BZPB

A Free-for-All Collaborative Fiction/RPG Forum with a Long-Lived Community!

View the BZPB Wiki for more information about the site and the BZPB Multiverse.


    Stargazer

    Share
    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:41 am

    So this is my contest entry. It's also the first episode of a series.

    -----

    Stargazer: Episode 1: Under Cold Blue Stars

    Everyone’s heard of the Shattered Mirror Universe now. When they hear the name, they imagine evil, moustache-twirling counterparts of themselves and everyone they’ve ever known. They think of tyrants out to enslave them all.

    But all that’s a thing of the past.

    According to the calendar, the year was 101K.362. Nobody understood what that meant, but that didn’t stop them using it. Only the priests had a clue, and they weren't the kind to share their knowledge.
    When they were children, all Skrall heard the legends. Legends of their ancient homeworld, of their struggles, of their empire. Legends of the invaders from another world who ruined it all.
    To someone who lives in a little village, light years away from anyone, it all sounds like a bit of a joke.

    -----

    Sal’e stormed out of a hut, seething with anger at the world and everything in it. She hated it here and everyone knew it.
    Like all the Skrall of the village, Sal'e had been brought up on the stories of their ancestors. She'd heard all about the old empire, and of the dark lord who came one day from another place, took over their world, drove it into the ground, and abandoned it. They told her about the refugees who left the dying world, travelling across the stars, looking for a new home.
    Most people thought it was all a bunch of fairy tales, but not Sal'e. She wanted to travel, just like her heroes.
    Of course, everyone thought she was weird. Didn't they have everything they needed here? Leaving home was dangerous, didn't she know? It was so much easier to just stay here and be a farmer.
    It was nighttime. Sal'e lay down on the wet grass, and looked up at the sky. She liked being here, and dreaming of distant places. She soon fell fast asleep, in the light of the cold blue stars.

    -----

    A being was sitting in front of a computer console. It was humanoid, maybe six or even seven feet tall, and covered in light blue armour. It was looking at an image of a grid, full of little dots. Some were red, and some were yellow. The being hovered the cursor over the yellow points, and read out the data the monitor displayed when he did so.
    Another being approached it. It too was covered in light blue armour, but it had orange stripes on its shoulders, indicating superiority.
    The one sitting in front of the computer hovered his mouse over one particular point, and said some words in a harsh alien tongue. His superior nodded, then turned around and barked some orders.

    -----

    It was just another day in the Skrall village. The inhabitants were just going about their business, when they heard a noise from above. They crowded out onto the streets to look for its source. None of them expected to see what was there: a bulky, black cruiser hovering over them. They stared at it, immobile, dumbfounded.

    -----

    Sal'e was stirred from her sleep by the sound of the cruiser's engines. Her jaw immediately dropped upon seeing it. Could it be? Someone had come from another world? Maybe they were traders or something, she imagined.
    Whoever it was, at the very least they'd have stories to tell, and maybe, with a bit of luck, she could come with them or stow away.....
    She got up, and ran back to the village.

    -----

    Six rings came down from the underbelly of the alien ship. The people moved aside to make room for them. The first one stopped a foot off the ground. The other ones stopped above it, each one about three inches above the previous one. There was a flash of light inside the rings, and then they flew back up to the ship, leaving half a dozen armoured aliens in their wake.
    The villagers looked at the aliens in amazement. One Skrall, an elderly gentleman in priests' robes, approached them.
    "Welcome to our village. I am Erion, the head priest. What are your names?"
    One of the aliens snarled. He drew a weapon, and fired. Erion collapsed. His last emotion was one of shock.
    The other Skrall tried to run away, but the aliens opened fire on them.

    -----

    Sal'e had reached the village. The first thing she noticed was the body of a woman on the ground. She instinctively dropped to the ground and checked the woman's pulse. "She's still alive", Sal'e noted with relief.
    It was the aliens! It had to be! "But why would anyone want to attack us?", she wondered.
    She never saw the alien behind her.

    -----

    She woke up lying on the floor of an unfamiliar place, looking up at a pure white ceiling. She sat up, and inspected her new surroundings.
    Sal'e was in a completely white room. There were no windows, and no immediately evident door, just the one colour. She blinked as the unbroken white made her eyes hurt a little.
    The other Skrall were there, gathered in little groups, chattering amongst themselves. Sal'e got up and went over to the nearest group.
    "What's going on here?" she asked them. "Does anyone know who these aliens are? What are they going to do to us?"
    A middle-aged woman in priests' robes spoke up. "We don't know. We haven't seen them since they knocked us out back at the village, and they didn't say anything even then."
    Sal'e sighed. She wanted to go to the stars all her life, but this wasn't how she pictured it.

    Suddenly, a wall split in half, and the two segments slid aside. Five armoured beings walked in. The assembled Skrall began shouting at them. "Who are you?" "What are you doing with us?" The beings ignored them. They simply stood in front of the Skrall. One screamed at them in a thick accent, making her alien origins even more obvious.
    "All priests will step forward!"
    The Skrall murmured amongst themselves. The priests reluctantly walked towards their captors.
    They were all shot down before they got within ten feet.

    "You are now our property, to do with as we wish. The penalty for insubordination is death."
    With that, the aliens marched out, leaving the Skrall alone again.

