Friday, December 29, 2006

Quick Update

I wrote another post over at Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog. Go give it a test drive.

Still inside that ship

The haggard Rocksun led us to another chamber within the spaceship. There Queen Galacta, Private Hudson, and I saw computer stations and readouts. But there was something else in there that caught our collective eyes.

“Unbelievable,” I stared in wonder.

“It is her,” The Queen added.

Hudson whistled. “She’s purty.”

Housed within some sort of a stasis tube was some sort of a woman – obviously she was in suspended animation. She seemed so serene in her sleep, sort of an angelic quality.

“So she was calling to you, your Majesty?” I asked the Queen.

“Yes,” she replied. “I am sure of it now.”

“So can we revive her?” I asked. “Anything around here got an off button?”

“That’s a negative,” Rocksun answered. “I have a couple technicians here who’ve combed over this entire room. They haven’t been able to find anything here that would help us with her. It’s as if she’s destined to be stuck in stasis forever.”

“Too bad,” Hudson mumbled.

The four of us stood there for a moment in the silence looking up at the hibernating woman.

Without warning, the woman’s eyes snapped open. Amber lights on the consoles in the room began to blink off as green lights flickered to life. With a hiss of escaping gas and a low mechanical groan, the stasis tube slid open.

Rocksun quickly stepped forward to steady the woman as she started to slump out.

“Th-thank you,” she said weakly. “Thank you all for helping me out of there. Just give me a moment to regain my strength.”

“We are happy to help you,” the Queen stated. “I am Galacta IX, Queen of the Galaxy and these are My men, Major Rocksun, Private Hudson, and Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator. Can you tell us your name and where you are from?”

“I am Eve,” she replied. “I am a Terran Ghost, I was sent by the Confederacy on a desperate mission to stop the Zerg. I was put in suspended animation for the journey until it was time to deploy and initiate the plan. It was a huge fleet, we were to battle our way to Char and and destroy the Zerg Cerebrate there. I don’t know what else happened after I was sealed in that tube.”

“We do not recognize much of what you are saying,” The Queen said back to Eve. “These Zerg and this Confederacy are not familiar to us at all.”

“Well it is what it is,” Eve snapped back. “I can’t explain what I don’t know. But maybe…”

The Ghost started punching up buttons on a control panel.

“Looks like however I got here damaged much of the ship’s systems. But I think I can call up the logs.”

The screen flared up and displayed the logs. It showed the battle fleet engaging a Zerg swarm over a planet. After a long battle, a rift in space opened up and many Zerg as well as the ship we were in were pulled through. The creatures and the craft exited the warp over Throneworld and plummeted into the planet’s atmosphere. Many of the Zerg survived the reentry, but the last image was that of the ship crashing through the rocks of a canyon.

“So that’s it,” Eve said sadly. “I’m stranded almost 500 years in the past. I am on a planet infested by Zerg and I have no way to get home. What can I do?”

“I’ll tell you what you can do,” Rocksun answered gruffly. “You can help us kick these damn things off our planet once and for all. You got some kind of bug-killing super weapon or something?”

“No,” she shook her head. “But we do have six nuclear missiles. The plan was to get onto Char and establish a base, then get Ghosts like me to light up the Zerg structures with lasers for nuclear strikes. We would blast our way to the Cerebrate and destroy it.”

“If these nukes still work, we can do the same thing,” Hudson announced happily.

“Yeah, but I’m not going to let you out there alone,” Rocksun interceded. “All those creatures, it’s just too dangerous.”

“Thank you for your concern, but I can take care of myself,” Eve answered then she disappeared right before our eyes.

“Wha--?” Hudson’s jaw dropped.

“Where did you go?” I asked. I must admit that my jaw must have dropped as well.

“Why do you think they call me a Ghost?” Eve chuckled as she reappeared. “Though the Zerg do have ways to detect us, we can avoid them and move unseen through areas infected by their presence.”

“That is an amazing ability,” the Queen commented. “We would be honored if you would help us eliminate this Zerg threat.”

“Oh, I would love to do it,” Eve answered. “Believe me.”

“OK, so it’s settled,” I said. “Let’s check those nukes and get them going.”

“One more thing.” Eve walked over to Hudson and slapped him hard across the face. “You do not think those thoughts around me. I am a lady.”

“A telepath?” Hudson cried out holding his cheek. “Awww jeez!”

Rocksun turned towards me. “That happen often?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “It’s like a running joke around here.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

We now return to their return to Throneworld already in progress

Queen Galacta, Private Hudson, and I traveled the distance to the cave without any further contact with the beasts that were occupying Throneworld. Hudson was obviously nervous, but he did a good job of keeping his cool while taking point. The Queen remained in her catatonic state, whatever these creatures that have invaded this planet are, they seem to have a strong psychic presence and it is affecting Her ability to function.

