Jenna

Posted: August 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

“Ecchh!” The disgusted noise rolls out of the mouth of the red headed woman. She pulls her sunglasses down with her index finger to rest on the middle of the bridge of her perfect nose and looks over the tops of the rims at the crowd that mills around in front of her. “You have GOT to be kidding me?” She asks in annoyed disbelief. “I so do not understand why we are here.”

“I know why I’M here.” Jenna responds, her usually sweet, lilting cadence now dripping with annoyance. “I don’t, however, have any idea why YOU’RE here.”

The Red Headed woman pushes her large heart shaped sunglasses back up rest against her face, still clearly not pleased with what she sees before her. ‘Well, I thought we were going to have some fun, since we were taking a break from that hillbilly haven of West Virginia and Mary Beth’s constant bitching. “

“No. I was going to get prepared for my match. I haven’t really trained in awhile and Santana thought it would be good if I readied myself for it. I’m not sure why you would come along with me.” Jenna answers her.

“I, like, told you already and shit. West Virginia is fucking stupid and I thought we could go have some fun. We don’t spend enough time together, Jenna. We should bond.” The red headed woman smiles at Jenna. The smile feels very insincere.

“We don’t spend a lot of time together  because you’re mainly mean to me.” Jenna answers her.

“Well, whatever. We should be tighter. I thought a road trip away from The Hills Have Eyes would be fun. This is definitely not going to be any fun. I can’t believe what I’m seeing before me.”

“Yeah, well, I can’t believe I let you pick out my clothes and hair and makeup. I feel ridiculous.” Jenna moans. The red headed woman turns to her with her mouth agape, obviously offended.

“Shut UP! You look absolutely sick, bitch!” She says and smacks Jenna across the arm. The camera pulls back to show Jenna for the first time. It’s not exactly how she’s used to being seen.

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“I look like a Kardashian.” Jenna grumbles. The red headed woman stomps her foot and turns to Jenna, angrily jutting out a finger.

“Oh, fuck you. You take that back right now. Those sluts work for Satan, okay? They have no taste and neither does he. That gauche fuck hasn’t had a decent design in like a hundred years. When’s the last time you saw him book a single runway during fashion week? NEVER. You know why? His last contribution to fashion was Crocs. Fucking CROCS! Don’t you dare insult me by comparing my fashion sense to his minions. When I dress up my bitches, my bitches look GOOD!” She accentuates her exclamation mark with a finger snap in the air above her head that is currently doing a sassy neck roll. Jenna just stares at her not understanding a word she’s saying. She shakes her head and sighs, walking forward into the spacious fields of Warren J Harding Public Park.

“C’mon, Red. Let’s just get this over with.”  Jenna says over her shoulder as she passes the woman who clearly doesn’t want to follow her.

“I thought you said that Marquez woman was sending us to a club?” She shouts after Jenna.

“She did. We’re here.” Jenna answers without looking back.

“Um, HELLO! This is a park! Not a club! I know the difference, you know. There’s no bottle service in a park!”

Jenna reaches out her hand and points at a sign nailed to a tree as she passes it. The sign reads “The Followers of The Eye LARP Club.” The red headed woman throws back her head and groans loudly. She balls her fists and throws her arms to her side, instantly blinking out of existence from where she was standing and reappearing next to Jenna’s side. Jenna stops dead in her tracks, twisting her head around in all directions, nearly panicked.

“Are you Crazy?” Jenna shrieks at her. “Don’t do that kind of stuff here! Someone will see you!”

“So what?” She responds, obviously not seeing the problem.

“SO WHAT? We’re in public, that’s what! You can’t just let normal people see you teleport and use magic and that kind of stuff.” Jenna tells her quietly as she continues to look around, hoping no one saw her.

“These people are hardly normal. There’s a guy over there in a werewolf mask and assless chaps. Pretty sure they’d love to see some actual “magic” as you call it. Maybe I’ll turn one of them into a frog. That seems cliche enough. Or hey, how about some REAL magic and I turn one of them into an emotionally secure mature adult.” The red headed woman beings cackling loudly, having fully cracked herself up. She raises up her hands and begins making hex fingers at random passersby until Jenna grabs her hands and pushes them back down.

“Stop it! People are starting to look at us.” Jenna pleads.

“Duh. That’s because we look like normal, gorgeous women. They’re, like, trying to figure out why I’m not dressed like Slave Leia.” She cackles again, blowing a kiss at barbarian with a shield that’s clearly made from a Pizza Hut box.

“Please, Red. Just be be nice and don’t use any magic. We’re just here to observe and maybe talk to a couple of them.”

“Jenna, these people believe in magic. They probably think they’re casting magic themselves all of the time. LARPers are just a step above Juggalos but I’d bet you have to explain how magnets work to them too.” She smiles evilly. Jenna doesn’t smile back.

“Red pleeeaaase. Don’t cause trouble. I just want a nice quiet day.” Jenna presses her palms together in front of Red, pleading with her. Red rolls her eyes.

“Whatevs. Fine. I’ll be nice for now. You used to be more fun. Mary Beth is having a bad influence on you. That girl has a stick lodged so firmly in her ass she might as well be a lollipop. But stop calling me Red. Why are you calling me that?”

“Because you won’t tell me your name. I have to call you something.” Jenna answers her, thinking to herself that the answer is obvious.

“Mary Beth has been calling me Miranda. Why can’t you just call me that?”

“Because that’s not your name.” Jenna says matter of factly.

Red groans and rolls her eyes again. “Look, if I told you my name, it would kill you. It’s an ancient language that, like,  holds immense power and reverberates on a frequency that can’t be comprehended by the human mind. Speaking it would instantly cause every cell in your body to explode on a subatomic level. It’s super badass and you would so totes love it, but you do not want me to do it. Trust me.”

Jenna looks at her with great confusion furrowing her brow. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why do you always talk like you’re a God or something?”

Red just stares back at Jenna without making an expression at all. “Would you care for me to explain the concept of magnets to you?” She finally says.

“Okay. So I’m just going to call you Red, then. We’re in agreement?” Jenna responds, still looking somewhat confused.

“Fine. Can you just do whatever it is we’re here to do so we can hit up a spa or something? If I don’t get a coconut water and a pedi soon, I’m going to unleash a plague. What are you here for, anyway?”