    -----

    The cruiser flew through space. It passed countless suns, planets and nebulae in its travels, before finally reaching an unremarkable barren globe. It may once have held life of some kind, but the cruel hand of fate did something about that a long time ago.
    Were there anyone outside to observe, they would have seen their view of the ship blur, change colour, and finally vanish in a purple flash. As for those onboard, they felt only a little turbulence.
    The ship was still floating near the same desert world. Nothing had changed. Or had it?
    The cruiser landed. Armed humanoids very much unlike any of those onboard awaited it. A man in fancy red uniform stood in front of the hatch.
    Said hatch opened, and two armoured beings came out. "You're late." the man in red uniform said. "We were expecting this shipment a week ago. Do you have any idea how angry Stregobor got?"
    The beings' leader snarled. She fired back in heavily-accented broken English. "Finding good slaves take time. We bring extra-large shipment. Lots of Skrall."
    "Skrall?" The man's ears pricked up. "Show me."
    The armoured woman turned and gestured to her subordinate. He walked to the other end of the ship and pulled a lever. A segment of the ship's hull lifted up, revealing the waiting Skrall.

    Sunlight filled the sterile cargo hold. Sal'e blinked several times as she tried to adjust to the light.

    The man in red stepped back, looked at the Skrall, and nodded. "Very nice", he said. His troops burst into the hold and began leading the Skrall outside. Nobody tried to resist.

    -----

    From atop a dune, a man watched the exchange through binoculars. He was tall, with tanned skin and a tattoo covering the entire right-hand side of his face. It was a memento of his homeworld, one of the handful that had openly defied Klak and paid for it. Several armed individuals stood behind him.
    One of them, a man who could easily have come from London on Earth, if it weren't for his green skin, squatted down next to him, and asked: "How much longer, mate?"
    "Not until they've got the prisoners out in the open. If we fire now, they'll lock 'em in, run off, and rendez-vous somewhere else, where we won't catch them. Get it?"
    "Yeah, that makes sense, Prush.....apart from the fact that we might hit the prisoners once they're outside, and Liz could shoot them down if they run."
    "Probably killing the prisoners in the process, even if Liz actually decides to shoot. You know how she is about collateral damage, Ezzie."
    "Don't call me that. My name's Ezracellion."
    "Which is long as hell, hence the nickname."
    "I.....I just don't like it, okay?"
    They could've argued like this for ages, but they were interrupted by a long beep coming from the radio. Once it stopped, a slightly electronic-sounding female voice followed. "Shut. Up."
    "You can have this fight for the 56th time once the mission is over. Also, I wanted to point out that the slaves seem to be all out now. Liz out."
    There was a click, another long beep, and then static.
    "Well, you heard the woman. Move!", Prush said. He grabbed a plasma rifle off the rock next to him, and stood up. A Toa of Stone moved next to him and Ezzie, carrying a missile launcher. Everyone covered their ears, knowing what would come next.
    A loud noise rang out as the Toa fired the missile. It struck near the alien woman and the man in red, sending him and one of his men flying.
    As he spun through the air like a ragdoll, red energy appeared around his hands and feet, and he landed on his feet, grinning.
    As for the woman, she just stood there, apparently unaffected.
    The rebels on the dune charged. They slid down the dune and ran at the assembled troops, all guns blazing. Confused, the men tried to run and hide or stood still and were gunned down. The Skrall, seeing a chance, immediately dispersed.

    Sal'e got confused. What was going on here? Were they being rescued? Or did someone want to kidnap them again? Her train of thought was derailed by someone shouting "STOP!" at her.
    She turned around. One of the soldiers was chasing her. "Probably trying to round us up", she thought.
    In a split second, she decided her course of action. She dropped to the ground, as if she had just tripped. The soldier stopped in front of her. He pointed a gun at her, and said: "Get up."
    Sal'e jumped onto her feet, spun around, and propelled her foot into the soldier's belly. The man doubled over in pain, and collapsed. Sal'e quickly grabbed his gun off the ground, and ran off. She decided to help the new arrivals. Whoever they are, she figured, they didn't like the bastards that took her village, so they were friends of hers.
    The only problem was, she had never fired a gun before. "I'll just have to learn quickly", she thought.

    -----

    Meanwhile, Prush and Ezzie were pinned behind a rock. The man in red was firing energy blasts from his hands at them.
    The Toa with the rocket launcher, along with two other rebels, went after the alien woman.
    The two rebels had been quickly disposed of. Only the Toa remained.
    Sal'e saw her captor fight a strange being. She carefully aimed her rifle at the woman, and fired, hitting her shoulder. The recoil made Sal'e fall over.
    The alien turned around and growled. She saw a Skrall, one of her livestock, lying down on the ground, trying to recover from the shock. She pointed her weapon at the defiant slave, only for massive stone fingers to lock around her abdomen. The Toa grinned as he manipulated the stone hand to lift his enemy as high up as possible.
    Sal'e couldn't believe her eyes. She had heard tales of beings who could control the elements, but she never thought much of it. And there, right in front of her, the person she'd tried so ineptly to help was now saving her by reshaping stone with his focused will.
    The fingers finally released, letting the alien drop. She got to her feet, but before she could do anything else, the hand became a fist, and slammed into her with devastating force. Her armour was dented and cracked all over, and her weapon was now useless.
    This battle no longer had any utility, she decided. She signalled her subordinate, and they forced their way back to their ship.

