Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Which A Tongue Is Held Firmly In Cheek

Ser Andrew, Ser Ulysses, Ser Rutherford, and Ser James decide to have an adventure.

Or, more accurately, Ser Andrew decides that Ser Ulysses, Ser Rutherford, and Ser James will have an adventure. Any objections they may have go decidedly unheard.

"But what sort?" Ser Ulysses asks.

"We'll go to the Moon!" Ser James suggests, getting into the spirit of things.

Ser Ulysses cocks his head. "Um. How?"

The notion, tragically, is rejected.

"How about going to Poland, then?" Ser Andrew suggests, trying to salvage the expedition. "We can see the churches, tour the brothels, maybe burn a few schtetls... it'll be great!"

So they do!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Book of Baitings

Best Playground Equipment.

Swing: The classic! Generations have grown up learning the essential secret of the swing: tuck your legs in going back, and stick them out going forward. Why? Who knows? It works! This is a valuable lesson for later life. A-

: Also a good choice. Going down gives one a wonderful sense of speed; climbing up, an invigorating challenge! The trouble comes when these activites are mixed. B+

Climbing Bars: A great place for playground mockery and painful falls! It is said in the writings of the ancients that a set of climbing-bars under which no child has broken a bone is an unholy thing; therefore they ceremonially broke a child's arm under each one they built. In modern days, we have abandoned the rite; here all our sorrows stem! C

Rocking Horse: Powerful springs, constructed within a narrow range of motion. Doesn't every child dream of their being - set loose? B

Giant Tic-Tac-Toe Board: A game so simple that kindergartners grow bored of it. And so we build it, permanent, in larger scale? It is a shrine to all mankind's follies. D

edited for typo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Unibrow of Dr. Frederick

Frederick was concerned about his unibrow.

When it first grew in, that was - surprising, but not shocking. Dr. Frederick shrugged, when he noticed it in the mirror, and went about his work.

When it began to tickle, to itch, even to sting, Dr. Frederick became somewhat alarmed, and might have taken action - but the sensations vanished within two days, and so Dr. Frederick promptly forgot the matter.

And the sleepwalking, the wakings in odd places - why, Dr. Frederick didn't connect that with the unibrow at all!

So you can see that it took rather extraordinary circumstances to prompt Dr. Frederick to concern - circumstances which were nonetheless provided. For the unibrow began to speak to Dr. Frederick - urging him to kill!

Dr. Frederick knew that this was a problem. A severe problem - one that required the attentions of a specialist! So, with a heavy heart, Dr. Frederick went through the secret channels, said the right words, and allowed himself to be blindfolded and taken to a small room. There, the blindfold was removed, and Dr. Frederick saw the face of the man he had gone to see - the most famous doctor in the world - the man who could cure his problem - Dr. Zhang!

"What's your problem?" Dr. Zhang asked, politely.

"Kill," Dr. Frederick's unibrow whispered.

"I - " Dr. Frederick began to say, but Dr. Zhang interrupted.

"Your unibrow just told you to kill," he said.

"You could hear that?" Dr. Frederick asked, surprised.

"Couldn't you?" Dr. Zhang asked.

Dr. Frederick paused a moment to consider this.

"Kill the filthy Zhang," the unibrow hissed.

"Is your unibrow like this to everyone?" Dr. Zhang asked.

"...not really," Dr. Frederick admitted. "Mostly it just tells me to kill you."

"And that's why you're here," Dr. Zhang clarified.

"Yes," Dr. Frederick agreed. A pain was beginning in his head, again.

"Should I be worried?" Dr. Zhang asked.

"What?" Dr. Frederick asked. "Because I might - I might - actually kill you or something? That - that's crazy! I'm not crazy!" His head pounded.

"Dr. Frederick, calm down," Mr. Zhang said. "Please sit down."

"What, you think I'm crazy?" Dr. Frederick asked, shaking. A dull roar echoed in his ears. "You - I came to you for help, and you insult me, you deride me? I - I'll - "

Dr. Zhang ducked under Dr. Frederick's wild swing and swept the doctor's feet out from under him with one leg. "The unibrow is using you!" he said. "Stop - think about what you're doing!"

"You - you!" Dr. Frederick said, crawling backwards towards the wall and using it as support to rise. His face was flushed red, and spittle dripped from the corner of his mouth. "You - unbelievable - I - to think that - " A metallic flash appeared within his coat.

"No!" Dr. Zhang shouted, leaping back from Dr. Frederick's scalpel-swipe. "I don't want to hurt you - "

"DIE!" Dr. Frederick roared and charged, scalpel held before him like a lance.

He crumbled three steps later, darts vibrating in his back.

"Thank you," Dr. Zhang said, nodding to the dart-gun bearing guards standing behind Dr. Frederick. "You can take him away now."

They did so, carrying Dr. Frederick on their shoulders; Dr. Zhang closed the door behind them.

"I really thought I could reason with him," Dr. Zhang, now alone, mumbled. "Man, why do people always have to be that way? Man. People."

He sighed.

"It's Nikolas, obviously," Dr. Zhang said. "He's been planting mind-controlling unibrows on people. This is the third I've seen in the last month, and I've heard stories of more. Driving ordinary people insane, just to distract me, divert my efforts? Despicable! Nikolasian."