“Well, I have to fight Nilli Cola this week and Ms. Marquez thought I could learn a lot about how she thinks by coming here and watching these LARPers interact. She said Nilli is just like these people. Not sure how, but we’ll figure it out.” Jenna says as she looks around at the various costumed people, her eyes focusing against her will on a morbidly obese man who is completely naked and covered head to toe in blue paint. “Oh my. What’s he supposed to be?” Jenna asks.

“He’s a pervert.” Red answers her and then begins to smirk. “Jenna, honey, I think I know why Marquez sent you here. She, like, totally thinks Nilli is a phony, I think. She’s comparing her to these weirdos.”

“You think? Why would she think that?” Jenna asks, scrunching up her face.

“Well, when Decay is filled with monster hunters, alien investigators, a guy that hunts fictional characters, a witch, mutants, a mad scientist and Marquez herself playing footsies with the Illuminati, you’d think Nilli wouldn’t stand out as a being a phony. She’s not even the only time traveler.” Red says, trailing off as she becomes bored talking about Decay TV. She makes an ice cold can of Diet Coke appear in her hand, then makes a straw appear in it that she begins sipping off of.

“Yeah. There ARE two time travelers.” Jenna says and nods her head slowly. “How does that work? If Nilli and Io are both from the future, wouldn’t they be from the same fucture? They’re stories aren’t even close to matching up.”

“Please, honey. Don’t even get me started.” Red says in between sips of soda. “That whole space time continuum is my biggest mistake. It just gives me a headache. I invented it and even I don’t understand that convoluted shit. I cant even.”

“You invented time? Huh?” Jenna says, tilting her head to the side like a confused dog.

 Red caresses Jenna’s cheek and smiles. “Don’t strain yourself, girlfriend. Let’s just wade into the shallow end of the gene pool here and you’ll get it eventually.”

Jenna shrugs and begins walking towards a trio of costumed players who look like they are in charge as they are meeting with other players, handing out fliers and pointing people into various directions. One is a woman in chainmail and large pointed ears. Her makeup is flamboyant and her Nerf bow and arrows have been customized into a dragon-like appearance. Next to her is a man with a skeletal face and clawed hands. His clothing is tattered and stained with dirt and blood. The final man, who seems to be the game master is dressed in Victorian Era clothing with various metallic, clumsily designed robotic attachments.

“Let’s talk to them. They look like they can explain all of this to us.” Jenna says. “Now, I get what she is. She’s supposed to be an elven archer. And I get what that guys is. he’s a zombie or a ghoul or something like that. But what’s that guy in the fancy clothes and top hat supposed to be?”

“Well, see the loathsome handlebar mustache and the goggles that serve absolutely no purpose? That would make him a Steampunk.” Red answers her, trying to suppress her case of the giggles.

“What’s a Steampunk?” Jenna asks and most of society wishes they didn’t know the answer to that question either.

“Well, I suppose the easy answer is that they’re like what would happen if you crossed a Goth and a Trekkie and let Lena Dunham write them. They’re like the even less cool, more obnoxious version of a hipster nerd, if that’s even possible. Or to put it another way, Steampunks exist so that Goths have someone to make fun of.” Red answers her. Jenna is still confused.

“Okay, but I still don’t get the goggles. What’s with the goggles?”

“They don’t even know the answer to that, Jenna. They just know they have to have them.” Red takes her last sip off of her Diet Coke and throws the empty can over her shoulder. It bounces off of the head of a man in tattered cowboy clothing before clattering on the ground. He looks down at it with great confusion, batting it around on the ground a bit before picking it up. Clutching it in his fist, he thrusts it skyward and begins shouting to all in ear shot.

“BEHOLD BROTHERS AND SISTERS! THE SKY LORDS HAVE SENT US A MESSAGE! A WARNING FOR ONE OF OUR OWN! THEY SAY TEE KOH-KAY WILL DIE! THE METAL CYLINDER DECLARES IT IN WRITING! DIE TEE KOH-KAY!”

A woman wearing armor made from old computer keyboards runs over to him, wailing in a thick, horribly fake southern accent. “But, I ahm Tee Koh-Kay! Mercy me, what evah will ah do?”

Red turns to them and sneers. “It’s a fucking Diet Coke can. What kind of idiot game are you playing when you, like, name yourself after products and shit? At least pronounce it right. Your name is Coke, honey. It’s an easy fucking word to say. Why would everyone suddenly start saying things phonetically after an apocalypse. It doesn’t make any sense in any narrative. Fuck.”

The two LARPers turn towards her, obviously shocked and angry by the OOC behavior they just witnessed. The radioactive cowboy raises his arm, pointing at Red and Jenna as he shouts. “HERETICS! TIME WITCHES! LIARS!”

“Whatever, dork.” Red says, dismissing him with a flick of her wrist.

“Please, just leave them alone.” Jenna pleads. “Think of this as going bird watching. We just observe them in their natural habitat and don’t disturb them.”

“Birds are fucking stupid and watching them is lame. When I see birds, I unleash snakes on them. Or a swarm of hornets. Or bigger birds with two heads. Can we do something like that?” Red asks, perking up.

“No!” Jenna says firmly, if somewhat whiny.

“Jenna, I gave you domain. Pick up a fucking Bible sometimes. I put a lot of work into it.”

“Domain is for animals. Not people.” Jenna corrects her.

“Whatever. I don’t see the difference here. You said it yourself. This is nerd watching.” Red mutters, already disinterested.

“I said BIRD watching…And you did not write the Bible. Stop it.” Jenna says to her, obviously annoyed.

“Oh, you have no problem believing that your best friend is a pot growing witch, your boss is part of an organization that controls the world and your “boyfriend” is actually heterosexual and that he once fought a man who can talk to Frankenstein and Moby Dick, but it’s completely out of the question that I’m God. Whatevs. Hey, where is your own personal Andy Cohen, anyway? You want me to teleport him into this little soiree? I bet I could have some fun with him.” Red responds snarkily. Jenna immediately spins around, jamming a finger in her face and snarling.

“Don’t you dare talk bad about Jaime! Leave him out of this! You and Mary Beth don’t understand that he’s trying to help all of us, but I do. Don’t bring it up again or so help me, I’m going to knock your block off. Friends or not, I’ll do it. Now let’s go talk to those three, you be nice and don’t cause any more trouble. Got it?”