    -----

    The man in red continued grinning as he walked over to his enemies. Their continuous fire didn't seem to faze him. Prush and Ezzie had no more choice. They crawled away from the rock, then got up and ran. Energy blasts flew all around them, and then suddenly stopped.
    The man stood dumbfounded as he watched his allies' ship leave. "That female dog!", he thought. She was abandoning him! Damn her!
    Ezzie took aim at the man as he screamed at the sky. He hit him right in the chest, knocking him down, and letting his blood gush out.
    He and Prush ran over to him. "It's over, Lantern.", Prush said, pointing his rifle at him.
    "You wouldn't shoot an injured prisoner, would you now?" the Lantern said.
    Prush looked at Ezzie, then replied: "No."
    "Good." The Lantern smiled. "Now I know how soft you are." He slapped a button on his wrist, and instantly vanished.
    "Dammit!" Ezzie shouted. "Hey, we still beat 'em." Prush put this arm on Ezzie's shoulder.
    "Remove the arm." "Okay."

    -----

    Sal'e got up. She approached the Toa, and asked him: "Who are you?"
    "I'm Toa Praxter. I'm with the Resistance."
    "Resistance? Resistance against who?" she asked, confused, "Well, I presume it's the guys who kidnapped us. But who were they?"
    Praxter was taken aback. This girl obviously had no idea who Klak was. That meant these Skrall had to be from another universe.
    "Listen, umm....."
    "Sal'e."
    "What?"
    "That's my name.", she said with a smile.
    "Alright. Listen, Sal'e. This isn't your world. You're in another universe."
    Realization dawned on Sal'e. All the legends she heard suddenly came rushing back.
    "Shattered Mirror." she said.
    Praxter recognized the term. "Excuse me?"
    "That's what this is. They took us through the Shattered Mirror somehow. I heard the stories. Your world's people come to ours, take whatever they want, and go back!"
    "Woah, woah, woah! Slow down! Let me explain!"
    "What's there to explain? You people are exactly like in the stories I heard!"
    "We're not all like that. In fact, most of us aren't. Sadly, there's a bad man around." Praxter couldn't help smiling at that turn of phrase. Sal'e just glared at him.
    "A man called Klak took over. He used to be a great hero, but he turned to the dark side. He rules the universe now, and we're the resistance against him."
    Sal'e's raged melted away as she burst out laughing. "What, just you lot? Against the ruler of the whole universe?"
    "Not the whole resistance, obviously. There are lots of other cells. And we saved all of you, didn't we? Anyway, we caught wind that the governor of this sector was buying slaves from someone. We managed to figure out where the next exchange was gonna take place, and here we are."
    "Thanks for the rescue. So, you have no idea who actually kidnapped us?"
    "Nope. We were hoping to find out, but that woman wasn't very talkative."
    "I noticed." Sal'e smiled. "So, can you send us back?"
    "The Resistance captured a ship with the ability to travel between universe a while back. I'm sure we'll be allowed to use it."
    "Cool. So, is this what you guys do? Fly around space, saving people from the big bad Clock?"
    "Klak. And, basically, yeah."
    Sal'e thought for a moment, then decided. "I want to join you." Praxter spluttered.
    "What?!"
    "I said, I want -"
    "I know what you said! But why? This isn't your world, this isn't your fight!"
    "Praxter, those bastards tried to enslave me. They shot people I've known all my life right in front of me just to make a point. And I don't have a clue who they are. Now, as far as I can tell, the best way to find the answer to that question is to join you. Also," she smiled for the umpteenth time, "I always wanted to see other worlds. Again, I can't think of a better way to do that. Is there a problem?"
    "It's not all fun and games! We fight, sometimes to the death!"
    "You think I don't realize that? I want to join your band, Praxter. I am not going back home."
    Praxter sighed. "I'll discuss it with the others. In the meantime, go tell your people where they are and that we'll send them back home."
    "Fine." Sal'e walked off towards a crowd of Skrall. Praxter watched her as she did so, and muttered under his breath.
    "So young....."
    He went off to find Prush and Ezzie.

    -----

    The alien woman walked through the gates of a magnificent mansion. Another being awaited her in front of a fountain. He was clad in a hood and robes that covered his entire body.
    "Why do you bother with the cloak?" she asked. "I know who you are, and there's no one else around."
    "I find I rather like the look. So, Arante, how goes our little business venture?"
    "The last delivery was a disaster."
    "I heard."
    "Stregobor must be pretty pissed."
    "Don't worry about Stregobor, I know how to handle him. Just carry on as normal."
    "Just carry on as normal.", Arante repeated. If it weren't for the money, she'd have gutted this man long ago.

    TO BE CONTINUED.....


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Klak
    Resident Klak Expert

    Posts : 3563
    Coins : 13416
    Reputation : 7015
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 116
    Location : Yes

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Klak on Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:57 am

    This was quite entertaining. Suspenseful, fast-paced (though the part where Sal'e decides to join the Resistance seems a tad rushed), full of action, and it has interesting characters with a brilliant premise. Well done. Looking forward to more.


    _________________


    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:08 pm

    Thanks. The part you mention was the one I was most worried about, incidentally.....though I actually felt it might be too long. (It was like 5 pages in my notebook, okay? Razz)

    With a bit of luck, I'll have the next ep up by Friday.

    Also, about the characters.....get to like them while you can. Razz


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Klak
    Resident Klak Expert

    Posts : 3563
    Coins : 13416
    Reputation : 7015
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 116
    Location : Yes

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Klak on Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:27 pm

    Oh crap. Razz

    (Ah the writing process.)


    _________________


    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Sun May 05, 2013 4:31 am

    Yes, I realize it's now Saturday. Truth be told, I'm only getting to copy Episode 2 now, so it'll be up in a few days.

