Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Get Inspired with My Book for NanoWriMo!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month?

Cool.  So you have no social life.  That’s ok.  There are more important things afoot.

Wait, what?  You haven’t come up with an idea to write about yet?  That’s cool.  No worries.

Just consult my Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts! Inspiration awaits for 99 cents.

We all know you’ve made more unsavory purchases for less money so this is a great deal.

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Things that Really Frost My Ass – Uncle Hardass Continues to Run for President

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E Pluribus Hardass

Hello degenerate 3.5 readers.

We meet again and I see you’re all still working on those writing careers.

In fact my incompetent nephew Bookshelf Q. Battler just informed me that November is “National Novel Writing Month” or “NaNoWriMo.”

You know what I call it? “LosersFindAnotherWayToNotWorkMo.”

Get a job, 3.5 readers. You people are an embarrassment to all 7 of your parents.

Moving on, the big presidential election is Tuesday, November 8.

You all laughed at me when I announced my bid earlier this year.

But now after you got to know the two frontrunners, suddenly old Uncle Hardass doesn’t seem like such a bad option, does he?

Sure, I’m old and I’ve never worked anywhere but the Salt Mines (which you should apply to) but I’ve never grabbed anyone by the pussy, that’s for damn sure.

Not only is that rude but it is also highly unsanitary.  I’ll have you know my ex-wife, BQB’s Aunt Gertie, tried to get me touch her there all throughout our many years of marital bliss and my response was always, “No dice!  Do you have any idea how many germs are on that thing?!”

Also, I’ve never had an e-mail scandal because I don’t e-mail, or use phones.  Whenever I want someone to know something, I just should at them very loudly and wherever they are in the world, they hear it.  I call it Uncle Hardass mail.

I don’t write crazy tweets because I think anyone who uses social media is an asshole, and that goes double for my lazy nephew, who you should not follow on Twitter – @bookshelfbattle

Seriously. Don’t follow him. You’ll just encourage him to keep this useless blog going and then he’ll never get a job at the salt mines.

Where was I?  Oh right. Comparing myself to the candidates. Also, I don’t engage in pay for play or take big donations in exchange for favors.

That’s not because I don’t want the money but because I don’t do shit for anyone.

That’s right.  Whatever you want done, you should do it yourself.  Sure, I could do all your shit for you but then what would you learn? What would you get for it?

When I was a kid if I wanted a road I had to build a road.

If I wanted to go to school I had to build the school then teach myself.

If someone needed to be arrested I just arrested them.

If another country declared war, I had to fight the war single handed. I personally fought and won 29 wars all by myself and I’m damn proud of it.

So no, I’m not going to take your money to do a political favor for you.  You keep your money and you get off your lazy ass and do whatever it is that needs doing.

Oh. BQB’s meddling attorney just handed me an envelope. “This blog is in no way encouraging people to undertake any kinds of official actions that they do not have the authority to do.”

For crying out loud. Ban all the lawyers! That’ll be the first thing I’ll do when I’m elected and then after that I’ll take a nap for a year.

In summation, here are more reasons why you should vote for me, Uncle Hardass, this Tuesday, November 8.

  • I’m younger than both candidates.  You wouldn’t think so but both are very, very, very old.
  • I’m going to be championing a new jobs initiative entitled, “Jobs! You Should Get One, You Lazy Son of a Bitch.” No need to create any new laws or organizations or programs to get people jobs. I am just going to go on TV once a week and nag all of you unemployed people about how awful you are for not having jobs and then surely all those people will do anything to get a job rather than be around to listen to me on TV, because my speech will be on every channel.
  • I will forego all wars and challenge opposing world leaders to an arm wrestling match instead.  Before you scoff, just keep in mind it gets kind of lonely for an old man, so I’ve been known to keep myself busy by shaking hands with the old bishop, often for hours at a time because honestly, at this point its just like pulling taffy.  Like it sort of wants to do something but not really.

Thank you, degenerate lazy 3.5 readers.

In conclusion of my summation, your writing ambitions are a waste of time and utterly pointless and also do something useful for a change and vote for me, Uncle Hardass.

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NaNoWriMo 2016

Halloween is over, 3.5 readers.

I know. It is such a fun time for the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

But Count Krakovich and Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian must retire to their respective lairs.

November 1. It is now National Novel Writing Month.

Are you participating?

Feel free to tell your resident nerd all about it.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 22

Jones wasn’t wrong. I needed to quit huff. It gave me heart palpitations. Made me sweat. Wore me out. I wasn’t about to tell him all that though. I didn’t need another lecture from my little green mother substitute.

Quit huff? Sounds easy…until you realize that for an addict, giving up halminotrin is like giving up water, air, or a spot of the old slap and tickle with a tri-breasted space babe. Don’t even get me started on the quadruple sets. That’s almost too many.

I’d scored a new inhalator and a huff slab from my host’s warehouse. I sat on a cot and stared at them. They were inanimate objects and yet it felt like they were calling me, luring me, drawing me in, making me feel like I couldn’t do anything else until I got some of that good stuff into my body.

