots breaking into the museum. Astralyn tried not to think about the amount of cleanup and paperwork she’d have to do after this adventure.

Astralyn backed away from the door and stared at the thin slice of light at the bottom. The light shifted as the robots’ feet neared the door. She and Kjartan jumped as the door handle jiggled. The door remained closed. Everything went quiet. Astralyn continued to hold her breath. Did it get bored and leave? Astralyn checked the light at the bottom of the door. The dark spot gave way to light. Kjartan and Astralyn let out a collective sigh. Then a fist punched through the door.

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!

Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 27

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: The gang barely escape the spaceship, but getting out was only the beginning.


Episode 27: Return to Mechatropolis, Part IV: What Lies Beneath

Panic set in as the entire crater began to quake violently. People ran for their lives in all directions. Astralyn, Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy stood and watched as the ground cracked open.

“Everyone out of the crater!” Sundance commanded. They did not need to be told twice. People ran to the nearest declared exits.

“What is going on?” Kjartan asked.

“I think they’re leaving,” Sundance replied.

The shaking became more intense. Pieces of the ground gave way as the cracks grew wider. A low humming noise joined the chaos. The sound caused the ground to vibrate more than it already had been. Before it had been sinking, now the ground was starting to rise.

“Oh my god,” Astralyn gasped.

“To the car, to the car!” Sundance shouted.

Everyone that had a vehicle hopped in it and quickly sped away. Kjartan and Astralyn jumped into the back seats of Sundance’s car.

“Everyone buckle up!” Sundance started the car as he hopped in it. Timmy climbed in and buckled his seat belt. Astralyn and Kjartan did the same.

The hovercar lifted off the unsteady ground and flew off into the distance. The ground continued to rise beneath them. At one point, the ground threatened to come crashing down on them as it crested into a large wave. The humming grew even louder. The hovercar drove as fast as it could but it didn’t seem to be fast enough.

Astralyn covered her ears as the wind whipped past them. She looked back and saw that the spaceship was rising out of the crater. It spun around, sending the dirt that had once rested on it flying everywhere.

“Oh my god,” she whispered again.

When the spinning saucer was finally free of the ground, it hovered over the fleeing humans for  

a moment and then flew off into space.

Sundance and Timmy could see that S.P.A.C.E. Headquarters had already begun firing at the ship, but its shields protected it from getting damaged. Sundance didn’t care if the robots were destroyed; he was just glad they were leaving. He stopped the car and let it hover in neutral.

“Is everyone okay?” Sundance looked back at Astralyn and Kjartan. Both of them looked shocked beyond reason. “I’ll take that as a yes. Let’s go home, people.”

———

“Just what the hell was that?” Admiral Graves sat down at his desk. Sundance and Timmy thought it best to check in with him as soon as they got back to base. “One minute it’s peaceful and then the next, there’s an earthquake!”

“Astralyn and one of her assistants stumbled upon a book…” Sundance tried to explain.

“A book?”

“Well, it looked like a book, but it opened a door in the hut that led to a giant space saucer that

was trapped underground,” Sundance spoke as quickly as he could to prevent the admiral from interrupting again. “I pushed the button to the book and that’s what started everything. The ship came back to life and the carnivorous robots woke up and tried to eat us… sir.”

“Carnivorous robots?”

“They had huge teeth, sir.”

Sundance and Timmy saw that the admiral was having a hard time with the scenario. There wasn’t anything they could say that would make it any more believable.

“You mean to tell me that there was a ship full of sleeping carnivorous robots underneath Citadel City for years and no one knew about it?”

“Well, the previous civilization might have known about it, sir,” Timmy said. “But they didn’t leave any notes behind.”

“Well, they’re gone now, right?” Admiral Graves asked.

“I believe so,” Sundance replied.

“Good riddance. Now I have to calm the citizens down and assure them that the worst is over.” The admiral stood up and dismissed Sundance and Timmy.

As they left the admiral’s office, Timmy felt a knot developing in the pit of his stomach. He tried to attribute it to all the excitement that happened earlier, but he knew better.

———

Later that night at the New Earth Museum of Artifacts, Kjartan sat alone in Astralyn’s office staring at a black backpack. He had been sitting there for twenty minutes just staring at it, willing himself to open it.

“Man up, Kjartan!” He took a deep breath and reached for the bag. He punched in a four-digit code on the lock and the backpack opened. He reached inside and pulled out a metallic book and set it on the table. He let the air out through his teeth and created a whistling sound. He pressed the button on the spine and the book opened. With great care, he flipped open the first page. He examined the writing inside and felt he recognized it.

He stood up from his desk and scanned the bookcase. He found the book he was looking for, sat down, and scoured both books for a translation. The first word he translated was ‘Mechanomitron’. He took out a notepad and started taking notes.

An hour later, Kjartan had finished going through the books. He got on the phone and called

Astralyn.

“Ms. Winner, you have to come to the museum and see this!” He hung up the phone and waited. Twenty minutes later, Astralyn strolled into the office. She gasped when she saw the Mechanomitron sitting on her desk.

“Kjartan, you didn’t…”

“I did! You were right, there were people on this planet before us.” Kjartan stood up from his seat and pushed Astralyn towards the book. “The robots brought them here. They used this planet like a farm. They would bring humans here, let them flourish, then come back and harvest them. They’d leave a few behind so that they would repopulate, then go to another planet to harvest humans there!”

“The robots must have crashed here on their way back to harvest and couldn’t get free,” Astralyn whispered. “Until today.”

Astralyn noticed that a little red light on the book had been flashing on and off on its spine. “How long has it been doing that?” she asked.

Kjartan picked up the book and looked at the spine. “I don’t know.”

Astralyn knew that this was not good news. “They’re coming back.”

To be continued…

Onward to Episode 28!

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 26

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: The gang explore the spaceship and accidentally reactivate it, waking up the sleeping inhabitants inside.


Episode 26: Return to Mechatropolis, Part III: Escape from Mechatropolis

Sundance slowly backed away from the pod as the robot inside jerked back and forth. The pod to the left of it lit up, then the one to the right of it. Pods on the south wall started to light up.

“I think now would be a good time to get out of here,” Astralyn said. She and Kjartan slowly backed out of the room. Timmy was right behind them.

All of the robots were reactivating and climbing out of the pods. Timmy and Sundance took out their laser pistols and took off running down the corridor. The robots immediately ran after them with surprising speed. Sundance and Timmy turned around and shot at the robots with amazing accuracy. This caused the robots to slow down in their pursuit of them, but not completely shut down.

“Captain!” Timmy called Sundance’s attention to the fact that more robots were joining the chase. “There’s too many of them! We can’t fight them all off!”