“There’s the cave,” Hudson stopped and pointed. “You wanna just stroll right in?”

I checked the readings on my Wristcomm. “I don’t see any sign of movement in there. You got your motion tracker?”

“Sure.” Hudson pulled the tracker out and turned it on. “I’m not getting any movement either. I guess we can go in. Uh, why don’t you go first.”

“Fine,” I replied. “You stay near the Queen and watch our back.”

“You got it.”

I stepped into the cave and looked around. The rock along the sides was smooth and cool, but there wasn’t any sign of life within the tunnel itself. I strained my neck attempting to listen to anything, but all I could hear was Hudson’s breath.

“Sure is hot in here,” I noted.

“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat,” Hudson cracked.

We moved deeper into the cave. Again, I strained to listen but again all I heard was Hudson’s breath. We soon reached a point where our path split in two directions.

“Which way do we go?” Hudson asked.

“You wanna split up?” I replied.

“No way, man.”

“We must go this way,” the Queen said absently, then stepped past us towards the tunnel to the left.

“You heard the lady,” I said, then gestured to the left.

Queen Galacta lead the way down a gradual slope. It soon grew almost pitch dark, but she seemed to know where she wanted to go and had no problem getting there.

“I got something up ahead,” Hudson looked at the pinging on his motion tracker. “Multiple life signs plus something big. Can’t tell what it is yet.”

“OK,” I replied. “We’re going to have to be very careful when we check this out. Wherever She’s leading us might be chock full of unfriendlies.”

“I hear you there,” Hudson nodded.

The Queen didn’t stop though; She walked straight into a large cavern and towards a giant metallic structure.

I cursed under my breath. “Why didn’t you stop Her from waltzing into the open like that?”

“I couldn’t grab Her,” Hudson answered. “Why didn’t you grab Her?”

“I don’t see anything else out there,” I said. “It looks like—”

My comment was interrupted by crumbling sounds followed by unfriendly roars. I looked behind us and several creatures were blasting up through the ground.

“That’s not good,” I mumbled and started firing. “Hudson take these things down, I gotta go get the Queen!”

Hudson’s weapon dangled at his side and his eyes grew wide at the creatures looming over us.

“Giant bugs! Giant bugs, man! Get ‘em off me!”

I cursed again under my breath and began firing my two pistols at the attacking aliens.

Crouched in my firing position, I got a better look at my adversary. There were three and they were tough; their hide was able to absorb the blasts from Betsy and Winona, but eventually the howling creatures dropped to the ground. Burned flesh reeked underneath their smoking carapaces.

I cursed loudly at Hudson. “I need a little help here! I can’t protect the Queen and babysit you at the same time!”

“Forget it man!” he whined. “Did you see those things? They’re not gonna stop, they’re gonna keep coming and they’re gonna kill us!”

“Look!” I kicked the corpse nearest to me. “These things aren’t the Xenomorphs. These are different. We can take ‘em down, but I need you to get your head out of your fourth point of contact!”

Hudson just stared at the fallen creatures. “This ain’t happening, man... This can’t be happening, man! This isn’t happening!”

Hudson was starting to freak out so I slapped him hard across the face.

“OK,” he said. “I’m better now.”

I slapped him across the face again.

“Hey! What was that for?”

“Just to be sure.”

In the moment, I had almost forgotten about the Queen, I quickly sprinted towards Her. She was surrounded by a number of the same fallen monsters. More interestingly, however, was the giant spacecraft half buried in the side of the cave.

“What’s this?” I said, looking over the skin of the craft.

“In here,” Queen Galacta answered quietly. “In here.”

I couldn’t find a seal to open or any access anywhere. The Queen, however, held her hand gently against the hull. With a metallic scrape and a clang, a hatch slid open.

“In here,” she repeated softly. “I can feel it.”

She climbed up into the hatch, I followed and a sweating Hudson hauled himself in right behind me. The opening slid shut behind him and I quickly pointed my pistols down both sides of the hallway.

Aside from the red lights glowing along the hall, we were alone. Without hesitation, the Queen started walking towards whatever Her destination was. Hudson and I followed, keeping an eye out along the way.

“…Calling to me…” she said. “Can’t you hear it?”

Hudson shrugged his shoulders at me slightly. He couldn’t hear it either.

A bolt of energy lanced past us.

“Hold you fire,” Queen Galacta called out confidently.

“My Queen!” a voice returned.

From behind the cover of a control panel, Major Rocksun stood up. He definitely looked worse for wear.

