Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jenny's End, Part Two.

[Scene: a shiny new LR4 driving on a gravel road through the hills that you see in the background here.]

The Amazing Spleen [Brad Neilsen]: "I can't believe I'm driving this. I can't believe I'm driving this. I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DRIVING THIS!"
Captain Super-Ultra [Billy Washington]: "Shut up about the Land Rover already, Brad."
Twilight {Anita Guzman]: "Shouldn't we have hit the Wong's farm by now? Or at least a gap-toothed yokel playin' the banjo and a-lookin' at the Negro and the girl with staples in her face?"
Brad: "Wrong end of the country. Watch me drift around this corner!"
Nita: "Jesus, Brad! We can't watch when we're in the Deathmobile!"
Billy W: "There's Billy's bike up that turnout by the river. Wasn't he supposed to wait for us at the farm?"
[Brad very reluctantly pulls over. Billy Tatum walks up from the river to his bike as the Land Rover pulls up.]
Billy: "Hey, Billy. Where's the farm?"
Wolverine Boy [Billy Tatum]: [Point across the road to the left.] "You're looking at it?"

Nita: "That's a farm?"
Billy Tatum: "No. It's a pasture. Three hundred acres of it. Canada starts about halfway up."
Brad: "I hate zombies."
Billy W.: "And you know from zombies how?"
Brad: "Forget I said anything."
[A big Ford crew cab with a load of hay, pulling a horse trailer rolls up, still about sixty feet down the long pull-out. Jenny Wong opens the side door. She looks like the guest bathroom light at the Dawsons was pretty kind to her this morning, and her belt doesn't match her boots. Still, Billy W. notices that Brad's hands are shaking violently. Good that just started. Which reminded him....]
Snakes-On-A-Plane [Jenny Wong]: "Guys? Some help? We need to shift the picnic stuff to the Land Rover."
[Billy Tatum starts over. Anita follows, giving Billy a nod as she goes. Someone's got to ask.]
Billy W.: "Hold up there a second, partner."
Brad: "Pod-unit who?"
Billy W.: "I was trying... Never mind. Brad, you know how sometimes you think, "wow, that guy sure is a mess, but I'll bet a good night's sleep will fix him up?"
Brad: "No."
Billy W.: "You sure must have had a good sleep, 'cuz you're chipper than you've been in a week. But I'm thinking 10 hours of solid still won't burn off 15 pounds. Or give you a new haircut. About two weeks ago, if I'm any judge. Done any, you know, time travelling in the last eight hours? Fought some zombies, maybe?"
Brad: "Oh crap."
Billy W.: "It's okay. You notice these things when your favourite aunt has a time machine. I know you'd have told me anything you can, but I still need to ask: is there anything I need to know?"
Brad: "No. Look. Be on your guard."
Jenny Wong: "Some help would be nice."
[Brad is on it, grabbing the big Tupperware bowl like he'd do anything for Jenny except look her in the eye. The bowl quivers, would spill if it weren't lidded. Which, yeah. Breeders, Billy W. thinks. How is there even a human race still? Jenny's twitchy, too, he notices, as they talk over the plan. By the time they've swapped final notes , lunch is put away, and Henry is back from opening the gate across the road. Time for briefing.]
Billy W.: "Listen up, guys. This is the most dangerous part of the mission, because we're going to have to split up. This is Jenny's territory, so she'll explain."
Jenny: "Okay, guys. I called Agent Byrne two hours ago. Apparently, it's over four hours drive from here to Vancouver and he's working today. So officially we're expecting  him at the Dawsons tonight for dinner."
Billy W.: "But his UNTIL shadow called me just before we left. Byrne's shaken them. He could have teleported up here or have bailed. Bottom line: we have no idea when or if he'll show. Ouch. Sorry, Jenny."
Jenny: "Which is no surprise, since we could have been under surveillance since we left Philadelphia. Our legend is that my Dad is with us. Problem: Neither Henry can't drive the trailer past the washout to the lower bench."
Avenging Son [Henry Wong]: "We don't know that for sure."
Jenny: "Hank...
Nita: "You have benches?"
Henry: "Terraces on the mountain side where most of the good pasture is. Or in this case, lots of room to turn a truck and trailer around."
Jenny: "So the legend is that Dad is driving a load of hay to the shelter at the ...middle bench. Brad takes the trailer to the clearing. Two trucks, two drivers. For a certain value of surveillance, that'll stick. We can't fool them anyway if they have a shotgun mike on us. Now, it really is tricky driving past the washout, so Billy Tatum has scouted the road you'll be taking, Brad. He'll be with you. Go slow. Listen to anything he tells you."
[Billy W. wonders if professional briefings get all mumbly at the end, too.]
Nita: "Have you been reading spy novels, again, Jenny?"
Jenny: "Why, yes, dear! Declare."
[Billy W. wonders if professional briefings involve girls snarling at the questioners. Anita looks like she's been bitten. Henry opens his mouth, but doesn't say anything.]
Brad [quickly]: "Okay, I get it. Where are the horses?"
Jenny: "They'll probably come to the trailer. They like oat treats."
Brad [pats his pocket]: "The Lion will even come when I call him for Almond Sweet and Salty."
Henry: "There wouldn't be a story here that explains a phone call from you about last summer, something about the Lion getting out of his trailer on the highway, oh, no, never mind, everything's okay now?"
Brad: "I have no recollection of any such event. Do I have to load the Lion?"
Jenny: "Might as well. We're going to have to bring him down to the Dawsons to maintain the legend."
Billy W.: "Isn't that putting your prize stallion in the middle of a superfight?"
Brad: "If he can open a latch, jump out on the highway at 60mph and dodge two lanes of traffic to check out a filly on a  bridle path....Notice that I speak hypothetically here."
[The road that Henry drives the Land Rover up is so bad that Billy seriously considers asking to get out and walk. It looks as though he could jump down on the horse trailer hundreds of feet below at the switchbacks; but that thought is driven from his mind as they break through a screen of trees. Suddenly the're in a tiny little Chinese graveyard. Or what could be a Chinese graveyard, as Billy doesn't know what that would look like. It has graves and some Chinesey thingies, and a spring that breaks out of a solid wall of rock in the hillside and fills a pond with an ornamental stone boundary and a massive tree that stretches its limbs over the entire garden, the only leafed tree that Billy  has seen since down by the road. Henry stops the LR4. He toggles the windows down and turns off the engine.]