He sighed.

"Time to finish development on the airborne mass-depilliation device, I guess," Dr. Zhang said. "The giant hair-ogres and beard-seeking missiles were bad enough, but these unibrows are intolerable! The only answer to Nikolas's vile hair-technology is to destroy all hair on earth."

Then he did!

(And can you imagine - that dirty Nikolas tried to call it a bad thing?)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Recourse Against the Intrusion of Authority?

"Oh, you think I'm just stopping by for a class?" the Grace complained. "You don't think I'd come by just to say hello? What kind of friend are you, Mr. Turner?"

"You won't go with me to get food?" 2.0 asked. "Terrible! It looks like you are the soulless machine, after all!"

Mr. Turner drew in a breath.

"ENOUGH!" he said.

"If you do not stop, I will be forced to return to my home and native land," Mr. Turner said. "I am very busy here, so I have no time for that. So: stop!"

2.0 and the Grace sighed in unison.

"What will we do, then?" the Grace asked. "I've got half an hour until my class starts!"

"For a start, one of you could check to see that everything in the closet is fully hidden," Mr. Turner suggested. "I don't want anything lying out for unexpected guests to see."

"Why not do a quick inventory?" the Grace suggested. "I've been meaning to check out what you've got back there. So to speak!"

2.0 and the Grace set to work. But it wasn't long before there was a knock at the door!

"RAs!" the call came. "Open up!"

"!" 2.0 said, its head snapping up.

"What do we do?" the Grace asked, turning Mr. Turner. "Everything's spread over the floor! They'll see everything!"

"Quick!" Mr. Turner said, pulling a small object from the floor. "To the back!"

The knocking at the front door was repeated as Mr. Turner & co. ran to the patio. "What's here?" the Grace asked. "Are we making a run for it? We won't make it on foot - "

"Hardly!" Mr. Turner said, and twisted the object he held.

With a rumble, the floor of the patio fell away; the Grace leapt back in astonishment. From it rose an object - a long pointed cone, fins rising from each side. A hatch on the side popped open, fog pouring from within.

"A spaceship!" the Grace gasped.

"I built it!" 2.0 boasted.

"Inside!" Mr. Turner ordered. "2.0, to the conn!" -

- and when the RAs burst in, they were greeted only by the thick cloud of smoke and cacophonous noise from the rocket's eruption.

"Ha!" the Grace said. "Take that, pigs! We're home free now! Though - I'm not sure what we'll do when we get back - "

"Not time to worry about that yet!" 2.0 said. "Look - on the radar - they're coming after us!"

The race was on!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Umbrellas Defend The Earth

Once, the tenfold-noble Semolian Guard stood watch over the Earth. With umbrella in one hand and las-gun in the other, they put fear into the heart of any black-guards that dared threaten Mankind. Their service was long and storied; but tragedy struck in the end. Fighting a race of space-devil-goblins, the Semolian Guard were, as one, sucked into space by an enormous vacuum, leaving only their umbrellas behind to mark their passage. It was a tragedy beyond comprehension; and it would not be the last.

With the Semolian Guard gone, the enemies of Man redoubled their assault, launching attack after attack. The deaths, the destruction - horrific! Many tried to take the place of the Semolian Guard - but, lacking their discipline and skill, nearly all perished. Only one survived the attempt - a woman named Xi Xu at her birth, but who, in later life, was more widely known as the Umbrella-Speaker, for the same reason as allowed her unique success. After the vacuuming of the Semolian Guard, their umbrellas had retreated into hermitage, mourning their failure to protect their masters. It was Xi Xu who found them, beating past the guardians that protected their land of loneliness, so that she could persuade the umbrellas - not just to rejoin the battle for the safety of mankind - but to lend the use of their hermitage as a shelter for others. It is now the safest place on Earth - protected by legions of umbrellas, training for the day when they, too, must join Xi Xu on the front lines.

When the fire rains from the sky - when the space-devil-goblins seek to wipe the last humans from the earth - the umbrellas do not shy from their assault! Instead, they laugh at space-devil-goblins' attacks - use them to train, by deflecting their fireballs into targets for points!

This is the code of Xi Xu and her Umbrellas; the code of the Laughing Warrior.

See it in action here!

you will probably not regret it

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Grem looked at the ground.

"The earth grows barren," Inga told him. "The crops wither and rot in the fields. No rain has fallen in months.

"I do not wish to do this," Grem said. "There are risks to any intercession with the God - grave and terrible risks! I might be killed, or worse! Then where would the village be?"

Inga sighed. "I know, I know, you have told me this before," she said. "But it has been months! You must act, or we will all die when winter comes!"

"Also, it is a lot of work to intercede with the gods," Grem said. "And I am very lazy."

Inga looked at him.

"Very well," Grem sighed. "I'll be back in an hour."

Grem traipsed to his Super Secret Shaman Cave. He fetched his equipment. He traipsed out to the fields.

"Hello, the God!" he said to the sky. "You're the best! I know it, you know it, everyone knows it! All those other gods - some people like 'em, I guess. But you're totally the best! Could beat them all in a fistfight, at once! That's just the kinda God you are. Eh? Eh?"

