Tag Archives: stories

Movie Review – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Full, Spoilery Review) (2016)

Hey 3.5 Jedis.

“I am one with the force and the force is with me.”

But if you read on, the SPOILERS will be with you.

So seriously.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, then a) you aren’t a true nerd and b) stop reading so the movie isn’t ruined for you.

This is a review for people who have seen the movie and want to talk about it.

I’m serious, 3.5 scruffy looking nerf herders.  This is your last chance to avoid SPOILERS.

OK, now that the true nerds are here, let’s talk.  This isn’t so much a review as it is a list of observations:

#1 – The Opening Crawl and the Usual Theme Song Weren’t Used

This is the franchise’s first foray outside of the saga, i.e. the ongoing plot line in which the Skywalker family’s petty bullshit spills over into the galaxy and ruins everything.  Stupid Skywalkers.

Even so, I missed the opening crawl and the theme song.  There was a variation of the theme song but it wasn’t the same.  I assume someone made a decision that the crawl must be reserved for the saga only.

At least they split the difference by throwing, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” up there.

Nerds must be satisfied.

#2 – It was the best Star Wars Movie I’ve Seen in a Long Time

Last year’s The Force Awakens was OK, but let’s be honest, it was basically just a retelling of Episode IV except Luke is a girl now.

Rogue One has guts, grit, and best of all, an interesting plot, which brings us to…

#3 – The Hollywood suits didn’t do business as usual with this one and it paid off.

Think about the decisions that were made in this film:

  • Jyn Erso isn’t a role model – Jyn (Felicity Jones) is a space convict who has committed crimes.  While, given her back story, those crimes are understandable, she probably wouldn’t be a Hollywood suit’s first choice when it comes to merchandising.  Squeaky clean Rey is the poster girl for lunch boxes, shirts, and yes, even posters.  I mean, I haven’t been paying attention so maybe there is Jyn merchandise but all in all, “space convict” wouldn’t be a suit’s first choice and yet her being a space convict made the story more interesting.
  • The Rebels don’t come across as total angels – Yes, for seven films now we’ve heard of the bravery of the Rebel Alliance but low and behold, now we learn they have done some nasty shit.  It is unavoidable in war.  The concept of how far a side should go in the name of a cause they believe in is explored.  Saw Gerrera (Forrest Whittaker) even commits acts of terrorism against the Empire that are so bad he has been denounced by the Rebels.  I can hear the suits worrying that toy sales might drop if the Rebels are shown to have a bad side but hey, it made the movie better.
  • Everyone dies at the end – Sorry, but I did tell you this review would be spoilery.  Yes!  Everyone freaking dies at the end!  Hollywood suits surely worry about shit like this.  “Why would kids buy action figures based on characters who are dead?  How can the kids act out new stories if the characters have bought the farm?”  The suits were ignored.  Everyone dies and repeat after me, “the movie was better for it.”

#4 – Chirrut Imwe is the first non-Jedi follower of the Force religion we’ve seen (that I know of) – I’m sure there are nerds who would be willing to tell me that I’m wrong, but Chirrut (Donnie Yen) is a martial artist as well as a big believer in the Force, but at no time in the movie does he actually use the Force.  Come to think of it, that was also a big deviation from the saga.  The Force isn’t used much (by any one good, anyway) and there are no light saber duels.  There is a light saber bitch slap session conducted by a certain dark helmet wearing fellow, but we will get to that.

#5 – The space battle was awesome – It really was, and in keeping with my #OscarsSoPretty activism, it is good to know that ugly actors always have a home in the cockpit of an X-Wing.  X-Wing pilots can spend their time primping in front of a mirror, or they can practice their flight skills, but they can’t do both.  And a banzai style ramming of a Star Destroyer?  Yes, please.

#6 – K-2SO – The droid voiced by Alan Tudyk was the films much needed comic relief.  That’s all I have to say about him.

#7 – Reviving old characters through CGI – Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarken both make CGI aided appearances.  Usually, I think this move does not end well (it totally sucked with Jeff Bridges in the latest Tron fiasco) but it worked well here.  They looked very real.

#8 -It’s a one and done – Really.  They all die at the end.  No sequels.  The box office totals have been great, but the money that can be made off of these characters is limited.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They could always do something like, “Jyn Erso: The Early Years” or “Fun Times with Saw Gerrerra.”

#9 – Darth Vader is a F*%King Badass and It’s About F*%King Time – Remember all those prequels that promised to tell the life story of Darth Vader, the man who became Space Hitler?  Remember how they turned out to be glorified children’s cartoons geared toward toy merchandising?  Yes.  Very disappointing.  Pod racing was the last thing that was on Darth’s mind when he was slicing, dicing, and julienning those rebels and, I’ll say it again, “the movie was better for it.”