“Just keep shooting!” Sundance commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan led the way through the corridors, trying to remember which way they came. Astralyn knew they didn’t take too many turns, but even the simplest of directions under pressure could easily turn complicated.

They stopped at a four-way intersection. “I don’t remember being here,” Astralyn said. “None of this looks familiar.”

“All the walls look the same,” Kjartan added. “I knew we should have brought some bread crumbs! I even had a sandwich for lunch.”

“Not helping,” Astralyn mumbled.

Sundance and Timmy, who were bringing up the rear, caught up with Astralyn and Kjartan. “Why has the running stopped?” Sundance demanded. “Must go faster!”

Astralyn didn’t want to tell him that she didn’t know where they were. She looked at all three directions and took a deep breath. Let’s try forward, she thought. She ran straight ahead and the group followed.

The short pause allowed the robots to gain some space. They reached out their arms for them, yearning to touch them. As Sundance continued to pummel the robots with laser beams, he took time to realize that they had mouths. Before he could question why they had mouths, he saw that when they opened, there were rows of sharp metallic teeth. Why in the world would

robots need teeth? Sundance thought. Just keep shooting them and hopefully, we won’t need to find out.

Timmy and Sundance continued to fire at the robots, but they seemed to be impervious. Sundance tried shooting the first line of robots in their eyes, but the robots kept coming. There didn’t seem to be any weak spots.

“Oh come on!” Sundance shouted.

Astralyn led the group down a corridor to right and was relieved to find the bridge that led to the hut they entered from. She ran towards it as fast as she could. The bridge trembled with each footstep. She thought it was because of the combined weight of everyone on the bridge, but as she neared the end of the bridge, she realized that the bridge was withdrawing back into the ship.

“Hurry up,” Astralyn shouted. “The bridge!”

The others already knew. Astralyn was first to leap from the bridge to the sandy floor of the hut. The gap between wasn’t that wide. Kjartan had to jump a little further, but he managed.

Sundance and Timmy were still walking backward, shooting at the fast-approaching robots. They seemed to be walking in place, like a metallic treadmill. The gap was growing wider.

“Timmy, go ahead and jump,” Sundance commanded. “I’ll be right there.”

Timmy wanted to argue, but he knew that there was no time. He placed his laser pistol in his belt and turned to jump. He made the mistake of looking down into the black abyss below.

“Timmy, hurry!” Astralyn said. She held out her hands as Timmy made the jump. She caught him and pulled him onto the ledge. “Sundance!”

The robots were now on the bridge with Sundance. No matter how many laser blasts he fired off, they kept coming! There was no point in firing anymore. He placed his pistol on his hip and turned around to make the jump, only the gap was too wide and growing wider.

“Captain, come on!” Timmy called. “We’ll catch you!”

Sundance looked back at the alternative. He had no choice. He took a deep breath and jumped from the bridge. It was mid-jump that he realized that he was going to come up short of the ledge. He was going to fall to his death in the abyss below. The edge of the spaceship, assuming it was saucer-shaped, would catch him and break his fault.

“Kjartan! Timmy!” Without having to be told, they quickly linked elbows as Astralyn leaned out

into the gap. She reached out her free hand and with amazing strength, caught Sundance. “Don’t let go!” she commanded.

Kjartan and Timmy pulled Astralyn and Sundance back into the hut. They collapsed in a heaping, panting pile, thankful to be alive.

Kjartan was the first to sit up. “We’re not out of the woods yet.” They all sat up and saw that the bridge was no longer retreating. Once they learned that their prey had escaped, they flipped a switch and now the bridge was extending towards them.

“The door!” Sundance shouted.

They all got up and ran to the open door. Since it swung inward and to the right, they all got on the left side and began to push. The door did not want to move.

“Push!” Sundance commanded.

“What do you think we’re doing?” Astralyn replied.

“A little help!” Kjartan called out.

The other archeologists ran into the hut and immediately knew what to do. With their combined strength, they were able to shut the door. The robots pounded on the door, demanding to be let out. Sundance leaned with his back against the door and wiped his brow.

“Humans 1, robots 0,” he said.

As if on cue, the entire hut began to quake. The ceiling cracked and threatened to come down on them. Everyone ran outside just in time for it all to collapse into a pile of dirt. It was then that the entire crater started to shake. Something bigger was coming for them.

To be continued…

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Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 25

Episode 25: Return to Mechatropolis, Part II: The First Civilization


Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy visit Astralyn on a dig where they accidentally discover a shiny book and a tomb.

Sundance and Timmy kept their guns aimed at the door. When nothing immediately jumped out at them, they slowly lowered them. Kjartan looked pale as he shut the book in the slim hope that the door would disappear.

“Did the book do that?” Astralyn asked. She walked over and took the book from him. He was only too happy to return it to her. She opened the book again and tried to recreate the results. Nothing happened.

“That is one scary book,” Timmy said, taking a step back.

Astralyn walked back over to the door and peered inside. She whistled and the hollow echo traveled for what sounded like forever. Her eyes lit up with joy immediately as she looked back at everyone.

“No!” Timmy and Kjartan said.

“No?” Astralyn asked incredulously. “You have to be kidding me! This is the most important discovery in the history of New Earth! We could find out who lived here before us.”

“Or we could not,” Timmy mumbled.

“Captain?” Astralyn turned her green eyes to Sundance for support.

“I think S.P.A.C.E. would want to take a look at it…” Sundance started, but Astralyn cut him off.

“Excellent. Kjartan, go get a light, we’re going in.” She ushered the poor assistant out of the hut. “This is so exciting! Boys, we’re making history.”

“Why do I have a feeling we’re about to BE history?” Timmy sadly mumbled.

———-

Astralyn led the way into the newly discovered cavity. With her lantern held high, she entered the cold, dark hallway. Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy (under protest) followed closely behind. The floor was made of metal so their footsteps echoed around them.

Timmy thought it was rather strange that there was so much metal inside when the outside was dirt and sand. This thought was compounded when the walls stopped and the suspension bridge began. He gasped as he looked down and saw what looked to be a huge spaceship in the shape of a saucer.

“Oh my goodness,” Astralyn said, looking down at the cold blue ship. “Could this be a giant space saucer?” She raced down to the end of the bridge which led inside the ship. “This is a spaceship, a really old model; probably one of the first.”

“What is it doing here?” Sundance asked.

“Is it possible that the first civilization crashed here millions of years ago?” Kjartan asked, curiosity seeping into his voice. Astralyn nodded. “That would be amazing! If the bones we found are indeed human, then…”

“That could mean that Old Earth started to colonize other planets before the Space Chicken War,” Astralyn added.

They stepped inside the giant spaceship. There were no lights on at all. Astralyn turned the light in the lantern up to better view the environment. The walls were metallic and had symbols matching the ones on the book. Other than that, there was nothing really special about the corridors.