“My Queen!” Rocksun shouted again as he sprinted up towards us. “It has been so long. I had feared that you had abandoned us. Or worse yet, you were dead!”

“I have returned to Throneworld, Major, but all is not as I left it.”

“These creatures have overrun most of the planet, your Majesty,” Rocksun replied. “They attacked us in force and the biomatter that they live on creeps over anywhere once inhabited by Your people. Many have fled the planet, many more have died. These creatures are insatiable and unstoppable!”

“This doesn’t make sense,” I said. “How could these creatures have overrun Throneworld so quickly? According to my ship’s calculations, we were only gone a short time.”

“It has been so long,” Rocksun stammered. “Years, perhaps. I led a small group in here. We’ve been in this wreckage all this time. We’ve made a few excursions out there, but it’s just too dangerous. I’ve lost too many good men already. This ship may never fly again, but fortunately the power sources still work and there is food available in the food stores.”

“You got ham and lima?” Hudson asked. “Shootin’ bugs always makes me hungry.”

Rocksun nodded and the private whooped with joy over his potential new meal.

“This just can’t be right, we weren’t gone that long.” I synced the chronometer on my Wristcomm with the Major’s own timepiece. “I can’t understand this. This is the right time -- we’re not in the future or anything. Could we be in an alternate reality?”

“I do not believe so,” the Queen replied. “I would surely feel it if we were.”

“OK so was the Major calling to you then, Your Majesty?” I asked. “Is that what you were responding to?”

“No,” the elite officer shook his head. “I do not have that ability. Besides, until now I did not know that the Queen had returned.”

“Then what was it?” Hudson asked.

“I think I know,” Rocksun answered. “Let me show you.”

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Hudson, what's that on the tracker?"

"I don't know man, but it's coming into range now!"

"Is it a friend or a foe?"

"I can't tell, Jon. It's at 30 meters now!"

"Whatever it is, we'll be ready for it."

"It's at 20 meters!"

"15 meters."

"10 meters."

"5 meters. Where is it, man?"

"I don't get it. If it was at 5 meters, we should be able to see it!"

"It's in the walls! It's in the gosh darn walls!"

"Come on, you bastard. Where are you?"

"It's gonnna come in here and it's gonna KILL us!"

"It's right here, get ready to fire!"

"Game over, man! Game over!"

"Wait a minute, it's not a Xenomorph! It's..."


"What is it, man? What is it?"

"Oh my God, it's..."

"It's Rudy the Red-Toed Reindeer!"

"I feel safer already."

"Merry Christmas, everybody!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Person of the Year

Private Hudson, you crazy jar-headed jardine, that's not the Time Person of the Year.

The Time Person of the Year isn't some disgusting, monstrous, slimy, mucous-covered alien, the Time Person of the Year is all the Junior Intergalactic Gladiators. Thanks to all my fans out there. Give yourselves a big hand, you deserve it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Quick Update

I wrote a post for SQT's Fantasy & Sci-Fi Blog. You can check it out by clicking this link.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I walked around the Danger Sled surveying the damage done to it during the rough landing. Private Hudson stood several feet away, cradling his pulse rifle in his arm and keeping a look out for anything near. Queen Galacta sat on the steps leading off my ship, staring blankly towards the wilderness.

“Oh man,” Hudson said as he looked up and down the side of my ship. “Game over for the Danger Sled, huh?”

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” I replied. “Fortunately for us, those things fell for the old ‘fire the torpedoes into the side of the cliff to make it look like you blew up’ bit. Unfortunately for us, we took some significant damage during the dogfight. This thing isn’t going to fly without a lot of work. But you know, any landing you can walk away from…”

“And then what?” Hudson’s voice cracked. “In case you hadn’t noticed, there ain’t anything around. Think we’re going to find a gas station nearby? You saw the readouts, there’s nobody here. Nobody.

I stepped really close to the private. “Hudson, I need you to keep it together,” I growled in his ear. “The Queen hasn’t moved since we crashed. She’s going catatonic or something and I can’t take care of both of you.”

“OK OK.” Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. “But how are we gonna get out of here? What do we do, man? What do we do?”

“Well, I got all the systems shut down on the Sled in case those things can detect infrared,” I answered. “We can only assume that they can. I downloaded a map of this area into my Wristcomm. According to it, there’s a tunnel a couple clicks that way. We can hole up in there until we get a plan together.”

“Yeah, but what if they’re in there, like an ant hive or something?” Hudson asked. “You can count me out of that, man.”

“It’ll be night soon. You want to stay out here alone in the dark?”

Hudson was silent for a moment.

“OK, man,” he said. “Let’s go.”