Speaking of…

#10 – The Ending Was BRILLIANT – I’ve read some critics who are pooping all over the ending.  These critics are idiots.  This movie perfectly lines up with Star Wars IV: A New Hope.  Remember, IV begins with Darth Vader being totally rip shit over missing Death Star plans and he ends up tearing ass all throughout the Rebel fleet, giving light saber enemas to anyone who stands between him and the plans.  We are then told that some rebels died in order to get these plans to Princess Leia.  Ergo, this film is the story of how those rebels got their grubby mitts on those plans.  It really is the best story of how a vent in a giant planet killing machine was found.

Was Darth Vader brutally violent as he begins his search for the plans at the end of this film?  Yes.  But I’ve been waiting for him to kick ass again for a long time and Disney finally gave me what I wanted.  You can now watch Rogue One before watching IV and plot wise, the films line up perfectly.

Do I care that your kid might get nightmares of Darth Vader going on a lightsaber slashing spree?  Yes, but that just means you should leave your kid at home because I should be able to enjoy Darth’s lightsaber slashing spree.

Darth Vader is Space Hitler.  Darth Vader chokes bitches who do him wrong out with the Force.  Darth Vader will not hesitate to cut a bitch with his red lightsaber.  I’m sorry that in the late nineties and early 2000s, George Lucas led your child to believe that Darth was “Ani,” the little boy who pod raced, had Jar Jar as a side kick and fell in love with a space queen over a space picnic.  Ani is gone.  Darth Vader remains.  Darth Vader will Force choke a rebel bitch.  Darth Vader will even Force choke his own people.  You might call that workplace harassment but Darth calls it employee motivation.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  See it on the big screen.  The best Star Wars film since Empire.  (Although I do like Return of the Jedi even though many nerds don’t).

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 80

shutterstock_320226569Gunther walked into the the church to find Doc and the Reverend chatting away, thick as thieves.  The old man noticed the broken chair parts and rope pieces all over the floor.

“Shit,” the deputy said.  “He try to eat you, Rev?”

“No,” the preacher replied.

“Hell with it then,” Gunther said as he took a seat at the table.  “Pour me one of those.”

Miles, a human once more, came in, all wrapped up in his blanket.  It was a bit singed but extra toasty from the fire.   He sat down next to Gunther, who in turn, took the Reverend’s bottle and poured the boy a shot.

The kid stared at it.  “Am I old enough?”

“You killed more zombies today than I did,” Gunther said.  “You’re a man.”

The boy took a sip and instantly sprayed it out of his mouth.  “What the?”

The adults laughed.  “I didn’t say it was tasty,” Gunther said.  “It’ll put hair on your chest all right.”

Gunther pondered that statement then upon remembering that Miles was a werewolf, added, “Not that you need anymore.”

Sarah entered in a daze.  She sat down at the table, making a point to stay far, far away from Doc.  His eyes remained a ghastly sight.

“Miss Sarah,” Gunther said as he poured another shot and slid it towards the bride. “Not that I want to turn you into an alcoholic but if ever there was a time to turn to the booze to help get you through, this might be it.”

“No,” Sarah said as she slid the drink back. “I’ll be seeking penance for the rest of my days for imbibing earlier and I cannot allow myself to sin any further.”

“Suit yourself,” the Reverend said as he helped himself to Sarah’s drink.

“While we are on this subject, Reverend, I must say your behavior throughout this entire ordeal has been less than holy,” the bride said.

The Reverend sighed. “Miss Sarah.  Despite my internal doubts, I have lived a pure life,  a penchant for liquor being my only weakness, one which I have done my best to atone for.  I have helped my fellow man, put many lost souls on the right path and yet here I am, trapped in a zombie infested nightmare.”

Sarah scowled. “I have yet to lose my faith.”

“Are you sure?” the Reverend asked. “Cowering in the corner isn’t exactly a sign of a person who is sure the lord is going to swoop in and save her at any moment.”

Sarah stood up.  “Well, I never!”

“Perhaps you should,” the Reverend said.  “A life of faith has gotten you the same place it has gotten me…nowhere.”

Sarah stomped her foot and stormed off, only to stop abruptly.  “All of my prayers have brought me Rainier Slade,” the bride said.  “The bravest, toughest man in the entire West.  He will see me through this.  I’m sure of it.”

The bride found a pew to sulk in silence in.  The Reverend reached for the bottle only to find Gunther’s hand on his.

“We all got a part to play in this, Rev,” Gunther said. “And a preacher that can’t lift people’s spirits aint of much use to anyone.”

The Reverend’s face flushed with embarrassment.  He put the cork in the bottle. “Duly noted.”

The good doctor felt a hand on his shoulder as the scent of a familiar perfume wafted through his nostrils.

Annabelle had just entered the room and was surprised to see her companion not tied to a chair.

“You’re free and you haven’t bitten anyone,” Annabelle said. 

Doc kissed Annabelle’s hand. “I wouldn’t count yourself safe though, my dear.  You look so ravishing that I should very much like to consume you for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Every one at the table let out a collective groan.

“A word?” Doc asked Annabelle. She consented and together they walked toward the open door frame, finding a spot to speak in private.

