Chapter 29: In the key of Cher

Previously on Into the Black: Cher! Cher! Cher! (And something about a key...)

Earth, USA, New York. October 21, 1989, 9:10pm.

And I thought dealing with MJ was bad enough,” grumbled a member of the backstage crew. “I mean a monkey is one thing, but she demands a damn ape backstage!”

Cher...,” muttered an assistant, shaking his head as they walked past her dressing room.


But how can you be the key? You're a person... aren't you?” Jupiter asked Cher in the now slightly cramped confines of her backstage room. Outside, a stadium's worth of people could be heard chanting her name, unaware their idol was currently playing host to six people from the future.

When we were given the gift by the Darklings, we knew we needed to keep it safe from unscrupulous hands. So we locked it up with a key that could only be obtained by someone proven to be pure of heart, wise of mind and able of body in order to protect it. But, we... I needed one more failsafe. I needed to believe completely that whoever held the key would use it wisely. That's why I volunteered to travel back in time and be the final piece of the key. One last vetting system if you will.”

So you're what? Part key?” Abe asked as he opened a bottle a scotch he'd found in one of the cupboards.

No. The two pieces of the key won't work without my voice. When I sing the two pieces will mould together and return you to the exact time and place you came from, only now with the completed Trinity Key,” Cher continued.

So... the key you sing in, is the final piece of the key,” said Justice.

Exactly,” said Cher with a smile. “You catch on fast.”

But why become a pop star? I get that you had to escape forward in time to avoid the death ray... but a pop star?”

Cher shrugged.

The music industry is so backwards in this time period it was easy to manufacture some hit songs. I figured if I got enough air play and became famous, it'd make it easier for you to find me.” She paused. “Plus, it was always a childhood dream.”

But why the name Cher?” Google asked.

I knew you'd recognise the name of the first inter-galactic president,” she answered as the others looked on, unconvinced. “Ok fine, I just think it has an x-factor. Don't you agree? Can you imagine a pop star being called Rebecca Jorden?”

Turn back time was a cute reference,” Justice admitted. “Plus, I liked the Cokecasian judge's outfit you wore in the video clip.”

Yeah, I couldn't resist. I knew some future fashion would help you spot me if you couldn't remember what I looked like.”

So what happens now? Do you want us to go back to the 1960s and take you to the future from there? That way you won't have aged,” Justice said.

No, actually I'm staying here in this timeline. I just... I don't want to lose the memories I've made. I think this is where I'm meant to be. I get to be a star in this time. Plus, that whole thing with the cows is decades away from happening. And when it happens... these people will need me.” She paused to look them all in the eye, one by one. “Now, you go save the future.”

Justice looked down at the floor before finding his voice, “But if you stay here... the moment we leave, when we return to the future you will have been dead for centuries. Don't you see: if you stay, you will be dead.”

Cher shook her head and smiled at him sweetly.

No. I will have lived.”

The two pieces of the trinity key hovered in front of Cher as she took a deep breath and began to sing. Almost imperceptibly at first, the pieces began to tremble as a golden light shone out, forcing everyone to shield their eyes. When they re-opened them, they found themselves back onboard The Blackbird.

Liberty was the first to react.

Pull up! Incoming death ray!” she screamed at Jupiter. He responded almost immediately, swinging The Blackbird up sharply, throwing everyone backwards into their seats.

Ahhhhhhh,” they screamed as the death ray flew by underneath them, just barely missing them by hundreds and thousands of kilometres.*

*Note: This sounds like a lot, but when you factor in the speed they were travelling at plus the speed the death ray was moving... let's just say it missed them by a millisecond. So please do be thrilled by their narrow escape.

It's going to hit Earth!” Billy cried out in alarm.

Relax,” Justice told him. “The Ozone Layer 3.0 was upgraded to protect Earth from any death rays,” he continued. Together they all watched as the Death Ray was harmlessly deflected away from Earth, before smashing into the moon, shattering it into a million pieces.

Oh,” said Justice. “Oops.”

At least no one lives there,” Google added.

