Friday, October 31, 2008

The Folly of Man 2.0

They will chant my name.

A throne of barbs and bones will await my coming.

Newborns will be named after me, as will streets and airports.

Turning to my left, I slid that most helpful, brand-new self-help book under the velvet armrest. Most hot-air balloons don’t even have seats, much less armrests and satellite television.

But Cory Doctorow is nothing if not 100% first class. The sealed walls of the passenger balloon were splattered with a smattering of aesthetic oddities: elegant caricatures of dashing, debonair dilettantes, hanging urns packed with ferns, empty suits of crystalline armor fresh off some extraterrestrial medieval battlefield. Behind it all, the wallpaper appeared to be tattooed on.

Four bodyguards stood silent at each porthole, spear-guns at the ready. “Captain” Cory always provided his guests with the best protection plundered Incan gold could buy; far from being a harmless balloon enthusiast, the blogger emeritus had recently turned to sky piracy, assembling a raucous gang of fearless daredevils and opportunists.

Many mountaintop towns hired mercenaries or trained their own citizens as archers, but the Doctorow Fleet’s nighttime raids and chainmailed balloon envelopes kept them the scourge of the Andes.

One of the guards caught me looking outside. “It belongs on a postcard, no?”

I nodded. “Where is the captain? We were supposed to discuss the small matter of payment…”

“We already reached an agreement,” my Canadian companion Puck said, lounging on a plush sofa to the far side of the cabin. Our spicy camerawoman Yvette Sumberland Jr. sat next to him, working on one of her Sudoku puzzle-books.

“I didn’t agree to anything. What did you pay them? Did you pay them in beads?! Oh God, my bead collection! Why?! Why?!”

“We agreed to help the High Evolutionary build the genome for Humanity 2.0,” Yvette plodded, plotting the spot of her next blot. “And put the DNA samples under a non-restrictive license, allowing redistribution and remixing.”

“Putting our genetic magic in the public domain?! Open-sorcery!”

Sighing, Puck handed me the map of the Antarctic region locals called “Savage Land.” Atlantea was highlighted in blue: the home of the High Evolutionary. Verily, Puck, Yvette and I would help the Evolutionary with his redesign of the human race. Having been present at the original design process untold thousands of years ago, I had some pretty keen insights into what needed improvement.

“Does the captain have any requests?” I asked the stationary strongman. Before he could answer, the phone by the heat nozzle rang. Central Nav must have found the red smoke plume that would lead us to the borders of Savage Land.

Laying back into the satin cushion they dared call a mere chair, I quickly dozed off to sleep.

To this day, I curse that decision.
***
When I woke up, I was chained to the ground with a sock in my mouth. There was a sweatband over my eyes, so I couldn’t see. It was hot and I was more thirsty than I can remember.

“Hello?”

“Puck?” I whispered, recognizing that obnoxiously odious overtone. “Can you move?” I gasped.

“Where are you?”

Something sharp dug into my side. Sweet Iguana of Tijuana! I was being carved up like a Christmas ham!

“Ow! Help, I’m being carved up like a Christmas goose. Or ham, either would work for this situation.”

Naturally, the sock in my mouth caused that entire sentence to sound like a protracted series of grunts and moans.

“Gee whiz, eh! I didn’t ask to hear your stump speech, I just wanted to know where you were!” Puck laughed, accompanied by a laughtrack. When did he get his own laughtrack?

A hand reached down and pulled my downtrodden face up to the light and lo! within seconds Puck snatched the sweatband from my eyes and popped the sock from my mandible.

“You stole my sock.”

I looked around, disoriented and frightened. We were in the cabin, but it didn’t feel like we were moving. “Have we crashed?”

“We just landed. The pirates are locking down the balloons so they can go hunt saber-toothed were-whales.”

“Were-whales?” I murmured. That sounded vaguely plausible. “Aren’t they those most excellent sea creatures that can swim at over 300 miles per hour, and jump over 400 feet in the air?”

“Aye, that they do. That they do. But they live on a steady diet of plankots and human blood, making them one of the rarest and most hunted, most persecuted were-mammals of Savage Land.”

Of all the things to blame on the plankot lobby, the decades-long decline of the were-whale is the most tragic.

“No use crying over spilled blood,” I sang sanguinely, slyly side-stepping the situation. Opening the now-unbolted exit panel, I set footcup down on the fertile, seasoned ground of Atlantea.

Behind us sat a grounded fleet of fortified hot-air balloons, waiting to take us back east. Ahead lay the Citadel of Science that haunted my dreams since the last time I was here — over 40 years in the future.

High up in the citadel’s highest tower, I spied a moving shadow. Could that silhouette be the Evolutionary, perchance? Mayhap, I should resolve this with but a question:

“You must be the High Evolutionary,” I blasted through my bullhorn at a man in a red metallic mask walking past a window in a bathrobe holding a cup of some hot liquid. I know it was hot because when I blasted my bullhorn at him, he dropped it on his feet and started screaming.

It’s too bad you can only make a first impression once. I’d have loved to do that a few more times.
***
“People, bring me solutions, not answers!” I threw another spate of design templates in the “later” pile.

Unlike all other rooms in the citadel, the planning room didn’t smell of overripe fruit and moldy flowers. The High Evolutionary was a peculiar man who seemed to lack any sense of taste or smell, decking his halls with boughs of… whatever they were, they had long since rotted away and never been cleaned up.

Herb had been an otherwise gracious host, offering us room, board and back massages. I declined all three and questioned his patriotism.

Could I be blamed? The designs he kept asking for were idiotic. Dog-people? Giraffe-people? Cyclopses and triclopses? It was all the same thing — just a slight modification to the human genome with features and doodads that already existed in some other species. There was nothing groundbreaking or controversial here. I’ve never been so disillusioned.

“Stop. We’re going in circles,” I said to the roomful of chromosome chroniclers, “what we need to do is follow Google’s Chrome team’s example. What did Google do when they designed Chrome? They took the needs of today’s modern web browser and modeled the structure of Chrome around that.”

“People aren’t web browsers,” Yvette bleated sheepishly.

“Typical Apple fangirl mumbo-jumbo! The principles are sound,” I tapped the chalkboard. “Find what the demands of modern society are on people and redesign based on that.”

“People have sedentary lifestyles nowadays,” Puck chuck-a-lucked. “They don’t need so much muscle mass.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere.”

“They wouldn’t need perfect eyesight, either. Nobody needs to hunt for their food in a society of preprocessed cheese and spam.”

“They’d also need a pouch to carry around tools…”

“And a third arm-like appendage to improve productivity! Like… a prehensile tail of the chest,” the High Evolutionary thundered, getting into the spirit of the season.

“And a box-shaped head so as to fit into any container,” I added. We quickly had a working proposal.
Dilbert.
“I had a great time,” I told High Evolutionary Herb as I put on my green Lands’ End jacket. Pigs in a blanket, I looked stunning.

“We had a really fun time,” Yvette agreed, shaking Herb’s hand with the camera strapped to her head. Puck grabbed his hat and poncho off the coat rack.

The door closed behind us. We sat on the porch for a few minutes, discussing various matters, such as good and bad restaurants and our families. Puck, it turned out, has five children. I didn’t know that about him. And Yvette was one of the recipients of the Pierre LePike Remedial Spike award in 2004 for her part in the massive, government-funded effort to photograph Santa Claus.

Well, that’s all well and good, but there was something that still stuck in my giggling craw.

“Puck, you can break steel with your superpowers, non?”

“No…” he trailed off, somehow not liking where I was certainly going with this line of questioning.

“We’re going to steal one of the balloons before Cory Doctorow and the sky pirates get back.”

They both stared at me like I’d grown a prehensile chest-arm. “What?” They asked simultaneously.

“Sadness! Sadness within my heart. My friends, my friends, we cannot allow this genetic code to fall into the hands of those were-whalers.”