Grem waited for a response.

The sky rumbled.

"Yeah, that's the way of it!" Grem said happily. "So, you can see I've got some sacrifices, some incenses to burn and be pleasing unto your sight, some holy symbols, eh, the God? I'm'na burn the sacrifices, and burn the incense, and cover the holy symbols in blood, as is your preference, and maybe we can see about some rain, eh? Because, you know I wouldn't bother you normally, but we're probably all going to die if you don't give us some rain. So I hope this is worth your while."

Grem lit the incense.

Grem gutted the rabbits and rubbed the holy symbols around in their entrails.

Grem set the rabbits on fire!

"Ahh," Grem said, leaning back. "Nothing like a good bonfire to lighten a mood - "

Grem lost his balance.

Grem fell over, crushing the incense, snapping the holy symbols into bits, and knocking the rabbits into the dirt. (Also, setting himself on fire.)

"Aaagh!" Grem screamed. "Aaagh! Aaaaagh!" He rolled around on the ground for a while.

When he arose, still smoking faintly, there was a curious conviction in his mind.

"I know what I must do," Grem said. "I know how I can recover the God's favor. I know how I can save our village!"

"How?" Inga asked.

"Wait, you're here?" Grem asked. "How long have you been here? Not long, right? Right?"

Inga looked at him, still smoking.

Grem's shoulders slumped.

Then they straightened again - with determination.

"I need to repair a carriage!" Grem said.

Inga's eyebrows raised.

"A carriage?" she asked. "What's that?"

Grem thought.

" know, I don't properly know," he told her.

"Then how are you going to repair one?" Inga asked.

A moment passed. Grem's eyes lit up.

"I have," he said, "a plan."

Inga considered Grem.

"Do tell," she suggested.

"This is a plan in three parts," Grem said. "First, I build a carriage."

"Without knowing what one is?" Inga asked.

"My intuition will guide me!" Grem declared.

"If you say so," Inga said. "Hopefully it won't guide you into another fire."

"Second," Grem said, "I will damage the carriage."

"Again," Inga suggested, "Perhaps not with fire."

"Third," Grem said, pausing for emphasis, "I will repair the carriage!"

Inga looked at Grem and considered her response carefully.

"You're quite certain that this is the only way to win the favor of the God?" she asked. "And that, say, performing the rain-ritual again - but without setting yourself on fire this time - wouldn't work better?"

Grem thought. It did seem odd, this compulsion to repair a carriage - but he knew it was right! He knew it! It must be the work of the divine! "This is the only way!" he told Inga. "I'm completely certain of it."

"Very well," Inga sighed. "I'll sent Greta over to - " supervise? make sure you don't set yourself on fire again? "assist you."

"Thank you," Grem said graciously. He turned his eyes to the sky. "I will build this carriage!"

The sky rumbled.

"Now," Grem asked Greta, "Do you know what a wheel is?"

"No," Greta said. "What's that?"

"The wheel is a secret of the shamans, carried from the ancient West by our ancestors," Grem explained. "I will demonstrate. You see this piece of wood?"

"Yes," Greta said. "It looks like a tree trunk that you've cut and trimmed."

"It is," Grem agreed. "But it's something more. We take it, we put it on its side, we give it a push... you see?"

"It fell over," Greta said.

"Well, yes," Grem admitted. "But before that?"

"It moved very strangely," Greta said. "Spinning, whirling...?"

"The secret shaman word is rolling," Grem explained. "That is what a wheel does, and what a carriage must do."

"So a carriage is a wheel?" Greta asked.

"No," Grem said. "But it has a wheel. It has... four wheels."

"How do you know this?" Greta asked.

"The God speaks to me!" Grem said. "But as to the details... I am uncertain."

Work progressed.

"So you have the two tree-trunk chunks -the wheels - and you cut a hole in them and put a long, straight branch in-between," Greta narrated helpfully. "And what will this do?"

"Now they roll together!" Grem said.

"So?" Greta asked.

"So, now we build another pair!" Grem said.

"And then?" Greta asked.

"We build a box, and put it on top!" Grem said.

"And what goes in the box?" Greta asked.

"You do!" Grem said.

"...can't you go in the box?" Greta asked.

"Nope!" Grem told her. "I'll be behind you, pushing!"

Greta looked at the lop-sided wheels lying on the ground. She extrapolated the likely stability of anything that Grem built. She sighed.

"At least there'll be someone right there to say the prayers to the God when I die," Greta said, resigned.

"That's the spirit!" Grem said. "Now come help me with this ax!"

The carriage took shape.

Grem and Greta observed their work.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Grem asked.

Greta was touched, despite herself. "It's the prettiest hacked-together box of wood I've ever seen," she said.

"Glad you like it!" Grem said. He looked over his shoulder. "Well, it looks like the whole tribe's here now, ready to see the first trial. Get in!"

"Already?" Greta asked. She stepped up. The box creaked under her weight.

"Perhaps we should test it without a human occupant first?" Greta suggested.

Behind her, Grem pushed the carriage into motion.