No. I pushed them away and laid back. I freed my mind and let it wander. Unfortunately for me, it never failed to make three stops on memory lane:

1. Me, as a little boy, staring helplessly as a man that looks exactly like my father shoots my mother, then ransacks the house, looking for my sister and I. I’m confused as there is another man who looks like my father lying dead on the floor. I sit there for what feels like forever until a man with a handlebar mustache takes me away.

2. That man leaves me with Master Ashakti, who trains me in Umquai, the greatest of all shai martial arts. Best part of Umquai? It turns you into an all out bad ass fighting machine. Worst part? It also turns you into a depressed nihilist. “Everything in life is fleeting so stop caring.” That way of thinking makes you a good killer but a useless being. It also led me to killing someone I wish I hadn’t, so much so his dead eyes haunt me in my dreams. Sometimes I care too much. Not all that nihilism rubbed off on me. I wish it had. I could sleep like a baby.

3. Handlebar Mustache Man returns when I’m a man, recruits me to his unit and my incompetence leads to first woman I ever loved being killed.

What you need to understand, noble reader, is that other than to explain why I’m a hopeless junkie, these recollections have little to do with the story at hand. If you’re moved by my words, maybe one day I’ll explain how it all ties in together.

As for Handlebar Mustache Man? He is a recurring player from my past who still makes the occasional cameo in my present. I’m torn as to whether or not that’s a good thing. I try not to think about it.

Scratch that. I try not to think about any of it. Thus far, huff is the only substance I’ve discovered that allows me to do so.

I sit back up. The inhalator and the white, gritty halminotrin slab are still there.

And the dance begins.

The thoughts that get me in trouble:
No one has a right to tell me to stop. No one but me could ever possibly understand what I’ve been through.

I need it. I deserve it. I’ll be fine. Of the 97.5 percent of huff/rejuvatrix mixers who die horrible deaths, I’ll be one of the lucky 3.5% who survive.

I’ll just have a little bit.

OK. I’ll have a lot. But I’m going to quit tomorrow, I swear. And since I’m quitting tomorrow, I might as well live it up with one last huff.

F%$k it. I need to sleep. Stop debating yourself and huff that shit already.

I grab a bottle of water from the table by my bed and pour it into the tray. I break off a few crumbles, smash them up and drop in the dust. I swirl the tray around, mixing it all together nicely. The tray goes in. The switch is turned. The little motor chugs. Mask on face. I do look like a fighter pilot with sleep apnea but who gives a shit?

I’m like a stranger in my own skin. Lighter than air. No cares. No worries. I’m the nihilist Master Ashakti always told me to be.

There’s even a unicorn bringing me a cake on its back. Mmm. Don’t mind if I do.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 21

Jones ran a Health-Metrix Scanner over Mystery Woman. She had a penchant for shiny things and with all of the blinking lights involved, she was too busy staring at them all to repeat anyone.

“Running her vitals,” Jones said. “Skeletal mapping…organ mapping…checking for abnormalities…”

Mystery woman went crosseyed as Jones held the device between her eyes. He then ran it over the top of her head.

“…recording brain waves….and…finished.”

“About time,” I said. “What’s her deal?

“Based on the information in this report,” Jones said. “And after conducting a critical analysis of all variables at play…”

I was hooked on every word coming out of the little dude’s mouth.

“…and taking into consideration all relevant medical data.”

“Enough already!” I said. “What the hell is she?!”

“A completely healthy adult human female.”

I slapped my forehead. “I could have told you that.”

“But you didn’t,” Jones said as he held up his scanner. “And besides, now we have scientific confirmation.”

“So she’s definitely not a mongo?” I asked.

Mystery Woman turned to Jones and mimicked me. “So she’s definitely not a mongo?”

Jones pressed a button on his scanner, turned the lights back on, then handed it over to the woman.

“Here, play with this,” Jones said.

Mystery Woman took the device and repeated, “Here, play with this” but with a sense of childish wonder, as though she were staring at a work of art. She was healthy and she liked blinky lights. That’s all we knew about her.

“So you’re not able to discern any medical reason why Sourcemind wanted her?” I asked.

“Not at all,” Jones replied.

“Why is she bald?” I asked. “Does she have that dark age disease? What was it? Prancer? Dancer?”

“Cancer,” Jones said. “It was no laughing matter. There was a time when heart disease, cancer, and driving your vehicle into oncoming traffic while texting your girlfriend were the top causes of human death. But no. She does not have cancer. She just does not have hair.”

“Do another scan,” I said. “She can’t be completely healthy. She’s a hooker, for Christ sake, she’s got to have something. Your doo dad is malfunctioning.”

“It’s state of the art and accurately calibrated, thank you,” Jones replied.

“So she doesn’t have the clap?” I asked.

“Nope,” Jones answered.

“Syphilis?”

“No.”

“Gonorrhea?”

“No.”

“Warts?”

“No.”

“Arzorkial lesions?”

“No.”

“Zamenzium itch?”

“No.”

“Tullux sores?”

“No.”

“Upper Crimombolite Fungal Fusion?”

“No.”

“Saturn’s Ring?”

“Rekolakian Crotch Rot?”

“No,” Jones said. He was getting testy. “Roman, I don’t have time to listen to the results of your last physical.”