My fear was palpable. As a concerned environmentalist, I simply could not allow these blogger barons, these blustery blagards, from blindly beaching those benevolent behemoths. It all came down to the wire. Did we have what it took to save Savage Land from the wrath of the sky pirates?

Smashing one of the balloons’ fuel tanks, I ran up to another. “Puck, roundhouse kick that widget! Yea o man of Canada!”

Cheering, we destroyed all but one of the hot-air balloons, which we seized in due time, after our victory dance o’er the frigid ice. On our flight back east, the band of pirates (now returning with a fresh were-whale — oh, the horror!) started firing their pathetic spear-guns at us.

Little it would avail them! What folly, their own plating now serving against them! Verily, I did chortle lightly into my diet Pepsi, spraying the sofa with a considerable amount of droplets.

“Do you wonder,” Puck asked as I stared out the porthole, “if it was wrong to leave them to their own devices? I daresay, those devils will be quick to revenge themselves on you.”

I removed my glasses thoughtfully. “They will hate, as is their way. But in these lands, they will fend for themselves. They will learn morals from battling the giant lizards and man-squids. Slowly but surely, they will repent. They will learn to live alongside the were-whale, and take its song to heart.”

Puck smiled at my sagely advice. He was wise to do so; I’ve personally written 35% of all fortune cookies.

And yes, perhaps one day Cory Doctorow and his fellow balloonists would accept the folly of their ways. But, as the great Roman poet Icicles wrote, it is harder to change one’s outlook than it is to change the diaper of a gorilla.

A Day of slapping, eating, puking, and boob jiggling.

Yielded, I can’t say I’m surprised. I did yield Jan on my last win, and Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I should know; I’ve scorned quite a few in my time. However, this time it wasn’t my fault. Emma made me do it, and now were stuck waiting while everyone else rushed away to start the next task.

While waiting for our yield to expire, I sat lost in thought. Remembering the prior evening, a shiver ran down my spine. I had planned on making my way to the swanky hot tub the Marriot prides itself upon. I had visions of lovely ladies beckoning me to join them. Sadly, my dreams were ruined by the only other person in the hotel who felt like getting sexy in the hot, bubbling water. When I found him waiting for me, well…let’s just say I couldn’t have given the happy to anybody after that…I spent the rest of the evening waking from nightmares caused by the excessive hairy back of my hot tub friend.

After such a dismal night, I had hoped for a better morning; but it was no better. Having heard about the hot tub incident, the other contestants jeered and laughed at me, the B##$#ds. I continued to sulk about my misfortune until Emma showed up a half hour later and pulled me along to our waiting taxi. “Let’s move it Petrelli, and stop moping! It annoys me.” Ah, yes…that’s my Emma, ever the professional with her mind on business.

She quickly negotiated with the cabbie, and we arrived at the airport faster than I could have flown us there. Once there we, again, were able to quickly find passage on a commuter plane. The pilot was willing to forego a few government regulations to get us into the air quickly and perhaps help us regain some lost time. Emma was a little skeptical at first, because the plane had a few missing seats; but once in the air she seemed to relax. I was a little disappointed because we were the only people on the plane. It seemed my hopes of joining the Mile High Club were slipping away, yet again. Of course, there was always the possibility Emma might be willing…

“Aaahhhhh!!!! My Emma had grabbed and pulled my chest hair. “Why did you do that?!”

“I can read your simple mind. Now stop, before I make you slap yourself.” She stared at me for a second and then…


“Aaahhh!!! I wasn’t thinking anything!!!” I don’t know what hurts more, my face or the palm of my hand.

She giggled and said, “I know.”

After that, we didn’t talk for the rest of the plane ride. I’m not angry with her. I know how difficult it must be to deny her growing feelings of attraction. It’s almost predictable that she would lash out with some sort of violence.


Anyway, we landed with a few bumps and went straight for the hot air balloons. I was careful this time to keep my mind off the Mile High Club, just in case she decided to make me jump out of our floating transportation. By the time we made it to the ‘savage land’ and followed the trail to Zarhan, I was ready to give up on the contest for a nice soft bed and a warm body…or vice versa.

Emma took the map and reviewed it. “You’re going to make an idiot out of yourself to matter what we choose, so I’m letting you decide.”

It wasn’t the flattery I’m accustomed to, but I overlooked it. “I choose scene. I could use some Botor. Did you notice the gimp Jan confused with me? A Botor treatment is what the Doctor ordered.”

Emma looked at me with a raised brow. “Don’t you mean…Boto..nevermind, ... scene it is. Let’s go.”

Once we arrived, we wasted no time in trying to decide which games to play with the tree people. Instead we went with Hot Wheel’s suggestions. I agreed to start off by joining the guarnolope pie eating contest. I have no idea what a guarnolope might be, but the food was absolutely disgusting. Seeing that I was unlikely to make it through, Emma promised to give me the night of my life if I could win this contest. It’s almost needless to say, but I am now the guarnolope pie champion. The tree people were quite impressed and offered to let me rest before the next competition, but Emma insisted we hurry to make up time.

The next event was dinosaur-back racing. I was so sick to my stomach; I didn’t have time to feel afraid. I climbed onto the closest T-Rex. However, I kept doubling over with stomach pain. Finally, Emma jumped onto the T-Rex with me to keep me from falling off. It’s a good thing she did because his muzzle broke half way through the race and if it weren’t for her telepathic abilities controlling the beast, it would have killed me. As it were, she kept the T-Rex from eating me, kept me from falling off, and somehow scared the beast into running fast enough to win the race.

With two tasks down, I should have been feeling lucky but the guarnolope pie caught up with me so Emma had to handle the last task on her own. Giant Mosquito Catching, it didn’t sound like fun to me. However, as soon as Emma spotted one she began to run toward it. In that moment, all my suffering was rewarded. I would describe to you the sight of Emma running, but…well…she would hurt me. I know that you guys can imagine it though. It was sweet…very sweet. In the span of a few moments she crossed the field and grabbed onto one incredibly large mosquito. It struggled for a few seconds before lying peacefully at her feet… It was sort of anti-climatic; after the running and boob jiggling, winning was sort of *meh*…

Given everything I had been through, it wasn’t too surprising that I slept all the way back to the pitstop. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to lie down. My stomach is still arguing with me. Guarnolope in the opposite direction…isn’t a good thing, and I have to get my rest so I can collect my reward from Emma. Yowza!

Mission Seven: A Family Tale

"Greetings, Mr. Bennet and Mr. Summers," one of the so-called Tree People greeted us.

"Please," I responded humbly, "Call him Scott."

"I am Palín, no relation," he said, "of the Tree People."

I sensed a trap. "Funny," I said coolly. "You don't look like a tree."

"Well, we're not trees," Palín explained, "we're people of the trees."

"So, why don't you just go with that?"

"Tree People is more marketable," he replied. "So, ready for the games?" he asked putting an arm around Scott and leading us up the treetop pathway.

Scott sighed unenthusiastically.

"Aw, what's the matter there, tiger?" Palín said stopping. He grabbed Scott hard around his bicep and said, "Cheer up. You were made for these games."

I explained how Scott had been upset because he was looking forward to the other detour challenge. "I want to be mutated into looking good in sweaters," he had whined. "Winter's approaching."

Fortunately, I'm the brains of this team, so when it comes down to the decision making, I get final say. The other option was a joke. Evolution? My home school biology book says no. And besides, where would I come up with ideas for evolutionary advantages that would be original? I don't want people to think I'm just ripping off some silly comic book.

So, that's how I ended up locked in a kitchen ducking behind the counter with a pen and shield in hand as two velociraptors chugged some lager.


"I don't get the point of this game," I whispered to myself.

"You just have to stop them from drinking," a voice said, "and don't die."

"Wh-where are you? Who are you?"