“So overwhelming,” the Queen spoke up. “There is a strong psychic presence on this planet. It is powerful, so primal.”

“Welcome back, your Majesty,” I said to her. “Can you walk? We need to move away from this area.”

“They cannot be stopped.” The Queen stood up, still in a daze. “They won’t stop.”

“That’s fine, ma’am,” I replied, starting to guide her away from my craft. “Let’s just keep moving.”

“Hey what’s this?” Hudson looked up the path we were heading. “Looks like a lost doggy. Here doggy doggy doggy.”

The creature leapt up at him and immediately pinned the marine to the ground. Snarling and snapping, it was about to tear into him when I blasted it with one of my pistols.

“Disgusting,” I said while looking at the smoldering corpse.

“Bad dog! Bad dog!” Hudson yelled at it. “What’s the chance of that thing being out all by himself?”

“Not good, I bet,” I answered.

We quickly but alertly moved out with Hudson taking point. I was twenty paces back and guiding the Queen. Of course, I had no idea what would be waiting for us in that cave. I only assumed that it couldn’t be any worse than what was out here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Return to Throneworld

Finally, the Danger Sled peeled out of warp. It had been a long, uncomfortable ride with Queen Galacta giving Private Hudson and me an icy stare the entire trip. I tried my best to concentrate merely on flying, but it was not easy with her onboard.

Hudson, for once, tried to keep his mouth shut. Occasionally he would look over at me and almost try to say something, but then give up or find himself unable to speak just as quickly.

As we decanted out of warp, something felt unusual. I had a difficult time putting my finger on it, and I wasn’t sure if I could describe it. I looked over at Hudson who may have also felt the effect.

“Did you just feel that?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he replied. “It was as if I just ate a whole can of Easy Cheese and someone smacked me in the gut.”

“Gentlemen…” the Queen said sternly.

“Your Highness, there may have been an anomaly as we dropped out of warp,” I stated to her. “I am checking the readings now. Odd, I don’t detect anything unusual at all. No energy readings or sensor data showing anything out of the ordinary.”

“Let me see,” Hudson started punching buttons from the copilot’s seat. Of course, they probably didn’t show him anything except for pretty blinking colors as I had disabled the control panel on his side. “Yeah, I, uh, don’t see anything either.”

“Something does not feel right,” Galacta affirmed. “I can feel it now. Throneworld is not as we left it.”

I checked my readings again. “The chronometer shows that we are within the correct timeframe from when we departed. We are coming into range of Throneworld, there seems to be a lot of something down there. Can’t tell what, though.”

“All is not right on Throneworld,” the Queen strained to look through the cockpit’s windshield. “Where is the traffic? There are no spacecraft in orbit. There aren’t even any satellites in orbit.”

As I plunged my spaceplane into the atmosphere, I scanned a whole spectrum of frequencies on the communicator. I was, however, unable to find any transmissions coming from the planet.

“Oh man…” Hudson mumbled to himself.

“I’m not getting anything,” I said in disbelief. “No communications, no infrared patterns that would match mechanical power sources – wait, something coming in on radar.”

“What is that?” Galacta pressed her hand against the side view port and looked out. “It looks like some sort of flying worm.”

“Flying worm?” Hudson asked. “Yuck.”

“Whatever it is, I have no way of communicating with it.” I snapped a few buttons and activated the copilot’s controls. “Hudson, keep your hands on the guns, this may get rough.”

“You got it!”

With a tremendous crash, something slammed into my ship. It was followed by several more somethings. From the direction opposite of the flying worm, several small creatures were flying straight at us.

“It’s a Kamikaze run!” I shouted. “They’re deliberately crashing into us to bring us down!”

As I attempted to maneuver my ship away from this assault, Hudson fired the turret at the enemy. Using sharp turns and rolls, I was able to outmaneuver the suicide creatures, but the flying worm then began its attack.

“He’s spitting some sort of exploding something at us!” Hudson bawled. “Oh man, game over!”

“Not yet it isn’t,” I gritted through my teeth. I continued my evasive maneuvers and Hudson continued firing the blaster cannon. The exploding creatures took their toll on the Danger Sled, though, and power levels soon began to fall.

“Come on!” yelled Hudson. “Come get some!” His shots took out wave after wave of the exploding monsters.

“We’re gonna hit dirt!” I yelled. Through the windshield, the ground loomed towards us. The flying worm was joined by several more of his kind, all firing down at my smoking ship. I pulled with all my might and the Danger Sled turned and shot parallel to the ground.

“Look out! Canyons!” Hudson pointed and his jaw dropped.