“This reminds me of a hospital,” Timmy said woefully. “I hate hospitals.”

“Me too, Timmy,” Sundance patted his friend on the back and pushed him forward.

Astralyn led the parade down the corridor to the left and found more of the same. They took a right turn and found themselves at a door, which was slightly ajar.

“Oh look, a dead end.” Timmy turned around and started to head back the way they came. He stopped when he realized that no one else was following him.

“Kjartan, help me with this door,” Astralyn commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan pressed themselves against the door and tried to slide it to the left. It refused to budge. Then they tried sliding it to the right. It moved an inch and then refused to move.

Sundance took out his laser pistol and shot it. Astralyn and Kjartan cursed and ducked out of the way. The door slid to the right, finally allowing them access. “I finally got to shoot something!”

“How very nice for you,” Kjartan mumbled, readjusting his glasses.

Astralyn was already on the other side before Sundance could warn her to be careful. Another bridge looked down on a lot of tall, metallic silos. There were large wheels that were attached to giant gears and the like. It looked old, but nothing was rusted.

“What is it?” Sundance asked.

“It appears to be a processing plant of some kind,” Astralyn answered. “Just look at those silos. Ingredients were stored in there. I think further down is where things get processed. The people who flew this ship processed their food while they traveled through space. Real pioneers!”

“But why live in huts?” Sundance asked.

“Maybe they lived on the ship until it could no longer provide for them.” Kjartan tapped the railings of the bridge and whistled. “They had no choice but to move outside.”

“I don’t think that’s it,” Timmy said, entering the plant. “I found something.”

Just then, there was a loud pop. Everyone was startled. A soft whirring sound was heard and it gradually grew louder. Then the wheels began to turn; slowly at first, then faster. Things below came alive with lights and hissing.

“Things are reactivating,” Astralyn said, looking around. “The plant is reactivating.” She could not contain her excitement.

“Guys, you really need to come and look at this,” Timmy said, the urgency in his voice rising.

Sundance and the others left the plant and joined Timmy at the other end of the corridor. There was a room and Timmy was standing in the doorway. Timmy only pointed inside; he didn’t dare take a step inside.

Sundance walked past him and saw that there were pods lined up against all four walls. The windows were dark so he couldn’t see anything inside.

“Sleeping pod,” Sundance said. “But I can’t see if anyone is inside it.” Just as he pressed his face against the glass of a pod, a light flickered on, revealing a menacing-looking box headed robot with glaring red eyes– eyes that glared at him.

To be continued…

Episode 25: Return to Mechatropolis, Part II: The First Civilization

Previously on Perils of S.P.A.C.E.: Sundance and Timmy visit Astralyn on a dig where they accidentally discover a shiny book and a tomb.

Sundance and Timmy kept their guns aimed at the door. When nothing immediately jumped out at them, they slowly lowered them. Kjartan looked pale as he shut the book in the slim hope that the door would disappear.

“Did the book do that?” Astralyn asked. She walked over and took the book from him. He was only too happy to return it to her. She opened the book again and tried to recreate the results. Nothing happened.

“That is one scary book,” Timmy said, taking a step back.

Astralyn walked back over to the door and peered inside. She whistled and the hollow echo traveled for what sounded like forever. Her eyes lit up with joy immediately as she looked back at everyone.

“No!” Timmy and Kjartan said.

“No?” Astralyn asked incredulously. “You have to be kidding me! This is the most important discovery in the history of New Earth! We could find out who lived here before us.”

“Or we could not,” Timmy mumbled.

“Captain?” Astralyn turned her green eyes to Sundance for support.

“I think S.P.A.C.E. would want to take a look at it…” Sundance started, but Astralyn cut him off.

“Excellent. Kjartan, go get a light, we’re going in.” She ushered the poor assistant out of the hut. “This is so exciting! Boys, we’re making history.”

“Why do I have a feeling we’re about to BE history?” Timmy sadly mumbled.

———-

Astralyn led the way into the newly discovered cavity. With her lantern held high, she entered the cold, dark hallway. Kjartan, Sundance, and Timmy (under protest) followed closely behind. The floor was made of metal so their footsteps echoed around them.

Timmy thought it was rather strange that there was so much metal inside when the outside was dirt and sand. This thought was compounded when the walls stopped and the suspension bridge began. He gasped as he looked down and saw what looked to be a huge spaceship in the shape of a saucer.

“Oh my goodness,” Astralyn said, looking down at the cold blue ship. “Could this be a giant space saucer?” She raced down to the end of the bridge which led inside the ship. “This is a spaceship, a really old model; probably one of the first.”

“What is it doing here?” Sundance asked.

“Is it possible that the first civilization crashed here millions of years ago?” Kjartan asked, curiosity seeping into his voice. Astralyn nodded. “That would be amazing! If the bones we found are indeed human, then…”

“That could mean that Old Earth started to colonize other planets before the Space Chicken War,” Astralyn added.

They stepped inside the giant spaceship. There were no lights on at all. Astralyn turned the light in the lantern up to better view the environment. The walls were metallic and had symbols matching the ones on the book. Other than that, there was nothing really special about the corridors.

“This reminds me of a hospital,” Timmy said woefully. “I hate hospitals.”

“Me too, Timmy,” Sundance patted his friend on the back and pushed him forward.

Astralyn led the parade down the corridor to the left and found more of the same. They took a right turn and found themselves at a door, which was slightly ajar.

“Oh look, a dead end.” Timmy turned around and started to head back the way they came. He stopped when he realized that no one else was following him.

“Kjartan, help me with this door,” Astralyn commanded.

Astralyn and Kjartan pressed themselves against the door and tried to slide it to the left. It refused to budge. Then they tried sliding it to the right. It moved an inch and then refused to move.

Sundance took out his laser pistol and shot it. Astralyn and Kjartan cursed and ducked out of the way. The door slid to the right, finally allowing them access. “I finally got to shoot something!”

“How very nice for you,” Kjartan mumbled, readjusting his glasses.

Astralyn was already on the other side before Sundance could warn her to be careful. Another bridge looked down on a lot of tall, metallic silos. There were large wheels that were attached to giant gears and the like. It looked old, but nothing was rusted.

“What is it?” Sundance asked.

“It appears to be a processing plant of some kind,” Astralyn answered. “Just look at those silos. Ingredients were stored in there. I think further down is where things get processed. The people who flew this ship processed their food while they traveled through space. Real pioneers!”

“But why live in huts?” Sundance asked.

“Maybe they lived on the ship until it could no longer provide for them.” Kjartan tapped the railings of the bridge and whistled. “They had no choice but to move outside.”

“I don’t think that’s it,” Timmy said, entering the plant. “I found something.”

