With an electronic whine, the jump engines engaged. For just a moment, even though I felt like my back was leaning against the seat, my stomach was in the far wall, my teeth were in the wall in front of me, and my ankles were somewhere back on Hacknor.
Reality turned red, then snapped back into place and I looked around. Everyone was gasping and looking around surprised themselves. I looked at Jan and she said "That was not supposed to happen."
"Tell me about it," I said back to her. We both got up and looked up and down the aisles, everyone looked agitated but OK.
"The cockpit," Jan looked at me. "We have to check out the crew."
We made our way to the front when I stopped and looked at the artist on the deck. He had a quarter-sized hole in his chest and he wasn't moving. Jan saw him, too.
"He's not breathing!" Jan said with her ear against his chest. "He's dead."
"Looks like Lucky Pierre isn't so lucky," I said grimly.
I reached to a pressure point on Gollux and activated a hidden release. The suit began to peel away, revealing the obnoxious artist within it.
"Now the fact that you killed a clone of yourself isn't that bad," I said with half a grin. "In fact, I'm sure the courts would be quite happy that you are responsible for keeping two of you from running around loose. The ship's crew phased into the wall, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.
Pierre leapt up, brandishing a pistol from a hidden pocket. "very clever of you, you unevolved cretin. I'm afraid, however, that when this ship exits hyperspace, I'll just be on my way, then. You see, this pistol fires the same molecular acid-filled projectiles that the probe did. I am going to be the only person walking out of here alive, if neccesery."
"You're forgetting one thing, though, Pierre," I said.
"Oh, and what's that?" he sneered.
"You're not wearing the Bioarmor." With a sonic blast, Pierre crumpled to the ground. I shot him twice more just to be sure.
"Unbelievable," Jan shook her head in amazement.
"Rather," agreed Jeeves. "You sir, are a master detective, indeed."
"Yeah, you may be right," I said. "I'm kind of like Matt Houston, Sherlock Holmes, and Jaques Clouseau all rolled into one."
"Who, who, and who?" asked Jan.
"Forget it," I said as the ship decanted out of hyperspace, entering the Orion system.
"You can take that contract and stick it, Sinooze-You-Lose," I said back to him. "I'm heading to my ship to play Halo."
"If you don't get back here this instant," Sinew Nu blustered. "You can consider yourself permanently suspended!"
"You're not the boss of me," I snapped back at him. "Jeez, you're just like my old man! I don't need you, I don't need anybody!"
"Why! Why! Why!" Sinew Nu was at a loss for words.
"Ha ha, if you're face was any redder, I could take it home and use it as a stop sign, although stop signs usually aren't square."
"Look," he tried to reason, but I wasn't gonna listen. Stupid adults always talking. "I'll let you go take a break. You know, ah-a vacation or something. We'll write it into the storyline or something, but you're too valuable of an asset to let us lose you."
"Blah blah blah," I mimicked. "You're just like everybody else. You don't care about me, you just care about makin' money. Forget it, I'm goin' cruising down at the DQ. Later, jerkstore."
"Jon..." Sinew Nu's mouth hung open. He didn't know what to say, but then he composed himself. "I told you, if you don't come back, you're suspended. I'm serious!"
I headed for the door, then I turned back and flipped him the bird from both hands. Ha ha, that'll show him. I also gave him my best punk rock sneer ever. It was a sneer that would make Johnny Lydon proud, if he weren't a lame old man, too.
"You think you can destroy me?" he roared. "I am not so easily defeated, asphinctersayswhat."
"What?" came Garth Vader's (the one in the cowboy hat) reply.
"Exactly!" Garth Vader (the first one) sneered with a goofy, but evil grin. He then pulled out a pair of drumsticks and started playing the extended drum solo from Inna Gadda Davida on the wreckage of the GNAT device. The sonic vibrations from the beats and fills caused the other Garth Vader to take a step back and hold up his arm in an attempt to deflect the onslaught.
"Wait," said Garth Vader (the second one). "There's something I must say."
"What is it?" asked the metalhead version of Garth Vader.
"I just wanted to say that I quit the business," he announced. "I feel that my talents and efforts are not appreciated, therefore I feel it is my time to retire from the evil conquering the galaxy business."
"Uh, OK," the other Garth Vader looked around slightly confused. "Good."
"Oh and one more thing," the Stetson-clad Garth Vader continued. "I would like to announce my return to the evil conquering the galaxy business."
"Huh?" asked the first Garth Vader. Jan and I looked at each other and shrugged.
"Oh, I have another announcement to make," Garth Vader (the country music superstar version) announced. "I would like to say that I am now retiring because I feel that my talents are not appreciated. Now I would like to announce that I am un-retiring. Now I wish to retire to spend time with my family. Now I am un-retiring again. Hey look! Now I'm Chris Gaines! Now I'm Garth Vader again. Now I wish to retire to spend time with my family. Ooops, I just got divorced, guess I'll un-retire again. Well, it's been a long road, but now I have to say that I now wish to retire. Nope, I'm back."
"Wait, are you retired or not?" asked Garth Vader (the other one). "I'm so confused!"