“I see ‘em!” I flipped the plane on its side and flew into the narrow passageway. The flying worms ascended higher to attempt to rein fire down on us, but they were forced to pull up even higher when a huge explosion erupted from within the canyon.

Satisfied that their prey had been destroyed, the creatures flew away.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Queen's Musical Meme

It is very quiet aboard Jon's ship the Danger Sled. After he and Hudson got into a fight during Captain Picard's Christmas Party and got thrown in the brig, I gave them a queen-sized dressing down and now they can barely look at each other without nervously looking away.

Now, I am willing to admit that “boys will be boys” and that no real harm was done during the incident. I can’t let these two get away with trashing a starship lounge, however, and so I must maintain this angered appearance until we get back to Throneworld.

Of course, this silence is boring, I have nothing to do while I am sitting here. Therefore, since these other two boys did this musical meme, I shall do one as well. I have chosen the Queen’s Galactic Symphony Orchestra as my artist.

  1. Are you a male or female?: Hail to the Queen Anthem
  2. Describe yourself: Glorious and August Queen Galacta
  3. How do you feel about yourself?: Reign of Happiness
  4. Describe where you currently live: March to the Citadel of Hope
  5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go: A Quiet Corner of the Galaxy
  6. Your best friend is: To the Peoples of Her Galaxy
  7. Your favorite color is: The Power of Magenta
  8. You know that: The Queen is a Very Nice and Benevolent Ruler Who Understands the Needs of Her People and They Deeply Appreciate Her Kind and Long-Lasting Administration (OK, I admit that I commissioned that song just for this)
  9. What's the weather like?: Gentle Snow Falls on the Citadel of Hope
  10. If your life was a television show, what would it be called?: Queen Galacta Has a Television Show (I admit that I commissioned this one as well. We do not have “television” here)
  11. What is life to you?: Her Benevolent Rule
  12. What is the best advice you have to give?: Believe
  13. If you could change your name, what would you change it to: Galacta is Galacta

Well, that certainly was fun. It seemed rather easy as well. Many of those songs do describe me very stunningly!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas on the Enterprise

“Your Highness I must protest.”

“I appreciate your concern, Major Rocksun,” Queen Galacta replied. “But I assure you that I will be quite safe on the journey.”

“But madam,” the elite officer leaned close. “I don’t entirely trust those guys, or at least their abilities. The marine’s been a private for over 8 years and the other is just a civilian. I don’t trust civilians on military ops.”

“It is only a holiday party in the future, Major,” the Queen reassured. “I will be on the flagship of Starfleet, under the command of Captain Picard. I cannot imagine anything dangerous happening there.”

“Still, I would be neglecting my duties if I did not insist on an armed escort accompanying you.” Rocksun remained stoic. “I will lead the escort personally.”

“Major Rocksun, it is the holidays,” the Queen replied. “I think that it would be best if you took leave for a week and visit your loved ones.”

“But your Highness, I—”

“Rocksun, that is an order.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Rocksun conceded, but then he said silently to himself “I have nowhere else to go.”

I helped the Queen into the Danger Sled and into a passenger’s seat. Private Hudson was sitting in the copilot’s seat with his feet up on the console.

“Oh this is gonna be a sweet gig, huh Jon?” he grinned. “Bring the Queen to the Enterprise, have a couple drinks, hit on some hot green chicks. Badabing badaboom.”

“You know, we have to keep on our toes,” I replied as I sat down in the pilot’s seat. “The Queen may be treating this as a diplomatic mission, but we still have to make sure that she stays safe.”

“Oh yeah, I’m with you. I’m totally frosty.” Hudson leaned forward and started punching buttons on the control panel. “Come on, let’s get going. Let’s do the time warp again!”

“OK, stop hitting the buttons. We’re ready to take off.” Fortunately for me and my ship and unbeknownst to Hudson, I deactivated his side of the control panel. He was just pushing blinky lights. Maybe I could hook it up somehow to dispense banana pellets when he hits the right one.

With Queen Galacta, Private Hudson and I set to go, I shot the Danger Sled into space. I punched up the coordinates into the controls and the ship leapt into warp. Time bent around us as we flew to the future towards the Enterprise and its Christmas party.

“Remember last year?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Hudson answered. “That was fun.”

“You spent most of the party avoiding Lt. Worf.”

“Yeah, well, I’ve got a plan for that.”

“Really?” I asked. “What are you going to do?”

“I can’t say,” he replied mysteriously. “It’s top secret. Tippy top top secret!”

My space plane exited the time warp and I quickly found the Enterprise on the scanners. I then returned the starship’s hail and received instructions to land in the shuttle bay. The Danger Sled nudged to a halt and I dropped the ramp for your exit. Lt Worf was standing on the deck, ready to meet us.