Just then, there was a loud pop. Everyone was startled. A soft whirring sound was heard and it gradually grew louder. Then the wheels began to turn; slowly at first, then faster. Things below came alive with lights and hissing.

“Things are reactivating,” Astralyn said, looking around. “The plant is reactivating.” She could not contain her excitement.

“Guys, you really need to come and look at this,” Timmy said, the urgency in his voice rising.

Sundance and the others left the plant and joined Timmy at the other end of the corridor. There was a room and Timmy was standing in the doorway. Timmy only pointed inside; he didn’t dare take a step inside.

Sundance walked past him and saw that there were pods lined up against all four walls. The windows were dark so he couldn’t see anything inside.

“Sleeping pod,” Sundance said. “But I can’t see if anyone is inside it.” Just as he pressed his face against the glass of a pod, a light flickered on, revealing a menacing-looking box headed robot with glaring red eyes– eyes that glared at him.

To be continued…

Onward to Episode 26!

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!

Perils of S.P.A.C.E. Episode 24

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

Episode 24: Return to Mechatropolis, Part I: Hidden Treasure

Sundance and Timmy raced along the New Earth desert landscape in their trusty hovercar, kicking up a trail of dust behind them. Timmy carefully held three cups of coffee in his lap. They were very hot and in the process of burning his thighs something awful. Each time the car jumped, he struggled to keep everything from spilling.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t have gotten a cup carrier,” Timmy complained. “And who drinks coffee in the desert? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

“Shh, we’re almost there!” Sundance accelerated the car unexpectedly, causing Timmy to almost spill the coffee for the thirtieth time. “Astralyn will be happy to see us.”

“What is the deal with you two?” Timmy asked. “Ever since we got back from the Venga System, you two have been acting weird. She said something about you and some maidens…”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Timmy.” Sundance did his best to avoid making any eye contact that would betray him.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Timmy sighed with disappointment. He had expected to be shut down.

Sundance continued to drive in silence until they reached a remote archeological dig site. People were gathered around a large crater that had to span for several thousand yards in diameter. At the southernmost rim, Sundance parked the car and climbed out. “Come along, Timmy.”

With some creative juggling, Timmy managed to hold on to all of the coffees and climbed out of the car, no thanks to Sundance.

Astralyn, wearing a pair of khaki shorts, a faded blue button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and what looked like a fishing hat with misters all along the rim; all of them dirty, walked over to them and smiled.

“You found us, great job,” Astralyn said. “I was afraid you’d get lost coming from Citadel City.” Timmy offered her a cup of coffee. “I’ve got some, thanks.” Timmy rolled his eyes. “Come with me, I’ve got something great to show you.”

Astralyn led her two friends down into the crater and passed several people on their knees picking away at the dirt. Timmy offered each of them Astralyn’s coffee; they were not interested.

“A couple of days ago, one of our interns found an ancient tomb that we believe to have housed  

the leader of the village and their family!” Astralyn informed, positively gushing with excitement.

“I am so over tombs and temples at this point in my life,” Sundance replied. “Tell me we’re not going to a tomb or temple.” Astralyn’s intentional silence made him roll his eyes and groan.

She continued to lead them towards a large hut that was close to the rim of the crater. “We are pretty excited about this find. This could give us a glimpse into the life that existed here before the Old Earth Colonists arrived.” She stopped at the hut and insisted they go inside. They reluctantly acquiesced.

Inside was a thin man with short, spiky, blonde hair, fair skin, wearing gold-rimmed glasses, bent over in the farthest corner staring at something. He didn’t acknowledge their entrance.

“Kjartan, this is Captain Sundance Starmont and Lieutenant Timmy Falken,” Astralyn said.

Kjartan stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees. “Oh, Ms. Winner. I didn’t hear you come in.” He wiped his hands on his green button-up shirt and extended his hand to Timmy. Timmy only placed Astralyn’s coffee cup in it. “Thank you?”

“Don’t mention it,” Timmy replied.

“Did you find something?” asked Astralyn, staring into the corner.

“I think so.” Kjartan stepped aside and let Astralyn access the corner. On the floor was a raised rectangular mound of dirt with a couple of pick holes in it. “As I was digging, I came upon this. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think it’s a box.”

Astralyn reached into her back pocket and pulled out a mini pick and chisel. “Let’s find out, shall we?” She got on her knees and began to pick away at the dirt.

Sundance grabbed his cup of coffee from Timmy and sipped as he watched her. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was intrigued.

Astralyn kept tapping away until there was a loud metallic thunk. “Kjartan, I think you might be right. Come and help me with this.” Her assistant got down on his knees and helped her excavate a large silver box from its earthen prison.

“This is unlike anything we’d seen before,” Astralyn noted. She held the box in her hand. “Everything else we found has either been bones or pottery. This is something else.”

“It’s a metallic box,” Sundance scoffed. He took another loud sip of his coffee.

“Actually, Captain, I think it’s a book,” Timmy said.

Astralyn turned the box about in her hands and noticed there was a clasp keeping the metallic pages within bound. “Good eyes, Timmy.” She wiped the remaining dust off of it and tried to read what was inscribed on the front. There were jagged symbols etched all over the book, nothing legible. “I can’t make out what it says. Some ancient language no doubt.”

“I don’t think it’s human,” Kjartan added. He yearned to hold the book. “May I?” Astralyn handed it to him. “I’ve seen something similar to this during my work as an undergrad at Citadel University. If I could see inside, I might be able to tell you more.”

Kjartan tried to undo the clasp, but it refused to open.

“May I?” Sundance reached to his utility belt and pulled out his laser pistol.

“Sundance! You can’t do that!” Astralyn shouted. “It’s a relic of the original civilization!”

Sundance sighed and placed his gun back on his belt. He sat down next to Kjartan and examined the book. “Oh, I see it.” He pressed a little silver button on the spine and the clasp popped open. “Shooting it would have been more fun though.”

Kjartan opened the shiny book and instantly the hut began to shake. Everyone braced themselves against a wall. The wall Astralyn was leaning on suddenly opened and revealed itself to be a door. The hut stopped shaking. Mist flowed out into the room and collected at their feet. Timmy and Sundance dropped their coffees and pulled out their pistols, waiting for something to come for them.

To be continued…

Onward to Episode 25

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!

Heroes of Lunde, Episode 9

WITCHES THREE, PART 3

The Lindstrom sisters gathered around the small, black cauldron as the potion boiled. They inhaled the strong, cinnamon scent and exhaled calmly. They loved the smell and taste of cinnamon. When Mistress L mentioned the cinnamon raisin muffins, they were really excited about them. The mistress knew how to bake some great stuff. 