“Dearest, I must present you with a difficult choice,” Doc said.

Annabelle’s bright eyes were fixated on Doc, waiting for what he had to say next.

“The safest option for you would be to accompany Miss Lassiter and seek refuge with the Indians,” Doc said.  “I haven’t the slightest clue of what my condition will bring and the possibility that I may lose control and attack you is quite real.”

“I’ll take the chance,” Annabelle said. “I won’t leave you.”

“Selfishly, I hoped you would say that,” Doc said. “As I am not welcome in Miss Lassiter’s party due to my condition, I intend to press on eastward.  My Miracle Cure-All may be a failure, but I will still pursue my dream of spreading news of the curative properties of cocaine to the world.  If you come with me, I shall protect you with my dying breath and if we make it to Boston, we will catch a vessel to Britain and begin our new lives together, free of this zombie infested continent once and for all.”

Annabelle’s eyes welled up as she wrapped her arm’s around the doctor.  “Oh Doc.  You had me at cocaine.”

To her surprise, Doc pushed her away.  “But my dear, you must promise one thing.”

“Anything.”

“If I am overcome by my condition and become a wretched beast, you must save yourself and put a bullet directly into my brain.”

Annabelle frowned.  “I couldn’t possibly.”

Doc stepped back.  “Quite understandable.  Very well, my dear.  Then with regret I must insist that we end our courtship at this time…”

“OK!”  Annabelle cried.

“I must hear you promise my dear,” Doc said.

“Fine,” Annabelle said. “I promise to shoot you if you become a zombie.”

“Lovelier words have never been spoken,” Doc said.  “If you’ll excuse me now, I must have a word with the Marshall.”

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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 13

Halminotrin. Street name – huff. That stuff will grow hair on your chest and turn it curly, let me tell you. I kept a slab of it in a plastic bag in the glove compartment. I broke off a small pebble, crushed it into the tray of my vape-o-matic inhalator, mixed in some bottled water and presto, put the mask on my face, hit the on button and presto, I was ready to trip balls.

The inhalator chugged away. I sniffed in the goodness. It made me feel light. Airy. Happy even.

“You’re really going to do that now?” Jones asked.

“I can’t think of a better time to do it,” I said, my voice muffled by my apparatus. “I’ve got an edge that needs to be taken off, my friend.”

“You couldn’t just do some jumping jacks?”

I pulled the mask up, just a bit off my mouth so I can speak more clearly. I mocked my pilot, talking in a high pitched, girlish tone, which really isn’t fair, as Jonesy actually speaks in a deep, bass filled baritone, not unlock Barry White, the classical musician from the late Twentieth Century. You should listen to him sometime. You can download ten thousand songs dating back from 1900-2300 for the low, low price of fifty credits.

“‘You couldn’t just do some jumping jacks?’ God, you’re like a tiny green version of my mother.”

“Whatever,” Jones said. “That mask, you think its a cool look for you?”

“Maybe,” I said as I let it drop back on my face, which muffled my voice again. “What’s it to you?”

“You look like a space fighter pilot with sleep apnea,” Jones quipped.

A middle finger was the only response I could muster as I reclined the front passenger’s seat and closed my eyes. I needed a nap.

But it wasn’t going to happen. Our new friend was crying.

We both looked back to the jump seat, where she sat, coiled up into a ball, her face buried in her knees as she rocked back and forth.

“She’s fine,” I said as I popped the mask upwards, letting it rest on my head, the huff vapor making a warm spot on my forehead.

“She’s not fine,” Jones replied. “Go talk to her.”

“Me?” I asked. “Didn’t you used to be a diplomat?”

“I used to be a lot of things,” Jones said. “But right now she needs someone who looks like she does. Another human.”

“That’s speciesist!” I said. “Something you accuse ME of all the time!”

“It’s not speciesist,” Jones said. “It’s just common sense.”

I switched the inhalator off and removed my mask entirely.

“Fine,” I said as I walked over to the woman. “Jesus Christ, I have to do everything around here. Hello ma’am.”

She didn’t budge.

“Ma’am?” I asked as I poked her. She looked up at me and recoiled defensively.

I put both hands up. “Whoa,” I said. “It’s ok. What’s your name?”

She cocked her head and looked at me with the same expression a puppy uses when its confused by what a human just said.

I repeated myself. For some reason, I thought saying it louder would help. “YOUR NAME?”

“My name?” she asked.

“Yes, your name.”

She pointed at me. “Your name.”

“No, your name,” I said.

“Your name,” she repeated.
I slapped my warm forehead.

“Jonesy, she must be a mongo or something,” I said.

“Nah,” Jones said. “She’d be drooling all over the place if she were a mongo.”

The mongos. Humans who were subjected to illegal mind control experiments from 2745- 2801. They and their offspring have been bringing down humanity’s collective test scores ever since.

I checked her for drool. I didn’t see any.

“Let’s try this again,” I said. I put my hand on my chest. “MY NAME IS ROMAN.”

“Your name is Roman,” the woman repeated.