Red looks at Jenna’s angry face and tries her best not to laugh. Finally, she shrugs and says. “Fine. I’ll be good. For now.”

“Good.” Jenna says and turns back around, stopping towards the three game masters.

“I have to say, I so totes appreciate the big balls on you. I LOVE it. Granted, five-thousand years ago, when I was more hot tempered, I totally would have turned you into a pillar of salt or covered you in boils or something like that, but I’m sooooo more mellow now. I like you, Jenna. We’re gonna be besties and shit.” Red says as she follows Jenna, now skipping as she walks.

 As Jenna and Red approach the trio of LARPers, they can here the Steampunk dor…er…player, giving orders to the other two and a few other people dressed as various things.  They hear a woman dressed as….who knows? Something that doesn’t wear a lot of clothes. Anyway, they hear the woman refer to the man as Lord Roddy Bottom.

“Oh, my most benevolent curator of curios, Lord Roddy Bottom. Where are myself and my Fae of The Wastelands to take our positions in the battle realm?” The barely dressed woman asks him. Jenna notices the tiny nylon wings attached to her back for the first time. To be fair, the wings are bigger than any other article of clothing on her body.

“My dear Island Breeze, Queen of the Aero Sol Tribe of Glade Woods. Take your fairy sisters to the far shack of resting beyond the fields of balls of volley. There you will stage you camp and prepare for the coming War.” Lord Roddy Bottom says this in grandiose fashion, acting out each syllable as if he were performing Shakespeare. The fairy Queen, who had seemed so into her roll a moment early now seems not as pleased. She slumps her shoulders and sneers at him.

“Are you serious, Jordan? We get the Rest Room fort, again? You know they still haven’t fixed the backed up septic tank. It’s fucking gross.” She says to him and the other costumed revelers quickly turn away from the scene, pretending this isn’t happening.

“OOC, Lindsay! Really not cool. I’m docking you power points.” Lord Roddy Bottom says to her sternly. She looks even more angry, before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. She raises her hand and then slowly slides it down past her face, getting back into character.

“Of course, my Lord. We have our wands of freshness to combat the spells of the septic serpents.” Lindsay says, raising what normal people would refer to as a can of Air Freshener. Her’s is a can of Glade. Island Breeze, of course. “Come, my sisters. Apple Cinnamon, Fresh Linen, Mango Madness…let us go prepare for battle.” And with that, Island Breeze and her fairy sisters flit away into the woods.

“Oh…my…God, Jenna. You can’t expect me not to be a bitch. This is what I live for. I feel Old Testament bitchery in me just waiting to get out.” Red whispers to Jenna.

“No.” Jenna responds sternly.

“Honey…It’s my will.” Red insists.

“I said, No.” Jenna says more sternly.

“Fine. This is your show. We’ll play it your way. I’m guessing ten minutes of talking to these people and you’ll be seeing it my way.” Red smiles innocently as they walk up to Lord Roddy Bottom and his two assistants. He turns to face them as they approach, his expression a level of charmless arrogance that makes Jamison Whitlock’s look like the face of innocence.

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“What do we have here? Do I see new travelers to the realm before me? Huzzah, for the newbies!” Lord Roddy Bottom exclaims, raising his techno cane into the air. All other LARPers within earshot exclaim HUZZAH! in unison. “Now tell me, from what far away land have you come to our find fields of Austin in the Tex-As?”

“Well-” Jenna starts to speak, but is quickly cut off.

“NO! Let me guess, for my powers of mystic knowledge are legendary.” Lord Roddy Bottom says, once again moving his arms around theatrically as he speaks. “Are you the Vampiress warriors from the realm of Portlandia?”

“Umm…..no.” Jenna says, already completely confused by what the man in the silly clothing is saying.

“No. Of course not. You do not bear arms, not do you bear the sigil of the city of the rose. Ah, you must be Indie Witches of the land of Bon a’Roo. Have you come to do battle with our realm, unleashing your monkeys from the Arctic and your dragons of Imagine?”

Jenna looks at Lord Roddy Bottom who is managing to smile both eagerly and smugly. She then turns to Red, obviously, completely lost as to what is going on.

“What the hell is he talking about, Red?” Jenna asks her companion who is trying hard to suppress her devilish smile. She steps in front of Jenna, arching her back to stick out her chest, knowing that is all the magic she needs.

“Let me handle this, honey.” Red tells her before turning to address the game master. “Yo, dip of shit. I am the most powerful mage in all of this realm or any other. You may call me Goddess Scarlet, master of the Book of Revelations. This is my bodyguard, Jenna the Barbarian. We are from the far away land of Whoop a Nigga’s ass and you, my dear boy, are making us home sick.”

Lord Roddy Bottom looks a little confused himself now. Possibly a little scared. Probably a little aroused. Before he can figure it out himself, Jenna steps forward and extends her hand.

“Hi. I’m Jenna. You can call me Catfish, if you like. We’re not really here to fight. We’re more here to watch.”

Lord Roddy Bottom takes her hand, happy for a chance to get back into character. He shakes it lightly before reaching down and kissing it. “Enchanté, my delightful warrior Princess and welcome to our realm. Although I would love to see you join in on our quests and our battles today, I am always happy to allow envoys from the other Guilds to come and observe. I must ask you though, what is this Cat Fish?”

He looks at Jenna, puzzled. Jenna is puzzled that he is puzzled. Red is puzzled as to why they are here instead of running a VIP lounge in Manhattan out of vodka.

“Um. It’s just a nickname I’ve had since I was a kid. I’m from Louisiana. There’s a lot of catfish down there.” Jenna smiles sweetly, if nervously.

Lord Roddy Bottom frowns at her, theatrically, of course. “What is this Cat Fish, that you speak of? What sort of beast is part cat and part fish? It’s madness. Madness, indeed.”

“Um….what?” Jenna asks him. She begins looking around, wondering if she is on a hidden camera prank show. Red has already hit her limit on goofballery and doesn’t want to play any longer.

“What the fuck is that?” She snaps at him. “What sort of a beast is part cat and part fish? Did you really just ask that shit? Why would you say something that stupid? Your character knows how to build steampunk shit, but you don’t know what a fucking catfish is?”

