Howdy Characters, welcome to the sixtieth subgenre of HACK. If you’ve made it this far, you’ll remember that last week I introduced a work in progress, Time Warriors – Volume 1: The Quandary of the Quadrants. At least, that’s the working title. If you don’t know what I’m talking about just mosey on over to this link to get the backstory behind this unpublished (but copyrighted!) story I’m writing.. Actually, the chapter below IS copyrighted. When it was my first turn to come up with a topic for Heroes and Heirophants, I chose “Write a children’s story.” as the task for me and my co-authors. Doug phoned it in with a See-Spot-Run parody and Noel wrote something brilliant as usual. I actually came up with the topic as an excuse to write about a childhood fantasy, one that I imagined every night in bed or while daydreaming in class.
It basically involved a portal to another world. Something attacks my school and I am some space/time-traveling hero who saves the day. Of course I not only save the day, I save the girl and we go through the portal to spend some “alone time” in some other crazy reality. Nah’mean?
So that was the genesis of this Chapter. Remember, Chapter 1 won’t be written until I’m done with the rest of the story, so technically, this is the first official Time Warriors piece. Once I finished it I really like it and and potential possibilities convinced me to make it a novel.
But I’m afraid of that sort of thing which is why, despite having been a self-proclaimed writer since 1993, I’ve never actually written or published a legitimate novel. But this chapter is published, and therefore copyrighted, and therefore all ideas, concepts, characters, etc. relating to Time Warriors is copyrighted. Which means if I someday see you release or make money off of something uncannily similar to this story, prepare to hear from my lawyer. Not that I believe in suing people, or money, or copyright, or that anybody is reading this, or that anybody who is reading this actually believes as much as I do in Time Warriors.
A quick note to the haters: This is a young-adult novel. I’ve test read-it to one of my classes. The other day I projected it on the whiteboard and just let my new class read it themselves without telling them what it is or who wrote it. They laughed, they repeated their favorite lines out loud. So, since kids and young adults are the target audience and not you jaded assholes, I’d say I’m on the right track.
OK, I’m done. Now you can sit back, relax and slip through my portal into the uncharted universe of Time Warriors – Volume 1: The Quandary of the Quadrants…
Chapter 2: The Gym Class Disaster
[Formerly ‘Gym Class Heroes,’ a much better title but too close to plagiarizing the title of a Weekly Whack.]
Gym class was the worst part of the day. Christian felt like his flesh was slipping off his skin as he stood on the vast expanse of black tar that was the Sacred Heart School “playground.” His view of the soccer game was distorted not only by the blinding sun overhead but by ripples of heat radiating from the ground. He tried to pick a wedgie without anyone looking, but as soon as his hand touched the back of his sweaty shorts two things happened. He heard girlish giggling, looked over and saw Michelle and her friends laughing at him, and then something smacked him hard in the face. He saw a bright flash followed by blackness as his skin slammed onto the burning ground.
The soccer ball rolled across the concrete and was picked up my Mr. Schneweiss, the gym coach, whose fat sweaty body struggled to lift it off the ground. At the same time Phil ran over and helped Christian up.
“Stay in the game, man, we have work to do.”
Christian replied breathlessly, “Did you see the latest readings?”
“Yeah I saw them,” said Phil, “but I highly doubt that a dimensional rift could just open–”
“WHAT IS THIS, TEA TIME YOU TAR LICKS?” Mr. Schneweiss shouted, “Get your sorry butts back in the game, and…” he looked angrily at Christian, “KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL!”
Instinctively, Christian and Phil looked upward as a giant sphere of light hurtled from the sky. They jumped backwards as Mr. Schneweiss also looked up, just as the sphere slammed into him and exploded.
Before anyone could scream, more balls of light dropped from the sky in rapid succession. Then the screaming began, though it was mostly drowned out by giant explosions. In their blue uniform gym clothes, the students looked like terrified cartoon Smurfs as they scrambled around, frantically trying to avoid slabs of concrete that ripped upwards all around them. A few of the falling spheres had already hit the school. Chunks of brick and shattered glass rained on the helpless children.
Phil was laughing. “You know I’ve always secretly hoped I’d get to see this.”
He pointed in the direction of the cafeteria. Joe Bullock, the jerk who had been torturing him since second grade, was huddled in a ball and crying.
“You’re incorrigible,” said Christian, “Just help me get them to safety before–”
Another explosion shot intoSacredHeartChurch. The steeple and bell tower seemed to collapse in slow motion. The giant bell slammed on the ground and reverberated across the landscape.
“Where is Sebi? We need to get out of here, NOW!”
“He was in Sister Bernadette’s closet,” replied Christian, “But it looks like the front of the school has been hit!”
At that moment, through the burning rubble and thick smoke, a 2-dimensional disc about the size of a football field opened up in the sky above. It shed ever-changing colors and a roar of rushing air drowned out all other sounds. The last thing that Phil heard was Christian screaming and pointing, “See! Portal! You never listen to me!”
They tried to herd the class toward the only structure still standing, the cafeteria, but it was too late. Classmates were being sucked upward, screaming and helplessly grabbing at pieces of rubble. Phil reached into his belt and produced a full sized grappling hook, seemingly out of mid air. He threw it into the nearest solid piece of ground and grabbed onto Christian as they were both pulled up. The force was immense and Phil felt his arms burning from the strain.