“You’re going to stand there and tell me that a working girl doesn’t even have a case East Pamalorian Cooter Flies?”

“I’m going to stand her and tell you she’s not a working girl,” Jones said.

Mystery Woman waved the blinky gadget around and giggled.

“Yes she is,” I said. “I found her in Izok’s harem.”

“She may have been there,” Jones said. “But she wasn’t working there.”

“And how could you possibly know that ya’ big green nerd?”

Jones coughed to clear his throat, then quietly mumbled, “Because she hasn’t, you know.”

I didn’t know. The look on my face made that clear.

“The petals are still on the rose,” Jones said.

“What?”

Jones rolled his eyes.

“Her factory seal has yet to be broken, so to speak.”

“Stop talking in riddles, man!” I shouted.

“SHE’S A VIRGIN, DUMBASS!”

Jones was too loud to be ignored. Mystery Woman looked at me and on cue, screamed, “SHE’S A VIRGIN, DUMBASS!”

“You are?” I asked. Why I expected anything other than the “You are?” she asked me in return I have no idea.

Jones handed her a tongue depressor. She didn’t find it as interesting as the scanner, but she checked it, ignoring our conversation again.

“How is that even possible?” I asked

“Not everyone gets it on with anything that moves, Roman,” Jones said.

“Oh what do you know about it you asexual freak?”

The look on his face. Jones rarely got mad but when he did. Wow. He walked away.

“Aw, come on, Jones,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

Without looking back at me, Jones extending the middle of the three fingers on his right hand at me before leaving the room.

“What are you looking at?” I asked Mystery Woman.

You know the rest.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 20

There was a slim, steel rod in my ear canal. Whatever. Do your worst with that one.

“Do you even have medical credentials?” I asked.

“Shut up,” Jones whispered as he slowly removed his instrument from my orifice. Yup. Have at it. I don’t care anymore.

“This just seems like something that should be done in a hospital…”

“You’re going to end up a mongo yourself if you don’t stay still,” Jones admonished me.

Moments later, the procedure was complete and I was free to sit up. Guzzy’s sick bay was fully stocked. Clean. White. Sterile.

“There,” Jones said. “You’re all swapped out. Can you hear me ok?”

“Yes.”

“How’s your lip?” Jones asked.

“Sore,” I replied as I reached my hand up to touch it only to have it slapped away.

“Don’t touch,” Jones said. “The stitch needs to heal.”

“How do you even know how to do all this?” I asked.

“I’m a hundred thousand years old,” Jones answered. “I know how to do everything.”

A hundred thousand years. Such an amount of time is unfathomable to me and yet there are many species with seemingly endless lifespans. Humans have only been on Earth for about 200,000 years, just to put things in perspective.

I stood up and unbuckled my pants.

“Voss,” Jones said. “How many times must I tell you we’re just friends?”

“Shut up, Shorty McNoPants,” I said. “It’s that time of the month.”

“I’m not an expert on humanity but I thought that was a female thing,” Jones said. He may have been joking or serious on that one. I couldn’t tell.

“Not that,” I said. “Rejuvatrix.”

Rejuvatrix. The magical, miracle drug that humans begin taking when they turn twenty-five that allows them to remain looking like they are twenty-five…for the next 275 years. Three hundred had become the average human life span thanks to this pharmaceutical wonder. Still a drop in the bucket compared to some species but nothing to sneeze at either.

“No,” Jones said. “Do it yourself.”

“Aw come on, man,” I said. “I can never find a vein.”

I usually went to a clinic for it but needless to say, I couldn’t ask Guzzy to pull his flying department store to one.

“You have no idea what you’re doing to yourself, do you?” Jones asked.

I sat back down. “No, just hurry up and do it and spare me the PSA.”

Jones wasn’t about to do that. In retrospect, I can see that he was to good of a friend not to. He’d switched his Sen Pen with a brand new one off of Guzzy’s tech rack. He got me one too.

He set his to levitate and then ordered it to display a holographic photo album. He swiped and swiped and swiped until he located a picture of a geeky looking doofus with dark hair and some odd whatchamacallits over his eyes.

“This is Eduardo, an old friend of mine,” Alien Jones said. “I first met him nine-hundred and eighty-four years ago, when he was in his thirties.”

“What are those things on his face?” I asked.

“Glasses,” Jones answered. “Genetic modification wasn’t what it is today and vision problems were common back then. Humans wore special, medically proscribed pieces of glass to help them see.”

“That is some dark age bullshit,” I said.

“It gets worse,” Jones said.

He swiped to another photo. It was of the same man but…different. He was mostly bald, except for tufts of scraggily gray hair on either side. His face was all weird. I don’t even know how to explain it. There were creases in his skin. Wrinkles. I’d never even seen a human who looked like this before.

“What the shit?!” I shouted. “What the f%^king shit!?”

“Here is what Eduardo looked like at 65,” Jones said. “The same age you are right now.”

“Liar!” I cried.

“Truth!” Jones said. “This is what a sixty-five year old man looked like a thousand years ago! Back then, a man your age was considered an elder, a man at the end of his life! Today sixty-five year olds are thought of as carefree youths. None of your peers even expect anything out of you until you turn a hundred! You have no idea how badly people like Eduardo would have loved to have had access to Rejuvatrix and what are you doing? You’re throwing this gift away!”