    It'll still be up by Friday, just a different Friday Razz


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Kon
    Prophet of SUS
    Prophet of SUS

    Posts : 2354
    Coins : 12898
    Reputation : 7352
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 20
    Location : Location Location

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Kon on Mon May 06, 2013 5:50 am

    This is looking interesting so far, and aw I like some of the characters...


    _________________
    avatar
    Klak
    Resident Klak Expert

    Posts : 3563
    Coins : 13416
    Reputation : 7015
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 116
    Location : Yes

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Klak on Mon May 06, 2013 9:35 am

    Congrats on your win! Looking forward to Friday's chapter Razz


    _________________


    avatar
    Yenot
    Resident Continuity Expert

    Posts : 2363
    Coins : 7348
    Reputation : 3132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 25
    Location : Land of Paradoxes and Shadow

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Yenot on Sun May 26, 2013 2:02 pm

    REally enjoy this story, can't wait for Chapter 2
    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:31 am

    I just wanted to say that this is coming back.

    Also, have a theme song for Chapter 1 for your troubles.



    (yes, I'll be doing this for every episode.)


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:07 am

    Well, it took a few months, but it's finally here. The second episode of Stargazer.

    Theme song coming as soon as I can find a good one.

    Stargazer: Episode 2: A Picture in a Frame

    Sal'e looked out of the window. Over the last few days, it had become her favourite activity, just watching the stars fly by.

    All the other Skrall had been sent home. They did their best to convince Sal'e to come back with them, but she was adamant. She would find out who had kidnapped them, and see some alien planets while she was at it.

    She was snapped out of her thought by a female voice. "Beautiful, aren't they?" Sal'e turned around sharply and examined her surroundings. There was nobody else in the room. "Who said that?"
    The disembodied voice giggled. "Sorry, did I startle you?"
    "A little. Who are you and where the hell are you?"
    "Oh, I'm here and there and everywhere. My name's Liz. I'm the Rocinante."
    Sal'e raised an eyebrow. "The Rocinante?"
    "That's the name of this ship. None of the guys told you?"
    "Not really. Say, do you even know who I am?"
    Liz giggled again. "I know about everything that goes on here. Don't forget, I am this ship. Sal'e. Skrall from the Shattered Mirror Universe. Rescued from unidentified slave traders and joined our little ragtag band. I'm looking forward to getting to know you, Sal'e, but right now there's a little imbalance in the reactor that needs fixing. Bye!"

    There was a long beep, and then Prush walked in. "Hello, Sal'e." he said, " I heard you met Liz."
    "Yeah. She's....."
    "Bubbly?"
    "You could say that."
    "Of all the Ais I've met, she's the only one who has an actual personality. It's a blessing and a curse."
    Liz's disembodied voice boomed into the room again. "I can hear you, you know."
    Prush sighed. "Sorry. Sometimes I forget you're all eyes and ears."
    "That's right, Prushy boy. I see, hear, and run everything. So watch your mouth!" She giggled again.
    "Please don't call me Prushy boy."
    "Would you rather I vent the atmosphere?"
    ".....Fine. Prushy boy it is."
    Beep.
    "Like I said, it's a blessing and a curse."

    The Rocinante shook a little. The stars slowed down around them, and a planet came into view. Sal'e's eyes opened to a size Prush didn't think was possible. The Skrall just took in the view, without saying anything.

    The planet was beige, with golden oceans. Vast grey clouds hid portions of the globe from view. Ships crowded around it, those that left immediately replaced by new arrivals.
    "It's beautiful." The Skrall finally said.
    "Not the first word that comes to mind for me." Prush replied.
    "Are you kidding? Look at it! Golden oceans!"
    "Heh. Wait till you see the surface."
    "So what is this place, anyway?"
    "Z'traa. The Vrai homeworld. They're arms dealers, and we're low on ammo."
    "Hold on. You guys told me that Klak rules the whole universe. How come these guys will still sell you guns?"
    Beep. "We're about to enter the atmosphere", Liz said. "Strap yourselves in."

    The floor opened up behind Sal'e and Prush, and two chairs popped out. They sat down, and Prush resumed his explanation. "Z'traa is a pretty big place. The whole planet is dedicated to making and selling weapons. You'll always find one or two Vrai who suddenly stop being sympathetic to the powers that be if you pay them enough."

    The Rocinante cleared the cloud cover. Sal'e saw endless, smoking, factories and crowded spaceport, all against a black sky.
    "Still beautiful?" Prush asked with a smirk, which promptly vanished when Sal'e replied.
    "Majestic."
    Prush shrugged.

    Liz plopped the ship down onto a landing pad. Prush and Sal'e got up and made their way to the hatch. Ezzie and Praxter were already waiting for them.

    "Liz, don't fly off." Ezzie said.
    "I wasn't going to until you gave me the idea." she fired back.
    Ezzie smiled, and the four of them got off the ship. A Vrai was waiting for them at the evit. Even from far away, the alien's appearance shocked Sal'e. He was unbelievably thin, as though someone had draped a skeleton in grey leather. One of his eyes was covered or maybe even replaced by some sort of cybernetic implant.

    Sal'e turned to Ezzie and said: "I think he's sick."
    "What, you mean how think he is? They all look like that. It's when you see a fat one that you need to worry about them."
    "Ah." Sal'e nodded.

