Chapter 8: Into the Blackbird


The story so far:
Our heroes are making their way to Super-Sunny-Happy-Bright-Fun Land in the hope of finding the first piece of the fabled Trinity Key – an item they believe holds the secret to defeating the evil Prince Mykur. So far the story has had space battles, rooms of death and evil lions, but still has a distinct lack of Cher.

“It's logical,” said Justice as he loaded a carton of supplies into the main cabin of The Blackbird, under Abe's careful watch. “Somebody needs to keep an lookout for Mykur while we're on the planet.”
“No, it's discrimination! It's simply because I'm an ape! I know how you humans think: what use could an ape be on a mission requiring intelligence? You think I'm only good for Monkey Work.”
Justice sighed. “No, I dare say Jupiter chose you to stay behind because you're the only one he trusts with his ship.”
“Of course you'd say that. You're Cokecasian, you wouldn't know the first thing about discrimination,” Abe replied as he went about checking that the electronics were working as required.
“That's not true,” said Justice. “I studied Ancient History at the academy and learnt plenty about discrimination. In fact, it may surprise you to know that arty people were discriminated against once, too.”
“Sure,” scoffed Abe.
“No, it's true. People even used to hold this thing they called 'The Mardi Gras', where arty people were forced to march down a street in ridiculous, degrading outfits for the amusement and derision of the mainstream crowd. It's a disgusting little bit of history that's conveniently been swept under the rug by the mainstreamers.”

The main hatch then swung open and Liberty climbed into the shuttle, carrying a passed-out Google over her shoulder.
“Justice, which blaster should I take – the red or the black one?” she asked as she dropped Google into one of the seats.
“Um, the red one.”
“Really – I thought the black one would go better with my stun grenades.”
“Fine, the black one then, Libby. Does it really matter?”
“You never could get your head around co-ordinating weapons. I still can't believe you get to be in charge of pursuing and neutralising threats while I'm stuck babysitting Google, making sure he's safe.”
Jupiter rolled his eyes and gave the answer he'd given many a time, “Maybe it's because you had a slight habit of killing any threats before they could be interrogated.”

“Uh, why is there a dead Google on my ship?” asked Jupiter as he entered the main cabin from the cockpit.
“He's just drugged. We usually do it whenever we need to jump somewhere – it saves time arguing about the need to jump. You didn't buy his death sickness excuse, did you?” Justice replied.
“Excuse?”
“Yeah, he doesn't really get death sickness, he's just terrified of space jumps, naturally enough. Hates to admit it though,” said Justice.
“Have you even read the prophecy about him?” asked Liberty.
“I read it in school once,” replied Jupiter. “I preferred sports. Refresh me.”
Liberty sighed, “Justice, you do it.”
“Ok, do you remember the first section of the prophecy, that told us how to identify the chosen one?” asked Justice.
“Yeah, vaguely.”
“So – what were the signs to look for?”
“The birth mark in the shape of a skull on his right shoulder blade.”
“And?” said Justice, encouraging Jupiter to keep going.
“That he'd be an orphan... something about losing his parents at the age of 7. That they'd die in... Oh.”
“Yes, a space jump mishap that only the chosen one would miraculously survive. So I guess we can forgive him for being a bit twitchy,” Justice said.
“Yeah, of course you'd say that – you're never the one having drug and carry him. He's starting to get suspicious every time I offer him food.”

After finishing loading the ship, the crew said their goodbyes to Abe and The Blackbird made its way out from The Crusader.
“How many skeletons do you think are in those rings around the planet?” asked Justice, slightly disturbed by at the sight of them close up.
“Millions. Maybe billions.” answered Liberty.
“I'm still not picking up any signs of life on the planet,” Jupiter called out from the cockpit.
Liberty unbuckled herself from her seat in the main cabin and walked towards Jupiter.
“None at all?”
“Nope. So which port do you want me to jump to?” asked Jupiter. Then, “Wait, a minute. I'm getting something... Something is moving down there, but it's not human whatever it is.”
“Gen-en animals?” asked Liberty.
“No... it appears to be humanoid in size and shape, but I'm not getting any body heat or vitals off the readings.”
“Take us down as close to it as you can.”
“Ok, preparing to jump – tell Justice to strap himself in,” Jupiter said as he started to flick some switches.