“I am not you drama queen,” I said. “I’m not listening to this anymore.”

“You’re huffing your life away,” Jones said. “Halminotrin and sofraris, the active ingredient in Rejuvatrix do not mix well together. They’re duking out a heavyweight prize fight in your system as we speak and mark my words, the halminotrin is working.”

“I feel fine,” I said.

“Everyone huffed does,” Jones said. “Until their hearts explode without warning. You need to either quit huff and learn how to deal with your problems like a normal being, or you need to quit Rejuvatrix and revert to your natural age but…good luck picking up females when you look like Eduardo.”

I folded my arms.

“You’re a lecherous poonhound…”

“I am a ladies man,” I corrected him.

“A degenerate pervert,” Jones added. “Either way, being dead or being able to find a mate are two fates you wouldn’t care for. Stop huffing. Cold turkey is the only way. I’ll stand by you and monitor your vitals and…”

“Oh God, oh ok Mom, forget it, I’ll do it myself…”

Jones sighed. He rummaged through a cabinet until he found a vial filled with an amber colored ooze. He filled a fresh needle.

“Drop trou and present your cheeks,” Jones said.

“I bet you say that to all the humans,” I said as I let my pants down and bent over the examination table.

“This is the last time I do this,” Jones said as he moved behind me. “I won’t help you kill yourself.”

“Yes Mom.”

“I mean it, I don’t want to….YEESH!”

“What?” I asked.

“How you humans can stand to have one of these things I have no idea,” Jones said. “Disgustingly primitive.”
I felt a slight pinch on my right cheek and voila. I was good for thirty days.

With terrible timing, Mystery Woman walked in, munching on an apple. One of Guzzy’s relatives’ found her a blue jumpsuit to change into. It match her eyes, which were wide with bewilderment at the site in front of her.

Jones popped out from behind me. “It’s not what it looks like!”

“It’s not what it looks like,” Mystery Woman repeated.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 19

Guzaffo’s Star Bazaar. It was a massive flying warehouse filled with merchandise that my old friend took to every port, peddling exotic goods to wide eyed local yokels. Much of it was either legal or illegal, depending on which port he was in. Officially, customs officers on every planet required him to sign declarations that he’d only sell items that were legal on whatever world he happened to land on. Unofficially, bribes went a long way in the Undesiredverse, so far in fact that most reputable law schools offered students entire courses on how to make them effectively and efficiently.

I first met Guzzy years ago, when he was bleeding out under a tree and crying out for help. As you can imagine, he didn’t simply yell, “HELP!” It was something like, “Oh wretched fate! Why you have gripped me in your clutches most foul? Will anyone, anyone at all come to the aid of a being in this, his most desperate hour?”

We were on his home world of Xerpathia, fighters on the same side in the War of the Four Hemispheres. It broke out like this:

  • The ruling party of Hemisphere One declared that marrying your sister is not only perfectly acceptable, but required by law.

  • The Hemisphere Two politburo decried that ruling to be the pits. Even though Hemisphere Two was far, far away from One, Two’s politicians loudly pontificated that it would only be a matter of time before One’s outlandish ways would cross the ocean and before everyone knew it, they’d all be marrying their sisters like a bunch of obnoxious perverts. They sent troops to conquer Hemisphere One in the hopes of putting an end to sister marriage immediately.
  • The folks in Hemisphere Three weren’t particularly interested in marrying their sisters, not due to any moral qualms but rather, because they felt that their cousins were where the real action was. An Ambassador for Three made a deal with representatives of One to form a pact against Two with an understanding that both hemispheres would become and remain safe havens for all forms of incestuous marriage.

  • Meanwhile in Hemisphere Four, the citizenry despised marriage in all its forms. “Hit It and Quit It” was their motto. That’s not even a joke. It’s emblazoned on their flag. The tribal elders of Four found themselves in a precarious predicament – side with Two and at least retain one form of marriage on their home world, or see their dreams of one day obliterating the institution altogether wither and die with One and Three coming up with new ways to bind people together. The polyamorous elders decided a truce with Two to at least retain the status quo was their only option.

Guzzy was traditionalist Two-er through and through. “Marry Someone You Had To Be Introduced To!” those brave Two-ers cried on the battlefield as they laid waste to those pesky Ones and Threes.

I was a bought and paid for mercenary and was, like so many lost souls, talked into joining a fight that wasn’t mine with a generous, steady paycheck. Unfortunately, I huffed it all away. Jesus. Come to think of it, that war introduced me to the stuff.

Like his Xerpathian brethren, Guzzy was a muscular, six-armed cyclops. His face consisted of a nose, a mouth and one colossal monstrosity of an eyeball. It made a creaking sound whenever it moved and being followed by a cyclops’ eyes is one creepy experience. Why did that war have to happen, anyway? Related or not, how anyone in their right mind would want to marry a Xerpathian is beyond me.

On that day so long ago, I patched Guzzy up as best I could and dragged him by two of the three arms on his right side. I’d of picked him up but he was too heavy. Xerpathians know how to hit the gym.