"Aa!" Greta said, being rather unused to vehicular transportation.

"This isn't so bad," she said after a moment more. "Bumpy, jarring, but I nearly think now that I'm going to survive this!"

The carriage hit a stump.

"Are you all right?" Inga called, running as fast as she could to where Greta lay bleeding on the ground. "Talk, Greta!"

"I'm... I've been worse..." Greta said through gritted teeth.

Grem looked at Greta regretfully; but he found his gaze irresistably drawn back to the carriage. "It looks... damaged," he murmured to himself.

It was!

And Grem fixed it!

"Yes!" he said. "I fixed it! I fixed the carriage!"

"So where's the rain?" Inga asked.

Grem looked up.

He stared at the clear blue sky.

Slowly, his hands clenched into fists.

"Come on, the God!" he shouted. "Come on! I just repaired a carriage for you! A carriage! In your name! This is more than any shaman has done for any god, anywhere, in history. This is the most amazing thing ever. And you won't give us a tiny bit of rain? For that?"

The sky rumbled.

The sun continued to shine.

Grem's shoulders slumped.

"I'll be in my cave, making new holy symbols," he told Inga. "Let me know when we all starve to death, because I'm a failure as a shaman."

He tramped away, leaving the carriage behind him.

And in the depths of the Super-Secret-Shaman cave, it was several hours before he heard the thunder, and the rain.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The History of the BIGs

In the year 1957, aliens arrived on Earth.

Well, alien.

Also, he was a jerk.

To begin a reign of terror over the earth, he kidnapped people from across the Earth and mutated them to enormous size!

"Ha!" he cried. "Now you are my servants, and must obey my will! You will be the tools which I use for Global Domination!"

This was not, as such, the case.

The largest of the mutants, known even to the others as the BIG MAN, burst from his restraints. He charged the alien, and - underestimating his own strength! - slew him in a single blow.

Klaxons sounded. Lights flashed. Steam-blasts broke through the walls. The BIG MAN freed his fellow mutants, and together they fled the alien's lair, outrunning an explosion as they exited.

The alien, before his death, had possessed no respect for the laws of nature.

Outside the ruins of the alien's lair, the mutants gathered together. Led by BIG MAN, they swore a sacred oath - to remain united, no matter what happened to them, as a society of BIGs; to remain BIG, not just in body, but in heart and soul. With this resolution burning in their hearts, they made their respective ways home.

Later, they played video games together on the internet!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dr. Zhang Fights the War

Internationally renowned surgeon-warrior, Z, stood before the Joint Chiefs.

"This war is fundamentally unjust," he told them. "It is inherently evil, and you must break it off at once, for the good of every nation involved! Also, it's totally the result of one of N's plots, and he's probably going to try to use it to take over the government."

"Nonsense!" the Joint Chiefs of Staff replied. "This is useless to us! We called you here to advise us on the prosecution of the war. Instead, you whine and complain and make up conspiracy theories? You're the worst internationally renowned surgeon-warrior we've ever met! Get out of here! Go sulk in your room!"

Z frowned. With one last, warning look, he left the room, shoulders slumped. Then he went back to his room and sulked!

"Man, stupid Joint Chiefs of Staff," he complained. "All with their heads stuck up their brass and their epaulets clogging their esophagus. Why don't they believe me when I warn them?"

Z's cell phone rang.

"Man, calling me now?" Z asked, digging into his pockets. "Well, whatever, it'll take my mind off those stupid Joint Chiefs. Too bad it's probably not related. I mean, someone calling just now about that very same subject would be a ridiculously unlikely coincidence, right? Nah, it's probably Jeremy calling about lunch."

Shut up, "Z"! This plot isn't going to move itself!

"'ello, Z!" the caller said with a thick accent. "I am ze President. I 'ave an offer for you."

"Wait, the President who is the Command in Chief, and can overrule those dang Joint Chiefs?" Z asked. "Why didn't you call earlier?"

"I am afraid you misunderstand," the President said. "I am not your President. I am the President of the nation you are at war with."

"Huh," Z said.

"You are an internationally renowned surgeon-warrior," the President said. "I want you to come fight for us."

Z squinted. "Uh, I have some problems with the government, and also with the war," he said. "But I think that actually fighting for the other side is... treachery? Which is generally considered bad."

"Were not your country's founders considered traitors by ze king against which zey rebelled?" the President asked. "But do not worry. You would not be fighting your own countrymen."

"...then, who?" Z asked.

"We 'ave obtained information on ze whereabouts of ze man you call... N," the President said.

Z's eyes widened.

"We will book you a flight, eh?" the President asked.

"First thing," Z agreed.

Then he flew over!

"We believe that this map, here, shows the location of N's mountain base," the military commander briefed Z.

"Why does N have a mountain base?" Z asked.

"Hired men," the commander explained. "Agent provocateurs. Impersonating ethnic minorities with legitimate grievances, our actions against them have been taken as a provocation by your nation's military. We need to capture them, or at least their documents, to prove that we have been set up."

"And you think that N might be still there," Z said.

"Yes," the commander confirmed. "A turncoat among the mercenaries reported his presence. Further, he's reported to have a tendency to personally supervise his schemes."