Harri stirred the potion with a tiny wooden spoon. She eyeballed it to make sure it was the right consistency. It was just about done. It just needed to simmer for a few more minutes before it was at its maximum potency.  

Ronnie licked her lips as she watched Harri work. She was amazed by her crafting ability. While their mother taught them all how to brew potions, Harri was the most adept at it. She was always the strongest of the sisters, which Ronnie was a little jealous about, but she took solace in the fact that she was the prettiest. 

Harri leaned over the potion and took a big whiff. She leaned back as she exhaled and grinned. “It’s ready! Give me your cups!” Ronnie and Hermi grabbed red plastic cups and held them up. Harri put on oven mitts and gently poured each of them a portion. She saved the most for herself. She set the cauldron down and removed the mitts. She held up her cup and said, “To the end of the Heroes! Cheers, sisters!” They tapped their cups together and drank heartily. 

The potion warmed their bellies as it gradually strengthened and intensified their magical powers. They all murmured and smiled as they felt the power boost surge through their veins. They felt invincible. 

“How long does the potion last, Harri?” Ronnie asked. 

“One hour,” Harri replied. “So, we must work quickly.” 

“We’ll probably spend most of that time hunting down those two twerps,” Hermi said, still bitter about her encounter at Witch Mart. 

Harri sniffed the air. She wandered around the house sniffing before she opened the front door. She took a big whiff and sighed as she exhaled. She turned to her confused sisters and said, “They’re already coming. It’s the final showdown, girls. We have an hour to beat them down and kill them. Hopefully, the others will have already expired by that point. They don’t have very much longer.” She glanced at Quil and Reese on the floor; they seemed to be asleep. This pleased Harri. 

“It’s showtime!” Harri picked up the sides of her dress and swished dramatically as she turned and stepped out the front door. Ronnie and Hermi giggled as they picked up the sides of their dresses and swished out after their sister. The front door remained open for a minute before Hermi came back and slammed it shut. 

*** 

Jaco and Everett produced their potion and drank it once it cooled. This wasn’t the same potion as the Lindstrom sisters’. This potion’s purpose was to enhance the curse repelling properties of their charms. Once they were done drinking it, they noticed that they didn’t feel any differently and were unsure if it worked. They didn’t have time to test it out; they had to rescue their friends and those children. 

They set out and marched toward the mountain range just outside of Euclidia. They anticipated that their approach would be noticed by the witches and a confrontation would take place before they could reach either target, so they hustled quickly to get as far as they could. 

They had just about reached the base of the mountain when the sisters arrived. Everett looked to Jaco and nodded. This was their cue to initiate their plan.  

Everett broke away from Jaco and ran to the left, hoping to find a way up the mountain without too much trouble. He was going to go find the children. Jaco stayed behind to deal with the sisters.  

Harri watched the little man run up the mountain and knew instantly what his plan was. She turned to Hermi and said, “You go protect the children.” Hermi licked her lips. “Do not eat them!” Hermi groaned in protest. “Kill him dead!” she called out as her sister left. 

Jaco whistled at Harri to get her attention. When the witch gave it to him, he winked at her. “Miss me?” 

Harri smirked. “Oh, yes. My life was merely a prelude to this moment.” 

Jaco raised an eyebrow. “You need to lay off the romance novels.” 

“But they’re the only books I can stand to read!” Harri was tired of the small talk. Time was running out. “Enough! We have business to attend to. Are gonna come get me or not?” 

Jaco nodded. He initiated the transformation sequence and within a minute, he was a full werewolf, complete with lolling tongue. His human thoughts were relegated to the back of his mind and his more canine thoughts moved forward. Without Quil to command him, he was running on pure instinct. 

“That’s a good boy!” Harri said. “Ronnie, why don’t you play with him?” 

“My pleasure,” her sister replied. 

She used super fast speed to zip over to Jaco. He barely even saw her leave Harri’s side. He didn’t have time to really think about that because he received a swift uppercut to the jaw. He rolled back, but Ronnie was there to high kick him in the top of his head. She went back and forth several times before finally letting him hit the ground.  

“I didn’t mean actually touch him,” Harri said, shaking her head. “We have magic; there’s no need to touch him.” 

“Where’s the fun in that?” Ronnie laughed as she watched Jaco struggle to get up. Ronnie stepped on his throat and put all of her weight on it. The werewolf gurgled as he tried to breathe.  

Ronnie was enjoying herself. Unfortunately, as she was watching Jaco gurgle and gasp, she was not watching his claws, which swept up and ripped the skin on her offending leg to ribbons. She screamed bloody murder and she stumbled away, her leg bleeding profusely. “You fucking shit!” She used her powers to heal her wounds. The damage was already done to her pretty pink stockings. They were shredded and bloodied. “These were a gift from Mother!” 

Jaco didn’t care. He just wanted to do more clawing and biting. He stood up and growled as he stomped toward her. He could smell her blood from inside her body. He wanted a taste. It smelled sweet. 

Ronnie didn’t like the way he was looking at her. She didn’t plan on being his next meal. She produced a bright red light whip and snapped it at him. It cracked in the air before it gave him a lash across the snout. “You need to be trained.” 

Jaco attempted to catch the whip, but it was too fast. Ronnie continued to whip him about the face, only infuriating him more. He decided that the whip was not the problem, it was the one holding it. He refocused his attention on her.  

His shifted attention on her and not the whip disturbed Ronnie. She continued to whip him, but he wasn’t fazed by it at all. He continued to march forward. She decided the whip wasn’t doing any good and deactivated it. She needed something to keep him contained until she could think of some way to kill him. She uttered some words and in an instant, a cage made of lightning bolts appeared around Jaco. “Go to your kennel!” 

Jaco reached out to touch the bars and found he got quite a nasty jolt. He roared in anger for he did not like being contained. He had to hunch down to keep his head from hitting the top of the cage. He didn’t know what else to do that didn’t involve hurting himself.  

Ronnie approached the cage and smiled. “Sit,” she commanded. She was very pleased when he obeyed. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you? I just wish I had a biscuit.” 

Jaco’s ears perked up at the word ‘biscuit’. He yelped as his ear touched the top of the cage. He lowered them and whimpered.

“Ronnie, move out of the way,” Harri shouted. Ronnie did as she was told. She summoned a bow and aimed the energy arrow directly at Jaco. She pulled back and let the arrow fly true. It pierced Jaco right in the side, almost reaching his heart. He howled in pain. The energy arrow dissipated, but the wound was deep. She tsked as she realized that she had missed the mark. She thought about taking another shot, but estimated that her initial shot should seal his doom. He was going to bleed to death. A slow and agonizing death was good enough for her.