“Right,” I said. “There’s no flies on you, kiddo.”

“There’s no flies on me, kiddo,”  she repeated.  She had a very sweet voice.

I pointed at the pilot. “The little green man is Jonesy.”

Jones swiveled around in his chair, waved a three fingered hand and said a polite, “Hello.”

The woman perked up a bit. She stopped crying.

“The little green man is Jonesy,” she said between sniffles.

“Good,” I said. I pointed my finger at her. “And your name is…”

She got excited, smiled and clapped her hands. She pointed her finger at me and emitted a big, loud, triumphant, “YOUR NAME!”

Whoever she was, she stared at me with a pair of baby blues with all the enthusiasm of a game show contestant who was certain she’d just won a big prize by figuring out a complex puzzle.

Jones laughed. I hanged my head in defeat. “Oh for the love of…”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 11

Hyperion Bay. Malostet’s most picturesque tourist spot. Fireworks erupted in bursts every color of the rainbow overhead as I popped open the hatch. I climbed up onto the roof of the rickety old ship, watching my footing carefully.

Sourcemind soared across the city skyline. His hostage remained passed out over Ninety-Five’s shoulder, secured only by a metal hand. My pilot kept pace, staying a safe distance behind.

“What the hell is this thing?” I asked Jones through my Sen Pen relay as I stared at a metal bolt with a flat, round disc at the end. It was attached to a long length of cable that ran down the hatch and into the ship.

“An amantonov magnet,” Jones answered. “Strongest in the Known Universe.”

I loaded it into my harpoon gun. I always travel with one. You never know when you might spot a wild kamaratox dragon. Their hides fetch a decent price and their heads make excellent trophies. I keep one on the wall in my living room and its served me well as a magnificent conversation starter.

“What am I supposed to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on his ass?!”

“That cable’s attached to our main battery,” Jones explained. “Get it on him and I’ll fry his circuits.”

“And that’ll wipe Sourcemind out?”

“What?” Alien Jones asked, as if somehow that was a dumb question. “No. Ninety-five will be rendered a useless pile of scrap. Sourcemind will still remain in his mainframe back on Omcoros.”

“Whatever poindexter,” I scoffed. “Just keep your distance, I don’t want him to…”

Too late. He noticed us, stopped, turned, and delivered a barrage of missiles out of his chest.

“GRAB SOMETHING NOW!” Jones screamed as he took evasive maneuvers. Unfortunately for me, my sidekick’s warning was too little, too late. The ship went up and I fell back…back…back until I grabbed the corner fin with both hands..

“WORST…FLIER…EVER!!!” I shouted.

“YOU ‘AINT SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!” Jones said as he brought the ship down in a nose dive followed by a spiral, each missile exploding just inches from the hull.

The harpoon gun, precariously attached only by a cable plugged into the ship’s many battery, flapped in the breeze. I reached my right hand and after several tries, finally grabbed it.

The head clank himself hailed me on my Sen Pen.

“What the f%$k are you doing, Voss? We had a deal.”

“I didn’t know the ‘thing’ you wanted from Izok was a woman,” I replied. “What do you want her for anyway? You don’t even have a…”

Bullets from Ninety-five’s twin machine guns sprayed the ship.

“I’ve lost all respect for you, Voss!” Sourcemind said as he flew Ninety-five right up to me. “You’d give up your life for a pretty face? I’ll never understand organics.”

Jones leveled out and took us straight. Sourcemind retracted the gun that had replaced his hand and switched it back to the circular saw. He immediately went to work on the fin I was clinging to. Sparks flew as he cut it away.

“You’ll make a lovely splatter on Gnozzi Street,” Sourcemind taunted. “Here’s hoping its painful!”

With my free hand, I raised the harpoon gun and took aim.

“Jonesy,” I whispered. “Get ready…on one.”

“Loud and clear, good buddy,” Jones said.

“3…

“You have no idea what you’re messing with here,” Sourcemind said. “No idea at all! When will you pathetic organics realize understand that your day has past and its the machines’ time now? When will you comprehend that we are just as real and cognizant as you?”

“2…”

His tone got louder. Angrier.

“WHEN WILL YOU REALIZE THE I AM THE TRUE RULER OF ALL THAT IS AND ALL THAT WILL EVER BE?!

“1….NOW!!!!”

I fired. The harpoon launched the magnet right into Ninety-five’s chest. Sourcemind chuckled.

“What are you going to do? Hang a stick figure drawing on me?”

The engines backfired and rocked the ship, making it harder for me to hold on. Thousands of volts surged through the cable, knocking Sourcemind’s vessel off its feet. Ninety-five shook uncontrollably but maintained a grip on the woman.

The ship dove downward.

“Jones!!!”

“There’s no power going to the ship!” my pilot said. “We’re diving until the assimilator resets!”

“You could of told me!”

Jones righted the ship again, gliding straightforward. I took advantage of a distracted Sourcemind to pull myself up to my feet.