"It's me, Palín," he answered. "We wired you with an audio transmitter. It makes it more entertaining for the audience if we can hear your screams." In the background I heard cheering.

I peeked back around at the velociraptors. They were still lapping up the lager. I stood up and said, "I'm going to need to see some ID." Then approached the beasts.

They watched as I walked toward them. I had my shield raised, ready to push off an attack. Once in range, I kicked the glass of lager across the kitchen.

"Did I win?" I asked as one of the raptors jumped on me, knocking me to the ground. His enormous weight held me down. I lifted the pen up as high as I could and poked at its ankle.

The other raptor seemed to watch gleefully, until it was suddenly struck by a tranquilizer dart and fell to the ground unconscious.

The raptor standing on me soon followed.

I rose to my feet and saw Palín with two bamboo-wielding Tree People. "Yeah, you won," he said. "Nice job."

Palín took me back to where Scott was waiting.

"The next game requires you to swing across to that tree over there," he pointed, "using only your tail. No hands. First one there wins."

"Okay," Scott said approaching the starting line.

"Wait," I stopped him. "He said using only your tail."

"I know," Scott replied. "I'm not deaf."

"But...you don't have a tail."

"What?" he asked shocked. "Of course I do!"

I was quite confused. "Why do you have a tail?" I asked.

"Why wouldn't I?" he shot back.

"Um, well, humans don't have tails," I explained confoundedly.

"They don't?" he asked, then proceeded to pat me on the behind. "You mean...you don't have one?"

"No," I answered, "I don't."

Scott pulled a tail from out of his pants and asked, "So why do I have one?"

"How should I know? Just swing to that tree over there and be quick about it!"

"Fine."


But quick he wasn't. "Nice job, sport," Palín said as Scott returned. "I think you may have set a record. A record for optic blasting the competition, that is. You took a long time, but you're the only one that finished the race. You win. One more game to go...."

"Wait," Scott said. "I need to call my father."

"Hello?" I heard his father answer over the speaker phone.

"Hey, Daddy. It's me, Scott."

"That's Major Daddy, boy."

"Sorry, Major Daddy...I was wondering, um...did you know I had a tail?"

"Of course," Major Summers replied, "Why do you think I threw you out of an airplane as a boy?"

"Because we were attacked," Scott said.

His father corrected him. "No, boy. I found out that your mother was having an affair with a Tree Person, Pal-something or other. Hence your tail. I'm a good guy, a strong man, but I mean, come on...you had a tail. And you weren't even mine. Anyone would have done the same in my position."

"But what about Alex? You threw him out too."

"Yeah," Scott's father explained, "he was just ugly."

Scott was speechless. He stood there not saying a word.

So, his father hung up.

"Nice job!" Palín said coming closer. "I just overheard your conversation, and you just won the third game: Discover a family secret."

As we headed back, I thought it seemed suspicious how we managed to win all our games. I was rescued from the raptors just in time. Scott somehow wasn't disqualified for optic blasting away the competition. And that last game...well, I don't even know if that was a real game.

But the important thing is, we won. And a suspicious win is still a win.

Jan the Intergalactic Aviator: You say you want an evolution?

“Welcome to my citadel,” the High Evolutionary gestured from his position at the door towards the inside of his fortress. “Here is where the magic happens. Well not magic, of course. It’s science -- super science.”

I stepped in and was immediately awed by the sight before me. Giant computers, tanks full of bubbling liquid, and all kinds of laboratory equipment filled the place. He even had one of those two antenna things with the electrodes where the zap of electricity would work its way up just like in the old movies.

“Wow,” I whistled. “Unbelievable.”

“And you are Jan O’Mega, also known as Jan the Intergalactic Aviator.” He placed a comforting, almost paternal, hand on my shoulder. “In you I can see so much potential. You may not be the pinnacle of human evolution but you are certainly on your way there.”

“Aw, I bet you say that to all the ladies,” I replied a little sheepishly.

“Question: do you not have a partner?” I was expecting a duo this evening.”

“Do not get me started on that guy,” I replied back in a huff. “Unus the Untouchable? Untouchable is right. Oh he was disgusting, he smelled like he hadn’t showered in weeks and those red long johns that he wears are all grimy and filthy. I tell you, it wasn’t that personal force field of his that kept me repulsed.”

“So where is he?” the High Evolutionary asked.

“Weirdest thing,” I said. “We were riding in the balloon together and he fell out.”

“Fell out?” the scientist repeated with a surprised gasp.

“Yeah, fell out,” I confirmed. “Right over an active volcano, too. I guess he’ll be OK because of his force field and all, but I don’t know how far underground he went. Who knows if we’ll ever see him again.”

“Well no matter,” the mad geneticist smiled. I think he smiled. He’s got that armored face plate thing you know. “You are the one I am interested in. Very interested.”

“Uh yeah,” I said kind of wary. “So, what’s the plan here Doc? I’m not much of a scientist, but I’ll assist you however I can.” I guess.

“Let me show you my latest invention,” he ushered me into another, giant sprawling laboratory. “Here is my new Genetic Improvement and Mutation Personal Simulator.”

“You know that spells out GIMPS, right?”

“What?”

“The name of your machine. As an acronym, it makes GIMPS,” I said.

“No it doesn’t.”

“Yeah,” I insisted. “G-I-M-P-S, GIMPS.”

“But there is an A in there,” he replied. “GIAMPS.”

“GIAMPS?” I repeated. “You don’t count the A and even if you did, what the heck is a GIAMPS?”

“Well no matter,” he replied gruffly. “I can rename the device later. Perhaps something more cool to your liking.”

“I’m just saying,” I shrugged.

“Anyhow,” he growled, and then composed himself. “This machine is designed to simulate the genetic improvements that I can make on a volunteer before the actual modifications are implemented permanently. If you would please step into the chamber, we can begin our work.”

“This won’t hurt will it?” I asked.

“Of course not,” he answered. “I am a scientist, a highly evolved scientist.”

I stepped in and felt the energies surround me. They bathed me and penetrated my body; I could feel my body changing, like on a genetic level. I suddenly felt unable to stand on my feet, I swayed back and forth until a flopped to the ground like a fish – or a mermaid.


“Fact: over Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water,” the High Evolutionary lectured. “And that is not counting the ice at the poles. With the ozone layer depleting, the water levels will rise so high that the perfectly evolved human will need to exist in the water.”

“I don’t think this will work so well,” I replied. “People will still need to stand, whether it’s on land or inside high rises above the seas or inside mighty zeppelins, floating above the Earth like giant, bloated kings.”

“Perhaps you are correct, Jan O’Mega. Perhaps you are right.”

“Although I would have loved to have this thing a couple of challenges ago,” I swished my tail back and forth. I felt the energies flow into me again. My mermaidish tail sloughed its scales and split into two, then split again and again forming long, sinewy tentacles.


“Tentacles,” the geneticist stated.

“Ew, no.”

“Very well.” I felt the almost pseudopod-like tentacles reform and solidified into legs again. I then felt something sprout from my back. I looked and giant, feathery wings stretched out from my shoulder blades.

“Wings?”

“Perhaps winged flight would be better,” the High Evolutionary surmised. “With urban overcrowding and the ever increasing need to burn fossil fuels, soaring high with one’s own wings would be for a true, highly evolved human.”

“This might work,” I said as I looked at my right wing furling and unfurling. “I do like them, but they do feel a little cumbersome. I assume you can genetically get rid of acrophobia as well, right?”

“Perhaps, Jan O’Mega, perhaps. Perhaps, however, the key to reaching the fullest of human potential lies gaining the abilities of another animal.”

The wings shriveled up and were reabsorbed by my body as I felt a certain warmth tingle over my skin. Warmth, like a layer of fur.

“I’m a werecat?” I looked at my claws. They made one of those metallic glistening sounds like in the movies. “Cool.”