    The Vrai met them halfway. "Bonjour, mes amis!" He shook their hands one-by-one, and then got to Sal'e. "I don't know you."
    That didn't stop him bending down and kissing Sal'e's hand.
    "Um, thanks." Sal'e said.
    "Didier, that's Sal'e. She's our latest recruit." Prush introduced her.
    "Enchante, mademoiselle Sal'e. May I show you around our city? You'll find it quite breathtaking, I assure."
    Sal'e didn't bother saying anything. She just shook her head no.
    "Go hit on someone your own species, Didier." Praxter threw in. "You know why we're here."
    Didier sighed. "You make it sound so crass. No appreciation for the art of....."
    "Say another word," Sal'e hissed, "and I'll kick your head in."
    "Let's go." Praxter's tone got even more curt this time.
    "Fine, fine!" Didier walked away. They followed him.
    "Are they all like this?" Sal'e inquired.
    "Fortunately not. Just be glad you weren't here last time. He got drunk at a bar, kept harassing a waitress, and wound up with a broken arm." Ezzie explained. Prush threw in his two cents:"Never tell me there's no such thing as karma."

    Didier then turned around. "Please, do carry on talking about me loudly behind my back!" he said with exaggerated indignation. "I have nothing against it!"
    "Take us to your shop!" Ezzie barked. Didier spun around on his heel, and they carried on their way. After much forcing their way through the packed city, they finally arrived at the Vrai's shop.

    "Welcome to Didier's! We carry only the best weapons, at the best prices!" the Vrai's voice rang out from a speaker above their heads as they entered.
    "You play your jingle even to the people already in your shop? Really?" Prush said.
    "You'd be surprised how much my sales figures have gone up since I've set that up," the dealer fired back. "People like to be reassured they're buying good stuff. So, what do you need this time?"

    Ezzie fumbled around in his pocket and pulled out a data pad. "Here's the list. Nothing really out of the ordinary."
    Didier read the list carefully. "You're right. Nothing new."
    "You sound disappointed." said Praxter.
    "I admit, sometimes I do wish you people would try something a little more ambitious. I've had eighteen boxes of hadrium in my warehouse over a year now. There's just no demand for the good stuff anymore. Dommage." he replied, ruefully.
    "If we ever want to blow a moon out of orbit, you'll be the first we call." said Prush.
    "The merchandise shall be on your ship by this time tomorrow," Didier moved on, and gave Ezzie back his data pad. "In the meantime, I'd like to suggest you take some shore leave."
    He turned to Sal'e. "Madame, are you sure....."
    He didn't get any further before Sal'e had punched him in the face. "No means no."
    The Vrai slowly sat up. He instantly grabbed his nose, only to find it hurt even more when he held it.
    "You're lucky," Ezzie said. "This is a gun store."
    They walked out.
    "Wait," asked Sal'e. "Didn't we forget to pay?"
    "Liz transfers money to his account after he delivers the goods. I don't know where she gets it, and I don't really want to know." Praxter replied.
    "Right. So, I think he was right. We should have some shore leave. We're not leaving until tomorrow anyway, let's have some fun!"
    Prush shrugged. "Not much point just sitting around on the Rocinante."
    "Okay. Let's split up. Prush, wanna come with me?" Ezzie asked.
    "Sure, " Prush said. "See you around."

    Praxter and Sal'e were now alone. "So, seeya, I guess?" Sal'e began to walk off.
    "Hold on! I'm coming with you."
    "What? I'm not a little kid. I don't need you to hold my hand."
    "You're not a kid, but you are pretty new to all this. Just..... let me help you keep out of trouble. You never know what kind of people might show up here."
    "OK, fine! Let's go."

    As they left, someone else walked into the shop.....

    -----

    Two Resistance members walk into a bar. They sit down at a table, order drinks, and have a polite conversation. No one pays them any mind.

    "So, what do you think of Sal'e?" Prush asked Ezzie.
    "Young, insatiable curiosity, maybe a little naive at times. Reminds me of someone."
    "What are y....."
    "Let me tell you a story. There was once upon a time a boy called Prush."
    "Oh god."
    "He was, like I said, young, and he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He was maybe a little naive. He didn't like his homeland, but when Klak laid waste to it, it turned out he cared enough about it to want to avenge it."
    "I get it, I get it, she's a carbon copy of me. But.....she's from the Shattered Mirror Universe.You heard what they used to do. Can we really trust her?"
    "She's probably asking herself the exact same thing about us. Are you just looking for reasons to get rid of her?"
    "No, it's just.....I have a feeling this is gonna end badly. For us and for her."
    Ezzie opened his mouth to speak, but a long beep from both his and Prush's radios interrupted him.
    "Guys," Liz said, obviously worried. "is there a net terminal anywhere near you?"
    Prush looked around, then replied in the affirmative.
    "Turn it on. Now."
    "What happened? Are you just showing off your hacking skills again?" Ezzie laughed at the memory.
    "Well, I was going to see what I could do, but then I saw this."
    Prush turned on the net terminal. A 'Breaking News Alert' popped up on the screen. It read, in Vrai:
    "Businessman Didier R. murdered in his shop. Anyone with information regarding the matter is asked to come forward."
    "Wow." Prush said.
    "I know," Ezzie replied. "Who the hell reveals the victim's name so early into the investigation? What kind of cop does that?"
    "You idiot," Liz laughed. "that's our Didier. The arms dealer. Let's just say I hope he filed our order before they shot him."
    "Dammit. Did you tell Praxter and Sal'e?" Prush inquired.
    "Just about to. Sadly, for all my capabilities, I still can't talk to all of you simultaneously. Bye!"
    Beep.
    "Crap." Praxter hissed, putting his radio back on his belt.
    "What happened?" asked Sal'e, concerned.
    "Liz tells me someone just shot our arms dealer. We'll have to find someone else to get our ammo from."
    Sal'e was shocked. Someone just died, and all he cared about was his bullets? Yes, he was a slimeball, but couldn't he work up a little more sympathy for a soul that had just been permanently removed from this world?
    She then suddenly realized that just about everyone in the immediate area was now staring at her. Upon looking up, she figured out why.