“Welcome to the Enterprise and,” Worf paused and clenched his jaws. “Happy holidays. It is good to see you again, Jon.”

“Good to see you again, Worf.” I shook his hand. “Allow me to present Galacta, Queen of the Galaxy.”

The Queen regally stepped off my ship. Worf bowed curtly towards her and she returned his show of respect with a nod.

“It is my honor to meet you, Warrior,” she said to him. “I have heard many tales of your greatness and you are a credit to your captain and your ship.”

“Thank you, your Majesty,” Worf replied. “It is a true honor to have you aboard.”

Private Hudson stepped off the ship next. He looked nervous.

“DaHjaj ghaH QaQ jaj Daq Hegh,” the private blurted towards the security officer.

“SoH quv jIH tlhej Hegh,” Worf replied. “You honor me with your knowledge of the Klingon language.”

“Th-thank you,” Hudson managed to respond.

As we walked through the corridors towards the Ten Forward, I leaned towards Hudson.

“How did you learn Klingon?” I asked in a hushed tone.

“Oh, I found it on the InterN.E.T,” he whispered back.

“You should be careful, though,” I responded. “If a Klingon smells flop sweat, he’ll go into a battle rage.”

“Really?” Hudson squeaked. “Uh, oh, uh, really? That’s interesting.”

We stepped into the lounge and I announced the Queen’s entrance. She exchanged pleasant greetings with Captain Picard, and then stepped over to a table where Professor Xavier was sitting.

“Hey, there’s Cyclops over by the buffet table!” Hudson said excitedly. “He’s talkin’ to a couple of green girls!”

Before I could respond, Hudson darted over towards the group. Shortly thereafter I heard Cyclops and Hudson yell “We are… the Wyld Stallions!” together.

I grabbed a beer from off the bar and made my way back towards the Queen and Xavier. I made small talk with the two and we recalled our recent first contact mission together where we met the living ship Sargon. As we talked, Galacta and Xavier engaged each other more and more, which in short order made me feel like the third wheel. Deciding to leave these two alone to talk, I excused myself to mingle with some of the other party goers.

“Aa-are y-you J-Jon the Inter-guh-galactic Gladiator?” I heard from behind me.

“Yes I am,” I replied as I turned and stuck out my hand. “And you are?”

“R-R-Ruh-Reg B-Barklay,” he stammered as he tried to shake my hand. “I-I’m j-just such a huge f-fan!”

“Really?” I smiled. “I’m flattered. It’s always great to meet a fan.”

“Y-y-y-y-y you remember that one time y-y-y-y-you fought the Megataur? Th-th-that was cool.”

“Wait a minute, you’re Reg Barklay? The Reg Barklay?”

“Y-y-y-yah, er, yes I am.”

“Wow, I didn’t realize!” I pumped his hand excitedly. “I’m a huge fan of your work!”


“You bet,” I answered. “Your work is instrumental in getting Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant.”

“It w-w-wuh-wuh-was?”

“Wait,” I stopped to think. “Maybe that didn’t happen yet. All this crazy time traveling is getting me confused.”


“If you didn’t get them back, then just forget I told you this,” I said.


“That way it’ll be a surprise!”

“Er, I, uh…”

“You don’t sound so good,” I looked him up and down. He was getting kind of pale. “You need a drink.”

“I-I-I-I, w-w-w-w-w-w--- N-n-n-n-n-n-n.” Reg took a gulp from his glass. “Y-you’re right. Hey, I feel better now!”

“Great. Well, keep up the good work,” I looked towards the buffet table and saw that Hudson was getting into some sort of altercation with a green woman.

I rushed over and tried to intervene. It quickly devolved into them pushing into me.

“Filthy pig!” she spat at him. “How dare you insult me and my people!”

“OK OK, hold it,” I tried to reason as I held them apart. “What happened?”

“You tell him, you son of an antenna-less Andonian!” she spat again.

“I just asked if I could lick all the green paint off,” Hudson said innocently. “What’s wrong with that?”

She yelled at him again in a language I couldn’t understand. I’ll just assume it was an insult in her native tongue.

“Well geez, don’t get yer tubes in an uproar,” the marine shrugged.

That was the proverbial final straw for the Orion. She took an angry, wild swing our direction. I ducked out of the way and crashed into a Borg drone caterer, who fell over and sent a tray full of appetizers into the air.

The Orion woman took another wild swipe at Hudson, he dodged it and she spun around and crashed into a conveniently-placed cake on the buffet table. From out of nowhere, a large Orion male flew into Hudson and they both smashed into the table, which collapsed to the ground, covering the two with its contents.