“I…I…I…I…”

“What?” I asked as I stomped my foot down on Nintey-Five’s face. “What are you going to do?”

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU!!! I’M….I’M…I’M GOING TO….GOING TO…”

He kept repeating himself. The surge was working. The ship moved faster.

“Engines are back,” Jones said.

“I’M GOING TO FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS, FIND YOU AND KILL YOU VOSS…FIND FUH FUH FIND AND KILL KA KA KILL YOU VA VA VA VA VOSS!!!!”

Slowly, the robot lifted itself back on its feet. That sharp circular saw spinned round and round as he swung it over my head.

“HIT HIM AGAIN!” I shouted.

“Hitting him again,” Jones confirmed.

I grabbed an antenna, the closest thing I could get my hands on, and braced myself. The engines backfired again and the ship went down once more. My body flew through the air as I held on.

Ninety-five convulsed wildly as sparks flew out of his chassis. His head caught fire, blew up, and both robot and hostage tumbled into the night.

“Umm…Jones?”

“Yeah?”

“We didn’t have a plan if he took the girl with him, did we?” I asked.

“No,” Jones said. “I’ve been pretty much pulling this out of my non-existent ass as we go along.”

“Shit,” I said.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 9

Alien Jones to the rescue.

Alien Jones to the rescue.

I ran out onto the roof top.  Casinos.  Hotels.  Strip clubs.  They all lit up the night sky with illuminated billboards, each more tacky than the next.  The only lights I wanted to see were attached to my ride. 

They were nowhere to be seen.

“You’re fired,”  I said.

“Oh good,”  Jones said into my ear.  “Now I can sue you for all that backpay you owe me.”

“I ask you to do one thing!”

“Relax,”  Jones said.

A dozen shai warriors poured out of the door.  Serious players, decked out in battle suits, packing some serious heat.

“So boys,”  I said as I threw up my hands, “Don’t suppose there’s anyway we could talk about this?”

“Yes, Mr. Voss,”  a voice called up from the stairwell.  “Let us talk about this.”

A cane topped with a diamond the size of a grapefruit popped out of the door.  It was followed by a man wearing a pair of sunglasses that were way too big for his face.  He sported a ridiculous black pompadour, so big that it almost looked like a creature of some kind was taking a nap on his head.  Three golden chains dangled from his neck. 

His suit was blood red and a leopard skin cape was draped over his shoulders.  His left hand was robotic.  He used it to straighten his yellow tie.  I spotted some nasty looking burn scars on the left side of his face.  The hand, the marks, it was a safe assumption he’d been set on fire at some point in his life, though whether it had happened by accident or on purpose I had no idea at the time.

“Good day,” the man said.  He switched his cane to his robotic hand and extended his right.  I shook it.

“And you are?”

“Oh pardon me,”  the man said.  “Fitzwalla.  Chazz Fitzwalla.  It’s a delight to meet you, Mr. Voss.  I’ve been cleaning up so many of the messes you’ve left behind for so many years now why, it feels like we’re old friends already.”

“You’re the Cabal’s consigliere,”  I said.  “The brains behind the Grondi Rebus.”

Fitzwalla tapped a finger on the side of his nose.

“IF…”

Fitzwalla really put an emphasis on that “if.”

“IF, the organization known as, ‘the Cabal’ were real AND if it indeed it were headed by an individual known as, ‘the Klapnar di Grondi Rebus,’ and said being did in fact have an advisor referred to as a ‘Consigliere’ then yes, Mr. Voss, I suppose if all those ifs were to come together, I suppose that Consigliere would be me.”

He smiled, flashing me a glimpse of his big pearly whites, with the exception of one gold tooth.

“But,” he continued.  “That would be a lot of ifs.”

“Maybe I should just go if myself,”  I said.

Fitzwalla snickered.  “It appears you already have.”

He stretched out his arms and took a deep breathe of the crisp air.

“Ahhh, Malostet,”  he said.  “Don’t you just love it?”

“Like I love an exotic venereal disease,”  I replied.  “Can you just kill me and get it over with already, or are you trying to bore me until I throw myself off the roof?”

“You’re funny,”  Fitzwalla said as he pointed a finger at me.  His ring finger was covered with a glistening emerald.  “Kill you?  Oh no, Mr. Voss, you are mistaken.”

I wasn’t buying it.  I knew he was winding up to lead me on somewhere.

“In fact, there’s been a number of mistakes on your part, Mr. Voss…”

“Oh please,”  I said, sarcastically.  “Do enlighten me.”

“I will,”  Fitzwalla said.  “The Cabal.  An organization so vast, so mysterious, so intriguing, so wildly powerful that it allegedly permeates every aspect of life in the Undesiredverse.  Politicians.  Businessmen.  The media.  All dangling from the so-called Klapnar’s hands like so many puppets on strings.  Why, the very notion is clearly preposterous.”

“Clearly,”  I said.