    There was a gigantic screen high above them, on the roof of a building, projecting a pretty good digital facsimile of her to the crowds down below. The image then faded away, and was replaced by what she quickly recognized as footage of herself punching Didier, accompanied by narration in Vrai, which she couldn't understand. She turned back to Praxter and asked: "What the hell? What are they saying? Am I a suspect now?"
    Praxter concentrated on the narration, listened for a moment, and said: "They think you killed him. Let's get out of here."
    He took her hand, and they ran out of the crowded square, just as a Vrai vehicle arrived to block their path. They turned to run in the other direction.
    The Vrai in the vehicle pulled their guns out, and fired. Sal'e and Praxter fell to the ground, knocked out by the energy blasts.
    Prush stumbled out of the bar, dragging Ezzie out behind him. "What are you doing, man?" he protested.
    "If they're going after Sal'e, they're gonna go after us too! We need to get back to the Rocinante!."
    Before they could try and get away, two Vrai policemen appeared and blocked their path.
    "You're under arrest," one of them declared. "Hands in the air."
    They slowly raised their hands.
    "Now look." Prush tried to explain. "We've got nothing to do with all this. If you just let us explain....."
    The lights on the street began to flicker and die, one by one. Prush and Ezzie glanced to their sides, concerned, but the policemen simply ignored it and held them at gunpoint.
    Ezzie thought he felt something fly by his ear. In that same second, one of the Vrai fell, apparently hit by something. The other one jumped and drew his weapon.
    There was a buzzing sound, and he also collapsed, dead.
    "What the hell?!" Ezzie exclaimed.
    All the street lights were dead now. The area was drowned in darkness. Prush and Ezzie heard a dull thud behind them. They turned, and saw a single, weak, light glowing in the shadows.
    A voice called out. "Catch!" it said, and an object flew towards Prush. He caught it automatically.
    "Thanks." it said. The light disappeared, and there were several more thudding noises. The street light promptly came back to life, allowing Prush to examine the object.
    It was a gun. He checked the clip. Two bullets were missing. This was the weapon used to kill the policemen, he was certain.

    "That was the real killer. I know it. And this is the gun he used to kill those two. But why would he help us? We were about to get arrested for his crime. And why give us the gun afterwards?"
    Ezzie pointed at a wall. Prush was confused for a second, and then realized what exactly he wanted to point out.
    The lens of a security camera was pointed directly at them.
    "Crap." Prush said as he pictured the image the camera would record. Him, holding a gun, with two dead Vrai in the background. Because he'd been stupid enough to catch the gun, it'd have his fingerprints all over it. They had been masterfully framed.

    Without thinking, he shot the camera, then dropped the gun.
    "What did you do that for?" Ezzie screamed. "We have to get out of here. Quickly."
    They ran away, leaving the scene just as a police vehicle arrived.

    -----

    Sal'e woke up with a terrible headache. She slowly sat up on her uncomfortable bed, and realized she was in a prison cell.
    "Well, well. Welcome back to reality, Sleeping Beauty."
    Sal'e shook her head. "Angonce help me."
    "So how are you feeling?" asked the Vrai, trying to seem nice.
    "Like I just went drinking. Why do you ask?"
    "Enjoy it while it lasts. You're being charged with murder. I don't know how it is over on Bara Magna, but round here, that means life imprisonment."
    "I'm not from Bara Magna, wherever that is. And I didn't kill anyone."
    "Yes, you did. Here's what I think happened. You two had a fight, j'ignore sur quoi. We have a witness who sw you punch him. You and your friends left. But you were still mad, so you went back and shot him. How about that?"
    "That's ridiculous. Yes, I hit him, but I didn't go back there and I certainly didn't shoot him. And if I was so mad, why didn't I shoot him the first time round?"
    "I don't know. Females don't think straight."
    ".....Do you know anything about women?"
    The officer walked away.
    "Idiot." Sal'e muttered. She idly stared at a wall for a moment. This was not how she had imagined her travels.

    She decided she might as well use he time here to find out a few things. She turned on the net terminal in the wall next to her bed. It was already set to a language she could understand: a thoughtful gesture.
    "Hello, computer. I'd like to see anything you have on Bara Magna." She did her best to pronounce the name like the officer had done.
    "Bara Magna. One of three planets created as a result of the Shattering of Spherus Magna 250,000 years ago. Home to the species Agori, Glatorian, Skrall, Vorox, Zesk....."
    "Skrall!" she repeated. So, Bara Magna was the name of their homeworld. They still lived there in this universe. But why hadn't she heard the name before? Millenia upon millenia had passed since they had left in the first place. A lot of details could've been lost in that time, but the name of their homeworld seems like the kind of thing that would've survived, even in a corrupted form. It hadn't. Why?

    She hit 'Back' on the computer, then asked another question. "OK, computer. I'd like to find out something about an alien race, but I don't actually know what their name is or where they come from. Can you still help me?"
    "Please describe the species."
    Sal'e went on to describe the aliens that abducted her.
    "Species name unknown. Designated BT-124 pending further data. Homeworld unknown. Species seems highly aggressive. Contact not recommended.
    "Fat lot of good you are." She decided to lie down and take a nap. There wasn't much else to do here.