Lord Roddy Bottom is immediately flustered, throwing up his hands and waggling his fingers. “TIME FREEZE SPELL! CONE OF SILENCE SPELL!”

The rest of his entourage immediately places their fingers in their ears and then stand motionless as if they were frozen. Lord Roddy Bottom begins speaking to Red and Jenna once again, trying to be polite but obviously still upset.

“Ladies, I don’t know what your rules are where you LARP at, but I require that you cast a time freeze spell and/or a cone of silence spell before speaking OOC. Are we all in agreement with that?” he asks them. Red, of course is not cool with this.

“Uh, dude. We’re, like, trying to get to the bottom of what sort of game world is so retarded that you don’t know what a fucking catfish is.” Red says, sneering at him.

“This is a post apocalyptic world. There are no catfish here. No one knows what it is.” He says back to her, just as snippy.

“Uh, so, your apocalypse people know what a cat is?” Red ask flippantly.

“Yeah. We have cats.” Lord Bottom answers.

“And you have fish? You, like, know what fish are and shit?”

“Yes. Of course we have fish.” he answers her smugly as if he were talking to a child.

“So, cats survived your apocalypse and fish survived your apocalypse, but somehow shitty, mud eating catfish, who are like the fucking cockroaches of fish didn’t survive and not only does no one have any recollection of their existence, you can’t even grasp the basic concept that fucking fish are named after other things besides fish? That’s fucking retarded.” Red tells him in her bitchiest, Mean Girls voice.

“Well…I mean….you have to admit, it sounds like a monster, sort of.” Lord Bottom stammers.

“No, fuck face, it sounds like a fish. I mean, what sort of fish are still alive in your apocalypse world? Which ones?” Red presses on.

“Um…uh…I don’t know….fish.” he answers as he begins looking around him for help, but not finding it as his friends are frozen and deaf in the game world.

“Fish? Fucking fish, loser? That’s what you call them? All of them. Fish. They’re just fish?”

“Uh…yeah. I mean, it makes sense. We’re like sort of primitive now. We don’t have a name for every sort of fish.” He tries to convince both Red and himself.

“No, it’s fucking retarded and a cop out. I’m pretty sure you just made it up right now, didn’t you?” She grills him, jabbing a finger in his chest.

“Well…okay, yeah. It’s kind of what we do. Just go with it.” he says as he starts to sweat.

“Yeah? How did cats survive the apocalypse if catfish didn’t. How did other fish survive but not catfish? How are you so dumb that you can’t look at a catfish and know it’s a fish while seeing it’s resemblance to a cat, JUST LIKE THE ORIGINAL PRIMITIVE DOUCHE WAD THAT NAMED THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE? This apocalypse let’s cats and all fish except catfish survive, but it kills catfish and common sense? Are you fucking kidding me?” Red  rants at him.

“Lady, I don’t fucking know, okay? I just know we have cats because a lot of cat ladies play with us and there’s a koi pond in the middle of the park so we have to acknowledge that fish exist. Give me a fucking break, okay?” Lord Bottom’s voice is now shaky and cracking. Red is shaking her head and pacing, trying to talk herself into keeping her word to Jenna. Jenna, meanwhile, has slowly raised her hand into the air and is smiling sheepishly at Lord Bottom. He’s removed his hat and is furiously rubbing his sweaty head, frustrated and upset by the line of questioning that he wasn’t prepared to answer. He tries to ignore Jenna, but finds he can’t as she begins to bounce on the balls of her feet and wave her arm vigorously. He finally sighs and acknowledges her.

“Yes…Jenna the Barbarian. What do you want to say?” he asks, not really wanting to know.

“Um, so tell me about your game world. You said there is an apocalypse? What happened?” Jenna asks him sweetly.

Lord Roddy Bottom looks at her suspiciously, but surprised. “You….really want to know? You’re honestly interested?”

“Yeah. It sounds fascinating and sort of cool. I used to play World of Warcraft before I joined Deacy TV. Role Playing games are neat.” Jenna says and smiles brightly. Lord Bottom smiles back, happy that at least Jenna might be persuaded to join their guild.

“Well, this is the world after a zombie apocalypse has wiped out most of the population and driven society back into the dark ages, so to speak.” He says proudly.

“So, it takes place in the modern world?” Jenna asks.

“No. It’s far in the future.”

“But, it’s like the past?” Jenna asks.

“Yes. We’ve forgotten what the modern world was like. It’s like the old west. There’s no technology left. Make sense?” Lord Bottom smiles proudly.

“No.” Jenna says. “If technology is gone and no one understands it, what are you supposed to be?”

“Um, well, I’m a junker scientist. I collect artifacts from the past and turn them into low tech versions of modern machinery.” He smiles proudly, once again. Jenna frowns.

“Okay, so zombies and steampunk, which sort of works together if I want to shut off my brain like I’m watching a Transformers movie,  but I saw werewolves and you asked if we were vampires?” Jenna asks him, drifting back towards confusion.

“Um…well…the other supernaturals have sprung up too. Not just the zombies.” He answers her, if less convincingly.

“Okay. But this lady next to you is clearly a Middle Earth elf and I’ve seen a lot of other D&D types, as well. What’s that all about?” Jenna looks at him quizzically and a little less patient.

“Well…uh…there’s a sort of….dimension rift…..I guess…and these people are bleeding into our realm too….maybe.” He answers even less convincingly.

“Yeah, okay, but why are the fairies named after air freshener and using cans of Glade as weapons?” Jenna is now completely frowning as if she’s trying to solve the square root of WTF.

“Well….like I said….this is the future after the apocalypse so people find relics from modern society and name themselves after it.” He answers, now sounding as if he wants Jenna to convince him that what he’s saying is actually making sense because it doesn’t actually make sense to him.

“Like calling yourself Vanilla “Nilli” Cola?” Jenna asks drolly, now frowning and no longer buying the bullshit. “You purposely act stupid about things that even a caveman could figure out?”

“Yes! Exactly! You’re getting it.” Lord Bottom exclaims, once again excited and thinking Jenna is on board. “That greaser guy over there is named Ford Fairlane and he thinks a car is a cow and the toilet paper mummy is named Pharaoh Char-Min and he thinks he can be resurrected after he dies if he is covered in poo and flushed down the swirling time well of the Tidy Bowl. You’re getting it now.”