“You’ve been suckered in by fairy tales if you think we actually exist, Mr. Voss,”  Fitzwalla.  “That was your first mistake.  Your second mistake was that if you’re not able to shake yourself from the bad idea of believing in us, that you’re not able to at least go about your day in peace and pretend as if we don’t exist, as the vast majority of Undesireverseans prefer to do, filing us away in that deep dark corner of their brain where they store the boogeyman and other things that go bump in the night.”

“Did you rehearse this or does bullshit come natural to you?”  I asked.

He ignored the question.  “Mr. Voss, you believe this fantasy organization is responsible for murdering your family and while I do sympathize with your loss, I must say your third mistake was taking that unfortunate incident much too personally.  Business, as they say, is business.  Most beings either understand that or begrudgingly accept that but you?  You have been a thorn in the Klapnar’s backside for quite some time.”

“If he exists,”  I said.

Fitzwalla smiled.  “Now you’re catching on.”  He looked to the shai warriors and asked, “Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?!”

He paced about for a moment.  “You couldn’t let it go, could you?  You weren’t able to move on with your life.  No. You just had to hold a grudge. You bombed our operations.  Killed a number of our top operatives.  It seems to me that your third mistake was incurring the wrath of this massive conglomerate.  Tell me, Mr. Voss, do you remember a counting house on Salazon Deo?”

My heart sunk.  Now I knew where he was going.

“It rings a bell.”

“You blocked all the doors and set it on fire,”  Fitzwalla said.  “But you made another mistake that day, Mr. Voss.  We’ll call it your fourth.”

The Consigliere leaned in close and pushed his sunglasses up on his forehead to reveal that his left eye had been replaced by a glowing red robotic optic implant.

“You didn’t kill everyone that day,”  Fitzwalla said.

I shrugged my shoulders.  “I’m…sorry?”

“I’m not,”  Fitzwalla said.  “Not at all.  Whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.  You know, Mr. Voss…hmm.  Enough of this ‘Mr. Voss.’”

He put his arm around my shoulder.

“Can I call you Roman?”  Fitzwalla asked.  “I really feel like we have such a history, Roman, that we should be on a first name basis.  Do you mind?”

“Go for it, Chazz.”

“Clever,”  Chazz replied. “And that brings us to your fifth mistake, the one you just made moments ago, when you assumed that after all you have done that I’d merely just kill you.”

“You’re going to let me go?”  I asked.

“Not at all,”  Chazz answered.  “It has been quite some time since I have gotten my hands dirty, what with me holding an upper management position and all, but as soon as I get the Klapnar on the line, I’m going to volunteer for a special duty.  I’m going to personally torture you.  Slowly.  For days.  I’m going to engage the help of medical professionals to keep you alive longer just so I can torture you some more.  And just when you reach the point where you’ve had enough, where you can’t take it any longer, where you beg me for mercy…I am going to keep on going.”

“Well Jesus, Chazz,”  I said.  “Now who’s holding a grudge?”

“First thing’s first,”  Chazz said.  “Take all the hardware you’re packing in that infamous coat of yours and fork it all over.”

I didn’t move.

“Roman,”  came Jones’ voice in my ear.  I was the only one who could hear it.  “You should do as he says.”

Off in the distance, behind everyone’s backs, came a blinking light.  It drew closer and closer.

I reached into my coat.  All the warriors looked like they had itchy trigger fingers.

“Don’t try anything funny, Roman,”  Chazz said.  “You can see all the firepower I have at my disposal.”

“Start with the biggest one first,”  Jones said.

My double-barreled shot blaster.  It was strapped to my back.  I reached under my coat, unhooked it, and held it high over my head.

It wasn’t much to look at but it was in full view.  A Benson and Brandt 2900 Star Streaker.  Turd brown and basically a giant floating bread box with wings, it was the ride of choice for soccer moms around the turn of the thirtieth century.

And it wasn’t even mine.  It was a damn rental.

But I’d never been so happy to see it.  Good old Jonesy.  I saw his little green face in the cockpit.  He’d cut the engines and coasted in and since everyone was facing me, they didn’t notice my rescuer, or the big hook attached to a tow cable dangling from the bottom of the ship.

“Come on, come on,”  Chazz said as he grabbed my lapel and opened my beloved garment up.  “What else have you got in there?”

“You just made a mistake yourself there, Chazzy,”  I said.

“Oh, and what’s that?”

I cold cocked the Consigliere in the face with the butt of my shotblaster, knocked his gold tooth out, then raised my weapon again, holding each end up high in both hands just in time to be hooked and dragged up into the air.

“You touched my duster!”  I shouted.

As I dangled in the breeze like a freshly caught trout, the warriors took their shots, but Jones kicked the engines in.  They let loose with a roar and my pilot gunned it, tearing ass across the sky and forcing me to puke out everything I’d eaten that day.

My apologies to the tourists it landed on.

“God damn it, Jonesy!”  I shouted.   “I knew you were good for something!”

“Yeah yeah,”  came the reply in my ear.  “You owe me a smoodchix sandwich.”