The Garth Vader in the cowboy hat ignited his lightsaber and stepped forward. "Don't make me destroy you. We could rule this galaxy together as villain and sidekick!"
"OK, I guess I'll join up with you. NOT!" The Garth Vader with the glasses ignited his own lightsaber.
The two charged each other, blades flashing and crashing against each other. Jan and I slipped out of the room and headed down the corridor.
For some reason, it seems like the movie purposefully left 15 minutes of blank space right there so the monkeyboys can all get in their own catchphrases. Accordingly, the audience of monkeyboys crescendos into a loud roar. I can see non-sidekick audience members glaring back and forth at each other.
The monkeyboys are having a lot of fun, but everyone else seems awfully disgusted.
The movie continues and I look over at Sinew Nu, he is smiling at the whole proceedings, no doubt dreaming of ways to spend all of the money he is going to earn with this venture. I swear, if it were possible, there would be dollar signs popping up in front of his eyes right now.
I see two tourists finally get up in a huff. They storm past me and the woman looks at me crossly.
“We’re here on vacation and we just wanted to see a movie,” she yelled at me. “This is horrible!”
“I hope you go to Hel!” the man growls as they stomp off.
“Did you hear that?” I asked Sinew Nu.
“What? No, I was watching the movie,” he answered. “Oh this is going to be the blockbuster event of the summer!”
Seperated at Birth!
Love is drugs?
“You wanna be a cowboy, you need a hat, rawhide,” Hawks replied. “That sun’s really bright out there and they’re gonna use that to their advantage.”
“OK,” I answered. “I need a hat. How’s this?”
“A baseball cap? I admire you rootin’ fer your favorite team, but that just don’t fit around here.”
“What about this?”
“I’m not even sure what that’s fer either, son,” he answered. “You stormin’ the breeches or something?”
“What about this?”
“Yer gonna be too hot in that thing,” he chuckled.
“OK, what about this?”
“That thing is ridiculous! Why would you even want to wear something like that? I told you, you need a cowboy hat.”
“All right then, how about this?”
“What thar heck is that? That thing is even worse! Don’t ever let me see you wear that again!”
“That’s all I got,” I shrugged. “I don’t have anything else.”
“All right, all right, ya dang greenhorn.” Hawks pulled off his hat and placed it on my head. “Just take mine.”
I pulled the hat off and looked at the sweatband. It was stained brown with sweat and dirt.
“That’s from ridin’ hard and livin’ hard, pard,” he laughed. “No matter how hard you try, they don’t come clean.”
I shrugged and unbolted the door.
“Could you tell us more about your relationship with Clark Kent?” another reporter asked.
“What do you mean, relationship?” Superman asked.
“You know,” the reporter continued. “You and Kent seem to be pretty close. A little too close if you ask me.”
“I… I’m uh, not sure where you are going with this.” Superman looked a little uncomfortable at the question.
“You know, Superman,” the reporter pushed. “The fact that Kent always gets the scoops on you, the fact that you’ve been seen flying out of his luxurious metropolitan high rise, the fact that you both hang out with all the same people. Face it Superman, you and Kent are a lot closer than just casual acquaintances.”
“I, er, uh, am not exactly sure what you’re trying to say here,” Superman stammered.
“Come on, fess up, Superman,” the reporter pressed. “You and Kent are an item, aren’t you?”
“It all makes sense,” the reporter continued. “You’re good looking and in shape, wearing those tight and colorful clothes all around town. Kent’s from a small, conservative town in the Midwest, a place where he didn’t really fit in. It makes sense, you’re a couple.”
“Ah, well let me assure you that Clark Kent and I are very close,” Superman chuckled. “But not that close. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… Kent and I have a good friendship and I do give him a few exclusives here and there for the Daily Planet, but that’s as far as that goes. In fact, Clark is married to Lois Lane—”
“So how come you’re always flying her around town, then?” the reporter followed up.
“Well, as an investigative reporter, she does get herself in a lot of trouble,” Superman answered. “Next question.”
“Who’d win in a fight,” a reporter asked. “You or Captain Marvel?”
“You don't have any goldfish,” Professor Xavier said to me.
“No,” I replied. “They keep dying on me.”
“And you just sent off that monkeyboy like that.”
“On a fool’s errand,” I chuckled. “Who better to send? Besides, do you really want a monkeyboy here with us?”
“No!” Xavier quickly replied. “No thank you. I do believe that this mission would continue nicely without him.”
“My gear is stowed, thank you,” Professor S’Magmier stepped into the cockpit. “Now if you two are finished picking mites out of each other’s body hair, I am ready to go.”
“You know, Smeggy, I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of this in front of the Queen but you’re really beginning to get on my nerves. You’re gonna have to zip it on this flight or else I might have to make you feel bad with some real harsh words.”
“Spoken like the backwards species that you are,” S’Magmier snapped back. “It is my job to make contact with the leviathan, yours is to just get me there. Perhaps if you could get those thumbs of yours to work, you could paw that control panel well enough to get us to our destination.”
“OK, that’s it,” I leaped up from my seat and grabbed his arm. “I’m going to show you what an unevolved person like myself is capable of.”