“Sooooo…what about those guys over there.” Jenna points over to a small army of soldiers in intimidating formation dressed as Gingerbread Men.

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Lord Roddy Bottom finally hangs his head in shame and sighs. “Look, none of us could agree on what sort of theme we wanted our game world to have so we sort of just threw it all into a pile and blamed it on an apocalypse, okay. Zombies are trendy, so they’re the main cause. Just go with the rest of it, okay? Please?”

Jenna scratches her head and looks at Lord Bottom, no longer confused, but just annoyed. “This is really, really, super, completely stupid. Red, we’re done here. I understand why Santana wanted me to come here and I understand why this applies to Nilli Cola.”

“You see the light, honey? Praise me.” Red says, waving her arms in the air.

“Yes. Nilli comes from a world where rational thought doesn’t exist and dumb behavior doesn’t “happen” because of necessity or innocence. It happens because a make believe line of thinking and acting like a neanderthal makes for an easy excuse to cover up your lack of logic and narrative sense.” Jenna says with great confidence, if somewhat robotically.

Red smiles. “Wow. That was all sorts of awesome sauce. It’s almost like I made my thoughts come out of your mouth.”

“Cool. What just happened again? I wasn’t paying attention.” Jenna says, smiling enthusiastically.

“Don’t worry about it. You just said it was time to party.” Red says as she steps up, cracking her knuckles.

“I did? Why don’t I remember that?” Jenna asks in her most adorable of voices.

“Well, actually Marquez said it. She just called and said you’re actually here to train for you match by fighting all of these losers. Remember?” Red asks her as she stretches from side to side, trying to get limber.

“No. I don’t.” Jenna asks, confused once again. Red snaps her fingers and Jenna’s expression changes.

“I mean, yes. Yes I do remember.” Jenna grits her teeth and growls as she balls her hands into fists. “Let’s take out these Nilli people.”

Red smiles and walks out into the center of the field where most of the LARPers are still gathered, awaiting official word that the game has begun. She knocks Lord Bottom to his ass as she passes.

“Okay…Listen up, you primitive screw heads!” Red shouts to the crowd. “We’re going straight to all out war today and magic is the name of the game. You’re all going to be wielding it. Does that excite you all?”

The crowd yells YEAH!

“I can’t hear you pussies! I Said ARE YOU EXCITED TO ALL USE MAGIC!” Red yells and the crowd now roars back at her.

YEAH!

“That’s better. I know you dorks, are like, tired of being dorks and you’re all ready to be champions. WE’RE GOING TO BE CHAMPIONS TODAY! DO YOU FEEL ME?” Red yells, now completely working the crowd.

YEAH!

“Cool. So here we go, fuckers. It’s show time. It’s WAR TIME! IT’S MAGIC TIME!”

The crowd roars and cheers, not noticing that Red is swirling her arms and speaking in a language that is not known by human ears and unlike whatever bullshit Klingon or Elvish languages they speak in, this one actually has power. Jenna watches in surprise as a red mist fills the park and swirls around everyone in attendance. Slowly, the zombies turn into actual zombies. Werewolves and vampires become actual werewolves and vampires. People change into faeries and elves and orcs and dwarves. Steampunk Iron Man is now functional. Predator is now a real alien. The Gingerbread man army is now…well….they’re probably fucked, but at least the have real weapons now. Everyone has real weapons. Everyone is actually who they pretend and desire to be. It is temporarily a moment of mutual wish fulfillment.

And then human nature sets in.

“KILL THEM ALL!” someone yells and war begins.

Jenna looks towards Red, now clutching a broadsword in each hand and feeling blood lust nip at her psyche that she doesn’t want to feel. “What did you do?” Jenna asks her.

Red simply shrugs and “Oops?” is her only response as armies charge from all direction and war begins.

Life Changes

Posted: May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

~~brrkzt~~

The static crackles in my earpiece followed by Lisa’s, squeaky, nasally voice.

“Frirewall’s toast. Cameras are seeing an endless loop of non activity. Sensors are offline. Magnetic locking mechanisms are down and retinal scanners are now programmed to recognize your baby blues.  You’re all ghosts, my darlings. I’m in control of their systems. Be stealthy and I’ll be your eyes and ears. No one will know you’re coming.”

crash

The metal door before us crashes inward, courtesy for Cesar’s boot.

“Or you could just make all the hard work I’ve done today completely useless and go in like a herd of stampeding water buffaloes.”

“I’ve told you before, guera. I’m not a stealthy kind of guy.” Cesar says into his com and smiles. It’s a smile I’ve come to know and occasionally dread. I’m hoping this doesn’t turn out to be one of those times. He pumps his shotgun and walks into the sterile looking hallway before us, not looking like he’s going to be taking any prisoners today. Domino and I turn to one another and lock eyes. I shrug. She rolls her eyes and grits her teeth, muttering cuss words that I can only hear because of our com links. She moves quickly into the hallway doing her best to flank him in the narrow space. I follow behind her, moving sideways so that I can watch our backs.

“Cool! Whatever. I’m just a resource. Not a person. Don’t worry about my feelings or my self worth.”

“Mouse!” I snap gruffly into my com. Mouse is what we call Lisa. It’s of her own design. She decided Mouse was to be her code name because she can get into any system, no matter how well guarded, quiet as a. Much like our headstrong problems with Cesar, I don’t think she still understands the severity of our campaign or the power of our enemies like Domino and I do. The two of them are still playing a little kid’s dress up version of espionage. It’s something we’re working on.

“We still need you to be our eyes and ears, girl. You’ve kicked ass so far. Keep at it.”

“Hey, Mouse. there’s something else you can do for us. We’re about to party. Give us some music.” Cesar says into the com and I can hear his smile as if it were a sound. I should have seen this coming even though I’ve given orders for it not to happen again.

“Mouse, ignore that.” I tell our little technological genius who sits safely some thousand or so miles away from us in a techno bubble hideaway that I don’t even know where it is. She doesn’t listen, as I know she won’t.

“Oh, Cesar. This is why I still love you, you big gorilla. You’re like my own personal, not to mention the most realistic FPS MMO ever and any true gamer knows, you don’t go into battle without music. Let’s get cray cray, bitches!”