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 7

Six against one.  The odds were against me.  I held my hands up.  The goon squad drew their hand cannons and approached.

“Screw it,”  I thought. “I’d rather be dead than surrender.”

Bounty hunting.  If you’re looking for work, I don’t recommend it.  God knows I wish I’d of gotten into a nice vocational training program but I’m stuck with my career choice now, and if I can’t talk you out of it, you’d better get your own arsenal.

Don’t just get one.  Carry it with you.  I did.  Unlucky for me, it was all neatly stored within my duster sitting on the couch on the opposite side of the room.

I was going to have to do this bare handed.

“OK boys,”  I said as I clasped my hands behind my neck.  “Let’s get this over with.”

They drew closer, their sights trained on me.  One of them put his hand on mine.  I twisted it, broke it at the wrist, then caught the blaster he dropped with his free hand.  I used it to gank two of those losers.  I made a backward dive across the floor, trading shots along the way.

There it was.  My precious duster.  I reached in the pocket and found a small rubber ball.

Three henchmen left.

“WAIT!!!”  I shouted.  I stood up with my hands up again.  “I give up!”

“What’s in your hand?”  on of the goons asked.

“Huh?”  I asked.

“YOUR HAND!  WHAT’S IN IT?!”

“Oh, this thing?” I said as I opened my hand up to reveal the ball.  “Here, catch.”

I threw it.  The goon caught it.  The three of them stood there staring at it like it was a beguiling mystery.

I clicked my Sen Pen twice.

“Detontate,”  I said.

Next thing I knew, it was raining shai parts.  Not a pretty sight. 

I put on my duster with a flourish.  It’s the only way to put on a duster.  You should try it sometime.  Not with mine though.  Get your own.

Behind me, a low growl turned into a ferocious roar.  I’d forgotten there was one more goon.  A furry one.

I kept perfectly still.  I could hear the banji beast charge.  I could sense it getting closer and closer.  I lulled it in, letting her think she’d bested me and then…BAM!  I turned around at the last minute and smashed the fuzzy bastard right in the face, knocking it the hell out.

You wish you were badass enough to say that you punched a banji beast in the face, don’t you?  It’s ok.  Don’t feel bad.  There can only be one Roman Voss.

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Undesiredverse: Wanted – Chapter 6

“You humans have an odd way of saying thank you,”  Sourcemind said.

“‘Thank you?!’”  I said as I stood up.  “I had him right where I wanted him!”

“From my vantage point it appeared you had a 97.8 % chance of survival,”  Sourcemind explained.  “You came to collect Tau’s head, did you not?”

“Not literally,”  I said.  “I’d of gotten more had I brought him in alive.”

“Semantics.”

“You’ve cost me my glory in the great beyond,”  I said.

“You ridiculous organics and your superstitions,”  Sourcemind said.  “The only thing that happens when you die is that you cease to be.  There is no alternate state to look forward to.” 

Izok was bald so I had no choice but to pick his knogin up by the beard.  Disgusted by the mess, I instantly dropped it.

“Yeesh,”  I complained as I removed a pillow from its case and bagged my prize.  “This thing is leaking everywhere.”

I tied the pillow case shut, then tied it to my belt.

Sourcemind piloted Ninety-five behind the throne, where there was a door.  He rapped on it three times.  After waiting a moment, he used Ninety-five’s saw hand to cut a hole around the lock, then kicked the door down.

I followed the metal monster.  We found ourselves in Izok’s own personal harem, a room with no furniture to speak of, just several oversized pillows filled with exotic females of various shapes, sizes, colors, and species.

My impromptu colleague of sorts projected a red laser grid over the room and stood silently for a minute until he pointed a finger at the back right hand corner.  I walked over with him to find a wiggling blanket.

I lifted it up to find a trembling human woman.  Her head was bald but even so, she was beautiful.  She had a pair of deep blue eyes, full red lips and a figure that would make you look twice, maybe even three or four times more.  She had no jewelry or make-up on, just a simple white cloth robe.

Sourcemind clutched her arm and dragged her off.  The woman slapped at her captor’s hand and scratched her nails along the floor, trying desperately to hold on.  The other ladies remained quiet and still.  It was a safe assumption they were no strangers to disturbing sights.

“What are you doing?”  I asked as I followed Sourcemind back into Izok’s chamber.

“Our business here is complete.  You have what you want.  I have what I want.”

“LET ME GO!”  the woman screamed but alas to Sourcemind, she might as well have been an insignificant ant.

“She’s what you want?”  I asked.  “What the hell are YOU going to do with a woman?”

“It is of no consequence to you, human,”  Sourcemind said.  “I shall take my leave now…”

The robot’s shoulders sagged and its head dropped.  Its grip remained firm.  I pulled out my boot knife and tried to pry its fingers apart.

“Please!”  the woman shouted.  “Don’t let him take me!”

The monster woke up.  It was Ninety-five again.  He turned and pointed his saw at me, letting it run just inches from my throat.

“Well, if you put it that way.”