"That sounds like the devil I know," Z said, eyes momentarily unfocusing in thought. He returned to the present after a short moment. "Yes, it's plausible. I'm in. What's the assault plan?"

The commander began to explain. "We go in by helicopter..."

Two days later, Z stood shakily within a helicopter, flying through the mountains in conjunction with the other five helicopters in the attack group. "We're nearly there!" the pilot shouted back, his voice deafening to be heard over the sound of the rotors. "Just a half a klick to the target - it should be in sight at any moment."

"About time," the soldier next to Z said, rolling his shoulders. "Nothing more tedious than a trip like this - "

Klaxons went off. The helicopter rocked.

"What's going on?" a solder shouted.

"We're under fire from the ground!" the pilot shouted back. "Some kinda shoulder-launched SAMs! It looks bad -"

Z leaned out of the helicopter and examined the situation.

Smoke trails criss-crossed the sky, leading from clumps of concealing rocks and shrubbery to the helicopters. The helicopters seemed unharmed - Z guessed at some kind of automatic defenses, and was proved right as another rocket arced upwards and was caught by - of all things! - a weighed net fired with explosive bolts, carrying the rocket to fall harmlessly onto the ground. But those can't work more than once, Z thought -

- and was proved quickly, dreadfully right as the lead helicopter turned into a ball of rapidly expanding vapor.

"An ambush from the ground!" Z shouted, pushing his way to the front of the helicopter. He found the radio, toggled it to transmit as the pilot looked at him with surprise. "All pilots, descend! Move forward and descend, max speed! We need to clear line of sight now!"

"You're not in the chain of command - " the pilot protested.

"The commander went up with the lead helicopter and we're all going to die if you don't do anything!" Z said. "Move!"

Another explosion rocked the helicopter.

The pilot gulped any obeyed.

And well, after that, things were practically easy!

"We've got the papers," the second-in-command told Z. "It's just like we thought. This'll be explosive enough to blow the whole war right to shreds, once we get it to the U.N."

"But there's no sign of N," Z said.

"No, sir," the second-in-command said. "It looks like he was never here - our 'informant' was playing for the other side after all. But thanks to you, that bit him right in the hiney! He'll regret this one!"

"Yes," Z said. "I guess he will."

Z sat alone until the second-in-command left.

Then he raised his arms to the sky.

"I'll get you yet, N!" he vowed.

Later, he had ice cream!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Legion III

This post is, obviously, a successor to this masterpiece! Can't you tell by the title?

Mr. Zhang woke up. He had breakfast. He brushed his teeth. He flossed. He remembered.

"I left Legion out all night!" he realized. "I should go say hello to him!"

Mr. Zhang rushed to the roof. He looked all about.

"He's gone!" Mr. Zhang discovered. "Where did he go? Did he abandon me? I know he was here, there are limbs and stuff strewn all over the roof - "

Mr. Zhang paused.

"If I take a step back, and look at the limbs..."

"Oh!" Mr. Zhang exclaimed. "It's a pattern - the limbs spell out numbers! Coordinates - for where Legion has gone! But - "

Mr. Zhang's speech slowed. "Legion doesn't have hands," he said. "Well, he does, but they don't really work that well. He doesn't have the time or the patience to make this kind of thing. (I don't even think he knows what latitude or longitude are!) There must have been a struggle - Legion overpowered, many of his corpses knocked off - and the remains used to lure me into a trap."

Mr. Zhang nodded.

"OK," he said.

Mr. Zhang walked into the trap!

"Ha ha!" a familiar voice cried from the shadows of the abandoned warehouse. "You came to rescue your beloved ball of floating corpses. But now you are at my mercy - and soon I will kill you! Behold!"

The lights came on. Mr. Zhang found himself staring at Legion - noticably reduced in size (presumably from the struggle before its capture), and trussed to the walls and ceiling with steel cables. A shadowy figure stood on a catwalk in front of Legion.

"Dr. Zhang - or I suppose I should call you Mr. Zhang, yes? - you do not yet know me, so I shall introduce myself," the shadowy figure said smirkingly. "You may call me N. Since the dawn of time, I have been your foe; so shall I remain 'til the last twinkling embers burn out in the amaranthine-hued heavens, and this demon-wrap't globe at last succumbs to the final temptation of our celestial companion's temptation -"

Mr. Zhang, who had calmly climbed up to the catwalk while N was talking, punched N in the face.

"Ow! Ow! Holy shit!" N said, backing away and holding his face in his hand. "You hit me! You really hit me! Ah, I think I can taste blood - "

Mr. Zhang punched 'N' in the gut.

"Oof!" N groaned, doubling over.

Mr. Zhang stopped. He looked at the blood on his right fist. He seemed confused.

"God damn it, I forgot how you always are!" N wheezed, backing away again once he had regained his breath. "Well, if you don't have the damn patience to listen to a little speech, how's this. In a minute, the doors will burst in, and my trained shock troopers will kill you. That sound better? You have the patience for that?"

Mr. Zhang straightened, having released Legion's fastenings while N spoke. Legion floated next to Mr. Zhang, seeming uncertain.

"God damn it, stop doing things while I talk!" N complained.