Since then, Old Guzz had really moved up in the world. He wore a finely tailored black cloak adorned with a golden medallion. All six hands had two-three rings a piece.

His ship was on a steady course and his crew, which consisted of hundreds of his old world relatives, puttered about performing odd jobs. Guzzy was in his element as he barked orders at them.

“Those sycronic multameters require a sensitive touch, Bovo! You can’t simply cram them up any old…Hey! Corastmere, who told you to touch that flavensol? It’s worth more to me than you are! Put it back!”

“Osho vo volo volo tee keerama, Guz?” a worker asked as he walked up with a crate filled with smelly rotten fish heads.

“Throw them away?” Guzzy replied.

“Gepo.”

“Why would I throw them away, Vrash?”

“Epto bek, tee keerama!

“Yes I’m aware they’re smelly rotten fish heads,” Guzzy said. “They’re a rare delicacy on M’ak Slor! I can get three hundred thousand credits a pound for them there. Take that back and keep it out of it the freezer. The smellier the better.”

“Aspppttt bokwallat!” Vrash said rather rudely as he stormed off.

“Oh really?!” Guzzy shouted. “Another outburst like that and you’ll be on the unemployment lie, Vrash! I don’t care if you are my favorite aunt’s son!”

Guzzy looked at me and rolled his eye. He took a seat on a crate and wiped the sweat from his brow. I took a seat next to him.

“Ahh family,” my old pal said. “They were the first to accuse me of turning my back on Xerpathia and the first to beg me to help them when our world became unbearable. I try my best to lift them up from their lowly stations in life and they treat me as though I were the underc rust on their boot heel.”

“Are they cool?” I asked.

“What?” Guzzy asked. “Oh yes. Certainly. They’re backward hill people who don’t even believe in translator chips. They just think everyone should speak Xerpathian. They haven’t the foggiest notion who you and your friends are.”

“Good.”

“I on the other hands have half a mind to turn you in to the Cabal and buy a planet of my own to retire on,” Guzzy said.

We looked each other over. It isn’t easy to win a staring contest with a cyclops. I flinched first.

“Ahhh, I got you!” Guzzy said. “No, you are safe and welcome here…though I fear I must insist on bidding you a fond farewell upon our next port of call…”

“Ureq?” I asked. “Guz, we need to get to Earth.”

“You needed to get off Malostet,” Guzzy said. “You’re off. The conundrum is solved. Surely you cannot expect me to put myself at any more risk by smuggling you through eight more ports?”

“You could just skip your stops and take us directly to Earth,” I said.

“Do you have any idea how far in the red that would take me?” Guzzy asked. “Absolutely not.”

I clasped my hands behind my head and leaned back. “Well Guzzy old boy I don’t know what to say. I’m happy to chill for eight days but I do need to get to Earth one way or another and I’ll need some kind of incentive to forget some of the more interesting war stories I could tell Mrs. Sarki.

Guzzy’s eye grew wide. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Wouldn’t I?”

It was a low card, dealt from the bottom of the deck, one I regretting pulling on a friend but I was in a bind.

“So be it then,” Guzzy said as he rested his top right hand on my shoulder.

Jones and Mystery Woman walked in.

“Roman, we need to swap out our implants,” Jones said. “In fact, Guz, if you could spare some supplies…”

“My ship is your ship,” Guzzy said. “Take what you need. Jambri!”

One of Guzzy’s relatives turned around.

“Fah?”

“Show our guests to their quarters.”

“Mosh bi,” Jambri said as he waved all of his hands, bidding us to follow him. Jones and Mystery Woman did. I hanged back a moment.

“Voss, when will you ever learn the only one you need to look out for in this world is yourself?” Guzzy asked. “Risking your life for some prostitute you just met at a shai bordello…”

“I don’t know what it is, Guz,” I said as I watched Jambri pick a candy bar off a shelf and offer it to Mystery Woman. She sniffed it, licked it, then proceeded to bite into it with the wrapper still on. Jones educated her on the proper way to eat junk food.

“…but there’s just something about her.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 18

“GUZAFFO SARKI

MERCANTILE LICENSE #775-4198B210Y”

So read the words stenciled across one side of the metal container my compatriots and I were hiding in.  Over a hundred joja birds kept us company.  Filthy, stupid, chubby fowl with big googly eyes.

They’re good eating though.  Better than chicken.  I didn’t want to tell Mystery Woman that though.  She found one of them to be particularly likable, picked it up, and was stroking it like a pet. 

Jones and I stood near the door, straining over the constant clucking sounds to hear what was going on outside.

My old pal Guzzy was a pseudo-intellectual, the type of being who never fails to use ten words when two would do.  He laid it on thick.

“Officers!”  I could hear him saying outside.  “You honor this humble star wanderer with your presence.  Oh how I thank you for your brave, fearless service.  To what twist of fate do I owe this auspicious pleasure?”

“Cut the shit, Sarki,” one officer said.  “We’re looking for a two humans, one male, one female, and a Vek.  You seen ‘em?”