Billy W.: "I thought we were going to a barn?"
Henry: "More of a lean-to, really. And if the bad guys will just show up, we won't have to. We really should just use the lower shelter. Anyway, this is a..."
Jenny: "This is where my great-great granddad and his wife and every descendant of Wong Xianfeng is buried or reburied. This is Wong land."
Nita: "Like, the trapper and the Indian princess?"
Jenny: "She wasn't an Indian princess. She was the daughter of the Mohawk trapper who ran the fur trade in the Valley before the Companies got here."
Nita: "That's ....pretty technical."
Jenny [flatly]: "It matters. A lot."
[Henry looks at his sister, like he's about to ask a question. Jenny stops him with a look, opens her door and steps outside. It's tense. Not a moment for her friends to share, although Billy can't help noticing that she walks around a tree to get in front of the hood, and for just a second is out of sight. It's another of those things that he notices. Didn't they actually amplify the sound that Harleys made? He'd heard that, anyway. It didn't seem fair that someone didn't do the same thing for time machines. But whatever he thinks could have happened, Jenny's too smart to get caught like Brad. She looks just like she did a second ago as she rounds the corner. Older? Damn, that was a question not to even think about with a girl acting like Jenny was right now.]
Jenny [Loudly, so her friends can here her as they sit in the cab, windows down, like the audience of a drive-in showing of The Adolescent Emotional Turmoil Movie]: "I'll be a second. I've brought some flowers for my great-great-grandmother. If you want to"
[Then, far below them, there is the sound of an explosion. And whirring up the road behind them comes --a Segway. With a very fat, very comfortable looking man on it. A familiar man. The doors of the LR4 won't open for a moment, and Billy suddenly feels nauseous, weak, and dizzy. The team manages to pile out of the truck, but hardly more than that. The ground won't stop moving. He's mad enough to put  a few words together, though.]
Billy W.: "Officer Blart. Shouldn't you be back patrolling Frat row in Phillie?"
The Gyroscopic Man [Detective Keith Tuney, Temple University Campus Police Force, Ambler Division] [He's very close to the truck now. Close enough to be heard, not close enough to be grabbed, not that Billy is feeling like grabbing anyone right now]: "I shall miss listening to your dubious hilarity, Mr. Washington, which you will not be able to share with us soon, because you will be dead, Mr. Washington. Ah. We are all here."
[A very pretty man on what looks like an UNTIL Air Cavalry mount descends from the sky. If this is who Billy thinks it is, he is surprisingly slight.]
Ex-Agent John Byrne: "Ah. Ms. Wong. Come to trifle with my heart with your big city sophistication again?"
Nita: "You're an absolute douchebag, Romeo."
Byrne: "On the contrary. Ms. Wong came on to me. All I did was poke into the  family background. Not exactly what a good girl is supposed to do, was it, Jenny? Don't worry about my fragile ego, by the way. You're no Mata Hari, and I could see that you're too much the size queen to be serious with me." [Billy thinks to himself: seriously, dude.]
Henry: "Is it in the contract that all you bastards are so mouthy?"
Tuney: "No. I prefer to shoot first. Speaking of, John, the other truck?"
Byrne: "I hope that Tatum can regenerate from being burned alive. I assume no-one will miss the big kid."
Tuney: "You finished the job, right?"
Byrne: "I don't know. I used a fire-and-forget. If they were ready for it....Surveillance is your job."
Tuney: "Idiot. Like I have time to follow three audio-visual-kinesiological feeds right now. Go finish it."
Byrne: "You going to mail me my share? Because I totally believe that you would."