“Wait!” I offer up helplessly, knowing it’s already too late as the music kicks in over our coms and I see Cesar get a bounce in his step. I mentally picture an even more out of control Mouse bouncing around her control center.

“Mouse! You better keep your eyes on the prize and keep us aware.” I growl into my com.

“You know you get sexier when you’re angry, right? Someone has to have told you that before?”

“Mouse, you and I are going to have a talk when we see each other. Not a pleasant one.” Domino hisses into her com and I’m seriously feeling the Dis prefix latch onto our functional family as it usually seems to do.

“Domy, baby. Unclench those cheeks, girl. Some of us work better with media input to distract our ADD addled random neural transmitters. I’m focused. As in your right hallway’s coming up. Ten second collision warning. I suggest you duck.”

And this is where we excel as a team, despite our collective unprofessionalism and minor squabbles. No one hesitates upon hearing Mouse’s words. No one thinks. We moves as a unit, all three of us hurrying to a sprint, counting down the seconds in our head and then dropping to our knees simultaneously. We slide across the dull and unimaginative mauve linoleum as two armed guards come around the corner to our right, firing pistols at where our heads and upper torsos should have been. Their bullets rip through the air harmlessly. Ours don’t.

Bodies drop, minus parts of their anatomy that were important towards keeping them alive. We spring from the floor as they hit it, locked and loaded and ready for whatever comes next.

“Coming at you from six and nine o’clock. Groups of four. One will filter in ahead of you and one from behind.”

“How much time, Mouse?” I ask as I load in fresh clips.

“Thirty seconds, tops. I’m unlocking the doors on either side of the hall you’re on. Wait for my cue and you won’t need to waste bullets on the group in your hall.”

I hear the loud clack of deadbolts unlocking. Cesar moves into the door to the left. Domino and I move into the door to right. We both shut them behind us and await instructions silently as her soundtrack plays insistently into my ear. As much as I want to admonish her, I have to admit that it does build Adrenalin. I won’t even acknowledge that it’s sort of cool. It’s counter-intuitive at this point. I just sit and wait silently as Mouse occasionally buzzes in our ears.

“Near….nearer….hold still…”

We hold our breath as we see and hear them jiggle the door handles in front of us, finding them magnetically locked and being trained to arrogantly think that said doors are impenetrable from outside forces. Our enemies have been untouchable for too long. More than that, they’ve been unnoticed. It breeds arrogance. It breeds contempt. We are the sort of life lesson they won’t survive. Not the current gen, at least.

“They’re past. Domy, honey, be awesome sauce here and do that stealth attack that Cesar won’t do for me.”

Although Mouse’s words take a smart ass tone, she speaks sincerely and Domino acts on them.

With the greatest care, Domino opens the door silently and moves in behind the four man security crew like a spider silently advancing on it’s prey. They never see her coming before she moves into action. I honestly watch her in awe as she spins and twirls, a whirling dervish of limbs and blades that slices and kicks and bashes and breaks our enemies at a rate that I am almost unable to comprehend. I see a jaw break under heel. I see a throat slashed from a blade. I see a neck broken between twisting thighs. Enemies are slayed with a flourish that I could never match and with a sadistic streak of vengeance that even I cannot equal. Whatever it is that Domino fights for, its meaning cuts deep.

“Move now! End of the hall. Flank positions. Blades out. Make it hurt.” Mouse blurts into our earpieces and I can hear that staccato beat and energized level to her voice that lets me know she is truly zoned in. This will not be a fair fight at this point. This will be a slaughter.

We move as one, following Mouse’s instructions. Domino already has her katana at the ready. I flip out my butterfly knives. Cesar unstraps an ax from his back. My compatriots press against opposite sides of the wall as I crouch in the center of the hallway.

“Three…two…one…action.” Mouse whispers into our ears with an almost disturbing amount of passion.

I move with a swiftness that seems automated as Cesar and Domino move with me. The security team has barely rounded the corners of the hallway before we are cutting them down. Domino leaps and whirls, her stainless steel blades slicing through flesh, bone and sinew. Cesar’s ax comes down upon a man’s skull, reducing it to something akin to beef stew, only messier. The last guard splits their dual savagery, charging down the middle of the hall and into my knives,. I punch rhythmically like a human sewing machine, turning his midsection into a muddy mess of gore and seeping organs. The sterile white walls are quickly painted in crimson as our enemies fall and fall in pieces.

“That’s fucking sick! Even by our standards. I mean good sick, of course. I seem to suddenly find myself lacking in moral compunctions whenever we’re dealing with these people. Funny how that AL…WAYS…HAPPENS! WHOOOOO! GO TEAM!”

“MOUSE!” I shout into my com to get her attention. Mouse has a tendency to get a little….overexcited. Of course, having read the file on what was done to her is Stein’s program, it’s amazing that she only came out…..altered, instead of some sort of vegetable or dead. She might want payback more than any of us. “You good, Mouse? You take all your meds this morning? We need you focused, remember?”

“I’m here. I’m good. Sparkling, in fact. I just need to DJ this into something with more BPM.”

“No…Mouse….mission first. We need to know what you see. Where are..” I’m cut off by the sound of a new song starting up in our earpieces. I have no idea what it is. I just know it’s electronic and it’s horrible. I also know I’m in danger of losing Mouse. “Mouse…listen to me. We need your eyes. We need to know how many more security forces we have to deal with.”

“None.” Mouse says and I feel relief. “No…wait…not none. There’s actually some more.” My relief fades.

“How many more, Mouse? We need to know this.” I speak to her in a combination of calm and authoritative because once she starts losing her focus, freaking out only makes it deteriorate quicker.

“Um…like…a lot…like, a LOT! Did I say none, earlier? That was WAY off. Oh…DUDE! I know what music we need.” and before I can interject again, she’s changed the song once more and The Stooge’s Search & Destroy is blaring into our coms.

“Mouse! You need to stop worrying about the music and guide us through this.” I say a little less calmly than before.

“I’m not worrying about the music, babe. I’m worried about THIS ASSHOLE WITH THE 40mm CANNON!” Mouse blurts, now fully agitated and we are left in a near panic because being left in a confined space against a man with a  semi-automatic explosive round launcher is not a favorable, or winnable, match up.