“Ah yes, much like the hero Tigra,” the High Evolutionary sighed wistfully . “I could have created her instead of some odd Cat People magic. Too bad.”

He flipped the switches again and I felt my body change once more. The fur quickly disappeared


“In the movie the Fifth Element. Leeloo represents the genetic perfection,” the High Evolutionary stated. “Perhaps that is the direction that we shall go.”

“You saw the Fifth Element?” I asked.

“Of course, I have Netflix,” he replied. “I’m not always working on my experiments, you know.”

“Yeah, but how do you get mail down here? How does a mailman get through the Savage Land?”

“A highly evolved mailman can.”

“Yeah, OK,” I said. “I don’t know about making this experiment based on a character from a movie.”

“Are you sure? Perhaps the peak of human genetics could be found in an undead creature of the night.”


“I can’t even move in this thing,” I muttered acidly as the leather on my arms and legs made squeaky noises. “Try again, High.”

“Very well.” He threw some switches again. I felt normal. Almost normal. “A highly evolved woman should look awesome in a sweater.”

“What? All this genetic manipulation so I could look good in a sweater?” I looked down then spread my arms out. “Well, I do look good. But still… Hey, wait a minute, you’ve been making me up to for some kind of weirdo sex thing, haven’t you?”

“What? No I wasn’t,” he answered quickly.

“Oh yeah, I got you figured out now.” I ticked off the altered forms on my finger. “Mermaid, creepy tentacle thing, angel, furry cat thing, Leeloo, leather dom, that sweater thing. You’re getting your kicks off on this aren’t you?”

“What? Don’t be ridiculous,” he replied defensively. “I wouldn’t do something like that, I’m highly evolved.”

I crossed my arms and stared at him.

“Oh all right, you got me there,” he admitted. “It’s just so lonely down here. What’s a highly evolved guy to do, heh heh, right?”

“Please,” I rolled my eyes. “You men are all alike. All women are are objects of your desire.”

“All right all right, I’ll make a deal with you. If you go through one more form for me, I’ll give you a pass on this detour and personally fly you to Ka-Zar’s base in my hovercar.”

“Just one more? Ok, what is it? I’m not going to have huge breasts sticking out of my back am I? Or turn some kind of cow woman. I refuse to be turned into a cow woman.”

“Sexy librarian.”

“Sexy librarian? Of all the crazy and creepy fetishes you could have…”

“Well I am highly evolved,” he answered. “I have highly evolved sexual desires as well. I like the thinking man’s sex symbol.”

“Oh fine,” I said exasperatedly.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jan the Intergalactic Aviator: Ooops

Oh silly me, I made the Yield on Petrelli but I accidentally posted a picture of Hank Azaria.

I guess I mixed up the tall guy with the dark hair and the funny voices with the tall guy with dark hair and a funny voice.

Nathan Petrelli, you're still Yielded.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jan the Intergalactic Aviator: Yield

Short and sweet, my friends.




Gyrobo, you're getting the Yield.











Just kidding, I like you too much.










Nathan Petrelli, you get the Yield, that will give you a little extra time to warm up your nipples.

AMR4 - Week 7 Challenge

As always, elimination is a difficult time. This week Simon has determined that Koma and Sabertooth were the last to reach the Pit Stop. Hopefully this won’t discourage Koma from pursuing the heroic traits that he demonstrated on the challenge last week.

The Pit Stop was at the Marriott Hotel. All the contestants were given a suite for the night along with full access to room service, all compliments of the fine people at the Marriott Hotel. I’d like to give a special thanks to the generous management of the Marriott Hotel. Thank you, Marriott Hotel. Marriott Hotel.

The following morning the teams will again embark on the Amazing Mutant Race. Except for whichever team Jan names who must then sit out their half hour Yield penalty. As usual, before I can give you your itinerary for the week, I must first assign a new mutant partner to a contestant who keeps losing hers. Yes Jan the IA, I mean you. Because of your poor track record with mutants, I have decided to go out and recruit someone who you should not be able to hurt, no matter how hard you try. Why? Because he’s untouchable. That’s right, your new partner is Unus, the Untouchable. He also has the advantage of being someone I don’t care what happens to.

From the Marriott Hotel, everyone will take a taxi to the Orlando International Airport. Once there, the teams will arrange for flights to the Ushuaia airport in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. There they will find hot air balloons waiting to float them down to Antarctica and the Savage Land. The contestants will follow the red smoke plume to the border lands of Zarhan where Ka-Zar, lord of the Savage Land, will be waiting with the Detour challenges for this leg of the race.


Each team will be given a map of the Savage Land and surrounding territories.


A Detour presents a choice between two tasks, each with their own pros and cons. Once a task has been completed, the contestants must then race to the Pit Stop. In this Detour, the teams must choose between Gene and Scene.

In Gene, the teams must make their way to the citadel of the High Evolutionary in the Atlantea region. There they will find the Evolutionary and assist him in his scientific efforts to perfect the human race. You must successfully redesign humanity to achieve the Evolutionary’s dream of perfection. You will then clone a sample of your design to test your work. The Evolutionary will be the judge of your efforts.



In Scene, the teams will travel across the Savage Land to the Botor region. The Tree People that live there are having their annual festival. It is the place to be for all the various denizens of the Land. A large component of the festival are the competitions. The games are many and varied, including such things as dinosaur-back racing, guarnolope pie eating and giant mosquito catching. To win Scene, each team must claim victory in at least 3 different games. You are welcome to compete in any kind of game you want with the Tree People.


If a team fails in their chosen task, then they must attempt the other task. Once done, the teams will race back to Ka-Zar’s base in the Eastern region of the Savage Land. This is the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. The last team to arrive will be eliminated. And remember, as I always tell my students, no one likes a loser.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pit Stop

Gather round my small minded children, for I have a tale to tell. It has villains and heroes, romance and danger, but sadly, most of it involves you chavtastic lot in bars or in wet tee shirts, which ruins my story. Let us get on with this, shall we?

Koma: Yes, fish boy, you lines are carp, they reek. Your adventures seem to get closer and closer to bad fanfic porn. Get laid already.

Jan: As the token female, I acknowledge your breasts, then stop paying attention. I have no idea what you were going on about.

Bennett: I hate you for making me look at Scott tucked into bikini bottoms. Hate you long time.

Petrelli: Interesting effort, good team work, if being Emma’s pet monkey is teamwork.

Gyrobo: I will never look at a sandwich in the same way again.


So who is this week’s winner? It was pretty close, but despite making out with what seemed like half the bar, the first to the Pit Stop is Jan. Perhaps she has been gaining a time advantage not having to make sure her partner shows up with her. Xavier should look into that.


Who was last this week? What face will I not have to look at for another week?



Captain Koma.

You’ve made a nice run of it Captain, but you seem very preoccupied by young women who not long ago were in Disney and Nickelodeon movies/shows. To win a race, one must keep their eye on the finish line, not the groupies on the sidelines in tiny tank tops.

Cheers!
Simon

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dude, Where's My SHARC?

I sat up and rubbed my eyes. “Where are we?”

Puck sat next to me, conked out on the steering wheel of a minivan I’d never seen before. My head was hazy, like I’d spent the night on the floor of a jail cell. I pulled the keys out of the ignition, studying the keychain markings: a small logo that only a NASCAR fan—

“What a night!”

Puck jolted up, scrunching his eyes in the penetrating morning sunlight. “What?” He stretched.

“Do you remember anything?” I shook him. “There’s a block on my memory. Did we win the challenge?”

“Hand- han- hang on, I’ll check my voicemail,” Puck said groggily. While he punched in his passcode, I got out and checked our new ride. It was covered with a thin film of godawful decals and looked like it’d been through the mill.

“Whose minivan is this?” I muttered, pulling up the stuck trunk. Oh fuzz.