Orions and security personnel converged on the scene. Hudson stood up and punched the nearest person, which turned out to be a Starfleet officer, unfortunately. Meanwhile, I too was swamped with angry aliens. I was able to fight off the first two, but then I was quickly overwhelmed by a pile of them. I tried to fight my way out, but then I heard an electronic whining sound and my senses overloaded.

Later, Hudson and I were sitting in our very own cell in the brig. He sat in a corner scowling to himself while I spent the time bouncing a rubber ball against the forcefield door. I have no idea how long we were there; my wristcomm was confiscated and I could not see any control panels or readouts.

“Well merry Christmas to me,” Hudson grumbled.

“Shut up,” I replied. “Your little stunt got us in a lot of trouble with the Queen and Captain Picard. Who knows when we’ll get out of here. Man, I hate getting locked up in the brig!”

“But I didn’t do nothing,” Hudson protested. “I was just talking to the woman and then she started slapping me and then we were jumped by those Orion day traders.”

“You should be grateful that Galacta’s a benevolent ruler,” I thought out loud. “Or else she might lock us up in her space dungeon, and not one of those sexy space dungeons that you hear about-- one of those torture kinds.”

“Oh man, I don’t want her to lock me away,” the lifer lamented. “My LT would totally mark me AWOL.”

“Picard’s gotta be steaming, too, that was a pretty big mess in Ten Forward,” I added, disregarding Hudson’s anguish. “Oh man, I just thought of something!”

“Yeah? What?”

“I hope Picard’s not so mad that he’ll refuse to participate in Last Gladiator Standing II this summer,” I said. “He’s a real ratings-getter for females aged 34 to 58 as well as males living in their parent's basement.”

The entrance to the brig hissed open and Queen Galacta furiously stalked in. Worf followed her with the angriest scowl I have ever seen.

“I cannot believe you two would behave like this!” she hissed between her teeth. “I was going to leave you two here to rot away in the future, but the Captain wants you off his ship.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Hudson and I said.

“You are going to go apologize to the Captain right now and then we are going home,” she fumed. “And if you so much as look at an Orion, Borg, or anyone else, I’m going to launch you into space while we are in warp. Got it?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Yes, ma’am,” Hudson said.

Queen Galacta sighed. “Maybe I should have brought Major Rocksun along instead.”

Friday, December 08, 2006

Winter Driving Tips

Last Friday, Chicagoland was hit with the largest snowstorm of the year. There must have been like 27 or 28 feet of snow, though it’s actually hard to tell the exact amount because when it hit the ground it settled down into only about a foot or so.

With these winter storms comes added dangers on the highway. Though snow plow operators literally work around the clock to keep the streets clear, the slick snow, sleet, ice, and slush will make your travel hazardous.

Below is a list of tips that you should follow should you drive your automobile in winter conditions. Remember these guidelines, they may save your life.

• Don’t wipe all the snow off your front and rear windshields. Just clear off a little rectangle in the front so you can be sure to concentrate on the road.

• Keep as much snow on the roof of your car as well. That way, when you drive down the street, it will all blow off towards the traffic behind you.

• If you start to slide on the slick surface, jam your brakes as hard as you can. Yeah, that’ll take care of it.

• There is a certain threshold for how fast you can drive and remain safe. It might be 30 miles per hour; it might be 20 miles per hour. Make sure that you drive 8 miles per hour slower than the safest speed, that way everyone behind you can drive slowly and safely, too.

• If you know that it’s going to snow overnight, don’t bother getting up earlier or anything. Just get up at the same time that you always do and hit those streets just like everybody else.

• That big SUV you got? Yeah, now you can kick in the 4WD for added traction and safer driving. What, you didn’t get it with the 4WD option?

• When you’re driving behind someone going just a little too slowly, make sure you ride up right behind that car so the driver knows you’re trying to go faster.

• One of the most important things about driving in adverse conditions like snow storms is your ability to stay alert. After work, try to have only 4 or 5 martinis instead of 8 or 9.

• If you are involved in a collision with another motorist, make sure you get out of your car and make wild gestures. Point to the dent in your fender, throw your arms up in the air, then slap the top of your head with both of your hands.

• Make sure you fiddle with your defroster, the car radio and have your ear on your cell phone as much as possible. Try to have a notepad on your lap, too, so you can write down that important information from the person on the phone.

• If you have a totally awesome muscle car, rev your engine and spin your tires. That’s totally cool.

• Remember, truckers, those wheels throw a lot of snow and slush behind you. Don’t forget to use mud flaps. There is a wide variety to choose from, everything from the silhouette of a nicely shaped woman arching her back e’er so seductively to Yosemite Sam with pistols drawn warning you to back off.