    Just as she closed her eyes, a Vrai barked something at her in his language. The only word she understood was 'visitor'. She opened her eyes to see Praxter in front of her.
    "Praxter! Boy, am I glad to see you!" She awkwardly tried to hug him through the bars.
    The Toa of Stone laughed heartily. "It's good to see you too."
    "How come you're getting out?"
    "They can't find an actual crime to charge me with." he replied. "We'll get you out of here, I promise."
    "Can't you just use your freaky elemental powers to break me out?" Sal'e laughed.
    "I already told you, I can only do stone. Anyway, Prush and Ezzie are still out there, but they're on the run. Supposedly, they killed two cops."
    "I don't believe it." Sal'e loudly affirmed, though at heart she wasn't so sure. She'd already seen what the war had done to them.
    "Neither do I. Whoever framed you must've gotten to them too."
    "In that case, watch yourself. They'll probably want to get you back in jail. Now, go get him."
    "See ya."

    Praxter walked out of the block. As he made his way to the exit, the Vrai who had 'visited' Sal'e earlier stopped him.
    "Ecoute, mon ami. Just because I can't charge you with anything yet doesn't mean you're off the hook. I'll be watching you, and if I find out you so much as kicked a pebble into a shop window, I'll put both you and that female dog away. Got it?"
    Praxter smiled. "The only person you'll be putting away is the real killer, once I find them."
    He moved past the cop, and left the building. He looked around. Apart from the obvious array of cops arriving and leaving, there was one man, sitting on a nearby bench. He was wearing a top hat and a grey coat, and notably, had only one, yellow, eye. Praxter's suspicion was aroused. This was a funny place for someone to be sitting around. But then, this was a funny planet.
    He shrugged, and walked off. The cyclops waited for him to be far away, then got up and followed him.

    -----

    Meanwhile, Prush and Ezzie were hiding in a little back alley. Ezzie whispered into his walkie-talkie. "Liz, did they see us? Are they coming this way?"
    "If they did, they're being awfully quiet about it. There's no reason for them to lie, so I'm gonna say no."
    "What if they figure out you hacked their comms? We're far enough up crap creek with your help." said Prush.
    Liz laughed. "Don't be ridiculous."
    "Okay. We'll rendezvous with you soon."
    "No, you won't."
    "Why? What's going on, Liz?" Ezzie almost shouted.
    "They're coming for me. I don't think they've noticed me snooping around in their systems, they're just finally getting around to making sure you can't run off."
    "Lovely. What if they try to get inside?"
    "What's that expression? I've got a few tricks up my sleeve."
    "Kay....."
    "Now, you'd better get out of there quick. They're getting to your block."
    "Copy that. Over and out." Ezzie cut the transmission, and they quickly moved down the alley.
    A Vrai appeared at the end, blocking their path.
    "Oh damn." Prush muttered. But the Vrai did nothing. He just stood there. Ezzie looked him up and down. He wasn't a policeman, but a ten-year-old boy.
    Prush hesitated for a moment, but then addressed the boy. "Hey. Do you know who we are?"
    "You shot those cops."
    "Yeah, that's us. I mean, it's not us. We didn't kill anyone. We don't do that."
    "You're on dangerously thin ice there." Ezzie noted. Prush shouted "NOT HELPING!" in response.
    The boy stared at them, cleared his throat, and screamed in Vrai. "Police! Police! Ici!"
    "Oh, for crying out loud!" Both Prush and Ezzie said.
    Police officers ran into the alley, and all aimed their weapons at the duo. "PUT YO HANDS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU JUST DON'T CARE!" one barked.
    Prush and Ezzie looked at each other, shrugged, and raised their hands.

    -----

    The monument was called the Glass Tree. It had been erected years ago, in honour of the founders of the new Vrai homeworld, Xerox and Cicada......or something like that. Praxter couldn't read the faded letters anymore. I'm getting too old for this, he thought.

    He was among the founders of the Resistance. He'd been there when F-Klak killed Perseus, narrowly escaped the inferno of Corrantia, and he was at the Gates of Silent Memory the day everything finally went to hell. He and a few others had sworn back then to keep the fight going. Most of them were probably long dead by now.
    He never thought it would lead him to this.
    His train of thought was interrupted when he spotted someone moving in the reflection the Tree offered. It was indistinct, but Praxter already knew who it was. He took out his walkie-talkie.
    "Liz, do you copy?"
    "Yup."
    "OK. I need you to keep this channel permanently open. Record everything you hear. When I give you the signal, stop and broadcast it on all frequencies. Do you understand?"
    "A plan worthy of me.", she said.
    "Thanks, I guess. Over and out." He put the talkie back on his belt, then moved off in the general direction of the figure. As he got closer, his suspicions were confirmed.
    "The cyclops from the station."

    He saw the Toa coming. Instantly he knew he'd been discovered. His eye flashed as he devised a plan.
    The Toa walked right past him. If he had a face, he would have grinned at that moment. He just wanted to let me know I was rumbled, he thought. Idiot.
    As the Toa moved in front of him, the killer pulled a gun out of his pocket. He stepped up to Praxter and put the gun to his back.
    Praxter froze. He hadn't expected the cat-and-mouse game to end so soon.
    "Now, now." The assassin spoke with a thick mixture of German and Scottish accents. "It's rude to ignore a friend. Let's go over there."
    He pointed Praxter to a building opposite the monument. They entered, the assassin still pointing his gun at Praxter's spine.