Ninety-five hoisted his hostage over his shoulder and walked off.  She kept kicking and screaming until a syringe popped out of one of the robot’s fingers.  He stuck her in the neck with it and she passed out.

The elevator whirred.

“Ninety-five!” I shouted.  “Wait!”

The contraption looked at me.

“You’ve got to take me with you!”  I declared.

Ninety-five looked up, as if deep in thought, then looked back at me.

“That is not within my mission parameters.”

He retracted his saw hand and replaced it with a missile, which he used to knock a massive hole in the wall.  Twin jet thrusters popped out of his back and he took off into the night sky with his prey.

The elevator dinged.  Six shai goons poured out.

“I’m not paying for that,”  I said, pointing to the destroyed wall.  “That one’s on the clank.”

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BQB’s Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal – Day 31 – (Part 2)

“All the lights and sounds drove every zombie in town here,”  Alien Jones said.

“Great,”  I said.  “We’re safe from being blown up but now we’re going to be ripped apart by the undead.”

“Not quite,”  Alien Jones said as he punched a button on his space phone.  The pilots’ voices were back.

“God I hope there’s some hot chicks at the ‘Cool As Shit Fighter Pilot Bar’ tonight,” Buzzkill said.

Alien Jones handed me the phone.

“You can communicate with them now.  Human signals are notoriously easy to hack.”

“They are?”  I asked.

“Of course.  How do you think the Mighty Potentate has been getting free cable all these years?”

“Umm,”  I said into the space phone.  “Come in, good buddy?”

“Who is this?”  Buzzkill asked.

“This is Bookshelf Q. Battler,”  I said.

“This is a secure channel.  How did you hack into it?”

“Umm…there’s an app for that?  Hey listen, Cool As Shit Fighter Pilots, I need you to come back and waste some zombies.”

“10-4,”  Buzzkill said.

Alien Jones leaned over me and punched a button.  A non-lethal red laser shot out of it.

“What the hell is that?”  I asked.

“A laser target designator,”  Alien Jones explained.  “Point it at the zombies and the Cool As Shit Fighter Pilots will do the rest.”

“Damn it,”  I said.  “This thing has everything.  Where can I get my own space phone?”

“Eh,”  Alien Jones said.  “They’re fun at first but then they become a pain in your back quarter.  Every year they tweak it a tiny bit and expect you to buy a whole new one.”

I pointed the laser at a house down the road.

“Wait,”  I said.  “We should let the zombies get closer.”

“Why would you want them to get closer?”  VGRF asked.

“Because they’re right by…the house…”

VGRF glared at me.

“You know, the one that sorority rented and they all just lie around on the roof and sunbathe topless all day?”

VGRF slapped me for the fourth time this month.

“So I’ve heard!  Ahh, screw it, those babes are probably all zombies by now.”

I pointed the laser at the sorority house.  The zombies were tearing it apart, looking for survivors.

“Buzzkill, I’m painting the target now.”

“How does a civilian have a laser target designator?”  Buzzkill asked.

“I uh…bought it on eBay?”

“Shit,”  Buzzkill said.  “Probably some disgruntled Russian sold it.”

The F-15s did another flyby.

“Locking on…”

BOOM!

The sorority house went up in a fiery blaze, taking the majority of the town’s zombies with it.

The F-15s flew off.

“Pleasure doing business with you, Bookshelf Q. Battler.  Stop by the Cool as Shit Fighter Pilot bar sometime.  First round’s on me.”

Alien Jones launched his space phone into the air again and dropped a funky, smooth beat.  It was reminiscent of one of Barry White’s soulful 1970’s love jams.

3.5 readers, you might remember from the beginning of this tale that Alien Jones sounds exactly like Barry White.

“What are you doing?”  I asked.

“Now it’s time to celebrate,”  the Esteemed Brainy One replied.

The alien levitated himself in the air.  Still in his hipster garb, he broke out into song.

FUNK YOU, BABY

By:  Alien Jones, The Esteemed Brainy One

Aww baby…don’t you know you make me feel…fresh.

BQB/BERNIE:  CHORUS

Fresh!

ALIEN JONES

Aww baby, don’t you know you make me feel…frisky!

CHORUS

Frisky!

ALIEN JONES

Aw baby, don’t you know you make me feel…FUNKY!

I’m gonna funk you up woman, funk you up and down.

Funk you all over the place, all over this funkin town.

Funk you up in the mornin’

Funk you up at night!

Goddamn baby don’t you know our funky love

Will be one funky ass sight!

Funky love baby!

Funk you all night long!

CHORUS:

Funk you all night long!

ALIEN JONES:

Funk you the funkin hell up while I’m singing this funky ass song!

I don’t know how I’ll do it, because I got no junk!

CHORUS

He’s got nothin’!

ALIEN JONES

But you know my ass will find a way because I’m one funkin funky ass hunk!

The space phone dropped into Alien Jones’ hands.

“That was unlike you,”  I said.

“Sometimes an alien just has to funk.”

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