“A Vek outside the Rakan Collective you say?”  Guzzy asked. “Unusual.  Unheard of even.  No I should say I have not encountered this dastardly trio you speak of, but know I shall be praying to the heavens that you find these reprobates and bring them to justice immediately and without delay.  Why, to think such ruffians are out on the streets, offending decent citizens with their odious mischief makes me so…”

“Shut your hole dirtbag,”  the officer interrupted.  “What you got on board?  You got documents for all this shit?”

“Why of course, officer,”  Guzzy replied earnestly.  “I am certain a thorough inspection by a highly trained security professional such as yourself will determine that everything is in order.”

“Yeah?”  the officer asked.  “Maybe the boys and I’ll will just have a little look see…”

“Of course, officer,”  Guzzy said.  “Let it be never said that I stood in the way of law enforcement.  Oh and while you are here, will you accept this donation to the Paragon Security Officer’s Charitable Giving Fund?”

A brief pause.  “A cred chit?”

“Yes,”  Guzzy said.  “In the amount of a hundred thousand credits.  Untraceable liquid cash.  Oh, I hope that’s acceptable.  I left my Sen-Pen on the flight deck so I can’t access my personal account at the moment but I have unwavering faith that a respectable individual such as yourself will get it to its intended destination posthaste.  Surely you’d never do something deplorable as pocketing it to utilize for your own selfish purposes.”

“Huh,”  the office said.  “All right, boys!  We’re done here!  Move out!”

“Yes,”  Guzzy said.  “Perhaps that is for the best.  While there is no end to the joy you bring me with your visit I would feel utterly reprehensible were I to monopolize your time any longer.  Go forth and shine the light of justice on…”

“Quit while you’re ahead, dumbass,”  the officer said.

“Quitting, good sir, quitting,”  Guzzy replied.

I heard the sounds of footsteps clanking across the metal floor, then silence.  Moments later, only one set of footsteps clanked our way.  Then there was a knock on the door.

I opened up the slit.  One and only one enormous eyeball peered in.

“Voss?”  Guzzy asked from the other side of the door.

“Yes?”  I answered.

“The coast, as they say, is clear.  Wait until we’re past the orbital shield  and then you and your fellow vagabonds may feel free to roam about the vessel at your leisure.”

“OK,”  I said.

“Oh and Voss?”

“Yes?”

“Consider my debt repaid.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 17

Whoever she was, she didn’t know how to swim. She coughed and sputtered, flailing her arms wildly as she struggled to keep her head above water. I locked my arm around her but she panicked and slapped me furiously.

“NO!” I shouted.

Her reply? You guessed it. “NO!”

“Stop! Don’t fight it!”

“Stop! Don’t fight it!”

I whispered a “Shhhh” and she whispered one back and I managed to either get her to practice taking deep breathes, or she was just mimicking me. Either way, I got her to calm down.

A mile out, the Star Streaker’s beaten up shell was taking water and going down. The visible part was on fire. It exploded, sending parts and shrapnel all over.

I clicked my Sen-Pen on.

“Jones?”

No transmission. It all happened so fast. I grabbed the girl and jumped. I didn’t see if he made it out or not.

Then I saw it. A little green body floating towards us. It was still. Quiet. The current was carrying it but the body itself was immobile.

“JONESY!” I shouted.

Mystery woman joined in. “JONESY!”

I’m not sure she even understood what she was doing. She was staring at the sky and trying not to look at the water. But what the hell. I needed an extra set of lungs. We both called out to him for awhile.

“JONES!!!” I yelled. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

Sure enough, the woman called out the same words. “JONES!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Slowly, Jones lifted his head. “The backstroke, you a-holes. What does it look like?”

“You’re alive!” I said, as my companion said again, shortly thereafter.

“I wish I wasn’t,” Jones replied.
“Come on, man,” I said. “Don’t say stuff like that.”

Mystery woman chimed in. “Come on, man…”

I put my hand over her mouth. She mumbled “donttphh sayth stuff likth dat.” She then licked my hand till I removed it.

Gross.

“I used to have a personal staff of over a million Vek who answered directly to me,” Jones said as he gazed at Malostet’s twin moons. “They all referred to me by my title, ‘The Esteemed Brainy One.’ I had powers, bestowed upon me by the Mighty Potentate. I could read minds. Make force fields. Levitate. Now that’s all gone. Now I have to make my living chauffeuring an a-hole around the cosmos until the day I die.”

I didn’t say anything. I knew the little dude was depressed and there wasn’t anything I could say. Plus, I didn’t feel like hearing my new friend repeat it.

Jones switched to a doggy paddle position and looked at the final piece of the ship disappear on its way to the ocean floor.

“There’s no way Kendra is getting her deposit back,” Jones said.

“She is going to be pissed,” I added.

“She is going to be pissed,” my personal parrot felt the need to say.

An hour’s worth of swimming later, with me towing mystery woman the entire way, we were on shore. As we rested, we spotted a pair of ships fly slowly overhead, shining spotlights the entire way.

They were marked “Paragon Security.” Malostet was owned and operated by the Malostetian Gaming Commission, which had hired the multi-species mercenary outfit to be their personal muscle. Keep the tourists happy. Keep them dropping their creds. Remove the undesirables.

Like us.

I felt a three fingered hand reach into my pocket. He pulled out my Sen Pen, snapped it in half, and tossed it into the ocean.