Jaco’s pain was excruciating. He wanted to fall over, but knew that he would fry to death. It hurt to breathe and his wound began to tingle. Was this how he was going to die? He still hadn’t saved Quil or the others. He couldn’t die until he had done at least that. He had to be strong and fearless. He breathed in as much as he could and proceeded to stand. His head connected with the top of the cage and he received some good voltage. He strained past the pain and stood to his full height. He grabbed the bars and cried out as the electric flowed through him and burned his hands. With a mighty push, he pulled the bars apart and the electricity disappeared. He was free! 

“How the fuck did that happen?” Ronnie shouted. That was the last thing she ever said. She had been standing right next to the cage when Jaco broke free. She was the first thing he saw. He licked his lips as he dove down and bit her head clean off. Blood streaked down her pretty dress and from Jaco’s mouth. He crunched happily and allowed Ronnie’s body drop to the ground. He turned to Harri and growled, signaling to her that she was next. 

While Harri was heartbroken that her favorite sister had just been killed right in front of her, she held herself together. She still had a job to do. As tears formed in her eyes, she created another energy arrow for her bow. She took aim and fired. The arrow struck Jaco in the same place the first hit, only a little deeper this time, scratching the surface of his heart. Jaco wailed and collapsed to the ground, blood flowed from his side. 

“That was for Ronnie, you bastard.” Harri wished there was a more harsh word for men than ‘bastard’, but she supposed it would have to do. She was more confident that this would spell Jaco’s doom. She dissipated her bow and arrow and stared at the werewolf as he gasped for breath. He had five minutes max. She didn’t need to be present for this. She looked up the mountain to see if she could see Hermi. She was probably going to need her help. She turned her back on him and proceeded up the mountain. 

*** 

In the living room of the Lindstrom sisters, Reese, who was on the verge of dying, opened her eyes and breathed deeply. The garland that she wore disintegrated into dust. She felt life slowly seep back into her body. Her light skin flushed with redness as her wrinkles straightened out. She sighed in relief as felt her strength returning. She struggled against her restraints. It was only a matter of time before she could wriggle free, but she decided to wait until all of her strength had returned. 

*** 

Everett climbed the mountain to the best of his ability. He was such a tiny man that it was daunting for him to make much distance in good time. He knew that the witches were on to his plan, and that it wouldn’t be long before they went after him. He wondered if he should have been the one to stay on the ground. He doubted he could have fared much better. While he was proficient with the bow and crossbow, he didn’t really have anything that would be a match for them. He was confident that Jaco was much better suited to deal with the witches. He had super strength, teeth, and claws. What did he have? Pointy sticks. He nodded his head and told himself that he did good. 

The rocks on the mountain were almost as big as he was. He grabbed them for grips and foot holds. The mountain was bigger than it looked. He had been climbing for a while before he found a path that led up somewhere. He rolled his eyes in frustration. Why did he always have to do things the hard way? Why didn’t he check to see if there was a path?  

He got on the path and made his way up the steep hill. He didn’t make it far before he heard footsteps behind him. He was being followed. He had hoped that he would have made it farther, but he had wasted a lot of time climbing when he didn’t need to. 

He stopped in his tracks and turned around. He armed his crossbow and waited for the witch to appear. He waited for a minute before he realized that she wasn’t coming. He entertained the idea he had imagined hearing the sound of crunching gravel behind him. He lowered his crossbow and sighed. He was being paranoid again. He reached into his satchel and took out his flask. He opened it and went to take a swig when he heard someone breathing behind him. Before he could turn all the way around, he received a swift kick in the face. He tumbled backward down the path. 

When he stopped rolling, he sat up and saw Hermi standing above him. He checked his flask and found that everything had poured out of it on the way down. “Nooo,” he moaned. He stuck the flask back in his satchel and stood up. He readied his crossbow and was ready to take aim, but realized that she was gone. “What the…” 

He looked around, even up in the night sky, for her, but she was nowhere to be found. Had he imagined it? No, he couldn’t imagine a kick. He collected himself and started up the path again, ready for anything. This witch was tricky.  

He was back to where he was before when he heard a whisper. Something hit him in the back and propelled him forward. When the momentum stopped, he fell forward. He rolled over onto his back to look for her, but she was gone again. He supposed his potion hadn’t helped against spells at all. He really needed that spark root.  

He scrambled to his feet and decided to make a run for it. If he could get to the top of the mountain and withstand the attacks, he would gain more ground and find the children. His feet worked double duty to get half as far as someone with longer legs. That didn’t bother him. During his tenure with the Heroes, he spent most of that time running for his life. He was well trained and had the stamina needed to pull this off.  

“Run, little man!” Hermi called from behind him.  

Everett didn’t look back; he kept his eyes on the path ahead and it winded into a switchback. As he turned the corner, he saw Hermi climbing up the mountain to meet him on the path. He likened her to a spider. He aimed his crossbow and fired a shot at her as he ran past. She stopped climbing just in time to avoid being pierced by it. 

“Nice try!” Hermi shouted. 

“Whatever!” Everett replied. He kept running.  

Hermi jumped up and flew through the air to land right in front of him. Everett was running at full speed and didn’t want to stop. He knew this would hurt and would probably end up with some scars on his bare chest, but he dipped down and slid underneath Hermi’s dress and came out the other side. He stood up and brushed the rocks and dirt off. The silver necklaces he wore had protected much of his chest, much to his delight. He looked back to see the look of disgust on Hermi’s face, and then kept running. 

“You little brat!” Hermi turned around and chased after him. 

Everett knew that she would be on him in a short amount of time. He had to think fast. He took out one of his magic arrows and loaded it into his crossbow. While he ran, he eyed a section of the mountain above them and shot. The arrow flew up and hit a large, round rock that was conveniently precariously perched over the edge. Hermi stopped and watched the arrow connect. When nothing happened, she grinned.  

“You suck!” she called out. 

A second later, there was an explosion. Hermi gasped as she was startled. She looked back up and saw that the rock was on a downward arc toward her. She screamed and the rock along with a few others tumbled down upon her. She tried to shield herself as much as possible, but she was eventually pinned down. 

“Eat rock, bitch,” Everett said, taking a brief moment to watch his plan in action. 

He continued his way up the path as it zagged to the left further up. He could see a cave at a distance. He knew the children were there. He quickened his pace. He stopped momentarily when he heard the howls of pain from Jaco down below. He wanted to help the poor werewolf, but he had his own job to do. Time was running out for them. He took a deep breath and told himself that it wasn’t going to be his fault if anything happened to Jaco. Jaco had his role to play in the plan, and he had his. Rescuing those children was the number one priority. 

He resumed running until he reached the cave. It was dark save for the little bit of moonlight that illuminated the entrance. He gazed into the dark void and tried to determine how far back it went back. He stepped inside and tried to listen for signs of life. 