“Oh my--! Don’t kill me!” he wailed. “Don’t kill me!”
“We don’t really need him, do we Professor?”
“I would say the ride would be much more pleasant without him as well,” Xavier answered. “Although I might add that--”
“OK, cool!” I maneuvered the groveling scientist to the hatch. “You’re not coming, Smeggy. We’ll see you later.”
“But what about... Ahhh! No!” I popped the door open and pushed him through it.
“Don’t worry, it’s just a small drop!” I yelled to him. “I’m sure an advanced species such as you can survive it.”
The Nazis give chase and a dogfight ensues. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will live and who will die? We don't know.
In the cockpit, the angelic voiced dogface sings into her microphone. Who could be listening?
Could it be to the young, good looking radio operator? It just might be.
Meanwhile on the tabletop, the figures representing the German planes in the air are swept away. The commander is so disgusted that he accidentally hits his subordinate, the pulchritudinous radio operator.
"Private Hudson is always ready for action," I announced. "He's got his armor and his helmet, everything he's wearing is very functional, but what could he add for just a touch of pizzazz?"
"That's right, a cape. It's fabulous!"
"Here's the hero to the common beings of the galaxy and Intergalactic Gladiator, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator. He's sporting a unique Wristcomm, two blaster pistols and with his comfortable but functional outfit, he's ready for action."
Hudson: My Date With a Hottie!
If on fire, take off your pants and roll around, the icy snow will cool your dermis in all needed areas.
“THAT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF YOUR PAIN. TASTE THE WRATH OF ONSLAUGHT, FOOL.”
I leapt off of the wreckage just before it twisted up into a ball. Dodging the brute’s attack, I charged my Sonic Stunner.
“Now I’m mad!” I growled at him. “Taste this, Onstar!”
Onslaught stepped back and clasped one hand to his ear (at least I presume it was his ear) as the variable frequencies of sonic energy assaulted his senses. He stood like that briefly, then emanated a low rumbling noise which shortly turned into laughter.
“HA HA HA. WHAT AN INTERESTING WEAPON. TOO BAD THAT IT HAS NO EFFECT ON ME, FOOL!”
“You can’t blame a guy for trying.” I pulled out one of my pistols and fired at him.
“AGAIN YOUR WEAPONS CANNOT HARM ME!” the energy bolts bounced off his armored form. “YOU ARE FOOLISH FOR EVEN TRYING. DEATH FOR YOU WILL BE SLOW AND PAINFUL.”
I set my blaster on its highest setting and fired again. With a wave of Onslaught’s arm, the pistol exploded in my hand. I screamed in pain as I cradled the charred remains of my limb under my other arm.
“STILL, YOUR MIND RACES… STILL TRYING TO THINK OF A WAY TO STOP ME. YOU CANNOT.”
I crawled further away from my adversary. “Yeah, too bad I didn’t TiVo this fight,” I said with more bravery than I actually had. “I could rewind this and do something different, huh?”
Suddenly, I snapped awake. The images of my flashbacks faded like wisps of smoke. I looked around but could not tell where I was at all. It felt like a freight train just got done fighting an M1 battle tank in my head.
“Relax, Jon,” a sweet voice wafted through my ears. “You are fine now.”
It was Gaia. I was laying in a bed or something and she was standing next to me. I could see in the corner Cyclops and Hudson looking over and grinning at me.
“We totally saved you,” said Hudson.
“It was awesome,” said Cyclops.
“We’re like a team or something,” said Hudson. “We totally work great together.”
“Yeah!” agreed Cyclops. “We should team up and I know what we can call it! X2!”
“X2?” asked Hudson. “Why X2?”
“Because there’s two of us,” Cyclops explained.
“I got a better name,” Hudson said. “Hudson’s Heroes!”
“Wait, I got a better name than that!” Cyclops exclaimed. “Wyld Stallions!”
“Excellent!” Hudson yelled.
“We’re the Wyld Stallions and we’re gonna kick your butt!” they yelled together. Then they played air guitars for each other. “Yeah! Game over, man!”
“That’s really nice,” I said. “But what am I doing here? What happened to Onslaught?”
“Onslaught attacked you,” Gaia replied. “But it was more mental than anything else. He was destroying you in your mind.”
“Because when you destroy the mind, it will destroy the body.”
“Sure felt like he was destroying the body, I tell you,” I said. “So then why was I flashing back to the past few months?”
“I was healing your mind,” she answered. “We were working on the last few months, making sure that everything was OK in there.” She grinned and pointed to my head.
“So then why did I have memories of Hudson and Queen Galacta?”
“Ah, well, that’s just the way it works,” she shrugged. I didn’t exactly buy that, though.
“So now what?” I asked.
“We’re marshalling together to stop him now,” she answered. “Fighting someone as formidable as Onslaught takes a lot of planning.”
“Well count me in,” I punched the palm of my hand with my fist. “Payback’s a bitch and it’s hot in the city!”
Gaia looked at me with a puzzled look on her face, then she must have decided not to ask.
“One more thing, Jon.”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“Happy 300th post.”