• Remember to keep a couple large bags of salt in your trunk, that way if you crash into a snow bank you can make some awesome margaritas.

• Finally, keep an emergency kit handy. The kit should contain a bottle of water, a blanket, water proof matches, road flares, a can of gasoline, fireworks, energy bars, a flare gun, oily rags, old newspapers, and extra socks.

On a side note, SQT asked me to write a review of the Star of the Guardians series. You can read about it here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hudson's Musical Mystery Meme

If Jon can do one of these, then so can I. Mine's from the greatest arena-glam-pop-metal-prog rock band of all time, Queen.

Are you a male or female?: Mr. Bad Guy
Describe yourself: Bad Attitude
How do you feel about yourself?: I Go Crazy
Describe where you currently live: In the Space Capsule
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Stone Cold Crazy
Your best friend is: You're My Best Friend
Your favorite color is: Nothin' But Blue
You know that: Pain is Close to Pleasure
What's the weather like?: Thank God It's Christmas
If your life was a television show, what would it be called?: We Are the Champions
What is life to you?: Don't Stop Me Now
What is the best advice you have to give?: Fat Bottomed Girls Make the Rockin' World Go Round
If you could change your name, what would you change it to: Flash

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Music Meme

Here's a Meme that I got from Karnov, it seemed a little tough when I started, but once I got going everything was copasetic.

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions...
No repeats on songs!

Pick an artist: The Ramones. Yeah, I know, why didn't I use Weird Al Yankovic or Spinal Tap? That's a good question.

  1. Are you a male or female?: Main Man
  2. Describe yourself: Freak Of Nature
  3. How do you feel about yourself?: I lost My Mind
  4. Describe where you currently live: Planet Earth 1988
  5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go: I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement
  6. Your best friend is: My Kind Of A Girl
  7. Your favorite color is: She Talks To Rainbows
  8. You know that: Judy Is A Punk
  9. What's the weather like?: Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
  10. If your life was a television show, what would it be called?: Zero Zero UFO
  11. What is life to you?: Life Is A Gas
  12. What is the best advice you have to give?: Take It As It Comes
  13. If you could change your name, what would you change it to: Wart Hog or Animal Boy or Pinhead or Weasel Face or Ramona or The Crusher or maybe Spider-Man

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Hello? Anybody?"

There was nothing but silence. Silence and emptiness.




There was no other noise aside from my voice.

“Man, this sucks,” I thought out loud. “How am I going to get home?”

I stood there (or maybe I floated) next to nothing, surrounded by nothing.

“You did a great job here, Gladiator,” a calm voice said to me.

I looked around, and then I looked around again and saw the owner of the voice.

“Virgil.” I looked at the poet and the man who guided me on my journey through the many levels of the Underworld. “You know how I can get out of here now?”

“Certainly,” he replied. “But there is something that I must show you first.”

A bright, shimmering light began to emanate from the poet. His form then shifted, changing shape and sprouting wings.

“Wow.” I was awestruck by the transformation.

“Jon, there are many marvels of the multiverse. There are worlds where beings of immense power exist and still others filled with individuals blessed with the wonder of imagination. With your actions here, you have made it clear that you are worthy.”
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“I am worthy?” I asked. “Worthy of what? Did I go through all of this and it was only some kind of test? That is so not cool.”

“No,” my companion replied. “It was not a test, at least not in the way you think it would be. As I stated, there are many universes out there, full of both wondrous good and odious evil. We are standing at a crux, a lynchpin between what is real for many different realities. You are a lynchpin.”

“Me?” I couldn’t believe it. “Why me?”

“Why not? Because everything that you encountered on your trip was real, you have proven yourself worthy of this honor. Many have come before you, and many have laid out the groundwork for this hub of existence. But many are also now gone, unfortunately.”

“This is gotten very metaphysical,” I thought out loud. “So what do I do?”

“Do as you normally do. Live your life; your existence is what keeps this crux in balance.”

“OK, I just kick back and exist, huh? I can do that, I'm pretty good at existing.”

“There will be times where many will come to you with tales of their worlds,” the shining being added. “There will also be times where you will be called into action as your world's hero, just as before. Answer that call, fight for what is right and honor life always.”

“Yeah, I can do that,” I replied.

“Very good, I shall now return you to your home.”

“Great,” I said. “Only thing is, if I told anyone this, they’d think I was crazy or that I had a huge ego or something.”

“Perhaps you should not tell others of this, then,” “Virgil” suggested.

“That’s a good idea,” I replied. “I won’t speak to anyone or write about this or anything. Don’t want anyone thinking that I’m an idiot or something.”

“Indeed,” my companion replied.