The Blackbird, being a smaller vessel than The Love Crusader, didn't have a dedicated room for its Dead-Ezy teleportation machinery. Instead the technology was incorporated into all of the seats – with a small laser injection shooting out from the cushions. When everyone was safely dead, the ship would automatically jump to the input destination.

The crew recovered from the jump as per usual. That is to say, very badly, particularly Liberty who started to vomit as soon as she got over the temporary three-minute paralysis.
“What's going on?” asked Google when he finally came to.
“We just landed on Super-Sunny-Happy-Bright-Fun Land,” replied Justice.
“Damnit! It was in the bacon and eggs this time, wasn't it? I knew it. I wish you'd stop doing that! So what's the situ?”
“No signs of life on planet,” replied Liberty, before pausing to vomit. Then, “Planet seems conducive to life by all readings: oxygen, gravity, everything's within normal parameters.” More vomit. Then, a wipe of her mouth and, “We've landed close to the only form of movement on the planet.”
“Liberty, perhaps you better jump back to sick bay and sit this one out,” suggested Jupiter. “Blackbird's got home jump function – it can teleport you back to the Crusader while the ship stays here on the surface.”
Liberty shot him a look. “I didn't just throw up my breakfast for nothing. Let's get a move on, people,” she said as she started to gather her weapons.

“We... we jumped near the one thing that's moving on this planet... this planet that's surrounded by dead bodies... and this thing that's moving down here, it isn't human. Are we sure I'm the only one who's been drugged?” asked Google nervously. “I mean... it could be anything. What if it's a Darkling?”
“Oh, come on kid, the Trinity Key is one thing, but now you're worried about bogeyman from another dimension?”
At that very moment, three loud bangs rocked the ship.

Then the doorbell rang.

5 Response to Chapter 8: Into the Blackbird

  1. Luke says:

    Hmm, think this chapter was pretty weak (although I was happy with the Mardi Gras joke). :)

    Just seem to be struggling for momentum with the story, so might try experimenting with shorter chapters - see if that makes it flow better.

  2. Dale says:

    "Then the doorbell rang" has never sounded more dramatic. :P I enjoyed the Mardi Gras joke too, and the secretive drugging of Google. :)

    Nice stuff. Hope the shorter chapters achieve what you want them to.

  3. Jimzip says:

    Don't think I missed that brilliant line from Clue! Please tell me that's what you're referencing, and that all my comments making reference to your references weren't in vain! I've had coffee. :(

    ... um. Anyway, good chapter, don't worry about the length. They're short enough as is.

    Also, this Cher thing is getting too much to bare ... please don't tell me you're going to have her fly dramatically out of some nearby galaxy just as the ship is destroyed and have her sing 'Do you belieeeeeve in life after the Love Crusader!'... that would kill me!!

    Jimzip :D

  4. Luke says:

    Clue – ah, I loved that movie as a kid. Sadly, it wasn't a clever reference though. I must've subconsciously stolen from it! I can't work out which line I wrote that's from Clue. Whatever it is, I'll pretend it was a subconscious homage!

  5. Jimzip says:

    Oh, well, just so you don't go plugging every line into Google looking for it; there's a moment in Clue when Tim Curry finally comes clean about the whole mess of the evening. He's right in the middle of an extremely animated re-telling of how the murders happened when he throws a hand into the air and says: "Then the doorbell rang!", and sure enough as he says it, the doorbell rings. I have a feeling that movie is the source for much of my personality as it stands today. X)

    Jimzip :D