“Hello?” he whispered so as to not frighten the children. “Is there anyone here?” He heard silence. He thought that the poor things must be so scared that they couldn’t respond. “It’s just me, Everett. I’m a Hero of Lunde. I’m here to help you.” That seemed to make things better because he heard the breaths and calls for help from the children. “I’m almost there. Hold on.” 

He felt his way to the back of the cave where he finally ran into a chain link fence. He fumbled around the fence until he found a lock. He reached into his quiver and pulled out an arrow. He took a step back and loaded the arrow into his crossbow. “Stay back, children.” 

Everett estimated the position where he felt the lock and took aim. He took the shot the in the dark. There was a quick flash of red light and the sound of a small explosion. The smell of smoke and metal burning filled the cave. Everett grinned and patted himself on the back when he heard the sound of the lock fall to the floor. “Oh yeah.” 

Everett grabbed the lock and opened the gate. The air was thick with the echo of crying children, their shuffling feet, and dust from the upheaval. He couldn’t exactly count how many children were in there, but he assumed that all six were present and accounted for. “Come on! This way to freedom!” 

He led them toward the cave entrance. It looked like they were home free, but then the entrance darkened. Someone was standing in front of them, blocking the way. The children whimpered and hid behind Everett. 

“Going somewhere with my lunch?” It was Hermi. Everett moaned with disappointment that she hadn’t died in the rock slide. “We stole those kids and stored them away to keep them fresh. Harri kept telling me that I couldn’t eat them, but goddammit, I’m not leaving until one of those little, fat fuckers are in my belly!” 

“Take one step and you’ll die a big, fat fucker,” Everett threatened. 

Hermi gasped. “Are you calling me fat?” 

“If the dress don’t fit, you must acquit.” The children behind him went, “Oooooh!” 

“You think you’re hot shit, don’t you? I’ll show you! I want my baby back ribs!” She took a single step and prepared to cast a spell. 

Everett could tell by the tingling of his skin that major juice was being poured into this spell. It was possible it would kill them all. No matter how good he was, no puny arrow was going to stop it. He needed an analog idea to stop this. A light went on in his head at that moment. “Stand back, children.” The kids scooted back a bit and gave Everett enough room to take a few steps back before running at her dead on. If he did this wrong, he would end up dead. too.  

He ran at her as fast as he could in such a small space. He leapt up and his head hit Hermi square in the stomach. They both flew out of the cave entrance. Everett and Hermi sailed in the air for what seemed like forever. While Everett landed on the edge of the cliff face, Hermi continued her downward arc toward the bottom of the mountain. He looked down and watched as the witch dropped like a rock. A small puff of dirt rose as she hit the ground. It didn’t look like she was going to come back from that one. He gave a sad whistle in Hermi’s honor.  

The children peeked out of the cave to see if it was safe to leave. Everett stood up and smiled at them. “It’s over now. Come on, let’s get you home.” The children were glad to hear it.  

Everett collected the six children and led them down the path.  They were halfway down when they saw someone standing in their way. The moonlight showed them a dark figure wearing a particularly floofy dress. The children cried out in fear as Everett stepped forward to protect them. 

“Good god, you just keep coming,” he said. “You look well.” 

“I killed you wolf friend,” Harri said. 

“I killed your fat sister, twice.” He smirked. “So, I guess we’re even.” 

“All of your friends are dead by now. You’re the last loose end.” Harri took a menacing step forward. She was summoning her powers to start a spell. The rocks levitated from the ground and floated in mid air. Harri’s hair rose up with it.  

Everett and the children walked backward to get away from whatever was coming their way. The dwarf wondered how far down it was to the bottom of the mountain just in case they needed to dodge the attack. He determined that they were still too far up to be able to survive the fall. His only choice was to arm his bow for the attack and pray that it worked. 

Harri’s heart hurt to hear of the loss of her youngest sister. Hermi was her favorite sister. She was the last one and she planned on ending this mission right here, right now, even if it meant she lost her life. She rose into the air as she gathered up the last of her powers. Her veins bulged as the magic blood pumped through them. Her face turned as red as her hair and dress. It looked like she was going to explode at any moment. 

Everett’s entire body shook as he readied his arrow. Harri was getting bigger and scarier with each passing second. Was she going to explode? He didn’t really want to wash witch off his clothes tonight. He closed his eyes and took aim. 

Harri was at her limit. She had to expel the energy or she really would explode. She opened her mouth and nothing but green flames erupted from it. The flames flew out with rapid speed toward Everett and the children. When he felt the heat, Everett knew that he was done for. He was going to burn up in hell fire. 

At the last second, an immense gust of wind swooped in between Harri and Everett. The wind collected all of the fire and formed it into a ball around Harri. By the time she had stopped throwing the fire, she was already engulfed in it. She screamed as the flames caught her dress and hair on fire. ‘How could this happen?’ was her last thought as the flames licked at her eyes. When she was wholly consumed, the flames died out. Ash slowly drifted down into a pile in front of the dwarf and the children. 

“Where the hell did that come from?” Everett asked out loud. 

“Look!” one of the children said. 

Everett looked up and saw that Reese was flying above them and waving. She did a loop and then finally landed in front of them. Everett’s eyes teared up as he gazed upon her. She was young and well again! He swelled with love as he ran to her. She held him in her arms and hugged him tightly. 

“I’m so glad that you’re okay!” Everett couldn’t stop the tears from falling. He had never been more thankful in his life. “I surely thought you were dead! I thought I would never see you again!” 

“Well, here I am, little one,” Reese said in a whisper. “But we must hurry. Jaco is not doing so well. His life hangs on by a thread.” 

Jaco’s eyes lit up. “He’s not dead either?” 

Reese shook her head. “Not yet, but he could be any minute. We must hurry.”  

Everett stepped away from Reese and gathered the children. He and Reese led them to the base of the mountain. Upon their arrival, they were able to see that Andrada and Quil had been cured of their curses. They were gathered by Jaco’s now human body. He wanted to check in with them, but Reese insisted that they needed to get the children back to their families. She didn’t want to get in Jaco’s way. Everett reluctantly agreed. 

*** 

Quil knelt down by Jaco and lifted him onto his lap. Jaco was not looking good at all. His skin was whiter than snow. Quil’s eyes were full of tears. It hurt him to see Jaco like this. He was glad that Jaco was unconscious; he couldn’t bear seeing the pain in his eyes. He knew that he needed to be healed and that he could do it, but his head was still spinning from the confusion spell. He was resolute in using as much of his powers as possible to save Jaco. 

“You’re going to be okay doing this?” Andrada asked, flexing her hands, regaining mobility in her limbs. “You’re not one hundred percent yet.” 