Nita: "Brad! That's it, you're going..."
Tuney: "To do exactly what I planned all along. You kids are in over your head. Do you have any idea how many suppressors are trained on you right now? Synaptic, anti-mutant, even a magical geegaw I bought off the Demonologist. And psychic, dear. I listened to your conversation with your brother, David. Maybe you don't remember? Your blackouts?"
Jenny: "Oh crap."
Henry: "So there's not going to be cavalry, after all, Jen?"
Jenny: "We shouldn't need it, anyway, considering that the trap was set for Doctor Destroyer."
Nita and Billy W.: "WHAT?"
Jenny: "I'm sorry. I couldn't tell you. The listening devices embedded in Dr. Stonechild calved. They're in all all three of you...."
[Which is the point when Billy Tatum breaks out of the bush and rushes Tuney,  pushing him into the pond before an arm-thingie stretches out of the Segway and lifts him off the ground.]
Tuney [Nonplussed, but also not obviously inclined to try to climb out of the pond just yet. He really, really is fat.]: "Yes. Those old things. They weren't hard to reactivate once I noticed that Stonechild was hanging with young Billy and his friends, here. It was annoying that Billy rejected his. Fortunately, he's too stupid to shake a tail."
Byrne: "So. Wait. Tuney. You involved the Demonologist and fucked with Doctor Destroyer's old tech?"
Tuney: "Bogeys to scare old women. When Yin Wu pays us for delivering the son and daughter of Princess Ma Tien..."
Byrne: "So, no. The answer to the question is, you fucked with the Demonologist. You fucked with Doctor Destroyer. And with the Liberty League. And now you're going to fuck with Yin Wu. Fuck this. I'm fucking out of here before cavalry does show. Or, more likely, bigger Indians." [Byrne straddles his jetcycle and takes off straight up to clear the trees. Tuney stands in the pond, watching him go.]
Tuney: "You just can't get good help nowadays. Now where was I? Ah. Yes. I have my payoff, some DIY corpses and a graveyard. A perfect ending for a perfect day. By the way, Miss Wong, I read old comic books, too. I don't have a suppressor for this life energy thing, but I did figure out a partial ground. You can stop trying to make the branch fall on me any time you want."
[Music rings out. Jenny, still glowing just very slightly green, straightens up and pulls her phone out.]
Tuney: "Go ahead. Nothing can save you now."


[Text edits above. Mostly because on second thoughts, this would be a good place for a cliffhanger. Are second thoughts allowed in blogging? Probably not.]

This is the thirteenth in a series of fan fictions set in the Champions Universe (a property of the Cryptic Games Studio licensed to DOJ, Inc. for the pen-and-paper Hero Games RPG line). It features the adventures of the teenaged descendants of Philadelphia's superheroic defenders of the "Gold" and "Silver" Age, the Liberty Legion. The new Liberty Legion has been operating for several years now as a mostly self-described auxiliary of Philadelphia's real superteam, the Liberty League.  They have the pull to get some serious cavalry on the job if they think that they're being stalked by 4000 point master villains, but maybe not the good sense to execute well. "Invisible to sound" is a +1/2 advantage for time machines.

Doctor Destroyer  and the Demonologist, are all published Champions Universe characters, which unaccountably lacks an established master villain who drives a Segway. 

This brings the story begun here up top the point where I can link to it, as we finally get the much requested (there) appearance of a mall cop on a Segway as a team archenemy. Master villain dialogue is a lot harder to do than it looks, which is another good reason to tinker.

No comments:

Post a Comment