“MOUSE!” I’m now yelling and not calmly at all. “YOU NEED TO LET US KNOW WHERE OUR ENEMIES ARE AND WHAT OUR ROUTE IS. WE CAN’T RUN HEAD ON INTO A FUCKING 40MM!”

“You? There’s no one with an explosives launcher there? Why would a lab security force shoot something like that off in a hallway. That’s silly. They weren’t even expecting us. They’re like glorified mall cops. Chill.”

“YOU JUST SAID SOMEONE HAD A 40MM!” Domino yells into her com.

“Oh. That. I’m playing Titanfall. I’m not talking about you.”

“Maldita puta loca.” Cesar mutter while slowly shaking his head. 

“I’m going to fucking kill you.” Domino hisses at Mouse and rips her com from her ear, throwing it to the ground.

“Mouse….please tell me you aren’t really playing video games. You have to be joking.” I plead with her.

“Of course not. I never joke about that. I’ve got mad skillz and you guys are done fighting, so I need my own combat to keep me preoccupied.”

“Mouse. We aren’t done fighting. You said there were a lot of guards left.”

“Oh. There are.”

“We need you to concentrate on that, please.”

“I can multi-task. You know this. I’ve been locking doors and sealing off hallways so that I herd them right to you.”

“HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE?”

“Ohhhhhh, I’d say….none. They’re there now.”

We look up to see eight, maybe ten armed guards round the corner to fill the hallway in front of us. All of them are armed with automatic rifles. All looking like they aren’t ready to take prisoners. I raise my arms in the air and drop my weapons, hoping it will buy us some time. Domino pulls her blades back out and starts to advance slowly, ruining that option.

“You said we were done fighting, Mouse.” I say to her with great disappointment, knowing these might possibly be my last words.

“I did say that……and you are done fighting.”

The guards raise their weapons. I reach for my guns as Cesar pumps his shotgun and Domino tenses her leg muscles, preparing to spring into whirling dervish mode….

.

.

…and all of us stop in our tracks as the loud noise of mechanical grinding fills the corridor. Loud whirring…sounds of chains rattling..gears rattling…even the guards seem taken aback and nervous. As the wall panels in between us and them retract into the walls and slide down, I realize why. On either side of the hallway, two large gatling guns on turrets emerge from the walls and immediately begin to whir to life. There is no time to move or react that will get us out of their line of fire.

The turrets begin to swivel wildly, seemingly searching the room for their targets.

The multiple barrels begin to spin loudly in a high pitched noise as the turrets aim at us.

Then they quickly flip their positions to aim at the crowd of security guards and open fire.

You cannot truly imagine what gatling guns are like until you witness their sheer destructive power. No movie make believe can prepare you. The noise is deafening. It’s like mechanical demon boring into your brain with it’s roaring. I watch as it tears into and through our enemies and I’m watching human beings being reduced to nothing but unidentifiable meat. I almost feel bad, wondering if maybe there’s just some dumb schmuck in the mix who only took the job because it offered a good dental plan and his kid needed braces. Then I remember how many children this organization has left orphaned or dead and all feelings of remorse or sympathy or hesitation towards killing a thousand more of these men easily dissipates.

The roaring of ammo being expended suddenly fades to only the high pitched whining of rapidly spinning gun barrels and the empty clicking of emptied clips. Those sounds fade to an eerie, echoing silence in a smoke filled hallway and a scene before us that reminds me of the blood filled elevators from The Shining. The three of us stand silent and still, a tad bit shell shocked to be the only ones left standing. Domino gingerly bends down and retrieves her discarded earpiece just as our coms crackle with static and the cheery voice of Mouse.

“Sooo….I found these automated defenses buried in the system and  I routed both you and the evil time clock punchers into the middle of them.As I said, you’re done fighting. You’re welcome.”

It takes me a few seconds to find the wherewithal to answer her. “You could have given us a heads up, Mouse.”

“Where’s the fun in that? Life is an adventure. Live that shit.”

“You could’ve gotten us killed.” Domino hisses at her, yet with far less conviction and venom that usual.

“Yeeeaaah, No. I’m well in control of their systems and the situation. No one’s getting hurt on my watch. I’ve proven that by now. Start trusting me more, please. It makes me want to fuck with you guys less. Just a smidge.”

Domino’s face contorts and it’s obvious she’s about to unload on Mouse. Cesar puts his  hand on her shoulder, stopping her in the process. He winks and shakes his head, a big smirk crossing his face. Domino scrunches up her face, furious but silent.

“We trust you, Mouse. Where do we go next?”

“Well, judging the schematics and the security cam feeds, you need to hit the end of the hall, take the right, one hundred feet you take the left, two hundred feet a right, then the end of that hall is the goal line. That’s Lab 12. That’s our information hub. You’ll want to be fast. With no guards left the rats are fleeing the building. I have their communications shut down, but I can’t stop everything. They’re working against me now. The important, upper echelon tech personnel are trying to fight me off and I have to use most of my resources to stop the fuckwit in lab 12 from corrupting and encrypting files. Please move your collective asses. Pretty please.”

“We’re on it.” Domino answers first, stalking off down the hall, which is Domino’s version of affection. It makes me smile as if I were somewhere nicer doing something more enjoyable.

“Hey, guera.” Cesar pipes in.

Yes, my mochaccino dream boat?”

“You know the drill. Play us out, girl.”

I hear Mouse giggle like a little kid and then the music fills my earpiece once more.

This isn’t exactly the professionalism I had in mind when I envisioned this squad, but when you collect a bunch of failed science experiments with damaged psyches, fragile minds and unwanted powers, unprofessional behavior is pretty much par for the fucking coarse.

We pick up the pace sprinting down the maze like corridors in the directions that Mouse has given us. I only hope she’s able to do her next, even more important part of her job and keep our enemies from destroying and hiding the information we’re here for. This may be a war of attrition, and I’m happy to slaughter all of these monsters, but it’s even more of a war for information. Without it, we can’t stop them. We can’t keep this from happening again. We can’t even find out what happened to us and why. We can’t find out who any of us used to be.

This battle in being fought in inches, but every victory moves us miles ahead. We need a victory today.

We reach the end of the hall in a sprint and Mouse is in our ears again.

“I’m blowing the lock on the doors. Hit him fast and hard. He’s about to break my defenses.”