    -----

    Sal'e woke up from another nap to find Prush and Ezzie sitting at the other end of the cell. Thinking she might be dreaming, she pinched her arm. It hurt a lot more than she thought it was going to, but she knew she wasn't dreaming.
    "Hey, Sal'e." Prush said.
    "Hey. You guys got framed too?" she replied, rubbing her eyes to get the sleep out.
    "Yep. Prush got us framed brilliantly." Ezzie fired back.
    "What? He said 'catch', so I caught it. It's a reflex! Didn't they have PE where you come from?"
    "What?" Sal'e asked.
    "There was a gun. I caught it. End of story."
    Ezzie laughed. "Yeah, that's right. Except you left out the bit where whoever framed all of us killed two policemen with that gun, and then you caught it, put your fingerprints all over it, and then blew up a camera. It's like you were helping them!"
    "Oh, come on. That's not fair!" Prush protested, but to no avail. Sal'e and Ezzie launched into a fit of hysterical laughter.

    -----

    Meanwhile, Praxter, unaware that he'd be having a lot more fun in prison, was in an old stone building, with a contract killer holding him at gunpoint.
    The cyclops removed his coat and tossed it away. He was a light blue mechanoid, with something that Praxter thought might be a cannon attached to his chest.
    "Apologies for the brusque invitation," he said. "I didn't want to do this outside."
    "Drop the fake pleasantries. Who are you? Why were you so intent on getting all my friends in jail?"
    "Well, I suppose it doesn't make much difference anymore. Mein name is Von Leod. I specialise in the removal of persistent thorns in the sides of wealthy individuals."
    "A long and complicated way of saying 'contract killer'."
    Von Leod laughed. "Call it whatever you like. And as for your friends, I only framed them because they were there. It was easy. There had been a bounty on Didier's head for some time now. Something about him selling defective merchandise to my employer. I never bother to remember the details. Anyway, I'd been watching him for a few weeks now, when you came along. That Skrall girl hit him! That was all I needed. After killing him, I called the cops and told them I saw a Skrall woman punch his lights out before it happened. They didn't need anything else. Vrai cops are so gullible."
    "But of course, you had to destroy the credibility of the three people who could clear Sal'e. So you killed two cops and blamed Prush and Ezzie."
    "The easiest thing I've ever done."
    "So, what about me? You forgot to incriminate me."
    "Yes, that was a mistake. But don't worry. My gun's set to disintegrate. No one will ever find a trace of you."
    Praxter smiled. He slapped the walkie-talkie on his belt, and said "Liz, now." The cyclops looked on in confusion."What the hell?"
    "You're way too chatty, Von Leod. Work on that. I was recording everything you said. A friend of mine is now spamming the ether with it. The police will hear it, along with about half of Z'traa."
    Von Leod's eye, unsurprisingly, expressed no emotion whatsoever.
    "I haven't survived in my field of work by letting just anyone stop me."
    He fired, but Praxter was ready. He ran out of the way, letting the shot blow a hole in the wall behind.
    "You made another mistake, Leo. This is a stone building."
    Von Leod was about to fire again, but the walls began shaking and rumbling. A heavy piece of stone came apart from a wall, and slammed into him. He stumbled forwards, at which point more stone flew out of the walls and battered him into unconsciousness.
    As the stones hovered back into their former places, Praxter looked at Von Leod. Sirens started blaring outside, and Vrai marched up the stairs to the room.

    -----

    Many days later.....

    Silence fell on the Rocinante. Everyone was asleep now, except Liz, who never slept in the first place.
    The communication system suddenly flashed into life. Someone, somewhere, was calling for help. Liz decided to wake up the crew.
    A loud beep echoed throughout the ship, and everyone slowly stirred. And as they did, someone, somewhere, was rubbing his hands with glee.


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:50 am



    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Klak
    Resident Klak Expert

    Posts : 3563
    Coins : 13416
    Reputation : 7015
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 116
    Location : Yes

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Klak on Sun Oct 06, 2013 6:56 pm

    This chapter was fantastic. There was a great balance of humor and seriousness. Aside from moments where the dialogue got confusing, it was thoroughly enjoyable. I also really liked the twists, the return of an old character, and the A-Team-esque direction of the story. Keep it up!

    "Oh, I'm here and there and everywhere. My name's Liz. I'm the Rocinante."
    I love the reference!


    _________________


    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:56 pm

    Thanks again! Yeah, I was trying to make the dialogue as easy to follow as possible. Guess I still have to work on that.

    "Here, there, and everywhere" wasn't supposed to be a reference though. I don't like the Beatles. Razz "Rocinante" is a reference though.


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.
    avatar
    Klak
    Resident Klak Expert

    Posts : 3563
    Coins : 13416
    Reputation : 7015
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 116
    Location : Yes

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Klak on Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:28 am

    Yeah, I meant the ship XD


    _________________


    avatar
    Heat
    Baron of Thunder-ten-tronckh

    Posts : 4229
    Coins : 31279
    Reputation : 24132
    Join date : 2010-11-08
    Age : 5
    Location : A swirling vortex of uncertainty

    Character sheet
    Level: 1
    Class: Scout
    EXP:
    0/0  (0/0)

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Heat on Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:41 am

    You listened to Cygnus X-1? VICTORY.


    _________________
    Bo tutaj jest jak jest, po prostu, i ty dobrze o tym wiesz.

    Sponsored content

    Re: Stargazer

    Post by Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Mon May 29, 2017 4:26 am