Puck slide around the side of the car. “I’ve got four calls from women asking me out, so I think I won the ‘Flirt’ challenge. I don’t know it you won—”

“We killed Richard Petty.”

“What?” Puck jumped back, unable to register the crumpled body wrapped in a blanket in our backseat. I popped off the cowboy hat and touched its face.

“So cold.” Thinking quickly, I uncapped the spare gasoline canister and doused the blanket.

“Richard Petty? What?”

Using Puck as a meaty shield, I ran to safety as the minivan exploded in flame.

Puck coughed up a lung as burning embers rained down on us like sulfuric snow. “What happened last night? Where’s the SHARC?”

“I don’t know, Puck.” I nodded slyly at the looming ‘City Limits’ sign. “Let’s go on a fact-finding mission.”
***
The first people we ran into in town was an overweight cop (his novelty badge marked him as the sheriff) and his lanky partner. “Get to the ground,” they shouted. “Make me,” I shouted back. It was all good, clean fun until they fired the first warning shot.

“What’s the idea?!” I scoffed. “That might have hit me!”

Puck grabbed my collar and dragged me to the curb. “Get down, y’fool!”

The cops wasted no time cuffing both of us. Whenever I tried to express my love of all living things, I only got a billy-club to the mouth.
A Graph of Relative Love.
“You’re lucky Richard Petty dropped the charges,” the lanky cop sneered as he shoved me into the back of his puny Floridian squad car.

“Richard Petty is alive?!” I exclaimed. That got some arched eyebrows.

“You stole his dress manikin and the $150,000 worth of clothes on it,” Officer Lanky charged.

“I had to, yo!” Using the hidden arm they forgot to cuff, I pulled out a recent poll. “Nobody votes for a vice president from the bargain bin! I need designer apparel!”

“Well, Petty might not want ya, but what’s left of Daytona does.” The sheriff held a newspaper to the back screen, keeping both sunglassed eyes on the road. The front page was a photo of a raging beachfront inferno. The picture below the fold showed a lot full of firetrucks up on cinderblocks, their tires slashed.

“So we were in the wet t-shirt contest?” Puck chimed creakily.

“You were in the last wet t-shirt contest. There’s a ban now,” the lanky cop rattled. “Now how’s my ailing mother-in-law going to make ends meet?”

“You boys’re lucky they reattached Charlie Sheen’s hand.”

Puck and I exchanged concerned looks on our way to the slammer.
***
“…can’t even sell it for market value. And that’s after we completely replaced the plumbing— o hai Puck lol!”

Fresh off his one phone call, the cops relocked the cell door with Puck staring me blankly in the eye-sockets. “I’m a superhero. In jail.”

“Miguel was just telling me about how he flipped six houses in Cuba,” I waved to the languid Latino drooped on the bars like a rag doll. Yep, Florida was a lazy peninsular paradise.

“I reached Yvette,” Puck continued, immune to the tropical atmosphere. His Canadian immune system must be too strong for the rumba beat. “She’s wiring the bail money. The people of Daytona want our heads, but Yvette knows Bill Bronsky, the new mayor of Daytona. Apparently, the mayor can pardon anyone of any crime within the city… and also call for the execution of anyone within the city.”

“That’s what I call the ‘royal treatment,’” I clucked. “Lunk-head.”

We had a roundtable discussion with Miguel and two homeless drunks and a disgraced ex-congressman for the next half hour. This was excellent preparation for the vice presidential debate I’d snubbed three weeks ago. Any public pronouncement on my part— nay, from any person of my prominence, must be prefaced perfectly with precipitous platitudes, to prevent premature prevarication.

“Time to go,” the sheriff finally said, waltzing in and unlocking the cell door with a large blue key looped ’round his little finger. “You’ve got a guardian angel looking out fer ya, that’s fer dang sure.”

I froze. Huzzah! A flashback: Tabu. Loud music… mustard spilling everywhere… and I totally raised the roof!

“Koola koolay! Puck! I think I know what I did last night!” I bounced. If Puck was smiling in solidarity with my happiness, he hid it well.

“See you a-round, bo-bo,” Drunken Stanley hiccuped from the cement, unable to sit up. “R’member what I said ’bout short selling.”

“And you remember what I said about making a shiv from sculpted toilet paper.” I held my head up high. Justice, my justice, had prevailed.
***
The overflowing glass began to boil against my forehead. We were here.

“Oh. Oh. Ah. Pfffff… pfffff… ungh. Ungh. Pfffffff…”

“There you are,” Yvette called from the club’s entrance.

Tabu may be a popular nightspot, but at 11:00 A.M. it was only a mildly active (but nonetheless exclusive) daycare center. I had to dress Puck up in a sailor suit to pass him off as a precocious 1st grader just to get in. He now watched me from the fenced-off dance floor with about twenty small children.

“Quiet. I’m about to get a psychic reading. Yes… we were totally here last night…”

“I’ll say,” the bartender grunted as she poured a tray of apple-juice mugs. “And he was wearing the same sailor suit.”

“You didn’t happen to see if either of us made out with any of the patrons, did you?” Puck asked, straddling over the fence with the hand-eye coordination of a Chinese acrobat.

“Oy, I wish I could forget. You set up a fricken’ booth.” She popped a DVD into the side of the bartop big-screen, showing a very graphic scene that made several of the smaller children cry.

“Sweet Amnesiac Disjoint of Makeout Point!” Now that was some first-class flirting.

“What about me?” I held up a $20 bill. “Michael Jackson says I was here last night.”

She waved me away. “Benjamin Franklin says otherwise.”

“Are you daft, woman?! Benjamin Franklin is a fictional character.”

“You were here, too, okay?” She fast-forwarded.

“Did I use witty pickup lines?”

She nodded. “You got slapped many times.”

“Did you fall from heaven? ’Cause you look like hell.”

“That got you slapped.”

“Is your name ‘Magnet?’ ’Cause you’re bipolar.”

“That got you slapped.”

“Are you from Tennessee? ’Cause you’re a redneck.”

“She was from Tennessee, and she put two live weasels down your pants.”

“Did anybody ask me if there were live weasels down my pants, or if I was just happy to see them?”

“You did, and you slapped yourself.”

“This is critically important,” I leaned o’er the counter, putting a $50 bill down. “General Custer wants to know if I was making out with anybody last night.”

“You spent the whole night making out with a full-breasted, hot…”

“There’s only one way that sentence could be made more awesome.”

“…grilled turkey sandwich.”

“AW SNAP IT ENDED IN THE WAY THAT MADE IT THE MOST AWESOME EVER ROFL!”

“Then we lose, right?” Puck trashed the preppy sailor cap that pulled his ensemble together. “A sandwich isn’t a patron.”

“He bought it four drinks.”

“And in Florida, that makes it a person! Hot diggity daffodil!” I kicked down the metal front door, letting the children run free in the streets. “Be free, children!”

“I’ve never been so confused,” Yvette kvetched on our way to the SHARC. She’d had it washed and debuffed, I just remembered!

“It’s victory at any cost, my dear,” I spun, “according to Florida statute, any corporate entity — in this case, a sandwich — can be taxed and represented in court as an individual.”

“That’s totally bogus.”

“Puck, that sandwich was my soulmate. The hour we spent together was more real than our friendship.” I licked my fingers. “I’ll never forget what we had, and I’ll be a consarned varmint if’n I let y’all talk trash about my precious southern belle!”

“Calm down, Gyrobo,” Yvette pleaded, keying open the SHARC.

“I will not calm down,” I exploded, sealing myself within the vehicle. “What we had was delicious and low-fat. Puck, I respect you professionally, but you’re dead wrong on man-sandwich relations.”

My stomach rumbled with righteous pride. A man needs to stand up for what’s right, no matter the indigestion it causes.

When Petty Thanked His Sponsors and Emma Iced My Chest...