I see a security scanner next to the doorway we are closing in on. Looks like a retinal/palm print scanner combo. Very secure normally. Not Mouse-proof. I watch the control panels spark and then smoke and then explode. The door begins to swing open just as we reach the end of the hallway. Cesar finishes off it’s slow inward swing by throwing his broad shoulder into the door and nearly ripping it off the wall as he plays human battering ram.

“GUN!” Mouse yells into our coms, but Cesar is smart and way ahead of her. I see his skin take on a much darker tone of brown as it crackles and hardens, looking very stone-like. That’s because it now is, for all measurable purposes, the same as stone. I hear gunshots and then screaming and then a sickening wet snapping sound. As Domino and I hit the doorway and enter lab 12, we see that Cesar has a man’s arm in his hand and that arm is bent at a grossly unnatural angle that looks very painful. Cesar’s powers have just stopped the bullets that should have ended his life as well as making sure that the man who fired them will have no choice but to be a lefty in his future. Yeah, I never said that our powers weren’t extremely useful. I just said they were unwanted. Big difference.

Domino moves into the room and crisscrosses her blades against the man’s throat like scissor blades, instantly gaining his attention away from his shattered arm. I’m moving past both of them, .45 in each hand and a snarl etched across my lips as on the other man in the room who is panicked but still furiously clacking away on a keyboard. He’s trying to finish his job. That can’t happen.

“GET AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD! NOW!” I yell at him. He ignores me, typing even more furiously. “I SAID NOW! I WILL SHOOT YOU!”

“FUCK YOU!” He yells, his voice sounds terrified but he’s undeterred from his task.”YOU CAN’T STOP US!”

“THIS IS THE LAST FUCKING TIME I’M GOING TO TELL YOU! MOVE AWAY!”

“He doesn’t move away. He doesn’t stop typing. He just yells. “YOU CAN’T STOP US! YOU’RE GOING TO DIE! YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!”

gunshots

He left me know other choice than to turn him into a colander. I don’t feel bad, but I do feel uneasy. We’ve been raiding then labs and research hives as we find them for the past two months. We expect them to get harder as they begin to expect us coming and know what we can do. What we didn’t expect is that their resolve and willingness to die for their cause would also grow more intense. These tech types and lab assistants used to crumble and cry like scared children when we first started hitting our enemies. This son of a bitch just stopped short of yelling Hail Hydra and chomping on a cyanide capsule hid in hollowed out molar. We’re going to have to step up our game.

“Please..PLEASE tell me you didn’t shoot anything vital.” Mouse moans into our earpieces.

“Looks like he shot dude in the head. Do you consider the brain vital?” Cesar says back to her, trying not to laugh.

“You know what I mean, funny guy. I don’t care about those assholes. I just care about the data.”

“Gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t she?” Domino says and smiles, which is an amazing amount of warmth for her.

“Can we pull the plug on open mic night, please. I need the information in those hard drives and you need to get out of there. There’s chatter getting out on an analog frequency that I can’t lock down before it gets out. You’re going to have company in fifteen to twenty. Focus, children. I shouldn’t have to always be the one in charge.”

We all roll our eyes, but Mouse’s point is taken. Our enemy is down at the moment, but our enemy is never out. Our enemy is relentless and strong. We must be as well, but we must also be fast. Always keep moving. Always keep one step ahead.

Domino and I pull an arsenal of flash drives from our pockets and pouches and begin running around the lab, jamming them usb ports as Cesar keeps watch. Eventually we will get deep enough into their organization that they won’t be hiding behind the facade of normal laboratories and computer systems and these will no longer work. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For today, they have their asses in the air like cats in heat and they’re going to give up the secrets contained here without any fight.

Not by anything we can do, thank God. Domino has some ability, but not enough for this. I couldn’t hack their system with the passwords in my possession and Cesar can barely manage his Facebook account. This is all Mouse. Mouse is the best. Her skills far outweigh her eccentricities.  We step back and watch as Mouse begins her magic.

We watch as data flashes across screens with blinding speed, too quickly to focus in on anything we’re seeing. We here Mouse in our ears, her voice almost as incomprehensible. She’s reduced to giggles and ticks and muttering to herself in a voice that’s something akin to speaking in tongues. She’s tapped in. This is HER power. She’s one with the machine and outside of the occasional recognizable cuss word or boast, she’s no longer speaking a language that is human. It only last two minutes. That’s a minute longer that our last hit. They’re indeed starting to prepare for us. The loud gasp of Mouse sucking in air lets us know that she’s done and detached.

“I’ve got it. I’ve got it all. There’s some meat here. This is what we’ve been looking for. Welcome to the next level. “

“Talk to me Mouse. What did we get?” I ask. My excitement is as palpable as a kid on Christmas

“Oh, we’re on the VIP list. I couldn’t absorb everything that I just downloaded, but let me just say this. Curiouser and curiouser, my blue eyed devil. We’re fucking straight up Tron 2.”

“I have no idea what that means.” I assure her

“You will. Now run. Flee! Go in peace my children, so that you don’t leave in pieces. Alarms are disengaged. I will lock every door and turn off every light that doesn’t lead to your exit. Dropping viruses now. Erasing data and burning links so they can’t back trace. Radio silence imminent. You’re about to be Mouseless, which makes you and I both sad. See you soon.”

And with that, the coms go dead. Domino and I race around the room, retrieving flash drives and tucking them back into the safety of pouches and pockets. They knew we were coming. At the very least, they knew it was a possibility. Security was tighter. Opposition was tougher. I know that the possibility that some of the data we found is bullshit. Some…but definitely not all. That’s because I know that they didn’t yet know just who they were dealing with. If they did, things would’ve been even worse. They’ll know next time. I had been blocking transmissions. Not anymore. I want them to know we’re coming. I want them to know who it is. I want them to know that the world sees them and that they’re being taken down by the freaks that they created. No more mystery assailants for them. No more easy raids for us. I’m fine with that pay off.

As we leave, I drop one of our business card on top of one of the keyboards in the lab. It Reads -

YOU’VE JUST BEEN FUCKED

COURTESY OF

THE LOSERS

That’s what  they think we are. That’s what most of us that they’ve touched have allowed ourselves to be. That’s how we’ve viewed ourselves. They’ll find that’s no longer who we are. That’s no longer who we believe ourselves to be. Still……catchy name.

losers1

Hello world!

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

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