The doors burst open. Armed soldiers rushed in, each wearing an armband with a gold xi on it.

"There you are!" N said. "Finally! Kill him!"

The soldiers opened fire.

Mr. Zhang dove from the catwalk, landing with a painful noise on the concrete floor. Rolling, he rose to a low crouch, dashing for the door. He turned his head back to look for Legion -

- and to his dismay, saw that Legion had descended to attack the soldiers! Corpses fluttered to the ground like confetti, shredded by automatic weapons fire!

Mr. Zhang looked with tears welling in his eyes; then he turned again and ran.

"I will remember you, Legion!" he vowed as he drove away. "I will justify your sacrifice!"

But it's okay!

Legion was dead anyway, so technically, the soldiers didn't kill him at all!

the end

Legion II

Naturally, the sequel to Legion I!

Mr. Zhang was very happy with his new pet!

It was a sad fact, but Mr. Zhang was occasionally prone to fits of melancholia. He felt lonely; unappreciated; even hated! Rationally, he recognized that this was the case - but, isolated from his colleagues and without close friends, he lacked support. He worked ninety hours a week! In his circumstances, anyone would have been troubled!

Thanks to Mr. Zhang's new pet, though, his problems were solved. He always had a companion - a friend to talk to, about matters of sorrow and joy alike! No matter what happened, Mr. Zhang knew his new pet would be there for him. He could not have loved it more!

Those around Mr. Zhang, sadly, felt otherwise.

"There is a floating ball of corpses in my operating room," the supervising surgeon said flatly. "Why is there a floating ball of corpses in my operating room?"

There was a squelch.

"Shedding?" the supervising surgeon added.

Her gaze lit upon Mr. Zhang, shoulders slumped.

"'m sorry," Mr. Zhang mumbled. "'s mine. v' s'ry."

"Get it out of here," the supervising surgeon said, her face cold. "We'll discuss disciplinary action afterward. You should know better by now, Mr. Zhang!"

Mr. Zhang left slowly, his expression sad. Legion followed.

"I guess you'll have to stay out of the hospital from now on," Mr. Zhang instructed it once outside. "Sorry. We can still hang out the rest of the time, right?"

"...o...kay..." Legion agreed, its tone sepulchral.

It floated outside.

Traffic passed by.

Then Mr. Zhang appeared again!

"...zhaaang!" Legion groaned joyously.

"Legion!" Mr. Zhang shouted cheerfully. "You're all right! I was worried about you. Come on, it's time to go!"

"...where?" Legion asked.

"A party!" Mr. Zhang replied.

Then they went to a party!

"Whoa, nice music!" a clubgoer said, admiringly.

"Yeah, and crazy atmosphere!" another agreed.

"Man, that floating ball of corpses is so realistic!" a third said. "Totally metal!"

"...hardcore..." Legion agreed.

An kneecap fell off.

"What, is that for real?" the club owner asked.

"Man, that's even more metal!" the third clubber said.

"But completely unsanitary!" the club owner said angrily. "Someone get that out of here before our operating license gets revoked!"

"...rejected..." Legion groaned.

"It's okay, Legion," Mr. Zhang said. "We can still hang out at the apartment, right?"

"Out," the floor manager said curtly. (Several hours later.)

"Oh," Mr. Zhang said sadly. He gestured to Legion; Legion left, via window, and went to sulk on the roof.

Then it rained!

Poor soggy Legion! All alone! Totally rejected!

Poor Mr. Zhang! Deprived of his only friend! Also his heater isn't quite working right, so he's pretty cold too!

It's the nadir of our story!

No, wait, that's when Legion gets abducted.

Stay tuned!

Legion I

The events of this story take place approximately six years before those of this one; Mr. Zhang had not yet shed his given name.

Mr. Zhang was quite enjoying his vacation, largely to his own surprise. The weather was consistently lovely, the attractions were admirably attractive, and - spending most of his time out-of-doors, out and about - Mr. Zhang was able to forget his sorrows. What trouble an email unrecieved, when your email goes unchecked; what woe a Facebook-friend rejected, when you have not the slightest thought for Facebook? For any person, the mood in which Mr. Zhang found himself might be described as good - for Mr. Zhang himself, it was nothing less than splendid!

This is, explicitly, to contextualize the moment in the third morning of Mr. Zhang's vacation, in which he found a severed head on his doorstep.

Mr. Zhang rubbed his eyes. He closed the door. He opened it again.

The severed head looked at him with sightless eyes. It was sideways. This lessened the effect slightly.

"Um," Mr. Zhang said.

He kicked the head with his shoe. The head rolled in a small circle.

"Eww," Mr. Zhang said.

He put it in a trash can.

Then he went about his business!

After breakfast, he went to see a bridge.

The bridge was quite large!

Mr. Zhang admired it politely.

He opened his guidebook.

"This bridge was the largest of its kind on the continent when it was first built," Mr. Zhang read, pausing briefly as a shadow passed over the book. "Accounting for inflation, it cost billions in today's dollars!"

"Wow!" Mr. Zhang said politely. There was a thud.

Mr. Zhang raised his eyebrows. He lowered the guidebook.