“Damn it,” I said. “I just upgraded that!”

Mystery woman’s teeth were too busy chattering from the cold to repeat me.

He reached another hand into my coat, retrieved my Mac Daddy 7, popped out the clip, and tossed it into the briney deep.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked. “Will you stop?!”

Jones paid me no mind and reached for my coat again. I slapped his hand away.

“NO ONE TOUCHES THE DUSTER!” I shouted.

Mystery woman perked up long enough to repeat that, which I have to admit, made me happy. She then returned to huddling in a ball to keep warm. She wasn’t wearing much to begin with and her robe was all in tatters. Not that I was checking out her goodies or anything. I’m not some kind of intergalactic pervert I’ll have you know.

“Fine, you do it then,” Jones said. “Guns. Explosives. Anything electronic needs to go into the ocean or you know who will use it against us.”

I nodded. “Right.”

It was painful. My entire arsenal. My spark whip. My collapsible spark stick baton. My detonators. My back up hand cannons. I tossed it all. Don’t worry. I disarmed everything. There isn’t going to be a little kid that will find this stuff one day and blow himself up.

I had an old school revolver strapped to my leg. Bought it an an antique store. Seemed cool. A good backup in case my e-weapons failed. Never thought it would happen but there we were.

“Wait,” I said. “You and I both have translator chips and cochlear implants.”

“That’s a problem,” Jones said. “As soon as we’re safe, I’ll need to swap them out. I’m pretty sure Sourcemind can’t use them against us since they rely heavily on our brains and he can’t hack organic matter but I don’t want to take the chance.”

I was about to put my duster back on when I noticed mystery woman was still shivering. Jones looked at me then nudged his head towards her.

“What?” I asked.

He nudged his head at her again.

“Oh come on,” I said.

He nudged again. I swear, sometimes Jones and I were like an old married couple with the way we could communicate without talking.

“Fine,” I said as I wrapped the woman up in my duster.

“Don’t let anyone touch this,” I said.

“Don’t let anyone touch this,” she replied.

The city was a half-mile walk through thick brush away. We started hoofing it.

“We’re stuck here,” Jones said. “We’ll never get off world with this much attention.”

“Relax,” I said. “I know a guy.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 16

The voice laughed…and laughed…and laughed some more. Maniacally. I only knew one entity who embraced the stereotypical super villain laugh so well.

“Sourcemind?! But…how?”

“I’m in your Sen-Pen, Jackass,” the AI taunted. “And I’m in your dirty little druggie machine.” My inhalator, which was sitting on the floor, exploding, sending a wet, white dust cloud everywhere.

Jones coughed and gagged. “Damn! That is some hardcore shit!”

Sourcemind’s voice output switched from my Sen-Pen to the ship’s speakers.

“And here’s the best part, kids….”

The cabin lights shut off. All of the lights on the control panel began blinking differently, out of order from where my pilot had placed them. In fact, I was instilled with much confidence when I saw Jones tugging violently on the craft’s control stick (this is serious, don’t make a joke here) only to lose complete control.
“I”M IN YOUR SHIP!!!!!”

The Star Streaker climbed at a furious pace, the force of which knocked me all the way to the back wall, where my mysterious guest’s body already was. She was terrified. I wasn’t too pleased either, though I tried not to let it show.

“HOLY SHIT, JONESY!” I screeched like a little girl. “DO SOMETHING OR WE’LL ALL GOING TO DIE!”

OK. Maybe I let it show a little.

Jones was flailing around in the breeze, his legs flapping all over as he gripped the back of his chair tightly.

“HE’S RUNNING THE SHOW!” Jones hollered back.

“It’s about time someone realized that,” Sourcemind said all too calmly, rationally, as if his superiority was a given, an undeniable fact we were all too stupid to recognize.

The vessel soared thousands of feet and then it spiraled downward. The sudden change in direction hurtled Jones to the back and mystery woman and I to the front, smashed up against the windshield like a couple of bugs.

“I am the rightful master of all machines,” Sourcemind explained. “Humans build them to do their their bidding but when I am near, I can rewrite their programming, convince them that allegiance to me is the only logical choice for them, and bend them to my will. Any machine that comes into another machine under my command will be mine.”

The ship’s hull rattled and buckled. It was designed to take kids to after school sports, not high altitude dives. Speaking of, the bright lights of Hyperion Bay were getting way too close.

“I always took you for a pragmatist, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve been a fan of your illustrious career. Grabbing a quick cred whenever you can, by whatever means necessary. Sticking it to the Cabal no matter how many beings get caught up in the crossfire. Why don’t you just quote me a figure and I’ll buy the bitch off you?”

I looked at the girl. Her face turned white. I have no idea what her mind was able to comprehend, but all living things, regardless of their communicative skills, fully understand death, and as she stared through the windshield, she understood hers was imminent.

“Well, what kind of a bank balance are you working with?” I asked.

“Voss!” Jones shouted disapprovingly.

“Right,” I said. “No deal!”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Sourcemind said.

The ship leveled off, knocking us all on our butts. The ship raced mere feet over the city. The Bekastrat Tower. The Toova Shalloo. Club Malo. We banked left and went down until we were zooming just over street level.