Hello there my fellow competitors. I have to post quickly because Emma is looking for me. She’s a little perturbed about our latest challenge. I should have known it would turn out that way, but I was blinded by the possibility of seeing my lovely Emma participate in a wet t-shirt contest, but let me start at the beginning.

We made it back to the airlock and got our antidote with no problems at all. We even managed to make it to Orlando without a single argument. I think Emma was pleased that I gave the yield onto Jan. We passed the trip in companionable silence. Once we arrived, we found one of my greatest idols, Richard Petty, waiting for us with our two detour options.

Richard Petty smiled a big cheesy smile and greeted us.


“I’m glad you made here today. I can tell from your expressions it was like living a dream. Your SHARC ran great; you must have Good Year on that thing…I’d like to take this moment and thank my sponsors for bringing you here today. HootersRestaurantNationalFreshSaladDressingsClassicFordMotorGoodYearCokeColaTide&MaxiPads. Now, on to business.”

In his hands were two envelopes with directions for each task, flirt and shirt. I could tell by Emma’s body language what she thought of the shirt option, so I spoke quickly, saying we would take the flirt detour. Emma seemed surprised, but nodded her approval. Petty, confronted by the beauty that is Emma, shoved the envelopes into his pocket and grabbed her hand trying to flirt with her.

“Ya’ know Emmie. You remind me of my first wife. She was a looker too, thanks in part to CoverGirlClariolAlmayRevlon&PlasticSurgury.”

While Emma was eyeing him, clearly debating the consequences of harming the man who was supposed to greet all the contestants, I stealthily slipped the envelopes out of his jacket and switched the directions from the shirt envelope into the flirt envelope before returning them to his pocket. It was a stroke of genius on my part.

When Petty took a deep breath, I broke in and suggested we get on the road. Petty handed Emma the envelope and said, “Oh yeah, oh yeah. Here y’all go. I’ll be rootn’ for you darlin’.”

Not wasting any more time, we took off before he could start thanking more sponsors. When we arrived in Daytona, the contest had already started. Various catcalls could be heard from the boardwalk. Emma was breathing rather heavily and her jaw was clinched. She turned to face me. “If that Tabu singles’ club is not located next to this wet t-shirt contest, you’re a dead man.”

I tried to pull my best innocent act. “What? How could I have known the directions were wrong? It must have been Richard Petty's mistake.”

“You don’t fool me Petrelli, and I’m not going to participate in a wet t-shirt contest. You are!”

“but…Emma…I know you could win.”

Throwing a t-shirt at me, Emma emphatically stated, “No buts Petrelli. Put this on now. I'll wait for you in that gazebo”

I did as I was told and she led me onto the beach. As soon as our feet hit the sand, everything went quiet. Charlie Sheen stood up, burped loudly, and pointed to Emma. “Look! Boooobs!!!!”

That Charlie Sheen…He is eloquent. I glanced to Emma to see her reaction, afraid that none of us would escape this contest alive; but before I could intervene, someone…several someones threw four coolers of water at her all at the same time. The co-eds went wild. There was screaming and howling right up to the moment Emma slapped me, and then I stopped.

I just knew we had this contest in the bag now, until someone…who shall remain nameless. (Bennet) Yelled, she can’t be in the contest, she isn’t wearing a t-shirt. After Sheen disqualified her from the contest, there was a lot of groaning and complaining; at least until Emma told me to shut up.

She then grabbed my arm and forced me up onto the stage, where I was forced to shake and flex my pecs. The crowd was torn. I feared all was lost, when suddenly I felt a cold chill spread across my chest. I looked down to see ice forming on my pectorals. I knew instantly Emma was responsible. The crowd burst into applause. At the encouragement, I sped up my gyration for the crowd. When I finally left the stage, I thought I had the contest in the bag but Alas that darn Bennet foiled me again by dressing his partner up in drag. #$@# Him. Well, at least I got second place and that is enough to move onto the Pit Stop.

The only thing I have to worry about now is Emma taking revenge on me for switching the envelopes. I think I’m going to go hide in the sauna. A nice hotel like the Marriott is sure to have one.

Mission Six: Seeing It Through

"Give me the antidote!" I screamed at the bewildered Atlantean. "Don't make me ask twice, because I won't."


She made bubble noises as Scott reminded me that we already got the antidote and were supposed to be heading for the S.H.A.R.C. vehicle before the ability to breathe underwater wore off. "Stop harassing snorkelers and come on," he said.

Scott, our camera man and I squeezed back into the cramped transport for the second time and were on our way to Orlando.

"I hope we can visit Disney World while we're there," Scott said excitedly. "It's the gayest place on Earth!

That reminded me that we still had a promise to Mephisto to keep. He wanted Walt Disney killed, but I don't even know where they're keeping his body. But I knew someone who might....

"Let's do it," I said.

"Do what?"

"Go to Disney World!"

Scott clapped and we made a quick stop at Disney World, Orlando.


"Who are we looking for?" Scott asked.

"Whom," I corrected.

"I don't know," he replied confused.

That's when I spotted the beloved vermin.


He was dancing with....sliced bread?

"Can I join?" Scott asked.

"No," I replied. "I need you to stay out of the way. I've got some baggin' and taggin' to do."

I approached the whimsical mouse. He greeted me. "Hello!"

Quickly, I pulled my gun and shot the two dancing slices of bread. "Let's not make any more of a scene than we have to," I said aiming at the rodent.

"You'll pay for this! Do you have any idea who I am!" he shouted in defiance. "My best friend's an anthromorphic dog!"

I tied him up as a crowd gathered nearby.

"Look!" one on-looker spoke up, "Bluto's kidnapping Mickey!"

"He's lost weight too," another added.

I looked over at Scott and nodded toward the crowd. He walked over to them and said, "Show's over, everyone. Come back in an hour for a repeat."

Sighs were heard all throughout the crowd as they dispersed. I quickly stuffed Mickey into my duffel bag and raced back to the S.H.A.R.C. vehicle. Unfortunately, our captive made it an even tighter squeeze in the tiny vessel.


Soon, though, we made it to the Courtyard Marriott on Richard Petty Boulevard and met with Richard Petty.

"Let's do Flirt!" Scott shouted. "We could probably just make out with each other for a minute and that would count."

"Good idea," I said. "In that case, we're doing Shirt." I looked over his muscular pectorals and added, "Or rather, you're doing shirt."

Scott frowned as he put his hands over his pecs. "I don't know if I'm comfortable with that."

"I don't care."

Scott and I arrived at Daytona Beach and made our way carefully through the horde of drunken youth. "Woo hoo! Vote Obama!" they shouted.

Finally, we arrived at the location of the wet t-shirt contest. Scott whined, "I don't know about this," as we approached the gathering of young sexy peoples.

"Relax," I reassured him. "I'll make sure you finish in first place."

"How?" he asked.

I tossed a bucket of water on him and said, "Just do your thing and I'll do mine."

As Scott worked his stuff on the beach, I eased up near Charlie Sheen, our celebrity judge. "That one there is a prostitute," I commented.

"Really?" he asked intrigued.

"Oh, yeah," I went on, "and a dirty one too."

"Dirty, huh? How so?"

"Um...you know, the usual dirty stuff. Up for anything....doesn't use mouthwash....wears the same underwear for weeks...."

Charlie Sheen simply said, "Oh, boy," as he became entranced by Scott's performance. My subtle manipulation certainly played a role, but Scott rose to the occasion as well.



Charlie Sheen whistled loudly and made some wooing sounds. This caused the other drunk coeds judging the contest to do the same thing. After they all quieted down and stopped air-humping, Charlie announced that Scott was the winner. He then whispered to me his hotel room number and asked me to have Scott stop by.

"That's great!" Scott said when I told him the news, "I can't wait to visit in private with Charlie Sheen!"

"You can't go, fool," I said, shattering his dreams, "we have to get to the Pit Stop! And after that, we've got some enhanced interrogation to perform on an animated mouse."