“I don’t know how much longer I can–”
He slipped and the two went hurtling toward the portal. Suddenly the sound of engines and a metallic silver ship emerged from the smoke. Sebastian could be seen through the window, working the controls steadily as he moved upward to meet the two boys in mid-air. A green beam emerged from the ship. It enveloped them and pulled the pair through an opening on the ship’s underside.
“I’m taking her in!” Sebi yelled from the controls.
“Too dangerous!” Christian replied, “We don’t know where it’s coming from, or what’s causing it, or–”
“If we don’t go now we may lose it. Oh…NO!”
Sebi suddenly jammed the controls and sent the ship into a dive back toward the surface.
“What are you doing?” yelled Phil, “You just said we have to get out of here!”
“It’s Michelle, she’s hurt!” said Sebi as he put the controls on autopilot and ran to the door.
“Are you crazy? You don’t have to save her!” Christian yelled.
“Yes, I do,” said Sebi as he jumped from the open door to the ground. He ran over to the unconscious blonde, picked her up in his arms and jumped back inside as another explosion hit the ground where he had just stood. Phil was already at the controls when Sebi yelled, “Now take us straight into that thing or I’ll do it myself!”
Phil reluctantly complied. He turned the ship upward and accelerated straight into the glowing disc. There was a sudden sickly sensation, then blackness.
They returned to consciousness a few seconds later, and started arguing a few seconds after that.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, bringing her here?”
“She would’ve been killed!”
“No, she wouldn’t. Well, yes she would, but when we figure out how to fix the rift then we’ll go back and repair the space-time continuum—LIKE WE ALWAYS DO! Why do you pretend like you don’t know this simple fact?”
“I couldn’t leave her.”
“You’re a fool. You think with your hormones.”
“Look I don’t see what the big deal is. We can just reboot her memory like we do with anyone else.”
“No you idiot! She’s gone through the portal, which means her quantum state is now in flux just like the rest of us. The only way for her to return to a stable existence is by consciously attenuating her subatomic matrix. Jeez, are you in elementary school?”
“So, so, so fine!” Sebi stammered, “So she knows! I’m tired of being all secretive about it anyway. What good is saving the Universe if no one knows you’re doing it!”
“We’ve been over this Sebi.”
“What say we go over it again?”
Phil interrupted, “I’d say the more pressing matter is that we are hurtling through n-dimensional space straight to the source of this rift. We have no idea if we’re even going to emerge in our own reality-tunnel. So stop arguing already and HELP ME!”
Christian stabbed a look at Sebi and then turned to Phil. “Well, if you two had bothered to analyze my readings correctly, then you would know that the portal was directed at our specific location. That can’t be coincidence and it’s certainly not synchronicity. Whatever sent that signal is trying to get our attention.”
“They got it,” Phil sighed, “Guess we won’t be back in time to watch LOST tonight.”
“What about the kids who got sucked in?” asked Phil.
Christian replied, “Hmmm. Well, without any kind of shielding my guess is they were instantly atomized. By now they would be just formless ego-entities until they maybe re-emerge as any possible life form on any possible planet.”
“Oh well,” said Sebi, “No great loss. I’m sure they’ll learn to lead productive existences.”
“Or,” Christian continued, “They could re-emerge as their old selves, at the source of that signal.”
“In which case we’d have to find them, and rescue them,” said Phil, “Not that they deserve it.”
“She’s coming around,” Sebi said excitedly.
Michelle opened her eyes to a soft blur of blinking colors and moving trails of light. The blur coalesced into a face.
“Sebastian?” she moaned.
“You’re OK Michelle,” he said softly.
She shot straight up in horror and screamed.
Sebi tried to gently push her back down. “Just relax. You’re in shock. I can explain everything.”
“This I’d like to see,” Phil mumbled.
“Where am I?” Michelle demanded, her eyes darting at their faces and her strange surroundings, “What’s happening?”
“You’re aboard our ship, The Beacon. It seems there was a dimensional rift that–“
Without a word, Christian moved between Michelle and Sebi and stuck a thin metal tube against her arm. A soft hiss could be heard as her eyes rolled back and her head fell to the mat.
“What is WRONG with you?” Sebi shouted, “Are you some kind of masochist?”
Christian calmed his simmering anger and spoke, “She’s in shock, and you’re going to just casually let her in on our super secret agenda, you’re non-human origins, and a catastrophe that could call into question everything she believes in. No, we’re not doing that to her.”
Phil interjected, “I agree, man. Let’s at least figure out what’s going on before we bring her into the equation. Speaking of which, there’s data coming in from the sensors.”
Phil turned around to face the window, through which could be seen a rapid succession of fractal geometries that swirled rapidly in all directions. Below the window was the “dashboard,” a giant flat panel about the length of a surfboard displayed all of the ship’s data and instrument readings. Phil’s fingers moved across the smooth hypercubed surface. He arranged some graphs, diddled with diagrams, rerouted the hyper-links, and percolated the main processors.
“We’ll reach the other side in about five minutes. The aperture is only half the size of the one we just went through, but we can still fit…I think.” He turned back around to face his comrades and frowned, “I’m getting no readings on the physical laws of this dimension…in fact, it’s not on any of our ADDs.”
“Not possible,” Christian said, “We can’t travel to realities that don’t exist in our own imagination.”
Phil snorted, “Well then try to imagine us doing just that, because we are.”
Towel Boy has no ideas for taglines this week.