“Neither is Jaco.” He looked up at her forlornly. “He’s not going to make it back to Lunde in this condition.” They looked at the size of the wound on Jaco’s left side. It was almost two hands long. “I have to try, Andy.” 

“Well, do what you can safely. I’m going to call the hospital.” Andrada took out her talkie and dialed the emergency number. 

While Andrada was talking to the emergency team, Quil tried to clear his mind of distractions, his fear of losing Jaco, his overwhelming love for him, and the bitter chill of the night. He sent those thoughts to the back of his mind and focused on his breathing. He felt his powers coming to the fore. He recited the best healing spell he knew at his current level as he placed his hands on Jaco’s chest. The warmth of his hands spread throughout Jaco’s torso. He could feel Jaco’s pulse fading, but as the magic worked within him, the pulse steadily got stronger.  

Quil felt lightheaded as he performed his magic. He was using too much, and he knew it. He wanted Jaco to be as close to better as possible, no matter the cost. Jaco was mostly healed up as the wound started to shrink. Quil moaned as his eyes rolled up into his head and he fell over Jaco’s body.  

Andrada hung up with the emergency team just in time to see Quil faint. “Oh for fucks sake.” She rushed to Quil and slapped his face to wake him up. She also had some perverse satisfaction from doing it. Quil’s eyes opened slowly rolled back to the front. “You big dummy, you could have died!” 

“But I didn’t,” Quil said, grinning. 

“I turn my back on you for a second…” Andrada smiled back and brushed one of Quil’s locs away from his eyes. “You’re too cavalier about your health. I’m going to have a talk with your mother about this.” 

“I’m so tired,” Quil whispered. 

“The emergency team is on their way. I’ll have Everett and Reese meet us at the hospital.” She held Quil in her arms and rocked softly. “You just go ahead and get some sleep. You’ve earned it.”  

Quil allowed his eyes to close and he peacefully drifted off to sleep. 

*** 

Jaco came to with the sound of people talking loudly off in the distance. He opened his eyes and saw that he was in a hospital room. There were healers walking back and forth hurriedly in the hallway outside his room. He was lying in a soft and comfortable bed with linens that smelled like antiseptic and lemon. It wasn’t his favorite smell, but it was better than other things he could mention. 

He looked around the stark white room to find he was sharing the room with someone else. On the bed next to his was Quil, soundly asleep. He went to turn to address him, but a sharp pain on his left side stopped him. He let out a groan as he repositioned himself back to his original position. This caused Quil to wake up. 

“Careful, honey! You don’t want to reinjure yourself.” Quil sat up and put his legs over the edge of the bed. “I did what I could do to heal you, but I ran out of power before I could finish the job.” 

Jaco scoffed and said, “That’s so like you to quit just before the thing is done.” He raised and lowered his pinky at him. He saw the insulted look on Quil’s face and laughed. 

“Fuck you!” Quil replied. 

“You can’t even finish that!” Jaco laughed more as Quil beat him about the face with his pillow. 

When the pain was too much, Jaco called a truce. He saw Quil looking at him adoringly, which made him blush. It was then that he realized that Quil was wearing civilian clothes and not his costume. “How long have I been out?” 

“Three days. We’re back in Lunde now.” Quil touched Jaco’s hand. “We had spent a day in Euclidia before we caught the train here.” Then Quil snorted. Jaco did too. “Do you ever hear the name Euclidia and just think they’re saying Eww, clit-dia?” 

“Yes! I thought it was just me!” Jaco was relieved to know that he wasn’t the only one who thought that it was stupid name. 

Quil got a mischievous look on his face. “I have a surprise for you.” He went to his bed and pulled out a pamphlet. “Guess who ended up on the cover of ‘People of Witch Mart’ this week!” He showed Jaco the cover. It was a picture of him wandering around the store shirtless with all of the necklaces and bracelets. “You’re famous!” 

Jaco blushed and groaned. “Goddammit. You should have just let me die.” 

Quil teased him about this relentlessly. Jaco plugged his ears and pretended not to hear him. It was like this for the rest of the afternoon. 

*** 

Quil was going to sleep in his room for the first night in three days. Jaco still had some healing up to do, so they couldn’t get together like they wanted. He stared at Jaco’s empty bed space and sighed. He supposed that he would just have to deal with sleeping alone. He had a busy day planned for tomorrow. It would be morning before he knew it, and Chrys would come pounding on the door, demanding that he wake up. 

He closed his eyes and attempted to get thoughts of Chrys nagging at him out of his head. And then it hit him that he hadn’t seen Chrys all week. The last time he saw him was just before the demon possession. Where had he been? He searched his thoughts and memories of that time. When he couldn’t remember, he thought the worst. Had Chrys been killed and no one thought to tell him about it? No, he would have felt his life force go out. He was still alive somewhere… somewhere? 

Quil got the idea to search this dimension for an echo of Chrys’s life force. When he didn’t sense it in this dimension, he searched others. It was then that he picked up on him. He felt relieved that his brother was still alive. It appeared that he had been banished. He didn’t remember doing that.  

He spoke the spell and in an instant, Chrys appeared in front of his bed. He was yelling and holding a long, pointy stick. He lunged forward and collapsed on the bed, the spear just missing Quil’s head.  

When Chrys realized that he was in Quil’s room, he shot up and tossed the stick away from him as if it was a venomous snake. He was sweaty and dirty; his uniform had been torn to almost nothing. He was wearing some kind of shell as a hat. His eyes were wildly darting around the room as if to check for enemies. He finally calmed down when he saw Quil sitting up in his bed with a look of bewilderment. 

While Chrys was happy to see his brother, he was severely pissed off. “FINALLY!” His nostrils flared as he spoke. “How long?” 

“How long what?” Quil asked sheepishly, pretending not to know what he was talking about. 

“How long was I gone?” Chrys’ chest heaved as he breathed. 

“Four days?” He winced and raised his shoulders in anticipation of an attack. 

“Four days. Four days. FOUR DAYS!” Chrys shouted. “It took you four days to realize I was gone?” 

Quil shrugged his shoulders. “We missed you,” Quil squeaked. 

Chrys glared hard at Quil who was only holding back a smile, he could see it. That only boiled his blood more. He wanted to tell him that he had been on that planet for two of its months. He had been hunted, beaten, nearly eaten by a multitude of things, but he was too angry to get into it all. He was just satisfied to pretend he could melt Quil’s flesh with a single stare. When he had his fill, he picked up his spear and walked to the bedroom door. 

“Goodnight,” he said with the most amount of venom ever. He opened the door and exited the room, accenting his departure with a loud slam. 

Quil sat in his bed and blinked, his heart pounding. After a minute, he said, “You’re welcome.” He slid back down underneath his covers and closed his eyes, wondering what else was going to happen. 

The End 

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