Jan the Intergalactic Aviator: Nightclubbing, we're nightclubbing

Oh God, so I’m teamed up with Nightcrawler and (confession time!) he is SO cute. I can’t believe this. I don’t usually get all teenage girly in front of someone like this, but Nightcrawler is. Whew. Well, he’s cute anyway. I just want to grab him and give him a big hug.

So anyway, we’re riding in the SHARC from Atlantis to Florida for the next leg of the race and we’re kind of squished up cozy in the cockpit. He’s sitting on my lap and he’s just so cuddly I can’t stand it.

Whew, OK. Calm down, girl. We actually haven’t gotten much of a chance to talk. I don’t know what to say to him, he’s been so quiet but I heard that he volunteered to partner up with me.

OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod, what if he likes me? I bet he does! I have to talk to him. Keep it cool, Jan,

“So, uh, you come here often?” Ugh! Stupid stupid stupid! Worst opening line ever.

“Um, ja,” he chuckled back.

Silence.

Nightcrawler sitting on my lap like this sure is making me moist.

In my armpits, it’s all cramped in this cabin. What did you think I was talking about?

Sicko.

Oh, he shifted, wait, maybe he wants to talk to me.

“Ah, you know I asked to be your partner…” he said.

“Yeah?” I replied. Keep it cool, Jan.

“I just thought zat maybe ve could get to know each other a little better or something,” he said kind of quietly.

Holy crumbs, he likes me. Oh man, I just want to snuggle with him... snuggle all night long you know.

“Yeah, I think I’d like that,” I replied. “So, I uh heard that you’re a pilot and stuff. You want to see my ship some time maybe?”

“Ja, zat vould be nice,” he replied.

“The Pegasus Elite’s real fast. I like it real fast. Uh, I like my ship real fast, I mean, heh heh.” Ughhhh. Could this get any worse?

“Ja, I know vhat you mean,” he chuckled.

Finally, we get to Orlando and I see a guy in a red shirt, a huge-o cowboy hat and a wonkin’ big belt buckle.

“Howdy, y’all,” he grinned. “I’m racing champion Richard Petty and I’m here to escort you to your detour.”

“That’s nice and all,” I said. “But there’s something I have to give you first.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that, gal?”

“This.” I quickly pulled out my blaster rifle and shot him to the ground with a couple stun blasts.

“Vait no!” Nightcrawler protested, but I had already done the deed. “Vhy did you just shoot him?”

“Because he’s not Richard Petty,” I said. I pulled out my sonic screwdriver and aimed it at his face. Where the beam crossed his skin, the image of Richard Petty was replaced by a blank white mask.

“Vwow,” Nightcrawler shook his head. “How did you know that?”

“My sonic screwdriver detected the subtle shifts in the holographic image that he was using and quietly alerted me,” I replied. “This thing is pretty handy at sniffing out illusions like this.”

“Sehr interesting,” Nightcrawler nodded. “I am impressed.”

“All right,” I growled as I hoisted the imposter to his feet. “Who are you and where’s Petty?”

“Fool!” he growled back at me. “I’ll never tell.”

“He’s the Chameleon,” Nightcrawler answered. “I recognize him. Someone must have hired him to take us out.”

“And I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for that pesky screwdriver of yours,” he growled again.

“Yeah, so who hired you and why?” I shook him by his lapel.

“Let’s just say that there are some mutants out there who aren’t too happy with you being the Mutant Massacrer,” he answered.

“Argh!” I yelled. “I am not the Mutant Massacrer. And besides, Juggernaut isn’t even a mutant. His powers come from a magical gem.”

“Oh, and another thing!” a puff of smoke quickly enveloped him. I felt him try to wrench free of my grip so I shot him with my blaster again.

“Now vhat do ve do vith him?” Nightcrawler asked.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “Call the cops or something?”

“And what about our detour?” my mutant friend asked.

“I’m not doing shirt,” I said quickly.

“Flirt it is, zhen.”

We made our way to Tabu after dumping off the Chameleon with the local cops. This club was hopping, the music was rocking and the drinks were pouring. I’m not really that much of a club gal, but I couldn’t help to get into the rhythm with everything going on around me. It didn’t hurt that the tequila sunrises were yummy. Nightcrawler had a few drinks, too, but he seemed rather reserved and just quietly sat at a bar stool.

“It’s tough going to places like this sometimes,” he admitted. “Going out in public isn’t easy for someone like me.”

“Well I think you look great,” I said as I put my arm around him. I pulled myself closer to him. A little liquid courage is just what the doctor ordered. “Let’s get the challenge over with and then maybe you and I can get some time alone.”

“I vould like zat.”

“Oh my God, look who’s here!” I saw that trademark smile coming a mile away. I’d know him anywhere. “Jack! Jack! What are you doing here?”

“Just thought I’d get a little R & R,” Captain Jack Harkness flashed those teeth back at me. “Get away from the office a little, you know.”

“You actually go on vacation?” I asked.

“Yeah well, believe it or not,” he chuckled. “And what a better place to go on holiday than where the women are hot and the men are hotter.”

“Well I got something for you. This is for Meta Sigma Polia.” I punched him hard right in the jaw.

His smirk disappeared as his head recoiled from the hit. He wiped his hand across the jaw and looked at me with those baby blues in an earnest “Well I guess I deserved that” kind of way.

“And this is for Argolis.” I grabbed his head and planted a big sloppy kiss on him. For a full minute. I pulled back and smiled at him wickedly.

“Nice,” he laughed. “I didn’t know I was your type.”

I punched him the shoulder playfully. “Yeah well, maybe you are and maybe you aren’t. You want to do us a favor and plant one on my friend right here?”

“You mean lithe, dark, and handsome?” Jack asked. “Love to.”

“Oh I don’t know,” Nightcrawler held up his hands. “Zis doesn’t seem right.”

“Oh come on,” the Torchwood leader pushed. “You’re not some kind of religiousy guy who thinks a little man on man is wrong are you?”

“Ah nein. Nein, I’m the adventury swashbuckler type,” he insisted.

“Well here’s an adventure for you.” Harkness pulled close and kissed Nightcrawler. After a moment, Nightcrawler kissed back. “Sweet. Like that tongue action.”

“Can ve go now?” Nightcrawler asked.

“You got it,” I nodded. I started to pull my companion out of the club when Harkness shouted out to me.

“Hey!” he yelled above the thumping music. “Be careful, will ya?” He pointed back and forth between us.

“You got it.” I smiled and gave a mock salute. Nightcrawler smiled too as we dashed out the door.

Soon enough, we were at the Courtyard Marriot. We raced through the lobby when Nightcrawler grabbed me and pulled me into an elevator. As we went up to the top floor, he pulled me close and gave me a big kiss. “I vant to talk to you, in private,” he said.

“Sure.” I grinned back at him. “You got it, Nightcrawler.”

“Please. Call me Kurt,” he whispered in my ear.

“Kurt,” I breathed out. “You know I’m not trying to kill mutants, right? You have to believe me.”

“I do,” he whispered back.

We made it to the top and he pulled me out of the elevator. We raced out onto the roof and he made an amazing leap onto the ledge. He scrunched himself down in a squat and looked over the city of Orlando.

“I haven’t felt zis vay in a long time,” he confided. “It’s tough being a mutant. Especially tough if you look like I do.”

“I know what it’s like… I’ve been to places where they think I’m just some kind of a cave woman. There are places out there.” I pointed vaguely out towards the stars. “Places where they think we’re all a bunch of un-evolved cretins.”

“Maybe we are,” he grinned.

“Yeah but you’re so gosh darn cute,” I replied as I stepped towards him with my arms out. He leapt right over me back onto the roof. I gasped at his feat as he laughed.

“Ha ha!” he laughed like Errol Flynn in some kind of a pirate movie. “Oh there’s just one more thing I must tell you.”