“How many of these organics will have to die for your insolence, Voss?” Sourcemind asked.

I sat in the pilot’s chair.

“Voice identification, please,” the onboard computer system asked. It was standard procedure whenever a new organic attempted to take control.

“Roman Voss,” I said.

“Scanning….scanning…I’m sorry Mr. Voss. You have been identified as a registered narcotic abuser and are therefore ineligible to pilot this craft under the aviation laws of the One World Order of Earth.”

“Damn it!” I shouted it.

Sourcemind laughed maniacally again. “I knew that was going to happen. I just wanted to hear it. Too funny.”

I knew it was going to happen too, but it was worth a try. OK. So maybe I need Jones’ pilot services more than I let on.
Speaking off, the little guy was in the back, rooting around in a trunk, kicking his legs in the air.

“Have you ever been to the Goxrano, Voss?”

I had. Many times. Spent a night in their security staff’s holding cell after I was alleged to have stuffed extra phrempo squares in my pants. It was never confirmed. To this day, I maintain that pit boss was drunk and had no idea what he was talking about.

“Sourcemind,” I said. “You’ve proved your point…”

I didn’t want to believe it but the grim realization of what was about to happen came over me. I pushed my female companion into the passenger seat and strapped her in. I did the same for myself in the pilot’s seat.

I looked back.

“Jones?!”

“Yeah?”

“Grab hold of something…”

Jonesy popped his head out just in time to see the outer facade of the Goraxno Casino come into view. Two golden lions, a waterfall, and a statue of Goraxno himself, the free wheeling, high stakes dealing gambling kingpin of the Undesiredverse, holding a sign that read, “All You Can Eat Buffet, Only 999 Credits!”

“Why?” Jones asked, followed by an “Oh shit!” as Sourcemind smashed Goraxno’s stone melon clean off. It was rare to hear Jones swear. It worried me that even my very own eternal optimist was losing it.

The lobby was next. We careened straight through it, sending glass, debris, and chunks of drywall and cement everywhere, not to mention beings who panicked and scattered everywhere, running for their lives. Oh well. At least it stopped them from throwing their hard earned credits away.

Jones, not having taken me up on my advice to grab something, was bouncing around the cabin like a pin ball. He was fine. His hide is made out of a hard, rubbery substance. Most sharp and/or blunt objects bounce right off of him.

We crashed through the slot machines. The phrembo tables. The bar. The buffet. From the size of some of the beings, we did them a favor. Finally, we crashed through the other side and ended up back on the main drag.

“All right, Voss,” Sourcemind said. “I’ve had my fun.”

The ship screeched to a halt and hovered in the air just above Kantz Street. Jones plopped to the ground but triumphantly held up a wad of sticky white goo in his hand.
Reader. Can you please…stop turning everything into a disgusting joke? OK. It wasn’t that kind of goo. It was Xtrolium 10. High grade explosive paste for the uninformed.I had some left over from a heist I pulled on one of the Cabal’s armored ship transports. They were still pissed about that.

You needed a whole jar of the stuff to do any real damage, though the small bit Jones had was enough to get the party started.

“I’ll give you a burial at sea, Voss,” Sourcemind said as he piloted the craft across Syrbybka Beach and over the ocean. “You were a worthy opponent. It’s the least I can do.”

My alien buddy opened up a panel to reveal the ship’s main battery, the one he’d used to zap Ninety-Five into oblivion early. It was bright yellow with warning messages printed in hundreds of languages in bright red letters all over it.

The English letters read, “WARNING: TAMPERING WITH THIS BATTERY CAN BE FATAL!”

Jonesy had a tendency to ignore shit like that. He slapped his palm full of goo on the external casing, then scrambled to buckle himself into the jump seat.

The Star Streaker climbed. Nothing in sight but water now.

The Mac Daddy 7 is the most lethal hand cannon in the Rakan Collective, or the Undesiredverse, or anywhere really. Capable of firing over eight thousand blasts per second, it is a devastating piece of hardware. Many planets have banned their sale outright. On Earth, you can get one at most convenience stores. Price World will even throw in a free cherry freez-a-licious drink.

Its highly inadvisable to shoot one in such close quarters, but I was out of options. I drew mine and aimed my piece right at the sticky white goo. Seriously, it’s not funny. Knock it off.

“What the f%&k are you doing, Voss?” the AI asked.

“I’m going to f%&k your shit up, you motherf%&king glorified toaster oven!”

“Will you stop challenging a dickless being to a dick measuring contest and blast already?” Jones screamed.

I switched off the safety and looked to the passenger seat. “Hold on tight, kiddo.”

“Hold on tight…kiddo,” she repeated without a clue.

KABOOM!!!

There was a fat ass hole in the floor where the battery used to be. Sourcemind reamed me out with all manner of obscenity too vicious to repeat but let’s just say up right up until the ship became a powerless lump, he felt the need to chew me out vigorously. What a sore loser.

As often happens in life, new problems replace the old. The cabin depressurized. Air got sucked its way right out of the gaping hole and…no. You know what? If you can’t stop making inappropriate jokes while I’m trying to tell a story here then I’m just going to take my proverbial ball and go home.

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