Google was right. For the last century the Moon had been nothing more than a giant carpark for spaceships as parking on Earth had become impossibly expensive.

Now what?” Jupiter asked.

Stop asking stupid questions. Now we go find whatever the Trinity Key hides and put an end to Mykur,” Liberty answered.

But where do we go?” asked Google.

I'm going to bed,” said Billy, yawning.

I think this should give us a good idea where to head,” Justice said as he held up the now complete Trinity Key. In the centre was a small screen with location co-ordinates.

Convenient,” said Jupiter.

Just get us there and get us there fast,” Liberty said before standing up from her seat and hurrying out of the room. Jupiter and Justice exchanged looks, both getting up, ready to follow her.

Let me have a minute with her first,” Jupiter said.

She's all yours,” Justice replied, sitting back down.

Jupiter found her sitting in the observation deck on the top level of The Blackbird, taking in the vast array of stars.

Want to talk about it?” he asked.


Whatever's been bothering you. Something has ever since we got stuck in the past.”

She turned away from the window to face him.

I was this close,” she said. “Where you are now... that's how close I was to one of Mykur's forefathers. I could've ended it all. I could've saved thousands of lives. Millions. It would've been so simple. I've killed people before. But I couldn't bring myself to do it.”

Did he deserve to die?”

What does that have to do with it?” she replied angrily. “Did any of the people Mykur killed deserve to die.”

So what? It's ok to kill one innocent person? What about ten? A hundred? Don't you see – there's a line there that we're not meant to cross. Maybe that's what separates us from the Mykur's of the galaxy. Come with me.”

Jupiter gently took Liberty's hand in his and lead her downstairs, through a hallway and into the sleeping quarters. Inside Billy slept gently on one of the beds.

If you'd killed Mykur's forefather, Billy wouldn't be alive right now. He'd be another innocent life lost. Don't you see, you made the choice you did because you're a good person. You made the choice knowing that doing the right thing could result in your death and the death of everyone you love. And still you made the right choice. You're not weak; you're possibly the strongest, bravest person I've ever known.”

Liberty looked across at Billy, then back to Jupiter. She opened her mouth to say something, but then paused, just looking him in the eye. For what seemed like the longest time they just stared at each other, before Liberty slowly leaned in to kiss him. When they eventually separated Jupiter was lost for words, racking his brain for the most eloquent comment. Fortunately for him, Liberty spoke first.

I'm sorry, but if we don't die, there'll be time for that later. We've got a galaxy to save.”

I suddenly don't want to die,” Jupiter said, before quickly regaining his composure. “I'll start prepping the others to make the jump. You wake Billy and get him ready.”


The crew all strapped themselves into the Dead-Ezy chairs on the Blackbird. Some were nervous, others excited, Billy was still sleepy. All eyes were on Jupiter.

See you on the other side,” he said as he flicked a switch, activating the chairs.

When he next opened his eyes, he was shocked to find that they were no longer on The Blackbird. Instead they were all back on The Love Crusader. Jupiter sensed movement to the right of him, but found he was paralysed, unable to move his head in that direction. Eventually, a shadow approached and then finally he could see a body. A face. A twisted smile. Mykur.

Well, things are finally about to get interesting.”

3 Response to Chapter 29: In the key of Cher

  1. Wow, almost two months between entries... I'm like the worst blog writer ever. Will try my best to get back into posting every two-three weeks from now – hopefully won't be too hard as I think there's only three chapters to go. Woot!

  2. Dale says:

    HAH! Brilliant!

    “Turn back time was a cute reference,” Justice admitted. “Plus, I liked the Cokecasian judge's outfit you wore in the video clip."

    The 'oops' at blowing up the moon, and "Billy was still sleepy." were also very enjoyable.

    This reads as though it comes effortlessly to you. Whether that's true or not, I is jealous. :)

    Sorta don't want it to end...

  3. Thanks. :) And to be honest, it comes easy while also being a struggle. I tend to always know what I want to write, but it never comes out sounding as good as I want it to. I wish I could just outline the story and jokes, and get someone else to do the actual writing!