“Wait, why do you sound different?” I asked. “Oh no…”

I watched as my fuzzy blue elf changed. His features shifted and his hair grew out from the tight black curls into long tresses of auburn. His shape shifted into that of a woman. A blue woman.

“Unfortunately,” Mystique said as she pulled out a pistol. “This is the end of the race for you.”

“Wait, I’ve been kissing you all along? Ewww.”

“Oh but it was OK for Nightcrawler to kiss that smiling baboon at the club? What’s good for the gander isn’t good for the goose, huh?”

“So you’re going to kill me then?” I held up my hands. “I suppose you’re the one who hired the Chameleon.”

“I apologize for the depths of my deception,” she replied. “If he had failed, you still would have let your guard down after his attempt and that’s exactly what I wanted.”

“But I couldn’t tell it was you,” I said. “How could that be?”

“Simple,” she shrugged. “Nightcrawler is my son. Posing as him is easy enough for me. And, as you can clearly see, my abilities are not mere parlor tricks and holograms.”

“Wait, you disguised yourself as your own son?” I asked. “Ewww, talk about your issues. I know a psychiatrist who would have a field day with that. Want his card?”

“I don’t think so.” She aimed her pistol at me and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. She pulled it several more times but all she got was a series of metallic clicks in response. “What?”

“Oh yeah, maybe I couldn’t tell that you were you but I could certainly burn out your firing mechanism with this.” I tossed my sonic screwdriver up in the air and caught it with smug satisfaction. “Looks like you’re out of luck, sister.”

Mystique howled and lunged at me. I countered with my specialty the circle throw and tossed her up and over me. Her momentum carried her over the ledge and I heard her screams fading. I quickly got up and looked over the side and saw her body crumpled in a sickening way on the concrete below.

Quickly, I raced to the elevator and hit the button for the first floor. I then ran out of the lobby and into the parking lot. There were people standing around and talking in a confused manner, but I didn’t see Mystique’s body anywhere.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pick up lines are carp.

Victor and I made it back to the air lock just before the oxy-gum wore out. Victor was shouting something but the sound of the water being siphoned out was too loud.
"What!" I shouted.
"I'm not getting shrunk again!" Victor yelled.
"Tell someone who cares." I shouted back.
We get to the docking bay and Lin isn't there.
"Is this a good thing?" I ask Victor.
"Means I ain't gonna get shrunk." replies Victor. "Or have to listen to her talk, thats all good."
My sensors detect a cloaking device. Lin has a cloaking device.
Hang on!
Suddenly Lin appears in front of us.
FIZZZUMM!
Carp! I'm shrinking.
"Oh yeah! Schaudenfrude that Koma." laughs Victor. He then turns to Lin. "Just shrink the cameraman and I think you and I can squeeze in darling'."
"I'm not sure about that Victor?" questions Lin. "My dress could get ripped."
"Well then we'll just have to get naked and oil up to get in." sleazes Victor.
"Ewww! No way dog breath. I prefer my men with a full body wax." Lin's eye's glow and the shrink ray strikes Victor.
FIZZZUMM!
Lin scoops the two of us up.
"Now you two are playing nice or else your both traveling in the glove box." she threatens.
"Screw you robo-whore!" curses Victor.
"Glove box it ii-is" sings Lin and she tosses us into the glove box. Not sure what happened to Bob the cameraman but the SHARC took off. Hmm Lin and Bob squeezed into a cockpit. Didn't Bob say something about a full body wax once.
Oh well!
Lin was still feeling generous after we got to the hotel and she unshrunk Victor and I. Bob gave immediate notice to Xavier and the producers and I haven't seen either he or Lin since. I did get a post card from Lin a few weeks later. She and Bob are in Napa growing grapes and breeding goats. I wonder how long thats going to work out.

The producers weren't expecting Bob to leave the show and were at a loss. However it seems that Xavier's minor at Oxford was photography.
"Don't say a single word." warned Xavier.
So it was off to the detour our new cameraman in tow. Unfortunately the steps to the victory podium didn't help Xavier.
The NASCAR driver was a nice guy.
"Well I reckon its a great thing you boys are doing in allowing a special person to be your cameraman." congratulated Petty. "I hope you boys win. Its just great seeing the disabled getting out into the community. Your really doing a great job taking on some one in his condition." Then suddenly he threw himself off the podium.
"Has he got a healing factor?" asked Victor peering over the edge at Petty's unmoving body.
"No he's just a race car driver." I answer.
"Was a race car driver." corrects Victor.
We got back down off the podium and Xavier was whistling a happy tune.

"My turn to pick and I ain't picked up in a while" demands Victor.
"You sure about that?" questions Xavier. "Koma had to make his own woman to score. Then there was that alien lesbian who thought he was a woman. Really I don't see any possibility in any human female kissing him."
"I'm sure who ever I get has fat friend for Him." replies Victor.
"Oh! I forgot about them." realises Xavier. "Fat chicks need love too, no discriminate in this world."
"Then again it don't specify the sex or species of the person you're kissing." adds Victor.
"Maybe we can get that Alien chick over here, if she's not dead or something." continues Xavier.
"Dead alive, it wont matter." chuckles Victor. "I'm quite sure Koma knows all about Necrophilia."
It went on like that for quite some time.
The night club was loud and sweaty. Victor's animal magnetism was a huge plus and within five minutes he'd secured a bevy of ladies. I on the other hand was way out of my natural element.
There was a nice looking girl next to me, she had a bit of a fake tan going but I though I'd have a try.
"Hi I'm Austin." I introduced myself.
"Powers but my middle name's Danger." She sighed. "Get a new line geek."
Thats it Mike Myers is now off my humiliate list and onto my eliminate list.
"Hey I see your not doing all that well with the Ladyz" interrupts this sleaze. I don't like him already.
"So you've got a better way?" I ask sceptically.
"Hell yeah!" he exclaims. "I got a sure fire way to get you the lady of your dreams. Just put some of this in her drink then she'll be putty in your paws." He shows me a little pink pill and gives me a knowing look.
"Hang on let me get this straight." I tell him. "You tell me I'm a failure and then proceed to sucker me in to buy your date rape drugs so I can have sex with a woman who doesn't want me."
"Hell yeah!" he answers.
I stand up and look around sheepishly.
"Can we do this elsewhere? I don't want anyone knowing about this." I tell the sleaze.
"Sure meet me in my office." He points to the mens room and leaves. I watch him go, finish my drink and the girl beside me grabs my hand.
"Its not worth it." she implores. "Its obvious this isn't your kind of place. You look like an ok kind of guy don't become an asshole."
"Its all right." I give her a cheeky smile. "I make guys like him disappear for a living."
"You don't look like a cop?" she questions.
"No I'm Batman." I state in the gruffest voice I've got. I don't wait for an answer from her I go straight to the mens room. I walk in and greet the sleaze.
"You better have cash buddy we don't take VISA." the sleaze jokes. I just pull out my blaster.
"Nice kiddie toy, sure the girls'll love it. Money now." he demands.
If I could make a drug to give the euphoria I get when I kick the crap out of sleazes like this guy I reckon I'd make a fortune. After beating him up I made him go around aplogising to all the women in the nightclub. Last stop is the girl with the fake tan.
"Last one then you can leave." I tell Him.
"I sell date rape drugs preying on both men and women. I'm sorry for being a pox on all humanity. If you wish to express your rage physically on my person at this time, please do. Thank you." the sleaze repeats.
"Ugh! I don't even want to touch him." fake tan girl says in disgust.
"Ok your free to go." I release the sleaze and he races out of the club. I retake my seat beside fake tan girl.
"I know you're not Batman." she tells me.
"Buuut?" I prompt.
"You do deserve something for what you did." she bites her lower lip.
Score:
Date Rape Drug Dealers 0
Koma 1
Victor 5