There was a severed arm on the sidewalk in front of Mr. Zhang.

"Am I being followed by a prankster?" Mr. Zhang asked. He looked around - but there was no-one nearby!

On a hunch, Mr. Zhang looked up - but there was nothing there but suspension cables!

He admired the suspension cables politely, and then moved on, tossing the severed arm off the side as he walked.

Significantly later, Mr. Zhang walked out of a diner. His stomach was full. "That was a delicious meal!" he said to his dining companion.

Mr. Zhang's companion was rude. He did not reply to this comment. Instead, he talked about something else entirely! He asked, "Why is there a limbless human torso lying on the ground?"

Perhaps he could be permitted, in the circumstances.

Mr. Zhang observed the torso. His brow furrowed. We might fault him, saying, "You have already seen two body parts today! Cannot you see a pattern!" But we have, for the sake of narrative, truncated and summarized; hours passed between each incident! So it took long seconds before Mr. Zhang thought to look up -

- and saw, for a fleeting moment, an object floating overhead.

"It went onto the roof!" Mr. Zhang cried. "Find stairs!" Mr. Zhang dashed to the left; his companion, after a moment's delay, went right. They met at the back of the restaurant, finding a fire escape, ladder retracted; a nearby dumpster gave Mr. Zhang a platform from which to reach the ladder, and from there the roof.

"Ha!" Mr. Zhang cried, triumphant. Behind him, his companion clambered onto the roof. "Found you! What do you have to say for yourself?"

"" the floating ball of corpses groaned. Slowly, it began to float away.

"What? Stop!" Mr. Zhang shouted. "I want you to explain yourself!"

The floating ball of corpses stopped.

"Who are you? Where did you come from?" Mr. Zhang asked in interrogatory fashion.

"...m...i...t...le...gion..." the agglomeration of corpses, slowly, answered.

"It's called 'MIT'?" Mr. Zhang asked, perplexed. "Are they trading up for mascots?"

"Nah, it answered the questions the wrong way around," Mr. Zhang's companion clarified helpfully. "Probably some bio kid's senior project."

Mr. Zhang's brow lightened. "Oh. Well, 'Legion', tell me - why have you been following me? What do you want?"

"...want... friend..." Legion groaned.

"Aww! It wants to be your pet! That's adorable!" Mr. Zhang's companion said.

Mr. Zhang's stance firmed in decision.

"I'll let it!" he cried.

Legion bobbed up and down with joy!

Next up: Mr. Zhang versus Sanitation Regulation!

The fateful squadron

•̅^•̅ •̅^•̅ •̅^•̅
•̅^•̅ •̅^•̅

Nikolas cryed out ouer the speakers system "They surrounded us! " Lets Retreet"!!! He said. The Helicoupters were buzzing loud around them like swarm of Gnats. Nikoulas pressed the big red bouton on his control panel, and he fire his large missel at the one of them. "That buyed us of some time Let's get out of here!!" He said. A large explosion. He rerutned to head Quarters. Mission failed! He could not subdued the enimies. Nikolas went home very dissapointed. They must won the war! I cannot let the enemy beat on us! !

Another day another battle Field. The captain of Squadrone 1, Commander Nikoulous!! he said, "Lets kill the bastards!" He said yelling them. They won the war, and every body was happy them. Nikolas became a locale heros.

That day he recieved a strange mission brefing from H. Q it said" Lets go to a party! " He said. "But I can not go this time. you must deliver the secret messgage to that girl over there." Nikolas looked inside the letter it say "Hey sex, I wished I was DY/DX so I can layed tangential to you're curves!!" What a good prose, Nikolas thought to him self! He delivered the message personally in person. The girl read it and he spit on Nikolas. How rude he think? He left in a weary mood.

That night he sleep, and he dreamed.

He told me his dream:

so like
i was in scool
and i was taking japanese class
for some reason
i forgot all of the japonese i learned
in hi scool
ryan tsong was there
and then like
he was like o haha im goign to beat you in this
and then
i forgot everything
so like
i was bad
on the test
and then i was like
shit i hope this is a dream
and then
it was a dream
it was a dream
inside a dream
and then like
i woke up from the dream inside the dream
and then
i was talking to you
and then like
i was reminded of the test
so i studied for a bit
and i rememebd some things
and then i did ok on the test
then later
it turned otu
that the test became like some
basket ball game
or smething
and it was really important on apparently
and then were in this big hotel
and ryan was neighbour to my room
and i could hear big party and i was jelouse of him
at that point i was a cartoon character
from a show i saw a long time ago
but then they caem in my room
and there was like
reperters from the news
and important peoplea
and apparently i scored the winning goal
or something
and there was a big party
then after
a womon came into the room
and she was really hot
and it ended up
that we had sex
i dont know how
and then
it turned out
that the womon
was my room mates girl freind
and then i was lik
o shit
and then like
my roommate and i were still in this hotel
and we went to breakfast or somethitng
and he did know
and it was really awkward
and i felt bad about it
and it was like of fuck what am i going to do
and i was like
o god i hope this is a dream or something
and it turned out
it was

"Man, Im so deepresed now, he said"!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Our Lady of Spite

"It is my consideration," Alexa explained calmly, "That you are filth wrapped in human flesh, and do not deserve to live."

"Mmmph! Mmmph!" the subject of her conversation replied, writhing frantically in the corner.

"You have stolen," Alexa continued. "You have lied. You are a criminal, and criminals do not deserve to live. By this proof I pass judgement on you; it is trivial and uncontestable, and therefore I need subject it to no review."

Alexa paused, twirling a lock of hair in about her finger. Her captive stared at her, eyes desperate, darting back and forth.

"Nothing kills by willpower alone," Alexa said, her speech acquiring the sound of ritual. "Nothing is both real and impossible. By this equivocation - "

Alexa whirled, her black-gloved finger stabbing down at her captive. "Mmmmph!" the latter desperately mewled.

"You die!" Alexa said, a black fire filling her eyes.

The captive looked up at her, giving a small, plaintive sort of noise; then his eyes filmed over, and he collapsed, his skull striking the ground with an ugly noise. Alexa kicked it once, contemptuously.

"That proves it," Alexa said, standing. "That here, in this strange underground shrine, the laws of logic can be bent and twisted by human minds - that geometric and mathematical follies can flourish... ha! Integers unfactorable by primes! Triangles with nine sides! Insane, nonsensical by definition - and here - as good as true!"

Alexa stood quiet a moment, pensive.

"I could make a god of myself, in here," Alexa said to herself. "A Queen of flawed premises, an Empress of baseless suppositions. Shall I? Better to reign in hell than serve in Heaven, the poet said... "

"But," Alexa said, starting suddenly, "May I not have both? If the power of this place may be extended outside..."

"There are experiments to be done," Alexa said decisively, walking towards the exit. "Tests, to find the limits of this dark power..."

"And killings; a purging of the undeserving from the world, to make it a suitable Heaven over which to reign!" Alexa cried, a wide grin across her face.

A darkness spread outwards. The city warped. The world turned their eyes towards Alexa's growing realm; and trembled.

The police hunted Alexa, never knowing her name. Alexa watched them from her lair, and consigned them unto death.

The military arrived. At first they sought to evacuate the population; then they bombed without discrimination. Alexa lurked, hidden in her underground lair, and killed without fear or remorse...

But she was not careful enough, and there came a time when a shadowy figure in her demense.

"Who?" Alexa cried, whirling at the footstep. Her eyes were wild, veined with red; the bombings had impaired her sleep schedule. "No man can enter this place without my leave - "

"Just as no man can outwit you?" the intruder parried, his words sharp as a knife. "I am both; but I would prefer that you call me, not Odysseus, but rather Z; it is somewhat closer to the truth."

"You will die here, so-called 'Z'!" Alexa shouted wildly. "I have killed many others, so many others - therefore - "

"It is inevitable that you, too, shall die?" Z interrupted again. "Certainly, and not in too long. For though I would certainly love to speak with you - what strange things might you have accomplished, in this twisted realm, were your thoughts filled with goodness, and not malice? - your acts have shown yourself far too dangerous. I ventured to this city in the days after your manipulations first became apparent - not long before the police began their first hunt - and searched the city's residents for the culprit. There were times in which I despaired - or found myself disbelieving, that such a place existed that could cause such impossible terror -"

"And now?" Alexa asked, challenging.

"And now I realize that I was right," said Z, still standing in the doorway. There was a sad smile on his face. "This place is impossible, and the acts that you accomplished here were impossible, and the last few months - yes, they, too, were impossible. And a thing that is impossible cannot exist - "

And we might now claim that Alexa cried out, despairing, "No!" - realizing only too late the trap Z wove with his words -

But that's quite false, of course.

After all, such a person as Alexa could never exist.

(Z, of course, would go on to certain other, better-known adventures; some of which have appeared on this blog already. But you knew that.)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Heroic Dr. Zhang


WORLD CHAOS unleashed by AGITATING ANARCHISTS and RAMPAGING ROGUE ROBOTS has PARALYZED governments ACROSS the GLOBE. In the confusion, ONE MAN has risen to power: the terrible NIKOLAS, whose name is TERROR and whose word is DEATH. NONE stand to oppose him...

NONE, that is, save DR. ZHANG, BRILLIANT SURGEON and LONE HERO. Forsaking friendship and even love for his mission, he hunts NIKOLAS with an undiluted passion; the PEOPLE cheer and shelter him, and the minions of NIKOLAS fear him. POLYMATH and WARRIOR with skills BEYOND COMPARE, he is not only the sole man who dares oppose NIKOLAS; he is the only one who CAN.

And TODAY...

YOU can step into his shoes!

CLICK HERE, UNZIP the FILES, and RENAME the ".py_" file to ".py". MAC users should then open it with the PYTHON LAUNCHER, in their PYTHON DIRECTORY; WINDOWS users need only DOUBLE-CLICK IT. (No idea about Linux people.) And - SIMPLE AS THAT* - YOU will be in the shoes of the great hero DR. ZHANG! FRABJULOUS DAY!

Happy birthday, Mr. Zhang! and many more...

*Assuming you already have a Python 2.6 install on your machine. But that's easy - hardly worth mentioning!